Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meet The (Inactive) Local Punk Bands!! Part 6

It's now time for our 6th (and maybe second-last?) post to roll in defunct/inactive local punk bands with surviving online pages into our band links on the SMS! Sourcing mainly from MySpace now, it's sadly incredibly hard to search for local bands on there now due to last year's layout overhauls, and with biography information and bands' hometowns no longer listed, it makes the search a lot more difficult. We have enough bands there that I can verify their local ties to for at least one more installment after today, but I can't guarantee an 8th or not yet. Now, here's four more inactive punk bands from Sault Ste. Marie to formally add to our site links, in alphabetical order!

We'll start with A Fall From Innocence, an emo/pop-punk band that attained some notability in the Sault area in the mid-2000s! Active from roughly 2003-2007, their only full cited lineup online featured singer Larry Babic (later of Backroom Concept), guitarists Matt Durette and Jeff King, bassist Waylon Bougie (who's since manned some solo projects), and drummer Marc Santos (Fuller), while the band also featured Stay Seventeen singer Matt Maccarone and current Northwest frontman Wayne Watkins in other incarnations, possibly among other artists. A.F.F.I. released two CDs ("The Breathing Method" in March 2005, and a self-titled CD in February 2006), and would tour Canada in support of both discs, open for bands like The Planet Smashers, and appear at popular local concerts like the 2005 Heatwave Festival, before quietly breaking up by the following year. While I'll admit that emo punk isn't my favourite of punk subgenre, you can sense a strong talent and chemistry with A Fall From Innocence's MySpace tracks, which had strong songwriting and melodic sensibilities!

I imagine they made some fans in their tour runs, and if you listen close to some songs, Larry might have some screaming vocals too! It'd be nice to get a hold of their albums, and while I don't know of any videos of A Fall From Innocence, check them out at their Bandspace, MySpace, and PureVolume pages to hear their public original material!

Next is the popular late 2000s ska-punk band Free Beer (also known for short stretches as M.O.B. and Sarah's Valley), who fans should be familiar with from a number of big local concerts of their own! Their lineup featured singer (and Shaw TV correspondent) Christian Lemay alongside current Habitat Shuffle guitarist Dustin Goodall, and local metal band alums Ryan Gray & Keith Gagnon on bass & drums, though Stefan Zaharuk played bass for Free Beer at one point early in their run as well. During their original run as Free Beer, the band opened for the likes of The Rebel Spell, Broadcast Zero, and The Flatliners at numerous local venues between 2007 & 2009, as well as placing third at the 2008 Skid Row Battle of the Bands. Free Beer changed their name to M.O.B. in 2010, though the band didn't last terribly long under that name, and played only the occasional one-off gig before reuniting as Sarah's Valley last year, which itself was also a short lived run, and they broke up for good last summer.

I don't recall Free Beer ever putting out an album, but they had entertaining originals and covers all the same! As heard on their MySpace & Soundcloud pages, they could deftly take on both Chili Peppers-esque funk rock on originals like "My Reality" and more reggae influenced material like on "Come With Me", and their sound and fun stage show definitely helped them get a strong following! It'd be cool to see the guys turn up again under any name down the road, but give them a look at the above links, on Reverbnation, and on Christian's YouTube channel, which has a fair amount of Free Beer concert & jam videos from their heyday, including this mid-2008 video from the old O'Aces! Hear more above!

Also, we're adding defunct mid-1990s punk band Room 206 to our links! One of the few pre-2000 punk bands from the Soo with a posthumous online page (via MySpace), there isn't a lot of surviving information on them, but they were a well recieved band that were among the roster of bands that frequented the Windsor Park Hotel during that venue's heyday, as vividly depicted in Paolo Colascco's book "Going Underground", which is on the local punk scene. At the time of their feature in the book, Room 206's lineup featured singer/guitarist Mike Yorke, current Role Models frontman Brad Lacell on bass, and Mike's future Totally Confused bandmate Al Watson (later of Startlefish) on drums. I know that I'm missing members, as their MySpace photo shows a quartet lineup (and I seem to recall Brad's longtime bandmate Dave Bahun once being in Room 206 too), but I can't verify much else. Let me know if you can fill in any blanks!

Though long since inactive, Room 206 had a successful run in the local punk scene, apparently recorded some sort of album named "2 Innies & An Outie", and their song "Good Enough" even found their way onto the "Punk: The Next Generation" compilation CD alongside fellow locals The Spigots. Room 206 had a good skate punk sound with fitting vocals, very good riffs and hooks, and a nice explosive sound that must have gotten a good reception live, and you can check that out for yourself via this YouTube video of themr covering Fugazi's "Waiting Room" at the former Club Princess in February 1995! Muffled audio and patchy video, but look at that crowd! Check out much more from Room 206 via their MySpace page!

Finally for this punk band feature is Smeltzer, who were among the most prominent young alternative/punk bands in the Sault area in the mid-2000s! Their lineup featured both "songwriters" of the new local band The Apocalypse Afterparty, those being singer/guitarist Steve "Knuckles" Mozarowski and The Fury's Paul "Pauliford" Stanghetta on bass, while Steve's former RedD Monkey bandmate Kevin "Kevo" Overton (also formerly of Gates of Winter) rounded out their lineup on drums. Active from roughly 2006-2008, Smeltzer opened for notable bands like Propagandhi and Means at assorted concerts during their run (including a sizeable amount at The Oddfellows Hall), and though they've been broken up for 6 or so years now, the guys did reunite for a one-off headlining show in 2011, and Steve has been known to cover Smeltzer songs like "The Jock Song" both with RedD Monkey and in solo gigs. An album release named "Dropping the S-Bomb" was also teased on MySpace, but I can't confirm if it came out or not. I actually can't find a video of Smeltzer from their run, but how'd they sound?

Sound wise, I'd compare Smeltzer to a more grungy 1990s-alternative variant of Steve & Kevin's later RedD Monkey sound, and with the lack of cello, not as original, but effective in itself! I remember enjoying Smeltzer at local all ages show when I was a teenager, and their darker essence served them well, though of course, turns with a dress at live gigs did offset that a bit! Nice to hear Kevin's drumming again too, he was a local standout before he moved from the area. Check out Smeltzer above, and follow The Apocalypse Afterparty for Steve & Paul's newest material!

I hope you guys liked this newest defunct punk band feature! The only thing I can guarantee for our 7th (and maybe final?) of these introductory posts for older punk bands is that Bin Hawdon & The Taliband WILL finally be a part! Anything else is up in the air, mainly due to the awful MySpace layout changes last year, but keep an eye out regardless in the coming weeks, and stay tuned for this month's new poll and the results of last month's poll tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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