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January 22, 2007

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Fucked Up remains one of the most talked-about bands in hardcore and punk rock in both the mainstream media and underground outlets. Their brand of relentless, aggressive, yet highly melodic music has been mentioned on nearly every magazine’s top ten list of the year, regardless of the magazine’s musical preference. Punk rockers, hardcore kids and indie rockers alike all seek to obtain the band’s highly sought after releases, which are almost all on vinyl and in limited numbers. The elusive personas that the band members take confirm that the music is more important than any image or gimmick. Their non-stop work ethic has led them on tours across the United States and Europe, creating a barrage of hype that is firmly backed up with a substantial dose of great fucking music and a highly energetic live show. Mere days ago, the band had the chance to perform live at MTV Canada with Henry Rollins, which resulted in utter chaos and some amazing footage that some would see as reminiscent of when Lee Ving and Fear had the chance to perform on Saturday Night Live many years ago. They will be playing at The Underdog on February 3rd with Montreal legends Cobra Noir, Kentucky’s Own Lords, Hamilton’s Sailboats Are White, and local favourites What the Shit?

“The elusive personas that the band members take confirm that the music is more important than any image or gimmick.“

Local music enthusiast and Trent student Nick Cunningham had the chance to interview Mr. Jo, the drummer of the band.

Arthur: How do you feel about the recent Globe and Mail article? In some circles, people are calling you the saviours of hardcore, but now the Globe is suggesting that you’re also creating a soundtrack for a new generation of underachievers. What’s the deal with this?

Mr. Jo: The Globe and Mail article was an interesting attempt to try and peg a new generation of youth culture losers, but I don’t feel it really had anything to do with the band. The fact that Damian is “postponing the inevitable” doesn’t have everything to do with any frustrations with the FU project. I mean, while postponing the inevitable, he and the rest of us [one of whom has had a successful career so far] have been able to travel the world for free and engage in an inordinately high amount of creative activity be it artistic, linguistic, musical, etc. ... I mean, I think that releasing 20+ independent records, traveling across the United States, across Europe, and to the UK twice is more than your
average “under-achiever” can say they’ve done in the prime of their lives. It was just convenient for that journalist the D was able to play into some of the already allotted symptoms of slacker-dom.

 Arthur: When is the rock opera and movie coming out?

Mr. Jo: This project will certainly take some time, but some designs for the “David” musical are already being laid. You’d have to ask David [Eliade, the band’s elusive manager] about the film, though. Those are his connections, not necessarily ours.
 Arthur: How was Europe? Best moment of the tour? Any regrets?

Mr. Jo: Europe was great. I think band tensions were at an all-time low, we’ve never been tighter and we worked pretty hard. The best moment of the tour was definitely Fat Bob from Hard Skin singing “New Age” by Blitz with us on New Years Eve in London. He was dancing like that girl from the Cranberries and people were getting weak in the knees ...The other highlight was Barcelona. I don’t think I could describe anything else

that would fit the bill of “perfect show.” People of every stripe, every band, were fantastic and possessed what almost every other band lacks, something uniquely Spanish and regional about their sound. More than just singing in Spanish, of course. I feel like these bands could not have come from any other place or from any other group of people. Usually the opposite is true for a lot of contemporary hardcore music.

I regret not spending 4 days in Barcelona instead of 9 days in Germany.

Arthur: How come Career Suicide (Mr. Jo’s other band) never ever plays anywhere but Toronto, Europe and Japan?

Mr. Jo: Like so many misunderstood artists, those are the only markets that “get” us.

 Arthur: If you could tour with three bands, living or dead, who would they be?

Mr. Jo: Killing Joke, Judgement, and the Rolling Stones.

 Arthur: Have your parents finally comes to grips with you playing in a band called Fucked Up?

Mr. Jo: Actually, they got quite forcibly re-introduced to the band’s name when the Eye article got printed. For many years I offered them peace of mind by saying the band was called “Jacob’s Ladder,” and to be perfectly frank, I think both parties would have been perfectly satisfied with that, but they stumbled upon the paper on the way home from dinner back in October and I had to do some pretty serious explaining. It’s not so much a censorship or anti-cursing conservative kind of attitude, but just like parental protection
kicking in because they don’t really understand that there is a context in which “Fucked Up” can exist as a band without attracting the most depraved, drug-addled, violent psychopaths on the planet. That being said, we’ve met some real weirdos along the way.

 Arthur: What are you listening to lately?

 Mr. Jo: Today I listened to Cock Sparrer, the Raxola LP like 10 times, and Lee Dorsey.

 Arthur: What’d you think of the whole MTV Live thing yesterday?

Mr. Jo: I thought it was awesome. Pretty chaotic, played well, and we got to meet Henry Rollins. I think it will be a nice little postcard from Toronto Hardcore.

 Arthur: Is there any truth to the allegations that you routinely go to Jamaica to buy “cheap reggae 45’s” to resell at record stores?

Mr. Jo: Nah, Jamaica’s tapped out. Most of the 45s are here and they are not that cheap.

 Arthur: What’s the deal with the split with Mind Eraser? Guest vocals by Dave Mustaine?

Mr. Jo: We just came up with this really heavy riff one day. Played with it for a while, even used it as an intro at one or two gigs, but eventually decided we’d shelve it. Mind Eraser are all friends, and we think they are an incredible band, so we just got to talking one day, and it turns out they also had these demoed songs that weren’t really their style, so we decided we’d write each other a song. I’m sure our riff isn’t perfect for them, and theirs isn’t perfect for us either, but I think once both bands adapt and transform the riffs, it will be devastating.


Nick Cunningham