Ripcordz Still Going Strong After 37 Years, Play Maritimes This Weekend

Over the last number of decades, Canada has seemingly had little difficulty churning out its fair share of pop stars.

Lesser recognized, however, is the country’s steadfast punk music scene. While D.O.A. and SNFU have capably represented the Western half of Canada over the last four decades, Montreal’s Ripcordz is just one of a handful of acts from the Eastern half of the country that can boast of a similar tenure within the Canadian music scene.

Formed in 1980, the Ripcordz are still going strong today. The last 37 years has seen the band release 14 full-length albums, undertake 13 cross-Canada tours, playing well over 2,500 shows in the process.

The Ripcordz will perform at The Caveau in Moncton on Friday night and in Halifax at Gus’ Pub on Saturday in support of their latest release, The Vinyl Countdown, a double-album celebration of some of the group’s past work, along with a host of new tracks and collectible perks.

Ripcordz guitarist-vocalist Paul Gott insists that despite the group’s latest release offering a glimpse back into their past, the band is moving forward in nothing less than a definitive way.

“We’re always wary about people thinking we are all about nostalgia. If we ever turn into our own cover band, that will be the time to hang up the guitar,” Gott offers.

“We don’t get to play in Atlantic Canada as often as we do through Quebec and Ontario, but we’re a band that has never stopped writing, and has never stopped releasing stuff. We have never been the kind of band that won’t acknowledge their past – we love to play old and new songs alike – but if we didn’t legitimately feel that what we are doing now wasn’t better than what we’ve done in the past, there probably wouldn’t be much point in continuing.”

Boasting 33 tracks, Gott shares much planning and work went into ensuring The Vinyl Countdown was not merely seen as a cash grab by the group’s fans. Limited to just 200 copies, Gott says the group’s decision to offer an abundance of extras with the package was cemented by his experience as a music fan and collector while growing up.

“Right off the bat, as we decided to undertake putting this collection together, it was a given that it was going to be a double album, but we really just wanted to ensure we were doing the retrospective thing right. Growing up, it was always such a great surprise to crack open a record and find a poster or sticker in there. That was something we wanted to bring to our fans with this collection.”

In addition to the two records included in the collection, Gott says buyers can also look forward to an expansive 24-page booklet, a digital download option, as well as a bonus CD of holiday songs.

“Putting this package together costs more than what we are selling it for, but that’s punk economics for you,” he says, laughing. “No regrets!”

Then again, making music has never been explicitly about making money to Gott and his bandmates. Originally inspired by the likes of punk legends like the Clash and Ramones, the singer shares the group took a rather unorthodox approach to wearing their influences on their sleeves.

“I never wanted to be seen as a band that was ripping off other bands,” he says. “I loved bands like the Clash and Ramones, but because I loved them, I didn’t want to merely copy what they were doing. So I looked at their influences and used that to draw inspiration from, everything from rock and roll to pub rock and garage rock. That is what made up the basis of what the Ripcordz would become, and what we have become, almost 40 years later.”

What: Ripcordz with the Phone Jerks and Parlour Tricks
When: Friday Sept. 22, 10 p.m.
Where: The Caveau, Downing St., Moncton