Cancer Bats love the Maritimes

For a musician who has literally travelled and played all over the world, Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier isn’t one to contain his band’s love for the Maritimes.

Over the course of the past year, the band has travelled throughout Canada, the United States, and is practically on the verge of making Europe their home away from home. So what is so endearing about the Maritimes to the Toronto quartet?

“The first tour we ever did as a band was to the Maritimes, before we had even toured Ontario,” Cormier says. “You guys have such a great scene out there with people that just love heavy music. In all honesty though, we are just trying to make up for lost time.”

The Cancer Bats prior tour before their upcoming run of shows with tour mates 3 Inches Of Blood, hitting the Manhattan Bar & Grill in Moncton for shows on Tuesday May 10 and Thursday May 12, was as recent as this past fall. Prior to that however, the band was absent for an almost two year span, something that Cormier is still expressing regret about.

“The cool thing about our east coast fans is everyone that we’ve met has been so casual and cavalier about the fact it took us so long to get back there. People were telling us that they were so proud of what we have done and just appreciate the fact that we were back playing shows. And it showed because our shows that we played last fall out east were insane! I never understood why more bands don’t make a point to tour out east.”

Speaking from Finland, the Cancer Bats are in the midst of almost a month’s worth of shows throughout Europe. Cormier says the past year since the release of their Juno-nominated third record Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones has been a whirlwind to say the least.

“We have been doing one tour after another after another since the record came out. The response to the record has been incredible and we are definitely seeing the amount of touring that we are doing as paying off.”

In addition to dates through Canada and America, Japan, Australia and Europe have all felt the wrath of the Cancer Bats over the past year. Cormier says that many countries through Europe specifically have been very kind to the band.

“It is tough when you’re on a real grinder of a tour to be missing home. We miss our families and girlfriends but on the other hand, we are calling home with great news to share in regards to how well our shows have been going in Europe. It kind of balances things out.”

With so many bands focused on conquering the United States, the Cancer Bats are one of a growing amount of bands choosing to spend their time playing in territories where they are best received which, at the end of the day, makes a colossal amount of sense. It is not to say that the Cancer Bats are raising the white flag on the U.S., they are simply expanding their reach across the ocean.

“We have gotten to the point where we want to tour the United States but at the present time, are just getting so much more from playing in Canada and overseas. We have some very dedicated fans in the States but it is hard to keep motivated to tour there over and over,” Cormier says.

At the Juno Awards held in Toronto last month, Cormier and band mates Scott Middleton, Mike Peters and Jaye Schwarzer unfortunately emerged empty-handed from their nomination for Rock Album of the Year that had the band in competition with multi-platinum artists such as Matthew Good and Finger Eleven.

“We knew going in that we wouldn’t win against the bands that we were up against. But really, it was just a cool position to be in. To be a hardcore band at the Juno Awards ceremony shows that there is a lot going on in Canada that is not just indie rock.”

Cormier says that there is little question that hardcore and heavy metal bands in Canada are continuing to pick up momentum. Given the prevalence of heavy music festivals in Europe, he hints that he is elated to see festival opportunities starting to make their mark in North America.

“You’ve got great festivals like Heavy Montreal (Heavy Mtl) and Heavy Toronto (Heavy TO) this coming summer and it is great to see these things gaining ground. I really don’t know why more of these festivals don’t take place but none the less, it is cool to see people identifying that these festivals are a viable option on this side of the ocean as well.”

Article published in May 6, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript