Back in 1991, four Calgary high-school students started selling T-shirts for a punk rock band that had not yet played one musical note together. Fast forward 20 years, five releases and tours throughout North America and Europe and buzzsaw punk-rock band Chixdiggit is still going strong and with a renewed sense of purpose.
The group, known for its catchy, often humourous songs, will be playing its first Metro Moncton show in more than six years when the four-piece takes the stage at Oxygen Nightclub on Thursday, Oct. 20.
To coincide with the group’s long-awaited return to the Atlantic region, the band is promoting its latest release, a seven-song EP titled Safeways Here We Come. Recorded in the group’s hometown of Calgary this past December, the EP is the first release from the band in more than six years.
Although Chixdiggit might have been absent from the Atlantic Canadian live scene for an extended period of time, it has been far from dormant. From his home in Calgary, Chixdiggit guitarist and vocalist KJ Jansen says that the group has spent much of the past six years since its last release touring Europe.
“We have been touring quite a bit since 2005 but mostly to Europe. We have probably gone to Europe a couple of times per year over the past seven or eight years,” Jansen says. “It is a lot of fun to tour Europe, especially when we keep getting invited back to perform, but then it doesn’t take long before you realize that it has been so long since you’ve toured other places like Atlantic Canada.”
Jansen says that his band’s frequent trips to Europe are as much about he and his band mates seeing the sights as they are about playing music for their adoring fans. Noting the band is more likely to be checking out museums and historical sites instead of sitting in a pub ingesting a copious amount of beverages, the group’s continued good fortune is not lost on Jansen.
“We are very lucky to still be able to do this. Each of us has an extremely supportive family that backs what we do. And while we are still having a great time playing, we treat every show as if it could be the last one.”
Though the notion of “making every show count” may sound a tad cliché to some, there was a time last decade that Jansen admits that he felt as though Chixdiggit had perhaps come to an end. Despite having had a fruitful run of albums released via diverse record labels including Sub Pop and Honest Don’s, Jansen returned to school in 2002 convinced that he would never be on stage again.
“At one point in time, the band felt like it had become a job and felt like it was something that we had to do,” he explains. “It’s like if you take your most favourite thing in the world and have to do it over and over. It can lose its appeal after a period of time.
“Now though, it is much different than what it used to be back then. We have the best of all worlds now and I think it is a better place to be. Everyone in the band has so much more fun than we used to; the shows are better and it has gotten back to being something fun again. It is a much better deal now.”
In addition to the group’s recent seven-song EP marking Chixdiggit’s first “official” release on the prestigious Fat Wreck Chords label, Jansen says that the group is hoping to close the six-year gap between releases in the future.
He expresses gratitude towards their label for allowing the band to make records and tour when it is convenient for them, as opposed to having to meet a label’s demands for promotion.
“We are writing more than ever now; we have 20 songs waiting to be recorded. You really couldn’t ask for a better label arrangement than what we have with Fat right now. They are very supportive of what we want to do, when we want to do it.”
Article published in October 14, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript