Moncton music vets unite with new band

Comprised of members from veteran Moncton punk band Hope, in addition to other more recent acts like Fear of Lipstick and Secret Agent, Billy Ray Cyborg will be launching its first release, a 7-inch vinyl single entitled Robots, with a show tonight at Moncton’s Paramount Lounge. Also on the bill are Halifax band The Fat Stupids, Make No Gains and The Virals.

Though the group was “officially” formed about 18 months ago, the seeds of the group actually date back much further.

“Eric (Daigle, vocalist) and I have been talking about forming a band together for years,” guitarist Dana Robertson says.

“We wanted to do something that was different from what we were both doing in our respective groups.”

For better or worse, it was Robertson’s band Hope going on a bit of a break that finally got the wheels turning to making Billy Ray Cyborg a reality. He and Daigle got together, shared some songs with one another and found that they were largely on the same page. Soon after, the duo invited Hope drummer Tom Antle and former Secret Agent member Kevin Jean to join them in completing their line-up.

Robertson hesitates to call Billy Ray Cyborg a punk band, although he doesn’t deny the group’s influences, many of which are punk, shine through on their debut release.

“We all listen to different music and I think that tends to come out in the songs. For someone who has never heard us, I think that there are traces of The Dead Kennedys, Ramones and The Descendents in our music.”

Asked what playing in Billy Ray Cyborg offers its members that their other musical projects do not, Robertson says that the relative lack of familiarity of playing in a band with each other, combined with varying musical styles is a definite drawing card.

“Billy Ray Cyborg is a different outlet for everyone. I haven’t been the only guitarist in a band since 1996 or so. while Eric usually sings and plays guitar, but here, he has dropped the guitar and gone back to singing alone.

“And for Tom and Kevin, they are playing a style of music that they usually don’t play otherwise so the group offers each of us something a little different.”

Article published in February 25, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript