Toronto power-pop punks Pink Wine tell us why we should care about their band
by Mark Teo
February 12, 2013
Why Should We Care is an AUX web series where we get musicians to defend their work by answering one simple question: Why should we care about your music? This week: Toronto punk rock troublemakers Pink Wine.
If you’ve paid any attention to Ontario’s burgeoning power-pop scene—which has earned plenty of international acclaim thanks to the likes of Young Guv, White Wires and the Steve Adamyk band—then you’ve likely encountered Pink Wine. They’re a band who share members with beloved locals in Rising Crust and Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs, amongst others; they’re valued citizens of Toronto’s burgeoning punk scene, thanks, in part, to their singer-come-show promoter Joel French; they possess a famously blistering, beer-soaked live performance.
Indeed, Pink Wine have achieved plenty of local notoriety, yet beyond Toronto’s borders, they’re less of a known quantity. So, we could introduce the band by romanticizing its past, which began with beloved acts the Get Nuns and Mother Teresa and the Miracles. We could wax poetic about their 2012 demo tape, which was produced by Pat McCormack (of Modern Superstitions and Neon Windbreaker). We could tell you more about their upcoming 12-inch, set for release this year via Germany’s P. Trash Records. We could—but we won’t.
Instead, we begin our conversation with Pink Wine—consisting of French, guitarist Liam Doyle, bassist Joey P., and drummer James Michael McKeever—by asking a simple question: Why in the hell should we care about Pink Wine, anyway?
AUX: There’s plenty of garage-esque bands in Toronto. So, why should we give a shit about Pink Wine?
Liam Doyle: People should give a shit about Pink Wine because it isn’t really a chore to give a shit about Pink Wine. We don’t ask for much. Mostly, we just want people to come out and have a great time. Secondly, Toronto’s punk scene is not actually that big. We would ask that you give a shit about all our local punk and garage bands if you like punk and garage. Lastly, apathy towards music contributes to an opinion that I’ve encountered in the past— that Toronto is a shitty city to play. Truthfully, shows in the past few years have become substantially better. So like us or hate us, at least give a shit in one way or another.
Joel French: We tend to play with a lot of great bands, so if you give enough of a shit to come to our shows, you’ll be sure to find something new you’ll like!
Joel, you’ve DJed ‘90s pop-punk nights in Toronto; you clearly understand (and appreciate) the genre. Why should we throw on Pink Wine instead of Punk-O-Rama 2?
JF: If any Pink Wine fan walks into a record shop to grab our record and sees a copy of Punk-O-Rama 2 on vinyl next to it—it doesn’t exist—grab the latter and run over to my house so I can spin it with you! Punk-O-Rama 2 rules! That’s the shit I grew up on. The shit that made me passionate about music and made me want to get in front of a crowd. My first ever live performance was an all Bouncing Souls cover set.
Explain your sound to someone who’s never heard Pink Wine.
James Michael McKeever: Frantic, catchy, and melodious.
LD: It’s hopelessly trying to resist playing [things] fast and under two minutes. I don’t know if it’s a good thing.
JF: I’m just trying to get my weight up so I can sing like Meatloaf.
Now, what about your new LP?
JMM: It should be a good summertime album.
LD: It’ll be like our live set, but with everything in key and on time.
JF: We’ve got five tracks down so far. We’re recording with Alex Bonenfant at Dream House Studios [Metz, Crystal Castles] and Jon Drew [Fucked Up, Career Suicide] is in the mastering booth, so it’s not going to be your standard garage-pop record. We aren’t even all that garage, to be honest—much more power-pop/punk. [It’ll be] something to sing along to and something for kids to piss their parents off with.
You’re releasing a garage cover in tandem with NOW magazine, so we assume it’s going to be a cover of a local band. What’s the song?
JMM: The Ugly Ducklings’ “Nothin'”. Just a nod to those that were rockin’ before our time.
And what are you gonna bring to the original?
Joey P.: I’m gonna bring it.
LD: I’m gonna bring it on.
JF: I’ll Bring It On 2.