Flatliners

Former Juno Awards judge starts petition against The Flatliners metal nomination

by Tyler Munro

February 6, 2014

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photo by Florian Franik

While the Flatliners are no doubt busy celebrating their first Juno nod, some party poopers are busy throwing a veritable temper tantrum over Dead Language being nominated in what’s otherwise perceived as a Metal-exclusive category.

Comparing the nomination to when Jethro Tull famously beat Metallica at the 1989 Grammys, Blabbemouth writes about tech-thrash pioneers Voivod being snubbed for the Metal/Hard nomination.

Then, la pièce de résistance: former Juno Awards judge David Hall has started a petition against the award.

“When I first read the nominations for the ‘Metal/Hard’ category, I was, like, ‘Who the f*ck are The Flatliners,” said Hall. “and more importantly, where the f*ck are Voivod?”

Hall, owner of metal label and production company Handshake Inc., then took his outrage one step further, starting a petition called Voivod are Metal, The Flatliners are Not: Fix this Mistake Junos.

“I have nothing against The Flatliners — I’m sure they are a wonderful band and I wish them no ill will — but they are simply not a metal band,” said Hall. “I hope that through this petition I can help raise awareness about what an awesome metal band Voivod are, and perhaps make the Junos aware that a serious error was made.”

And okay, he might almost have a point. Voivod’s last album, Target Earth, was Juno eligible and pretty fantastic, but there’s a caveat: “Hard.” That word signifies that the award is also encompassing things outside of the metal world, one the rest of the nomination pool—Gorguts, Anciients, KEN Mode and Protest the Hero—effectively covers. There is no award for a punk band, and punk is, by association, heavy music. The Juno judges do not think in particulars like die-hards do. They’re not specialists. Besides, this is nothing new for Voivod.

Way back in 2004, Voivod were nominated alongside Protest the Hero and Gorguts as well as Alexisonfire for Canadian Music Week’s “Favourite Metal Artist/Group” category. They lost to Protest the Hero who, at the time still a punk band, had only just started performing songs from their 2005 debut Kezia.

Still, they’re endorsing the petition, posting it without comment on their Facebook almost instantly after the nominations were announced. While we can’t confirm that they actually entered Target Earth into the nomination pool, that should be a pretty clear indicator that they did.

AUX’s request for comment from the Flatliners went unanswered. They are, in all likelihood, too stoked to care. Voivod similarly denied comment, with their management simply saying “it is what it is.” Dan Mongrain, the band’s guitarist, did talk about the petition on Facebook yesterday:

The 2014 Juno Awards air live on March 30th.

Update: We reached out to Hall for a statement on his petition and, in the interest of telling the full story, we’ve pasted it in full below:

As I stated in my petition, and this was really important for me because I don’t want to approach this from a negative point-of-view, and neither do Voivod, is that The Flatliners should not be in the category of “Hard/Metal” and this is in no way a campaign to smear The Flatliners’ good name.  

They are great at what they do.  I have friends who know them and tell me they work super hard: they’re from Ontario and on Fat Wreck Chords, that’s awesome!  The fact of the matter is, they don’t belong in the Hard/Metal category and they should never have been allowed to be submitted under such a category.  I’d be launching the same campaign if it was Drake or Owen Pallet or Celine Dione up for a Hard/Metal nom.  Honestly, if you’re gonna put The Flatliners in the Hard/Metal you may as well put Hedley and Three Days Grace in there too.  

It’s like that old Sesame bit, “which of these things is not like the other”: KEN Mode, Gorguts, Ancients and Protest the Hero…The Flatliners…all bands with serious Metal cred, all relatively underground metal bands, and then a band that would never fit in with any of those bands on a bill or a “file-under” record-store system. 

Again, I have nothing against the Flatliners and honestly, this is going to help them rather than hurt them!

Luc Lemay, of Gorguts, one of the other nominated bands, wrote me in support of the petition. Voivod’s management did also.  Everyone involved is just super passionate about Voivod, and honestly, my intention in starting this whole thing was to help (not that they need my help) raise awareness of Target Earth – the same kind of awareness that would come with a Juno Nom.  Flatliners will be getting that same exposure through this so it won’t hurt them either – hopefully fans of Voivod and Flatliners cross pollinate…hell, maybe a show could be organized with Flatliners opening for Voivod!!!

Tags: Music, News, Flatliners, JUNO Awards, the flatliners, The Juno Awards

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