Friday, March 13, 2015

Vincent Black Shadow

The Canadian emo band active between 2000-2002, with raspy vocals and pretty sweet instrumentals. I was able to talk to one of the band members of Vincent Black Shadow, and get some real information on this band, so here it all is. Lots of information on them + other fun things about the Canadian music scene at this time, I recommend a read. Much thanks to the commenter below for the information!

Self Titled


First of all, where were you guys based out of, and where were some of the highlights that you went/toured to?

We were based out of Oakville, Ontario. The best tour, by far, was to the East Coast of Canada. All the way to PEI. I was 17 at the time...the oldest member of the band may have been 19. The youngest was 15. Absolutely the most formative times of my life. Learning what I did about friendship then is still the most valuable thing I hold onto now. The stories from that entire tour still make me smile. A short one that has to start with the sentence "fuck New Brunswick" is this:
Fuck New Brunswick circa 2001. Our van broke down. We were on a highway. We made a duct tape sign that read: HELP! NEED PHONE! on the side of our white van (whose name was Damien Buttertop)*. The man that finally stopped was wearing John Lennon circular sunglasses. Mid forties. His sunglasses has reflections of skulls in them. But seriously. He told us he could drive us to a friend's house close by to use the phone. Two of us get in his car. He drives to who the fuck knows where fifteen minutes away. As I ring the doorbell to the goddamn Texas Chainsaw Massacre house, with no other house for miles, he dude with the slick sunglasses drives off. Forever.
This kid opens the door. He's about our age. He says absolutely nothing. "Hey man, a buddy of yours just dropped us off here to use the phone..you see our van broke...". The kid just stares, holding the door open a crack. He still says nothing. He then backs away from the door about two feet. We push the door open and walk past him into the house, which I swear to God in my memory actually has chicken feathers floating in the air and reeks of piss covered newspaper. The kid stands right where he is the entire 10 minutes that Ty and I are digging through his house to find a phonebook. We find one...call a tow truck, and have no clue at all where we are. The kid won't answer us. The tow truck driver agrees to just drive along the highway until he finds the van.
Ty and I run our asses out of that house as quickly as possible...with that kid still standing right where he was. It's unsettling to think about even now. Of course, a fifteen minute drive on the highway turns into an hour and a half long walk. We try hitchhiking. One person pulls over...only to shower us with gravel when we get close enough to the car.
When we make it back to the van, the whole band and tow truck driver are super angry at us for making them wait. They were living outside of the horror movie that Ty and I were transported to that morning. Fuck New Brunswick.
*I Spoke later bought that van from us. It was the greatest, most hilarious van ever. I have a tattoo of it. It never worked for them and they hated us for ripping them off.

Rough dates that you guys were active from?

Somewhere like 2000-2002

Is the one release I have on my blog all you've released?

That's it compadre. We wrote other songs, but never released anything.

Did you, or any of the other band members play in any other bands after/before Vincent Black Shadow?

Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats was the first roaming singer that VBS had...Me and Mike are in Lost Cities now. I was also in The Stickup for a while. Now I own a music store and recording studio. Still trying to keep music as the focal point it needs to be in my life.

Do you have any thoughts or words on the Canadian scene when Vincent Black Shadow was active?

I'm not sure if it was ignorance or if it was truly the case, but the scene seemed to embrace us hard. We were a bunch of kids that skateboarded all day through the towns we were playing that night...met a bunch of people who ended up coming to the shows...and were just best friends. It's the stuff that most people believe is for the movies. Jared, our sultry whisperer, was from PEI, and it felt like home to all of us. In Ontario, we just always had the best time. We played with Piebald once in Ottawa, covered in piss because of a "pee in the bottle and throw it out the window" mishap, and everyone there hated our band...but it's all still the greatest memories. The singer of Piebald gave me all their records because he loved what we were doing. That has always stuck with me. Stand up dude.

Did you play any shows with interesting/noteworthy bands?

We played with: TDOA, Bright Calm Blue, Funeral Diner and Staircase in Ty's basement in Oakville. One of the best shows I'd ever been to...let alone been a part of. On the strange end of the spectrum we played with Piebald and The Constantines (where we dressed up like cowboys). We loved dressing up for no reason. We also always tried to get on shows that absolutely wouldn't like us...claiming we were a different band...and we'd make up a name that would suit that show but just play a VBS set. Our favorite that was often used was The Fashion Cowboys.

Do you have any information on the band Hung by Hope, I remember reading somewhere that VBS is ex Hung by Hope.

I was the singer/guitarist of Hung by Hope. Hilarious that you ask this one. I was 14/15 years old at the time. It's super funny to think that that band exists in anyone's imagination still. We had a twenty second song about Bambi. It was more a grind band than the recordings would suggest.

Any interesting information on Strawman, I Spoke, Panserbjorne or any other Canadian bands? (Maybe even some suggestions for other bands to post on this blog?)

If you can find anything from Ghost Stories...they were another band I recorded in my basement that were awesome. One song always stood out to me...but I have no idea what it's called or if it exists anywhere. Though, if you can find VBS stuff...you can definitely find this.
I Spoke were like a sister band to us. Love those guys to this day. As I said, they bought our van...and the minute they did, the van went to shit. They were pissed, but I think Damien Buttertop was our trusty steed, and gave up as soon as five new dickholes were trying to ride him. Chris Woodford of I Spoke is actually running the label that's releasing the Lost Cities full length. The ties never die.
Panserbjorne was fun. The singer went on to form Titan with Chris Woodford from I Spoke. The singer, James McDonough, also lived a block away and would hear VBS practicing. He told us that he loved our band, and his heart broke the day we went driving past his house in Damian all singing along to a Get Up Kids record. Fuck you, James! That was a good record!

I guess any other information you want to share?

I could go on for days, brother. I won't, but I could. Wouldn't have changed a single thing we did. I feel like that song Suburbs by Arcade Fire could have been written about us. If only the Get Up Kids wrote it.



3 comments:

  1. I could tell you everything about this band because I played the ol' guitar in it. How would I get in touch, my friend?

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    Replies
    1. That would be awesome. Shoot me an email at Ace2Grace@hotmail.com and we can get some actual information up on here.

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    2. stumbled on this site searching for a few past local bands. ended up finding most of what I was looking for: Katja, Kill Mannequin, Allendale, Harbinger. Couldn't find The End demo tape from 1999 (not "transfer trachea...) of which has been going on for over a bloody decade.

      also was searching for any other VBS recordings, as I still have the 6 songep, the one with a fancy-shmancy beige leather type pouch with "Vincent black shadow" screened on along the bottom of front cover. the kicker is a funny one...the cd that was used to make the album, was a Blacks Photography disc, and and crossed out "photography" leaving only "Black" from "Blacks Photography" visible, and written in permanent marker above and below is "Vincent" and "Shadow" respectively, appropriating the "Black" opting to save ink in the pen by utilizing the blacks logo. clever clever.

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