Since forming nearly a decade ago, Toronto's Cancer Bats have developed an accessible, harder-edged sound that comes across as rock shedding a hard-core shell, particularly on its latest release, Dead Set on Living. We recently spoke with vocalist Liam Cormier about the new album, his favorite rap trio, and how stoked he and his bandmates are to be celebrating Halloween in Denver tonight.
Westword: Happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving! How did you celebrate?
Liam Cormier: Thanks, man! I just got together with some friends and we made way too much food and ate ourselves into a coma. My buddy deep-fried a duck, we had tons of veggies, and gravy on everything. It was the best!
Speaking of holidays, how awesome will it be to play with GWAR on Halloween?
I'm so fucking pumped for that show! What better way to party for Halloween than with the ultimate monster party band! This whole tour is going to be crazy, but that show is going to be fucking off the chain!
Do you have any tricks or treats planned?
We're all going to dress up, for sure. It'll be nice to be in North America for Halloween. The last few years we've always been in the U.K., where they don't really celebrate Halloween. It'll be rad to party with some like-minded trick-or-treaters.
Dead Set on Living starts with a scathing track, "Rats." Who inspired it? Anyone specific?
That song's just about those moments in life when you just have blinding rage. It was inspired by some events while we were writing, when a friend of mine ended up in the hospital. I was just pissed at the whole world and wanted to destroy everyone that had anything to do with him being there, just a really angry bike ride to the hospital. The more we talked about it, the more we had all been in that same situation before. So we found it pretty fitting and could really apply to anyone.
You had a great take on the video for your cover of Beastie Boys' "Sabotage." How long did it take to make that? Follow up with your top three Beastie Boys albums.
We had a blast making that video! It took us two days to shoot the whole thing. The first day was eighteen hours of running through the whole city and shooting about 80 percent of the coverage, and at the end of the day, the director told us we still needed to get a few more shots. So we ran around for another eight hours the next day. I've never been more exhausted in my whole life.
My top three Beastie Boys albums would be: Number one, Check Your Head -- bought this cassette when I was ten and have jammed it ever since. Number two, License to Ill -- so many hits on this album it's insane. Number three, Aglio e Olio -- This an all punk EP they put out in '96 and is still one of my favorite records of all time. You can just tell they're having a blast kicking out the jams.