It’s been two years and two albums for the brash, fast garage rocking - The Discarded. They released their ﬁrst album in February of 2017, one year after forming. That captured the raw Ramones/Cramps feel of a thirteen-year-old drummer and a seventeen-year-old bass player discovering their love of ‘70’s punk rock. One year later they went back into Ian Blurton’s Pro Gold Studio and recorded their follow up Manifesto”. Here they throw down the gauntlet lyrically about the world they live in and how they think it should be. All over a soundscape of blitzkerg drumming, distorted ‘70’s punk guitar and intricate bass playing. Those fortunate enough to see their live show over the past year saw them gel into a rock solid band opening for the like of ‘60’s garage rock icons “The Sonics” or on their summer tour across southern Ontario. As “Ride the Tempo” described them, “keeping it all in the family, The Discarded goes to the unadorned heart of garage rock. It’s a raw romp with a rockabilly tinge and some punk attitude.” Make no mistake with this album The Discarded wants you to take notice and listen. If you feel the need to jump around while you’re doing that- go right ahead.
J.B: So let’s start from the beginning what was the thought behind The Discarded how did it come to be playing together as a family?
In January of 2016, the three of us found ourselves living together after my separation/divorce. We used to do little fun jams just making noise with the instruments I had on hand but at this point Jared had gotten a bass and wanted to give it a serious go. Caden had gotten his first proper full size drum set the October before as well. So a friend was having this birthday party with some bands and a member of the band I was in couldn’t make it so I suggested I could do a few songs with Caden and Jared. I think we were even billed as JP and the kids. Since they were new at their instruments we learned four very basic songs. Crybaby, Time bomb heart and Ballad of a broken man (all of which are on our first record and we still play to this day) and Blitzkerg Bop. That show was received very well so then we did a few more and we learned a few more songs.
We had this raw, Cramps/Ramones, garage rock sound. I thought it would be cool and fun if we did a recording of it just to capture that moment in time. I also thought it would be cool if they met some of my friends from back in the day when I played drums in various bands and if they got to work with some of those people. So I gave Ian Blurton a call and explained what was going on and what I wanted to do. Yeah, at first it was me showing them songs and helping organize it all but it was also interesting to be interacting with Caden and Jared as peers, a fellow musician or band mate. That recording was August 2016 and after that point the two of them were really into it and we got real busy, practicing, playing and writing new songs. Funny enough they got really good and we got really good as a band. So this past August, a year later we went back into Ian’s Pro Gold Studios and recorded the latest album, Manifesto.
So here we are a year after the first album, releasing our second album. I think we were all a bit sort of, is everyone going to think this is kind of bogus and will people think it’s some cute little dad with his kids. But if they’ve listened to the record or seen us live- then you quickly realize we are tight and heavy and have some pretty cool songs. Even ourselves I think Jared and Caden we’re yeah it’s my dad but he’s played in punk bands and hardcore bands since way before we were born and the songs are heavy and very as you said- “catchy”. I wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t into it and there’s no way I would try to convince them to do this. Plus we all say to each other, sure people might say what’s this a dad and his two kids or oh look at the 15 year old drummer but at the end of the day no one’s going to give a shit if you don’t deliver the goods. If Caden wasn’t a killer drummer then he’s not going to be 15 forever and he better be playing some fucking killer punk rock drumming- and he does.
J.B: Did you find it hard to find venues that have all ages shows? I know you guys are playing the Matinee here in Hamilton?
We prefer all ages show but typically play licensed clubs- there is just rules around what, our now one, underage member has to do. He is entertainment- so he has to be identified to the bartender and the bouncer – he has to stay in a designated area- typically backstage or in the dressing room and then on stage- in some cases we play the show and then leave the venue after- in one case we sat in the car.
J.B: Your style is familiar in the cramps style but reminiscent to me of the Dead Milkmen are there any influences that stood out in the direction of Manifesto?
Caden (the drummer) first learned to drum by playing along to a Cramps album- so that’s there as an influence- I grew up on punk- played drums in hardcore bands and punk rock bands- so that’s there. I love the Ramones – The Buzzcocks- Stooges- Early punk- lots of stuff. As far as direction for Manifesto- the two of them- Caden and Jared- got better at their instruments and we got better as a band by playing together a bunch. Jared challenged me to write more complex arrangements for the band. And I made an effort not to have any relationship based words on the album but more socially meaningful about how we saw the world- what works, what does not. But there was nothing musically more so than those where the songs we wrote during that period and I guess what your influences are will always or can shine through as far as what a song sounds like. And then your influences will also inform what you think it sounds like- as that is your reference on what you’re hearing. I thought “President” sounded like Husker Du but then that’s me thinking that- Caden and Jared wouldn’t get that reference at all. The last song “I don’t know what to believe, I thought Jim Carrol meets the Buzzcocks.J.B: You guys have that grooving garage 70’s style like 40-40-40 that’s reminiscent of the Ramones style?40-40-40 was one of the first we wrote for this album- it was us trying to step out from what we were writing like on the last album. I had the main groove and we jammed that part out together and then I added the chorus later after we had jammed on that riff and put words to it. We literally made up the ending on the spot at rehearsal- Told Caden to give the three drum hits and off we went to give it a third part and be a bit more interesting. The way I sing it, Caden and Jared thought I sounded like Metallica although the music doesn’t sound like that. But being a big Ramones fan that will always shine through I think just in the way I play guitar and the sound of my guitar.
J.B: You play as a three piece which has that old school sound like “Do you want it know” that has the main bass line carrying the rhythm of the track with the chords carrying the vocals that has that catchy vibe of the older days? What goes into the creative writing process does everybody contribute evenly?
Well I think you see by the last answer how we write. It used to be when they started out I would come and say- here’s the song- the structure and kind of what I thought it should sound like. Now although I may still come with a structure or a chord progression or riff like “Do you want it now”, each member adds their part and develops the song. That song was me and Jared locking together on the riff and playing off Caden. That sound and feel was all developed together. You nailed it in your question. I lay down a wide cover with my guitar- sort of a broad brush of distorted guitar. Jared writes a very tasty counter melody on bass to make it a bit more interesting. Even now a lot of the songs come out of us jamming and developing the feel with all of us together. Then when I put the lyrics on it then I may firm up the arrangement. Jared after we do that will even go away and develop a bass part that adds to the song. This is how most of this album was written. “We resist” is a great collaborative effort- Jared’s bass line makes the song- Caden’s drumming is highly original as well. I was a drummer for a long time and when he started out I worked very closely with Caden developing him as a drummer and his drum parts but now he finds his own way. It’s important that you find your own style and feel. So although maybe I brought the idea, we all add our individual parts to make it a whole. We write a lot as we live together and jam a couple times a week. Jared is bringing songs and throwing lines or lyrics in. I have a bit more experience with arrangement but it is definitely collaborative. We already have all the songs for the third album and another five or six after that. Some just keep getting bumped when we write one we like more. Some practices we’ll run a set but with so many songs we will even do practices that are all new songs. We played this latest album alllast year when we were touring for the first record, a few or half new songs a night. This tour we’ll do the same mixing in two or three new ones so they are road tested and ready to record again in August.
JB: Of course a lot of the feel of the album is brought out by Ian Blurton’s crafty precision down at Gold studio what was the studio experience like?
Ian is fantastic. We played together in a band called Big Daddy Cumbuckets in 1987 time period. And I drove on a few tours for his band, Change of Heart. We used to hang out a lot around that time and have many longtime friends in common. Our lives took us in different directions, so day to day we don’t hang out now but there is an easy communication and familiarity. I’d done a recording with my last band with Ian and it was the best recording I’d ever done. The sounds he got – the balance of the different instruments, how it hangs together overall was great. He knows his stuff- he knows his studio and he is excellent at getting good sounds and an overall band sound. And it’s Ian -fucking - Blurton. He’s into this type of music. He understands where you’re coming from and what you want to get. Plus the way we wanted to record this album- I know Ian could do that- in fact he may have even suggested it. Ian made that possible and it was nice to expose Jared and Caden to the real deal and a good person. He’s kind and supportive and looked them in the eyes and treated them like people and not as kids. Because he was 15 when he started playing and so was I and we remember. You have ideas and world views and don’t need some old guy putting you down or copping an attitude. And Ian tells it like it is, he straight to the point and has fantastic ideas because well he’s Ian Blurton.So yeah it was live off the floor for the beds- no singing but the bass drums and guitar live off the floor. The first album we did the whole thing in nine hours- overdub of second guitar and singing too. We’d do a couple of takes and go- I think that was a good one. And Ian knowing it was the first time in the studio didn’t push it at that point and was amazed Caden was so poised for a 13 year old at the time. He’d seen drummers crumble in the studio when it didn’t go as planned. So after we finished that recording we thought it sounded great so decided to do it all again this past August for this album.This time Ian pushed us a bit more. We’d go, “that was great!” and he’d be “No, I think you can do it better” or “too fast or not enough energy in that take”. So again, it was live off the floor for the beds and then we did a few bass corrections and guitars the next day. Finally all the singing was done in three hours at the end of the day. But the idea was to capture a very live feel of us playing the songs. Then Ian mixed them over the next month when he had time available and I’d give my notes of what I wanted to hear a bit more of or less- which was very minor as he has a great ear for this thing.I think it’s a great sounding album and that’s because of the guy who recorded it. We’re very proud of what we did and thankful to have a guy like Ian to help capture that for us.
J.B: On the cover you got the speak no evil hear no evil see no evil thing going on? What was the thought behind that?
Sort of the speak the truth, hear the truth, see the truth and block out all the evil shit that they try to confuse you with. On the back cover we are looking, listening and seeing. But that was the idea. This album is us saying what we think about the world. What we believe and what we don’t believe. But the last song is- “I don’t know what to believe”- which is being a bit weary of hearing one thing and then it come out that it was not as straight forward as it seemed. Someone was trying to play you and then it come out that it was not as straight forward as it seemed. Someone was trying to play you and politics/media is like that. So you have to try and filter through that or that old punk rock adage- “Think for yourself”.
J.B: You guys seem to be playing the area at the moment around the golden Horseshoe any plans of going out further?
We love playing live. We would play anywhere we could. It really is our most enjoyable thing to do as a band. So yes that means we’ve played from Hamilton over to Ottawa. We would love to go east and there may be a possibility of doing some dates in Quebec in June/July and maybe even farther east. We would love to go west as well. We’d play Europe, we’d play the States. Like I said we’re open to playing anywhere and have an ability to do that since we there is only three of us and we are the original commune collective called a family- ha! But really the issue is more getting shows or put on bills. There was a time when if a band wanted to tour clubs would listen to your music and say – those are good tunes and put you on a bill or a show. And you could do a tour of Canada or the States. It wouldn’t be anything fancy but you could tour if you had that desire. That doesn’t occur as much anymore. They want to know your “profile” and do you have radio play and promotion and momentum and all those industry terms of success. I get it though. Clubs have to get people in the door in order to stay open. So this makes them a bit more risk averse to taking a chance on a new band from out of town. We have been fortunate the shows we have gotten. We’ve had a couple of bands give us nice opening slots even though we are not exactly the same type of music. But they liked the album and the songs so they did. Rusty just put us on their show in Hamilton as well for Mar.1/18 and Lowest of the Low put us on a couple of their shows as well. And a huge thanks to the promoters who have put us on shows in their towns. No band is just them. It is all these people, articles even just fans who shout out about how they liked you. We’ll keep doing what we can. Playing where and when we can, get albums out to radio stations that still play this type of music. Online, whatever is needed to build it a bit more. We are extremely pleased with the music were making and the show we play- we are going to record a third album in August again and keep trying to build it more and more. That’s the DIY thing but it’s not just you but like I mentioned all those people who say good things and help out just because they love music and support music they love.
J.B: I oddly found myself grooving out to this album with some catchy hooks and grooves that you got going on, who runs Rock bottom Records and how did that come into play?
Hi- that’s us. We put the label together as an entity to put out these albums, videos and short promotional films. We hope to partner with more people for greater distribution and the idea is to put the label together as an entity to put out these albums, videos and short promotional films. We put the label together as an entity to put out these albums, videos and short promotional films. We hope to partner with more people for greater distribution and the idea is to get like minded bands together and work together towards getting the music we like out there by having a shared advertising and presence.Currently we are in discussion for more widespread distribution partner and have started talking to other bands to get their records out as well, to spread the word about the bands and music we like. And when you’re on Rock Bottom records- there’s nowhere to go but up!- HA!
J.B: We always end with a famous book or quote that inspired your life anything come to mind?“
Be inspired by love and guided by knowledge”- Bertrand Russell but lately it’s been-“Love many, trust a few- you’ve got to learn to paddle your own canoe”- I saw it online from a friend- not sure of the source or even if I quoted it correctly – but I liked the line and used it in a song.
Feb.24 Toronto @ Duggan's (Record release party) with The Same As Always and Soraya Soul Mar. 2 Barrie @ Mavericks with Lowest Of The Low Mar.3 Kingston @ The Mansion with Lowest Of The Low Mar.8 Ottawa @ The House of Targ with The Fly Downs and Splintered Fate Mar.15 Peterborough @ Red Dog with Socialpathics Mar.16 Niagara Falls @ The Geekery with Kill Sid, Left on Bowery Mar.17 Torotno @ Duffy's Tavern with Kill Sid, Left on Bowery Mar. 23 Guelph @ Jimmy Jazz with T.B.D. Mar.25 Hamilton @ This Ain't Hollywood All ages Punk Slamfest Mar.29 Orangeville @ Black Wolf with Resolver and Joyful Bits