Calgary-based punk band, Belvedere, are amongst the many bands showcased at this year’s upcoming Pouzza Fest. The band hasn’t had an easy road since their daw in 1995, but their challenges have far from slowed them down. After they split in 2005, the band began a reunion tour in 2011 and didn’t stop until 2014. Now, after nearly twelve years of waiting, fans will finally have the chance to listen to new Belvedere tracks from the comfort of their own homes. Their long-anticipated fifth album, The Revenge of the Fifth, is set to be released May 5th. We had the chance to chat with them about it, and their upcoming May 22nd show at Pouzza Fest.
You’ve been touring nearly twenty years. Does playing shows feel any different now? Has it gotten more challenging?
Well, we run out of breath faster, that’s for sure! I think the focus of the tours/shows now seems to be more on the performance and the craft rather than the party. When we were touring more heavily in the early 2000s it seemed like we would try and put on the most energetic show possible, though in doing so we sacrificed technicality and parts (ie. vocal harmonies, specific leads etc.), whereas now our lives are a little less chaotic, allowing us to really hammer out the details of the songs while still being able to provide an energetic show. I know it sounds lame but less booze and drugs and more jogging makes a better show. Go figure haha. I personally enjoy playing live much more now!
Do you feel the band has grown stronger since you got back together?
As a band I’m not sure, but as people we have definitely grown closer, and are now better friends than ever before. When Steve and I originally sat down to talk about reuniting, we both realized that the core of our issues with one another was due to the outside pressures to “keep the train rolling” rather than genuine grievances. Also, being in a touring band in your twenties, there is a TON of ego that flies around, and if not kept in check, can be really toxic at even the best of times. Now it really feels like we are brothers and recognize each other’s strengths, and what each guy brings is valid.
You hadn’t recorded an album in nearly twelve years, why did you choose to do so now? What inspired you while you were recording the album?
I had some demos I put together at my home studio after the reunion, and some of the songs musically were written very shortly after the breakup, but never saw the light of day until recently. When the other guys heard them, they felt they were worth pursuing, and everyone then just jumped in with ideas and more tracks. Also, why not? We have been extremely humbled by the response from people on the reunion tour, and felt that maybe it was worth a shot to try and put something fresh out that would allow us to keep touring. We really felt that at some point we would have to look at a new release as you can only play songs from the good ol’ days for so long!
What inspired the album’s title?
Scott came up with the title, which obviously has a Star Wars reference, though it is also our fifth album, and with all the shitty power chords we play, which are fifths, it really works on three levels haha. That sounded so pretentious.
Did you face any challenges recording the album?
For me, the challenge was getting everyone involved in the process. Typically the issue we had with previous recordings were that I would come with full songs done and then dictate to others what they should play, which caused a ton of issues, and led to a lot of one-sided sounding records, which in retrospect really made them less than what they could have been. This effort was a true collaboration, and even though some of the songs were written by myself or other members (music/lyrics), most of the tracks are partnerships of ideas, and we feel it really made the band sound more cohesive. For example, Steve wrote lyrics/vocals to music that I had brought and the result was so awesome and brought new life and perspective to the material. Also Casey writes the wildest drum parts and is a master of details, so there was no slacking this time haha.
If you could describe The Revenge of the Fifth in a few words, what would they be?
Like a twelve year old discovering masturbation for the first time.
What do you most look forward to on this tour?
Seeing friends and bands we love, and being able to finally play the new songs with a fresh set!
What can we expect from you at Pouzza Fest?
A lot of songs both old and new, a bunch of sweaty old guys on stage, more guitar solos, and a ton of shitty dad jokes.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
More live dates, new merch, more videos of us looking stupid, and good ol’ fashioned fast rock n roll.
Written and Compiled by Franca G. Mignacca
Header photo by Chris Wedman
*edited by Kate Erickson