March 21, 2013

Montreal Connection: The Cheap Thrills Are Coming To New York City

The first time I was exposed to The Cheap Thrills was in a secret facebook group I created called The Bathroom Wall. That group is in it’s beta-phase of what’s gonna turn into something bigger. I’m planning to turn it into the music news outlet that rivals Pitchfork and Blabbermouth one day once I have enough news and bands to cover involving this whole counter culture. The way it works is that I add bands and the super fans of said bands in that group, then they all constantly plug their shit. That’s how I get my news. You can request to join here

(Any text in blue from here on out is a link to it's reference so click on all of them for a full experience and understanding of this article. None of the links are ads). 

Lizzie Rose Thunders
The one who posted about The Cheap Thrills was this young girl by the name of Lizzie Rose Thunders. A very supportive fan. I credit her for turning me on to them. She posted a music video of theirs. “They’re from Montreal? There’s peers of ours in this rock n roll counter culture in Montreal? There's a market there for this? Sweet!".

Ashley Moree
Fast forward a year later and my friend, promoter Ashley Moree, booked them in New York City at The Flat’s anniversary party in Williamsburg and at Home Sweet Home at The Lower East Side. She approached me about them being in my documentary.

I agreed without hesitation with a big fuck yeah. I got a hold of their singer on facebook and decided to do an interview with them for The Dead Notes. To get them introduced to the whole community over here in New York City and to promote their show. I did some research. Turns out they’re the 2nd incarnation of The Bators. For all those uninformed, if you’re associated with The Bators (Montreal), The Heart Attacks (Atlanta), The Biters (Atlanta), The Stalkers (NYC), The Booze (Atlanta) or The Fishnet Stalkers (Baltimore) then you immediately go up a thousand points with your punk /rock n roll scene street cred. A lot of those bands are in each other’s family tree. Members of The Heart Attacks are now in The Biters. For all the LA readers, Conor Behrle of Hammered Satin was in The Fishnet Stalkers. Members of Baltimore’s The Ravagers were in The Fishnet Stalkers. Matt Gabba of The Biters was in The Fishnet Stalkers. And in one of the old lineups of The Cheap Thrills, they had a guy from Fishnet Stalkers AND they had a guy from Atlanta’s The Heart Attacks. The High Five boys (Philadelphia) and The Love Bullet boys (NYC) are huge fans of that family tree of bands. 

So basically what I’m trying to say is, The Cheap Thrills is an extension of the leading trailblazers of the rock n roll underground. It’s a PRETTY BIG DEAL that they’re coming to play in New York City.

So without further ado. Here’s their lead singer. David Hénaire.



Trip Loon: 
Hi David.

David Hénaire:
Hey Trip, how ya doin'?

Trip Loon:
I gotta start with the story of how you got in the circles of the leading bands of Baltimore and Atlanta. Start from the begining

David Hénaire:
It all started when Sam and I were having our last Bators tour with the Fishnet Stalkers before both bands broke up. My plan was to start something new as soon as The Bators were done. Since we already knew this was gonna happen, we started talking about it before the actual ''death'' of The Bators.

I recorded the ''I Gotta Get Away'' demo with Sam right before the tour and we brought it with us seeking for rock n roll soldiers. The guitar player from Fishnet Stalkers (Chris Hall from Spartanburg, SC) got really interested in the whole thing and told us he wanted to play the bass for us. We were not planning on starting the new band with American members, but since the guy seemed really devoted and into our new project, we decided to give it a shot.

We also hung out with Vassil (Heart Attacks. Now lives in Toronto) on that tour. He was already a friend of mine but it was Chris' idea to ask the guy to join us after meeting him. That's how he became our dummer.

We all met at the Fun House, 2 months later (July 2011) to have our first practice. The Fun House is that wild party place we have in Montreal, which is actually where I live. The boys would come around for 2 weeks, live in our private studio and kick out the jams all day and all night until the band got solid and tight.

It was good having band members from outside Montreal, because we would be all about the band when they'd be around and we were really productive. I guess it didn't work out though, ha.

Trip Loon:
But The Bators were in the circles of all those bands before the break up. How did you connect with Baltimore and Atlanta back then?

David Hénaire:
It all started when we had a mini tour with City Sweethearts (Toronto, Canada) and Mother's Children (Ottawa, Canada). We all were a part of that Canadian powerpop scene (with other bands like: Walnut Kids, White Wires, Sonic Avenues, etc).

You know how the world can be small. Especially in this kind of scene. A year later, we got invited to tour the United States with Fishnet Stalkers and to have a few Canadian gigs with The Biters. MySpace helped us out a lot back then. Which I must admit I kind of miss. Facebook is good for the local events, but MySpace was the bomb to spread your stuff all around the globe. But that's another story.

Trip Loon:
I'm gonna name drop a bunch of the Canadian names I know and see if you know anybody. Matty Dee, Scarlett O'Hara, Ryse Masse, Sharon Ehman, King Kahn and The Shrines, Caleb Beal from Midnight Malice. Anyone you know?

David Hénaire:
I know Matty and Sharon. I dig the Shrines but I don't personally know King Kahn.

Trip Loon:
I love Matty. Him and his ex-band mates in the Nasty Souls were my first friends when I moved to Los Angeles. Pretty filthy dude, ha ha. I've never been to Montreal. Or Canada for that matter. What's the rock n roll community like in all the cities over there?

David Hénaire:
Yeah the Nasty Souls sure are one of the coolest LA bands. Tried booking something with them for when we were out there on March 10th but our schedules weren't compatible.

Montreal is a fun city, man. Everybody digs it. The laws aren't strict, the drugs are good and the babes are sexy. Canadian winter is a bitch though. Which is why we always try to tour down south around February and March.

The scene is alright but we try not to stick to it. It's good when a scene sticks to a band, not when a band sticks to a scene. You gotta aim bigger than that if you want to make it out there. And especially if you want rock n roll to come back. Don't bring it back to the people that know about it already. Bring it back and spread it around to the other kids and school 'em about it. I'm not saying you should spit on the scene, 'cause the scene made us. And by us I mean all the rock n rollers, not just the Cheap Thrills. 

The point is that you gotta have bigger goals when you play music.
I'm done fucking the same girls we all fucked and playing the same bars we all played. There's more waiting for the rockers who have the balls to work hard and get there. I don't believe rock n roll cannot have its place into the music industry. You just gotta bring it back the right way, and I'm happy some bands are finally realising it and doing it.

Trip Loon:
But besides The Cheap Thrills, if I'm visiting there, or if any band visits there, or if a bunch of rock n roll dudes/chicks wants to go there, who are the cats we'd wanna meet? Which bars and venues are the ones to go to? Which bands -if you guys are busy- are the ones to book ourselves with?

David Hénaire:
There's a lot of fun places and wild people. Toronto and Montreal are the best cities out east, but lemme tell you about Montreal since this is where we live.

L'Esco and the Rockette are pretty much the best spots in town, straight up on MTL's best street corner (Saint-Denis and Mont-Royal). L'Esco is a good venue for all kind of rockin' bands and the Rockette is where it's at when ya wanna shake it up to some good tunes. I DJ there for Mojo Mondays every week with my buddy Jit. We put on 50's rock n roll, Sixties Garage, Punk and Glam all night. What's amazing about Rockette is that every single night of the week has good events. They also hosted our Music Video Release Party the night before our tour.

There is no band playing the stuff we play around here, but I guess that's a really good thing. People seem really interested since we bring a different vibe. But there's a ton of cool bands that play some harder kind of rock like: Red District, Easy Aces, Rusted and Hey Sugar. The other good bands we listen to and share the stage with are: Les Indésirables, Le Kid et les Marinellis and Jimmy Target & The Triggers.

The sleaziest dudes and the easiest babes all hang out at the Fun House. I hosted over a 100 after parties there and we also played there twice. A bunch'a fun wired up nights lasting till noon.

There's way more than that in Montreal, but we don't hang around the whole city. Only cool gigs, strip joints and our beloved casino get us out of our hoods.

SIDE NOTE: For those who don't wanna go through clicking on all the links, I'll vouch for Les Indésirables, Le Kid et les Marinellis and Jimmy Target & The Triggers.. 

Trip Loon:
Ok let's talk about The Cheap Thrills. Have you ever thought about a definition for the press/booking agenets ... etc. as of what genre and description you guys are?
Like how would you sell yourself to an agency/booker ... etc.?

David Hénaire:
The trashiest kind of class. We are bringing something back with our personnal touch. We aren't into the new music genres but we won't ignore them and act like they don't exist. We try to let this generation inspire us in some kind of way and give a fresh energy to our rock n roll.

We do what we love and we give it our best. It's gotta be loud and wild, but especially, it's gotta stay real. Rock n roll at its finest, man.

Trip Loon:
I hate this generation.

David Hénaire:
I hate it too. What I meant by this generation is the new kind of rock. Personally, I mostly enjoy bands that were playing in the 60's and the 70's. A few from the 80's. But lately I opened my mind and I tried to listen to newer rock bands that made it (The Hives, Black Keys, Jack White). It's not exactly my approach, but I still take something out of it.

Trip Loon:
What are some of the credentials and highlights of The Cheap Thrills? I hear you guys were at SXSW at one point. Any other highlights?

David Hénaire:
As for the highlights, The Cheap Thrills have a reputation in Montreal for headlining sold out shows. We also played at at the top of the highest inclined tower in the world: ''The top of the Olympic Stadium's tower'' for our first EP release. Nobody ever did that, and I don't think nobody ever will again. It was really complicated bringing up all the gear, the sound system, the lights and the stage. It sure was worth it since it is known as one of the iconic monuments of Montreal.

This is not really a highlight, but I guess we should be proud of being one of the rare D.I.Y. bands that made an EP, a debut album, 2 music videos and toured many times across Canada (Quebec and Ontario) and America within a year and a half. I'm also glad we got a quick buzz on internet from all the fans.

Trip Loon:
That last one is actually pretty impressive. All the highlights are impressive. The highest monument thing is pretty creative too that must've been legendary. Is there more in your set than the songs on the reverbnation page?

David Hénaire:
Yes there is. We got an album coming out in April with 8 brand new songs. You can watch our new music video ''Electric Anthem'' or check out a live version of ''Midnight Sun'' if you want to hear two of the new songs that will be available on our debut album ''Thrilled?''.

More songs will be added soon to our Reverb Nation page and our YouTube account. We are planning on releasing several music videos and promotional videos to share the songs online.

We also always play a cover or two. We mostly play ''Fox On The Run'', ''Saturday Night's Alright'' and ''Stay With Me'' on our current tour.

Trip Loon:
Any closing statements?

David Hénaire:
Thanks for having me on your blog and thanks for your interest in TCT. Can't wait to hit NYC and BK and show y'all how we can turn any show into the wildest party in town. Stay thrilled.


We had to cut the interview short since David had to hit the road for his next city on tour. He said he wanted to do another, more in depth, Dead Notes interview. I wanted to ask him if he was gonna play any Bators songs. I wanted to ask what he meant when he said that the MySpace days were better for promo than today. I saw his tour flyer and it has all these different cities in it:

I wanted to ask who he booked himself with in all these different cities. That answer will really help me reach out to those cities and see if there’s a market for us besides the ones I already know about. I wanted to ask him what his promo techniques are on both a local level and on an American/North American scale. I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t exhaust him with too many questions. If I let too much air out of the tires he wouldn’t have anything left to say for my documentary.

I never saw The Cheap Thrills live, nor did I see The Bators for that matter. I’m personally sold on them, but to be honest, I don’t know much about them to sell them to other people. When I was doing my street invites to the show I would say “Hey The Cheap thrills are gonna play New York. You should come”. The usual response I’d get is: “Oh ok", "Oh cool”. Then the minute I’d say “Yeah half of them were ex members of The Bators”. That’s when everybody reacts with “Whoa!”, “Wait! What!?”, “Really!?”, “No way!”, “Sick!”. They must know something that I don’t. So that got me even more intrigued to see what it’s all about. If you’re intrigued just as much as I am then let’s find each other at the show.

Their Saturday March 23rd NYC show is at The One Year Anniversary of The Flat. For more details on that date, click on the facebook event page here.

Their Sunday March 24th NYC show is at Home Sweet Home. For more details on that show, click on the facebook event page here.

I'm really psyched about the Sunday March 24th show because the debut of the 2nd incarnation of Love Bullet is on the same bill. The Mystery Lights and one of my favorite NYC bands, The Nuclears joined the same bill too.

Let's show the Montreal boys how New York City parties. See you at the show folks,,

And now for the money quote of this interview:

"It's good when a scene sticks to a band, not when a band sticks to a scene".



**Full Interview With Nick Vivid (New York) On His  New Band and His Analog Recording Studio
**Full Interview with New York City Booker & Promoter Ashley Moree


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  1. The Bators were amazing. But I think The Cheap Thrills have something even bigger coming their way. Can't wait to finally catch a show. They'll rape NYC.

  2. Thanks for putting a link to our band's video! Can't wait for my boys to get back home. I hope they New York is ready for these bastards.