For some bands just the simple tasks of day to day group responsibilities (read: grind) can put them on the brink of wanting to pack it in. The Deadly Snakes' solution to this problem? Give the band three to four months of attention a year and just let the rest all fall into place. "We're basically a summertime band," guitarist and lead singer André St. Clair proudly declares. Shortly after their inception in 1996, St. Clair went off to Montreal to attend university, starting their now trademark cycle of on-again, off again rock action. With several tours under their belt and 1999's Love Undone full-length debut making them an international name in underground blues and garage rock circles, not even the most venomous skeptic could deny their way of working is succeeding.
One positive side effect of this relaxed yet committed approach is that it gives the band lots of time to soak up new influences. Some late 60s folk and country rock sounds now stand boldly beside the traditional Snakes early Stones-style rumble. "At the time we recorded our new album, I was listening to a lot of early electric Dylan, and I've been getting heavily into Van Morrison too." St. Clair points out. "We were also listening to a lot of the Byrds" adds co-frontman, organist/vocalist Max Danger.
Those influences are all over the new I'm Not You Soldier album on In The Red Records, and the sombre "I Don't Mind" is a prime example of this expansion in style. Also contributing to the roomier ride this time around is the addition of ex-Oblivians member Greg Cartwright. He's filling things out as a second guitar player and gritty stand-out numbers like "West Texas Sound" are songs so distinctively "his" that they could be used for ID. Excellent stereo production, more proficient playing and fourteen varied songs about "girls, animals and Toronto," all make I'm Not Your Soldier Anymore the Snakes's sonic graduation from Parkdale hoods to seasoned musicians.
"Some garage bands put out records of just fast songs, but it gets boring after a while." St. Clair adds. Fans still wanting to get their party on need not worry, though, because the house is still very much rockin' on new up-beat throw downs like "Pirate Cowboy." "That song's about the old kinda bum guys in Parkdale who are like Arrrrrrrr!' and have they usually only have one eye. I mean, you still see hunchbacks and stuff roaming around there. It's such a village of the damned," Danger clarifies. The boys will be taking their summer super-show complete with Cartwright in tow on the road all over North America in the next few months, all leading up to a highly coveted slot at the Las Vegas Shakedown festival in September.