Alexisonfire's Changing Times
Published Jan 01, 2006"I think a lot of people are expecting us just to repeat ourselves, because we seem to have gained a lot of attention with the whole screaming with a little bit of singing' thing. Every headline we've ever had has had something to do with screaming," says singer and guitarist Dallas Green. In the wake of the band's second album, the substantially less aggressive Watch Out!, the band may now be forced to contend with headlines dealing the absence of vocalist George Pettit's trademark bark. "On the first record, it's pretty much all screaming. Which is alright, but there are songs that we wrote for this record that George was like, I don't want to scream as much over this because it just doesn't suit it.'"
Heavy rotation on MuchMusic has placed Alexisonfire in an unusual and somewhat awkward position for a band of their ilk. The unlikely success of "Pulmonary Archery," from their self-titled debut, found the group receiving the oft-repeated "I like the music but I don't like the screaming" criticism. "I don't give a shit about people who say that they like one part or they like the other part. We're going to write songs the way we want to write songs. We're not doing this because somebody at a radio stations says Oh, it's okay, but there's too much screaming. We're not going to play the song.'"
Mainstream exposure has also landed Alexis in situations not often encountered by hardcore bands. "It was kind of awkward when kids started asking us for our autographs. It's just a different thing when you see a video you get this different perception of a person. You might think that they're a star' or something." Dallas seems to have his own way of handling his star' status amongst the Much Mega Hits viewers who connect with the band, "This girl came up to me and asked if she could have a hug, and I said Of course.' Then she said she was kind of star struck, and I said You shouldn't be, there's no difference between you and me.' I told her that I was going to hang out with her for the rest of the night until she didn't feel star struck anymore. So I just followed her and her friends around after the show until they were telling me to go away."
It's this reception from fans uninitiated into the traditional hardcore scene that has resulted in backlash from the scene where Alexisonfire originated, whether it's anonymous shit-talking on internet message boards or much harsher and more personal forms of criticism. "There is nothing that someone's going to say that is going to make us turn our van around and go home. Most of those kids have no idea what it's like to keep a band together. We just drove 56 hours straight home from Victoria, British Columbia, only to start another tour the next day."
Likely, these are the kids who will find fault with Watch Out! and its greater focus on melody and atmospherics, as opposed the all-out energetic release of the band's last effort. Yet for Dallas and the rest of Alexisonfire, the inevitable cries of "sell out" will ring hollow. "I think it's more of a representation of us as a band right now. I don't think that our next record will sound like that. That's the batch of songs that came out. I've already started writing other songs, and they're a lot heavier. I think it just goes with the times."