Some people are not born to lose
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 11:09
Good things come for those who wait; especially for those who wait on tables.
This was the hook that characterizes the song “I Get What You Give,” by the band Teenage Kicks, from their 7” vinyl album, Shook Our Bones. Much of Teenage Kicks’ music has a sense of working class angst that continues to work its way into band members’ lives through the struggle to continue playing.
Teenage Kicks has been together for over a couple years now and have recently released their latest E.P called Be on My Side. The band will be playing upcoming shows in Southern Ontario, including a show at The Mansion House in St. Catharines on Oct. 4.
The road has been rather rocky for the band, after an announcement that recently confirmed that two band members will be leaving.
Peter van Helvoort, guitarist and vocalist in Teenage Kicks, is using this experience to continue on with music, the motivation being that quitting is not an option.
“I haven’t had an event in a long time that makes me change my outlook. I have been pretty hard on myself for the last while. When your brother leaves the band and says maybe you shouldn’t do this anymore, you either do it full out or you quit – there is no in between,” said van Helvoort.
Teenage Kicks have only played a couple of shows within the last five months due to writing and recording. During that process the band was negotiating a record label contract. Looking back, van Helvoort wished it had panned out better.
”There was some great people who made us feel really good about music, but there was also a lot of people who sucked the life and the fun out of it,” he said.
“Having a major label offering us a big contract that was very flattering, I had to walk away from it because it was too scary, in the sense of how many ways record companies can make money back from you now. Unless you become incredibly successful, you can’t even make money – let alone live. I didn’t feel right putting everyone’s life in that position.”
Unfortunately for most bands they need to rely on other people in order to make playing music a full-time gig. This was the reason why one member decided to leave the band.
“I want to be involved in every step of every process because having people tell you that things are going to happen and waiting while they don’t happen is a terrible feeling,” said van Helvoort. “There’s a difference to being a real band on the road and a band where you hope people will do things for you. We became that band for a little bit. That’s a bad place to be, you shouldn’t rely on anyone for anything.”
During that time of writing and mixing new songs, in hindsight, van Helvoort would have rather been on the road playing in dive venues since the reason they were not having fun was becoming disassociated from the process of having control. Through that process, the band demoed about 25 songs that eventually was self-released as their recent six-song E.P.
“That is what a band should be doing, but we went the other way and started to get a label, a manager and an agent. None of those things matter if people don’t want to hear your band or they don’t even know you exist,” said van Helvoort.
Teenage Kicks have been working hard regardless of band mates leaving.
Regarding Ontario music, van Helvoort believes that there is a lot of great music coming from the Niagara Region, from acts like Dan Romano, TV Freaks, The Dirty Nil, Marine Dreams and Northern Primitive. “There is a lot of interesting music being made,” said van Helvoort.
Van Helvoort, currently living in Toronto, says that most people in the Toronto music scene are mostly friends with each other, but it is too big to have the same sense of community that has formed in places like Welland and Hamilton.
“Everything changes. Its funny when you are older and you actually need to live and to save is when it’s more difficult,
said van Helvoort. “If you really are passionate about something, you’ll find a way to make it work. If you really love it you’ll make it work.”
Teenage Kicks will be playing at The Mansion House on Oct. 4 with The Kerouacs, Great Bloomers and Two Hours Traffic. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door. Tickets are available at Rock Universe on St. Paul St., St. Catharines. The show is all ages. You can check out the Teenage Kicks at teenagekicksteenagekicks.bandcamp.com