As we sat in his tattoo studio, I asked singer Dave O’Connor of TV Freaks what it means to be punk. “The word ‘punk’ to me is a lot like the word ‘art.’ It’s really hard to put a finger on what it is, and everyone has their own interpretation of what the word means,” said O’Connor. “For me, it’s doing what you want to do unabashedly, regardless of what anyone’s opinions are.”
Greys isn’t an aggressive band, even though they sound like it. Well, okay, maybe they’re a bit aggressive – their music is an intense mix of dissonant guitars, slamming drums and vocals more often shouted than sung. But there’s much more to the band than the aggressive label they’re often given and the commonly written opinion that they’re part of some kind of Toronto loud rock music scene.
Live music venues like The Lazy Flamingo, The Casbah and Slainte offer patrons a variety of sounds from underground rap to classic rock covers. From Wednesday to Saturday night, at least one of the venues showcases the capacity of local musicians; however, these bands often find themselves competing for the attention of sizeable crowds usually drawn to Hess Street.
Brodie Schwendiman was well on his way to becoming a full-time teacher when he started what would become one of Hamilton’s most celebrated and popular music venues, the Casbah. Schwendiman explained his experiences after graduating teachers’ college, when he started to have second thoughts. It began when he “went to the United States to follow a band around for a couple of weeks, Guided by Voices … just the experience I had doing that, gaining new friends, and seeing how passionate people could be about underground culture and music,” he said.