Oct. 10, 2006 - Issue #573: Ten Second Epic
Ten Second Epic seizes its 15 minutes
While enthusiastic fans abound, the band has an enemy in a puss named boots
It says something odd about Edmonton pop-punkers Ten Second Epic, then, that their best story comes from when they adopted a stray cat while recording their latest album, Count Yourself In, at the home of Canadian super producer GGGarth Richardson.
“We had been out for a while drinking the night before—GGGarth liked to have a good time, and so do we, so that happened a lot,” begins bassist Sandy MacKinnon. “Early in the morning—I forget what time, but far too early for an after-drinking night—the cat, whose name was Boots, wanted to get out to go to the washroom, so he was scratching at the door.
“I waited in bed for a while, hoping someone else would get it, but everyone else was asleep, and I just wasn’t getting up—like, ‘Sorry, Boots, but I have a hangover to get rid of,’” he continues with a laugh. “He was obviously pissed, because he got into the washroom and just trashed the place: like, tore up toiler paper, knocked over everything, just tore it up.
“The kicker was, though, that he had somehow gathered all my stuff—my toothbrush, toothpaste, everything—in the middle of the sink and just shit all over it,” he finishes with a boisterous laugh, joined by his other bandmates gathered around the table. “It’s like he knew I was up and wasn’t helping him. He was a pretty good cat, other than that, though.”
Fortunately for the band, however, that one fairly subdued story is the
only, ahem, shitty thing to happen to them in a long time. The hometown
heroes—rounded out by guitarists Daniel Carriere and Craig Spelliscy,
vocalist/songwriter Andrew Usenik and drummer Pat Birtles—have been
jumping from peak to peak lately, with barely a valley of cat shit in
For starters, there was taking off to the west coast to work with Richardson, a producer for whom it’s almost an insult to call “mega”—he’s done everything from engineering Bob Seger’s Night Moves and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Mother’s Milk to producing Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut.
Then there were the shows: the Taste of Chaos tour saw them taking control of arenas from coast to coast—including a massively popular spot on our own Rexall stage—while their spot on the Warped Tour kept them close to their roots as mosh-pit crazed kids.
Now, with Count Yourself In hitting stores, the group has found their video for first single “Suck it up Princess” in rotation on MuchMusic and rising up the request charts.
It’s a hell of a run for a band that’s only been in existence for about four years, and as happy as they are, all four in attendance agree that the band has paid its dues to get to this point. Like most Canadian acts, especially from the Prairies, life for the last few years has been a blur of vans rolling into the one-horsiest of small towns, a tough life that, according to the band, has nonetheless paid dividends for their rapidly rising fortunes.
“It can be a rough tour, but the small town shows have always been the best; I’d rather play a hundred of those than one show in downtown Toronto with a bunch of people looking down their nose at you,” Spelliscy says. “We go back to a place like Timmins or Port Alberni, and the kids there know every single lyric, and none of us had heard of those places before we played there. They get maybe one good show every six months, but they just totally go insane.”
“We did that,” Usenik is quick to add, “and the best thing is that when we got the video on MuchMusic, when it came on to the request shows, they were all calling them up. And who watches MuchMusic the most? Those kids in small towns who don’t have their own radio stations and stuff. It’s been nice to see that our getting out there and going places some bands won’t has gotten the kids to help us out down the road.”
“Plus it’s just cool to roll into a place where kids get their entire concert outfit from a Molson pack,” adds MacKinnon with a laugh.
As heavy as the support has been in Canada’s smaller burgs, though, it’s been the local scene that’s helped them the most, whether it’s their recent spot as Sonic’s Band of the Month, or even the Edmonton Oilers—all members admit to being huge fans, finishing up gigs early so they could rush home to watch last spring’s playoff run—using one of the band’s songs as part of a highlight package played in Rexall. The local love is something that means a lot to the fivesome, who has never shied away from hyping the city.
“The one thing I’ve started to notice that I really like is, now that we have some success, I see a lot of the media outlets and kids out East are calling us ‘the Edmonton band,’” Usenik says with a wide smile. “It’s something very special for us, that people are starting to see us as a symbol of the Edmonton scene, because we know how great our scene is, even if they don’t. When someone says that to me, I take it as a much greater compliment than they probably know.”
Of course, being the face of a music scene has a flip side: as fun as it
is to get some credit for all that’s good, you also have to bear a
little extra weight if things go wrong. Representing a city for the folks
down East is just one more added expectation that’s coming with every
step forward the band takes, and they’ll admit that, at times, the road
ahead looks a little daunting.
“For me it goes back to recording with GGGarth,” explains an excited Carriere. “There was definitely underlying stress the whole time. You’re in this studio and this guy has all these gold records ... ”
“Platinum,” interrupts Spelliscy. “A bunch of them were platinum.”
“Yeah, all these platinum records around you,” continues Carriere, “and it’s just, like, ‘I better lay something really fucking good down.’”
For Usenik, though, the high expectations are just the result of good past results, and something that makes everything—from cat shit and small towns to music videos and stadium appearances—worthwhile.
“We had these really limited sort of expectations that we would pretty much always eclipse, but now—our album is coming out, and people are going to be looking to see where it goes on the SoundScan charts, and where we are on Much request shows,” he says, a noticeable glint of anticipation in his eyes.
“All eyes are on you, and everything you’ve ever wanted is right in front of you, and all you have to do is grab it. For me, it excites me—I’m excited for the challenge, I’m excited for the chance to live up to our reputation.” V
Fri, Oct 13 (8 pm)
Ten Second Epic
With A Textbook Tragedy,
Glory Nights, Difinity
Edmonton Event Centre, $9, $16 w/CD
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