interview by Nick Ketchup
The Smugglers rock...
We really have waited long enough!
Four bloody years have the Canadian Ambassadors of Rock'N'Roll not set
their foot in a recording studio! And now finally comes the word about
their upcoming full-length record, 7th or 8th or 9th depending on how
you count it, once again internationally released on Lookout and Mint
and Screaming Apple and god knows what else label. The release is scheduled
for early 2004, so let's hear it straight from the lead Smuggler mouth,
Grant Lawrence! Yippie!!!
What's going on with the Smugglers? There's
a new album coming out, tell us a little about that!
Hey Nick! Long time no talk hope all
is well. Yes indeed, the Smugglers have a new record coming out called
Mutiny In Stereo. Its being released in March of 2004
on CD on Mint Records in Canada, Lookout Records everywhere else and
Screaming Apple on vinyl. It has eleven songs on it, all original, and
its our first album thats completely self-produced. Lots
of great songs are within. Cant wait til its out! Theres
a couple songs from Mutiny In Stereo available to be heard
Just type in the Smugglers in the search field.
It took you four years since "Selling
the Sizzle" to make "Rosie", and now, four years again...
Why does it take you so long? (I get the impression it didn't take so
long when the Smugglers were younger? [no pun intended])
It just simply takes us four years
to make a record, thats about it, Nick! Its true that when
we were younger, we made records a little faster. But back then, pretty
much half of each record was cover songs. Ever since around 1995 or
so we made an effort to basically stick with our own songs (unless we
stumble across a really, really great cover like Kings Of The
Party!) And so weve realized that it simply takes EXACTLY
four years to the month to write and record a new batch of original
songs, thats all there is to it! We just hope people remember
There were some fine guests on the last record,
Rose from Go Sailor, Kepi from the Ghoulies, Dr. Frank writing songs
for you... Are there any special features on this record, or is it just
Dave's songwriting wit and you guys banging to it?
Some of Daves songwriting, but also a lot of my songwriting,
and Nicks too. Nick wrote the first two songs on the record, Pirate
Ships and Billy Billy and both are killer. A great
one-two punch! And for this record we really decided to rely on our
own devices, so not so many special guests this time around. We didnt
need the help like last time! We do have two extra people playing on
it: Mike Ledwidge from Zumpano plays keyboards on three or four songs
and this skinhead punk guy (good skinhead, not a bad one) plays a wailing
saxophone (my all-time favourite instrument) on Dont Mess
With Beez. Thats a hilarious song about all the antics that
Beez gets up to everywhere he goes.
Is your line-up the
same, does Beez manage to keep the pace?
A perfect segue to Beez! Yes, same line up Dave, Nick, Graham,
Beez and Grant. Its been the same since 1998 which is very nice.
And yeah, Beez is not only keeping the pace, hes SETTING the pace!
If it were up to him wed tour way more than we do! He recently
retired/quit from his job as a phone sex baron and has since been traveling
the world on his riches! Im not kidding! He has been living in
India while we prepare our new record. Everybody can read about his
India Adventures in the tour diaryas section of www.thesmugglers.com.
How come you're back
on Screaming Apple (among other labels)?
The first time the Smugglers ever put out a record outside of North
America was with Screaming Apple, way back in about 1993 I think. It
was a 7 single called At Germany. Weve pretty
much been friends with Ritchie ever since we see him everytime
we play Germany, and weve always hoped to put out another record
with the label. On this record, we were finally able to make it happen!
It also works well for us because it gives us a release in Europe.
With a new album, are
you going to tour a lot this year? What about Europe?
We will be hitting the road quite a bit this year. Well be in
Toronto and Montreal and areas like that in early March, then down to
Texas for South By Southwest, then over to California, across New York,
back up into Canada, all over the place. Of course we would like to
tour Europe again as we have many great friends there, but well
have to see. Europe is SUCH a grind! At least for us it is! We tour
in a Mercedes box van with little heat and little room, usually in a
cold month like February or November, freezing our asses off, playing
lots of punk squats, getting horribly sick, never having a day off,
endless driving. During the awful UK part of our last tour was the sickest
Ive ever been in my life. I ended up in a Welsh hospital after
eating some outrageously disgusting British food. They would have to
pay me a LOT of money, or at LEAST put the Smugglers on the cover of
the NME before we would go back to England. Fucking dump! The rest of
Europe, we hope to be back there in the fall of 2004 or the winter of
The Smugglers posing...
Is there any place in the world cooler than
Vancouver; if not, what's the second place? And in Canada?
In my humble opinion, of all the places I
have been lucky enough to experience, Vancouver is, by far, the best
place on earth. Its the coolest city in the world. Mountains,
ocean, excellent beaches, warm temperatures, beautiful summers, nice
people, a great hockey team what more can one ask for? Outside
of Vancouver I really enjoy New York City its a great place
to see. I try and go there once a year and have been lucky enough to
be able to do that for the past eleven years in a row, whether the Smugglers
are playing there or not! We havent played their since 2000 unfortunately,
but what a gig that was, playing with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
AND the Donnas at the Roxy, a huge old disco club.
Are there any new bands in Vancouver you'd
recommend (except the New Town Animals who I hear are back together)?
Yeah, theres a few. Theres always
a few good bands from Vancouver. Of course theres the Evaporators,
Daves other band, with Nardwuar. Then theres Nicks
new band, a really cool act called Franny and the Flames. Franny is
this HOT 18 year old Quebecois belly dancer that Nick discovered. Luckily
she can sing like Ronnie Spector so their band is great! Jeffy from
the New Town Animals has a new band called the Clones I believe, and
there is an excellent ska-punk band who has played with us a couple
times called Los Furios.
What happened to the Distress Signals?
The Distress Signals were pretty much
a joke band sort of like a Depeche Mode-style Spinal Tap that
Dave and I did with another friend of ours for a few years way, way,
way back in the EIGHTIES when we were in highschool. We only did three
gigs. The amazing thing about that band is that Dave wrote all these
songs on this little keyboard and throughout the years weve brought
them back to be Smugglers rock songs and theyve become really
popular with our fans!! Especially You, Rosie,
Cans Of Love and Rock and Roll Was Never This Fun
are ALL originally Distress Signals songs! Hardly anybody knows about
that though how did you know about it?
They're always around...
Chest hair became the
symbol of the Smugglers? How come?
WHAT? What do you mean? Only two Smugglers are endowed with plenty
of chest hair and thats Nick and Grant. Dave, Beez, and Graham
are all very smooth-chested. Our roadie Ska-T is the hairiest of all
maybe youre thinking of HIM?
What do you think about
men who shave their chest?
I think it is a lot better to simply TRIM your chest hair, as smartly
suggested on Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. Shaving is
problem. Think TRIM, not SHAVE if you have an abundance of hair that
you want to keep under control!
Hey, it's still better
than women who shave their chest! Now, if I remember correctly, the
rest of the band always made fun of you (Grant) for dating ugly girls...
What was the ugliest girl like?
The ugliest girl I ever dated was a gal named Bear-Butt Betty who
had a massive ass that was hairier than my chest, and a moustache that
felt like steel wool against my rock hard cock. She weighed about 250
lbs and when she got on top of me she almost knocked the wind out of
me. She wanted to fuck all the damn time and I couldnt keep up
because I couldnt keep IT UP because she was so damn ugly! She
was one NASTY BITCH!! YEEOUCH!!! Ever since Ive fucked nothing
Have a lot of fun at
<< back to interviews