Got your rockstar right here

By Jaime Burnet

Golf in the morning and a plate of “punk rock” penne for lunch? This doesn’t sound like a starving musician. Scott Solo, guitarist and backup vocalist for fast, guitar-riff driven Calgary skate-punk band Belvedere, is chowing down on some cheap pasta and Diet Coke at Boston Pizza in the city, while he answers a few questions via cell phone.

Where’s the hard liquor and street-vended hot dog? The hung over groupies? They may be nowhere to be found now, but between bites he reveals his excitement about the band’s upcoming shows this Friday and Saturday.

“We haven’t played Calgary in quite some time. The last time we played a headlining show was at least a year ago.” The band has been busy experiencing international fame, playing Japan last August and touring in South America this February.

“Europe’s really cool,” says Scott. “It’s kind of neat having people who are so far away know the music quite well and are fans of it. In Calgary it’s cool to play with a lot of your friends and have family be able to come out to see you play.”

That will be the case this weekend, when Scott, along with lead vocalist/guitarist Steve, bassist/vocalist Jay, and drummer Graham play with good friends and fellow Calgarians Deville, The Failure, and Reinventing the Wheel. They will surely be welcomed back by their fans, many of who missed seeing them on the Calgary leg of The Vans Warped Tour this summer.

“We weren’t asked. We’re lucky that our label, the Union Label group, puts the stage up in east coast Canada, because, not sure if Warped Tour doesn’t like us or what, but we haven’t been asked for a few years.”

A surprising discovery, since the band is doing so well overseas and receiving praise for their new CD, Fast Forward Eats the Tape, is due to, aside from talent, mutual hard work and dedication.

“Musically, we pretty much all collaborate. Jay will bring in a new idea or a good chunk of a song and we’ll all kind of pound away at it, and everyone adds their own flavour.” One thing not involving much collaboration, aside from that between Steve and Jay, is the process of writing lyrics. “I probably haven’t read a lot of the lyrics on the new CD. I kind of just make up my own and sing it how I think it sounds. I guess I should probably go read it.”

Although Scott doesn’t take part in lyrical composition–most fans probably know the words better than he does–he says, “[all the band members] think a lot alike, and we’ve gone through a lot of experiences all together, so we all feel the same way about a lot of things.”

Some shared opinions are expressed on tracks like “Slaves to the Pavement”, with lyrics proclaiming, “we didn’t choose this life, this life chose us long ago / a web of friends and moments impossible to let go / though we surrendered what others want to treasure / we ended up with so much more”.

“It’s just about the last six, seven years of us being on tour all the time,” reflects Scott.

“When I heard the lyrics when it was all finished I was quite happy with it. I got a bit of a chill in the spine when I first heard it. It’s hard because you do it all the time, but it always pays off when we’re playing good shows and there’s people there to see us all the time. Sometimes it’s not the greatest and you’re not making any money, but when we’re all up on stage and playing it’s really what it’s all about, and everyone gets a good feeling doing that.” Scott pauses for a moment, as if already preparing himself for rush he’ll feel on stage.

“When we’re on stage that’s the one time when, if there was any conflict or anything, that’s kind of all aside and it’s just all about the music and the energy and playing live.”

Sounds like the reward is worth the sacrifice. So what exactly did Scott forgo to play in the band?

“I was on my way to being a high school teacher, but I quit to go back on tour and I’ve been on the road ever since.”

Although teaching high school is no longer his goal, Scott says he would like to eventually partake in another realm of instruction. “All the jobs I do and try to keep really suck, so I’ve gotta find something that I like to do. I’m sure it’ll have something to do with music, like teaching guitar.”

But fans can’t count on receiving personal lessons from their musical hero just yet, “As for now, it’s going to be the band for awhile.”

The way things are going, it looks like Belvedere will continue to impress their fans, tour the world, and eat fancy pasta for years to come.

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