Music Interview: Now for that punk band with the violin…

By Richard Freeman

Pop-punk rockers Yellowcard managed to dodge hurricanes in their native Florida and make it to Calgary in time for a blizzard. But the band, uniquely including an electric violin will brave the native weather of our fair city and play the University of Calgary’s MacEwan Hall this Sunday. They’re not too worried, riding the success of their smash hit Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard seems to be unstoppable in the U.S. and Canada. But even with their success, the band still gets shit for rocking out with a violin.

“It just adds a flavor and a lot of people really appreciate it,” defends bassist Pete of the band. “It branches off from your standard bass, drum, and guitar band. Sometimes when we do get shit, people say ‘that’s their gimmick, they have a violin in their band,’ which is utter horseshit because the violin has been there since we were in tenth grade.”

Confidently adding an unconventional instrument into any band takes finesse and precision. The band likes to think the violin adds dignity to their pop punk music and keeps it clean. They stay far away from disease-ridden groupies and have never trashed their instruments. But this is not to say the group doesn’t like to party.

“We basically just like to enjoy them [beers]. We definitely like to take them down fast and get as many of them in our bodies as possible,” laughs Pete. “I think our favorite drink as a whole though is The Irish Car Bomb. It’s a half pint of Guinness and then you take a shot glass and fill it up two thirds with Baileys Irish crème, and top it off with Jameson Irish Whiskey. It tastes like chocolate milk. We are huge fans of The Irish Car Bomb, we need to spread the word.”

For Yellowcard, however, spreading the word goes beyond good drinks. The band, while keeping their music politically neutral, have been outspoken against George W. Bush and his administration. These views are evident on Yellowcard’s website, which pokes fun at the confusing ballots that may or may not have cost Al Gore the last election. The band may be advocates of John Kerry, but this support needs a bit of clarification.

“I’m not so much a really strong Kerry supporter as I’m a we-need-to-get-rid-of-our-president guy,” muses the newly political bassist. “Bush has not eared a second term at all. Too much has gone down on his watch. For the most part I think that anybody is a better candidate than George W. Four years of anybody else would be a gift from God. We’re getting involved and the next choice is Kerry and so we’re backing his campaign.

“This is the biggest election we will ever see. I’m not any political science major or anything, but I’ve always tried to make myself aware of what our government does, and who gets screwed over when certain things happen. We don’t try to use where we are as a soapbox to get up and preach about stuff, but we want to let people know we have a concern. People need to find out more than what they see on Fox news. Get out there and have your own opinion. A lot of people don’t take advantage of that right.”

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