Music Interview: Borderguarding against malaria

By Chris Courtice

More than five years ago the Borderguards hit the Calgary punk scene with a vengeance, and an atomic oi punk sound. They’ve survived drummers and bass players leaving, and their sound has evolved into something stronger. Fusing an eclectic amalgam of rock and roll, blues, rock-a-billy, and a shred of their old punk style, the band rocks out with a contemporary sound.

“Just straight forward rock and roll,” says singer/guitarist Brian. Although their musical definition may seem vague, once you give them a listen you’ll understand the difficulty in explaining their unique blend of genres.

The Borderguards are currently in the studio recording an upcoming release and with the help of producer Casey Lewis, five songs are already in the bag. The band is approaching the finish line with a strong mix of all their influences and talents. Now it’s the process of shopping for a prospective label.

But it’s not just about the music for the Borderguards, as they’re always willing to help those in need. Over the years they’ve contributed their talents for such causes as the Colonel Belcher Society for War Veterans, and clothes drives for children when Christmas rolls around. This time around they’re helping the Shots for Tots charity by headlining the Mosh for Malaria show.

“I was approached by students of the medical faculty here at the University,” explains Vic, the lead guitarist. Shots for Tots is an organization formed to combat the scourge of malaria in Africa, where it has reached nearly epidemic proportions in sub-Saharan Africa, other surrounding areas such as the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. All profits from the Mosh for Malaria concert will go to the charity.

“All the money will go to a party called Doctors Without Borders,” says Vic. “There is no vaccination for malaria, but there is a drug combination which can help combat it.”

This lack of an acceptable cure is due to the complexity of the parasite, and its elaborate life cycle and antigens. This fundraiser for the fight in Africa is much needed, since approximately 90 per cent of deaths due to malaria occur in Africa and south of the Sahara, the majority of victims are children five years of age and under. The Borderguards will save the world with their unique brand of punk.

“It’s a good cause,” says Vic. “I find too many people in the scene throw up their nose at stuff like this, but it’s people that really care that will do charity.”

The band sets a good example for up and coming bands to aid meaningful causes such as Shots for Tots. They don’t plan on letting up either. “Any opportunities we have, [to do charity] we help out.”

With a new album and an imminent label contract, the crew looks to be advancing up the punk rock ranks. With an already strong Alberta fan base, the Borderguards’ recognition can only grow and they’ll help as much as possible on the way.

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