"Have a good time, all the time."
The quote is from Spinal Tap, but according to Mad Caddies guitarist/banjo player Sascha Lazor, it's an adage to live by.
"I love that quote. That would be the best advice I could give anyone," he explains, sipping gingerly from a glass of Sprite at the Den. Upstairs in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom, roadies are performing sound checks, preparing the venue for the skanking, moshing and pirate-jigging soon to commence. Getting ready for the show, Lazor's goal is to avoid hitting the sauce too soon.
"This is the first tour where I've ever made a conscious decision not to drink too long before the show. When [opening act] Subb starts playing, that's when I'll start drinking," laughs Lazor.
Given the band's history, Lazor's choice of soda while waiting on his meal is a surprising one. With song titles like Drinking for 11, alcohol-induced antics are pretty much expected. Is this a new turn for the Mad Caddies? Have they abandoned groupies and substance abuse in favour of bowties and Sprite? According to Lazor, not so.
"I was up until about 6:30 a.m. this morning," Lazor defends. "Chuck [Robertson, lead singer] pissed his pants last night and vomited, so we're not really mellowing out. We're just trying to be a little more responsible."
In the case of the Caddies, abstaining from the hooch would in itself be an irresponsible move. As evidenced by the packed beer garden at the show, the band's fanbase is of the swill-swigging variety. Despite their recently matured outlook, Lazor is quick to defend his band's benders. In fact, the polka-inspired crowd favorite All American Badass would not exist without them.
"We were drunk at practice and we just started playing something that sounded like polka, so it just kinda came out that way," says Lazor. "I think [drinking] is conducive to writing songs. You have less inhibitions."
Alcohol-induced or otherwise, the Caddies rarely come across as musically inhibited. Stereotyped as a ska band early in their career due to the presence of horns, the band has fought hard against the typecast by delving into diverse musical inspiration ranging from reggae to Dixieland to dancehall.
"Right from the get-go, our number one goal was to try to sound different and incorporate influences that many bands weren't doing," says Lazor. "Especially in California, there were so many of the same kind of ska bands, and it was just really boring. It's the same with any kind of genre-hardcore, punk rock, or emo-it starts to get popular, so everyone does it and they all start to sound the same. As far as our records go, we just want to make every song sound different."
The Mad Caddies rocked the MacEwan Ballroom May 10. Their latest album, Songs in the key of eh, is available wherever drunk guys jamming on polka melodies on compact disc are sold.