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Don't look so sad Born Ruffians, you can have your Nintendo back after the interview.
courtesy the band

Born Ruffians sweat it out

Armed with a new member and a fresh arsenal of songs

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If you're into hanging around sweaty exhibitionists dancing to songs about girls, then you won't want to miss the Born Ruffians. After releasing their second full-length album Say It earlier this month, the Born Ruffians are touring North America and stopping in Calgary this weekend.

"It's a good bill, us and Young Rival," drummer Steve Hamelin says of the band's upcoming performance. "It'll be a high-energy show. Be prepared to come out and dance."

The shows are so high-energy, it might be wise to bring a towel. Hamelin says they have been particularly sweaty lately.

"People have been taking off their shirts," Hamelin says. "One guy in Portland pulled his pants down. It was bizarre."

Fans of the band's debut album Red, Yellow & Blue can also expect a new spin on some of their favourite tracks. Since their last LP-- and previous show in Calgary-- the Ruffians added multi-instrumentalist Andy Lloyd to the line-up, who helped fill out the band's sound by adding new parts to old songs.

"On some of the older songs, he's added parts that sort of breathe new life into them," Hamelin says of the former Caribou bassist.

But for the Born Ruffians, touring doesn't just mean playing a bunch of sweaty shows and watching fans disrobe. It also means playing a lot of video games while tourmates Young Rival drive the van.

"We've all got Nintendo DS's," says Hamelin. "I just grabbed one for this year. We did some Mario Kart in the van. It was totally fun. Mitch [Derosier, the bassist] in theory should be the best because he's usually the best at games, but we beat him every time. I'm definitely the worst."

The band has had plenty of time to hone their Mario Kart skills, having embarked on a North American tour that criss-crossed south of the border. They recently returned from a successful stint in Europe that saw several sold out shows in London, where the Toronto-based band has started to build a fan base.

"In Europe, they're really excited when you're from Canada. It's nice, they treat you really well," Hamelin adds. "The crowds have been pretty full and really responsive. We've toured in a lot worse conditions, so things seem kind of cushy now that we're staying at slightly better hotels. It's actually not too hard to survive."

When not on tour, Hamelin says the band satisfies their love of video games at home and spends time with girlfriends, proof that Born Ruffians are living the dream of music-loving, video-game enthusiasts everywhere.

"Between tours, we don't really leave the house that much. We all kind of just chill out and relax. You spend three nights a week in bars and the last thing you want to do is go out," he added.

But a busy tour schedule will see the Ruffians spending more than just a few nights a week in bars. The band has gigs lined up for nearly every night this month.

"The record's out and we're coming to play," Hamelin says, concluding the interview. "Come see us play, we'll hang out and have a drink. People might pull their pants down in a bizarre, drugged-out state."

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