The Ex-Boyfriends are out to melt faces.
Their music is a brain-pan searing sonic assault, led by the yowling Djewel Davidson-- local DJ and Calgary music stalwart-- with a pounding assault on guitar led by Michael Paton. Backing them up is drummer extraordinaire Dean Martin, who plays in numerous bands all across Calgary.
While the guys on the instruments are cool as cucumbers during their set, Davidson is a rock 'n' roll animal. Jumping around like a kangaroo and climbing on whatever is around like a spider monkey, this guy is the real deal.
"For as long as I can remember, which is long before I was in a band with him, Djewel's been Djewel," says Paton. "I don't know exactly where it comes from, but on a good night that's a great thing for one of our people on stage to be. Especially if you're one of the lucky suckers in the audience."
The Ex-Boyfriends are no strangers to playing That Empty Space at the University of Calgary. In fact, their last show was such a resounding success they were asked for a rare encore from the crowd. Davidson is nonchalant about such a warm reception.
"There was one Empty Space show where people seemed inordinately impressed by my standing or lying on the couches and such," says Davidson. "I'm often of the opinion that I'm getting relatively sedate as I ease into my dotage, but then I see all those boring do-nothing 'singers' and I feel okay about it."
While the band was asked for an encore, they wouldn't continue, instead yelling back to the audience to buy their CD Coming Before the Next One.
"It was me who started yelling back 'buy the CD!' at that show," says Paton. "I think we just didn't have any more songs rehearsed at that point. And to be honest, as much as I love playing live, our recordings are actually more where we're at for me. I really do want people to hear them even if it means they have to buy them. The rest of the band does not disagree."
Fans of the band will have another album to buy soon, as the Ex-Boyfriends are in the final mixing stages of their latest LP, To the Lowest Bidder, aiming at continuing on their trajectory of bringing the rock to Calgary with the vaunted double album.
"We've fully recorded 16 songs and the plan is for a double slab of vinyl," says Paton. "There are 14 originals, one of which was musically composed by our departed bassist Chris Milne and two covers-- one of the first Calgary punk rock records and a chestnut from Sun Records."
Paton explains this album is the next evolution of their recorded sound. Where they introduced ideas and sounds in Coming Before the Next One, they're taking them and bringing them to the next level.
"When warranted we took a little time for a few of our favourite things," says Paton. "Where Coming has tambourine, To the Lowest Bidder has enough tambourine to asphyxiate the Archies. I bought an acoustic guitar and slashed into it on a several songs. Other appearances include a horn section, a Hammond B3 and a walnut burl turn-of-last-century piano subjected to Jerry Lee Lewis levels of abuse."
The Ex-Boyfriends aren't trying to spoil themselves. They all have a mission. A mission to fucking rock.
"Everything is done to make the songs rock," says Paton. "We're not indulging anyone's impulse to be interesting. This remains rock and roll."