Le Café Campus, salle de spectacles légendaire de Montréal, célèbre en 2017 ses 50 ans. Le groupe rock n’ roll montréalais The Damn Truth ouvriront les festivités le 8 février prochain, et nous parlent un peu du spectacle, de Montréal, de leurs tournées avec leur fils de deux ans et de leur nouveau single, entre autres.

Thorium: You guys are opening the festivites for Café Campus’ 50th birthday. What do you think of the opportunity?

Lee-la: We are really surpised! It’s really cool that they thought about us! We had a good show there two years ago, and that place has a special place in our hearts

Tom: It’s a legendary Montreal venue! We’re super stoked about the opportunity!

T: How much do you like playing Café Campus?

Tom: We can’t really say how much we like it! We’ve played the small room a few times when we were getting started, and we played the big one once. It was legendary, we love it!

How important is it for you guys to support local venues and events like that?

Lee-la: It’s pretty much on the top of the list for us. We feel that the reason we do this as a band is because of our fans, because of the support we got locally, the vibes that we feel locally, and we constantly want to be a part of that, want to give back. If there’s anything we can do to help, to be a part of bringing people out and live music to the forefront, we’re all over that! It’S really important for us.

2017 is a big year for Montreal with the 375th anniversary and all the events going on around that. What do you think of the cultural buzz around the city?

Lee-la: Montreal has always been an incredible melting pot of artists and musicians, of great talent that are making waves all around the world, especially in the last ten to fifteen years. It’s a city to be proud of being from. It’s very exciting!

Tom: The truth is about Montreal is that, we’ve been across Canada a few times now, we get to play Toronto and all the major other cities, except that here the bar is set so high that it really forces you to be good, you really have to work on your craft to be noticed. Artists also really support each other, just like what happen with venues. People tend to go back to the same place and always look out for each other. It’s very special, I’ve never seen it anywhere else.

Do you think it’s any harder for an anglo band to play here in Quebec than for a francophone outfit?

Lee-la: I don’t know, I’ve never been in a francophone band! *laughs* I

Tom: We always kinda felt like outsiders in the scene actually. We operate in a different language and play a loud and obnoxious rock and roll which was not the thing to do in Montreal, really. We kinda had to build our own thing independently of what was happening. We can’t really make any comparison.

Do you think The Damn Truth could exist anywhere else in the world?

Tom: I don’t think so. Even though we want to play around the world and we haven’t gone as far as we wanted yet, but I think that there’s something in the water here that makes it so different and tasty.

Lee-La: I think it’s in the cold!

We’re seeing more and more bands going out and playing that loud rock and roll that wasn’t around when you started. What do you think about that?

Tom: I think it’s awesome! We get a lot of friends and colleagues that come to our shows and are thankful for opening up that door, and showing that there’s an audience for rock and roll here. We’re just happy to be doing what we do and we don’t really consider what anybody else is doing, though, honestly.

You guys had a bad incident on tour where you lost some gear and your vehicle. How hard was it to get back on your feet?

Lee-la: We were really lucky, the trailer attached to our van held most of our stage gear but we did lose acoustic guitars and many personal belongings like computers and cameras, but we were really lucky not to lose the main instruments and gear that we use. It was a freak accident where our van went up in flames while driving, when we were in the middle of nowhere in northern Ontario. Out of all the drivers that stopped to help, one happened to be a hockey coach who unscrewed the trailer with the help of the guys with him, which was great because within five minutes the whole van was up in flames. The other help we got was a woman who stopped and took me and my two-year old son who was traveling with us. We jumped out without our coats, nothing. It was below zero and we were watching the van burning. She took us in and wound up being an amazing angel for us. The whole community of the town we were in came together and helped us out to get back on our feet. Within a day we had a car seat, baby clothes, diapers, everything we could need for the beginning. We put together a gofundme campaign that helped us out.

Tom: We found that in a situation like that, you ask yourself: What now? The logical thing to do would be to pack everything you have left and go back home. The response we got from everyone was so amazing, with the gofundme campaign, the whole rock n’ roll community in Canada came together to help us. We finished the tour with our fan’s help. It was a great experience.

Did this event change your outlook on touring and life on the road?

Lee-la: I think it changed our outlook on the feeling that we’re not alone. There’s an incredible rock and roll community and music community out there who are eager to come out to shows, listen, buy merch, be a fan. It opened our eyes on the fact that people like that still exist. I always felt that there is still room for that, that it is still happening. It’s only a matter of getting out there and touring.

Tom: You know, touring is basically our bloodline. I don’t think it changed many aspects at all. It’s not the easiest thing to do especially when you’re traveling with a kid and stuff, but we love it! We’ve never really done anything else, so it didn’t really change anything.

How is the rock and roll lifestyle compatible with touring as a family with your two-year old son?

Lee-la: A few less drinks! Apart from that, not much has changed. He’s incredible, part of the family, of the band. He loves being on the road, and he’s a really easy child, we’re really lucky. It’s the only reality he’s ever known, being on the road for four tours and he’s not even three! It’s in his blood, it’s not a problem.

Does he have a nanny in the road crew?

Lee-la: Yes! She’s a sweet girl, part of the family now, and she takes care of him while we’re gone.

He’s gonna grow up to be quite the rocker then!

Lee-la: He already is, you don’T know the half of it! Either he goes on and rebels to become a lawyer or something!

The Damn Truth just began tracking a song on radio, called Get With You. What can you say about it?

Lee-la: It’s one of our super fun songs. When we wrote it, it came very easily over a jam that immediately became something. It came out as a really fun song, perfect for an ending or an encore. Played live, it raises the atmosphere in the room a few miles higher. It always feel really good to play it.

Tom: I think it’s important to be a period, to-the-point, have-a-message type band, and that’s our main thing,  but rock and roll is also about fun, and having fun. Get With You is one of those songs about, you know… fucking. It’s fun! It’s part of it, it’s part of it, you wanna celebrate it.

The show at Café Campus is on February 8. What do you have to say to people who are coming out?

Lee-la: All of the profits go out to Spectres de Rue, a community outreach program. We really wanted to give back, so basically all proceeds are going for that. They help kids on the street, and I think it’S already be a special event and that the people who’re coming are also giving to a great cause. We’re gonna have a great frickin’ time doing it! We’re really excited to play Montreal again see all our fans and rock out for them!

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photo (c) The Damn Truth / Carl Thériault

photo (c) The Damn Truth / Carl Thériault

 

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