Unruly since 1982: Montreal hardcore vets take another go
Montreal, early ’80s: Hardcore band Unruled were living the squalored, 18-year-old crust punk’s dream opening for legends GBH, Dead Kennedys and DOA. ¬†Until, like the scene itself, the band fizzled in 1985.
“Basically it was (due to) personal conflicts,” says Pat “God” Gaudette, original bassist, adding there was “violence between band members,” including body throwing and beer bottle fights, and resulting stitches.
“It was also because some of us were more influenced by speed metal music at the time,” he says, speaking of original vocalist Cory Lowe in particular.
In the early ’80s, punk and metal were just merging. Metal bands like Exodus and Metallica were borrowing the pace and ruffage of Brit hardcore (like The Exploited) to create speed metal, eventually becoming thrash. Likewise, British punks like Discharge were influenced by the darkness of metal (like Venom), and out of this, crust punk ‚Äď a metal-punk hybrid – was born.
“It was speed metal I got into,” writes Lowe via Facebook from his home in Miami. “It was the next step up from punk. But really I think the reason was that the punk scene was dead in Montreal, and everywhere else. It was also time for me to move on in my life. The punk days were great, but it was time for a new chapter in my life. You know get a job, dress like the rest of the world. LOL.”
An old punk¬†using “LOL”¬†may be surprising, but the internet had a lot to do with the original Unruled reunion in 2009.
Check their Facebook page’s fan-submitted photos from the ’80s. It’s a rare moment to read old scenesters commenting on their days of partying, free bottles of 50 in-hand, agreeing to regrettable circle tattoos on their arms. “That will learn me,” Lowe comments. “Never let a drunk and stoned SCUM band member attempt at giving you a tattoo.”
Past petty differences (including an 8-year stint without speaking) original guitarist Wax approached Gaudette¬† to reform Unruled in 2009. They played a sold-out reunion show in Montreal, rehashing tracks off original EP Time is Running Out.
“For the first time in 25 years, I found myself missing the stage,” says Lowe.
Of course, Lowe likes his life and the heat in Miami (working at a golf course),¬† but the rest of the band in Montreal is moving on. They’ve snagged Montreal hardcore band (nee 1999) Inepsy’s vocalist Chany Pilote (replacing Lowe) and drummer Sam.
“Chany and Sam and they¬†were also¬†already fans of Unruled. Chany had almost the same voice as Cory had,”¬†says Gaudette, speaking of Pilote’s full-throttle vox that could rival Lemmy’s in gravel-content.
Over a year after regrouping, Unruled has released Butchers of Warfare (out last week on Schizophrenic Records), so far garnering good reviews. Though they will never capture the grit of the original hardcore days, they are pretty damn close.
“They sound like we did 25 years ago, only a little more polished,” Lowe agrees.
Lowe will be back in Montreal August 7th at Katacombs for a full-on Unruled reunion show, sharing the stage with Inepsy’s Chany Pilote, but tonight, Friday May 21, catch The Unruled (with Pilote) playing their new album at Hard Luck bar in Toronto.
- Marsha Casselman