By Gareth Watkins
CALGARY — Three chords and the truth is just three chords if you’re lying to yourself. And when you’re 40, employed and a father, you’re definitely lying to yourself if you’re still writing songs about how you’re drinking, fighting, skating and generally making trouble for The Man like you were at 20.
“Dadcore is the main philosophy of our whole band. We’re four dads, with eight kids between us and we haven’t given up on the punk rock music that we love,” says Nick False, guitarist and vocalist for Calgary quatrogenerian punks The Foul English. Their particular brand of punk rock is strictly old school: False cites Never Mind The Bollocks, the Clash’s self-titled debut and Nobody’s Heroes by Stiff Little Fingers as key influences. “We also like to throw in the ‘80s American hardcore we grew with: early Black Flag, some Minor Threat or even SNFU, who we’re opening for in August.” (More on that later.)
The Foul English’s origins are characteristically humble. False’s previous band broke up and he found himself with nothing to do musically.
“I wanted to play with my friends and guys who are in the same situation as me,” says False. He, drummer Mike Semenchuk and guitarist Stephen Rubletz were friends since childhood, and bassist David Sereda was recruited from Kijiji and aced the audition. Songs were strung together in Bandcamp and kicked back and forth on the file-sharing service Dropbox until they had Switchblade Tattoo, their debut, available now on hot pink vinyl.
False might joke that it’s a “beer league punk rock band,” but they’re playing bigger shows and opening for bigger artists. “We really did start this out as ‘let’s have some fun with our friends.’ Everything has moved very quickly for us: partly it’s because of how connected we are as friends and partly it’s our experience. This isn’t the first band for any of us.”
A friend and supporter hooked them up with a support slot for legendary Skate Punk pioneers SNFU later this month, one of the higher profile sets they’ve played. Because of their family commitments it’s unlikely that they’ll be out on the road for more than a weekend, and that’s fine. Just like how the Minutemen used to end their shows early in the evening so that their blue-collar audience could get to work the next day, The Foul English have real shit to deal with, which is the whole reason we have punk rock in the first place.
Catch the Foul English with SNFU at The Drake in Canmore on August 24th, and at Dickens in Calgary on August 27th.AB, Alberta, Dickens, The Drake, The Foul English