By Glen Murdoch
CALGARY – Legendary UK punk act Menace formed in 1976 and is making their first ever Western Canada appearances this month, thanks to a Facebook cold call placed by Chris Schwartz from Calgary’s Streetlight Saints. A few exchanges later, Menace was booked for dates across the region with Schwartz and company in tow. Given their passion for the U.K. group, we had Streetlight Saints’ member Glen Murdoch chat with Noel Martin to check in.
Glen Murdoch: How do you feel about modern punk rock as opposed to how it was way-back-when?
Noel Martin: When we started to play punk there were many good bands and some bad ones. However, even the bad ones played it from their heart and really enjoyed themselves. I think today is also really good and there are lots of really good bands, obviously some of those bands are still the ones that were around in the ‘70s, [like] U.K. Subs, 999, The Vibrators.
GM: What do you think of the whole Brexit thing? Will that make it harder to tour around Europe?
NM: It’s very hard to say what Brexit will mean in the future, but if it’s the same as it was in the past, it will be harder for bands to play in Europe. All of your equipment, guitars, and amps will need to be logged with a copy of the list for each border control. There may be a limit on how much money or how much duty-free (Jägermeister) we can bring back home.
GM: What are your rehearsals generally like? For instance, do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more geared towards prepping for gigs?
NM: We have a real problem with rehearsals in that we live hours away from each other… In fact I am the only original member and the only one still living in London. As we have played for a number of years, we don’t need to rehearse as much as we used to, although we still do new songs in the set. Generally what we do is rehearse the day before or the day of the show, which is generally enough for us. When we are writing for albums, we get together over a long weekend either in Bournemouth or in London and just play non-stop 12 hours a day.
GM: You were last in Canada in 2014, in Montreal for a St. Patrick’s Day gig, correct? What are you expecting in Canada this time around regarding scenery, people, how the shows will go?
NM: Yes, we played St. Patrick’s Day in Montréal in 2014. I didn’t think it was so long ago but I’ve just checked and I’ve got the glass to prove it… We are looking forward [to] playing in Canada this time because we will get to see some of the country. I think apart from the shows, a real highlight for us will be driving over the Rocky Mountains…. [It] sounds like a bucket list thing to me. I may even try to stay sober for that.
To finish off, I would just like to say from myself and the entire band, as I know they feel the same: the fact that we are still playing after 40 years is, for us, a privilege that we don’t take lightly. We really appreciate all our fans, all the promoters out there, and all the other bands that play with us or let us play with them. I wanna say a big thanks, from all of us, because you make us feel brilliant!
Menace perform in Edmonton at DV8 on April 5, in Calgary at Vern’s on April 6, in Victoria at Logan’s Pub on April 7, and in Vancouver at Pat’s Pub on April 8.DV8, Logan's Pub, Menace, Pat's Pub, Vern's