By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Hindsight maybe 20/20, but that doesn’t mean you don’t gain a lot of clarity by going through that shit the first time around. For Calgary-based hardcore rock outfit 2/3 of Nothing the gravelly road to rock ‘n’ roll notoriety represented a tough age for the band who spent four years slogging it out in the pit before hanging up their gloves.
“Back in 1997, the jam space smelled like beer, cigarettes and pee. We didn’t take ourselves or our music seriously. It was more about hanging out and having an excuse to party. All of the songs were written under the influence so they could be played under the influence,” confirms guitarist Mike Davies.
That pattern of self-immolation started to take its toll and Davies was ready to take a step back from the proverbial canvas at that point. And he wasn’t alone.
“With so many conflicting drugs-of-choice, ego being one of them, infighting and addiction shortened the life of the band and we broke up in 2001,” fellow founding guitarist Trevor Lagler explains.
“Fast-forward to 2015, with several years of recovery under our belts, and Davies and I rekindled our friendship, which inevitably lead to a discussion about putting the band back together. We wanted to go into the studio and record our lost songs.”
Recovery is a loaded term for 2/3 of Nothing, as the group may have distanced themselves from those negative habits and attitudes, but the goal of writing and performing riveting punk and metal-tinged tunes continues to be a shared obsession. Salvaging their friendships was the easiest part of the equation, according to Lagler; he credits the band’s comradery and willingness to laugh at themselves as being essential to the process of going back to the drawing board and drafting the plans for the future. Fortunately, the passage of time had not diminished their instrumental or songwriting talents, and only served to amplify them.
“Dave (Countryman) is one of the most solid and under-rated bassists playing in the local scene,” confirms Lagler.
“He and Mike Davies go all the way back to the mid-80s; they co-wrote and arranged all of the band’s original songs. Mike is considered to be one of the best punk rock guitar players in Calgary and his level of experience, sense of humor, and personality help to keep things in the band light, and fun, which is one of the main focuses of this project.”
With that promise of keeping things pleasant and clearheaded, Lagler and Davies had little trouble roping Countryman and (recently retired) drummer Rich Johnson into their idea for a proper 2/3 of Nothing reunion.
“When the four of us got back together we discovered a different energy and perspective,” recalls Countryman.
“We were playing together again because we love each other and we enjoy playing as a band. Total 180-degree turn. This time we had an opportunity to grow the music as a brand and put some pride into it. We’re now coming from a place of humility, and just having fun. This album, we’ve created together, is called The High Cost of Low Living. It’s a historical record of the band and it is everything that has come before, with our new perspective stamped on it.”
There’s nothing more empowering that an unclouded mind and a fresh mouth. For these Calgary rock vets that’s just two thirds of the big picture.
“My lyrics range from taking the piss out of everyday mundane situations (from a very tongue and cheek perspective), to the more serious subject like life and addiction. Basically, we have serious songs and seriously silly songs. It’s all about maintaining balance,” says Lagler.
“Recording this album means finally tying up loose ends that are decades old. We are intensely proud of this accomplishment, because this was the reason we got back together. People can expect us to be loud, tight, make jokes at our own expense and play some kick-ass punk rock ‘n’ roll music!”
2/3 of Nothing celebrate their album release September 16 with headliners Gaytheist and Solid Brown at The Palomino Smokehouse & Bar (Calgary). You can listen to the record online at https://twothirdsofnothing.bandcamp.com/.2/3 of Nothing, Gaytheist, Solid Brown, The Palomino Smokehouse & Bar