Joey Cape Peeling Back the Veneer

Friday 02nd, March 2018 / 10:00


By Sarah Mac 

Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape’s solo act trades Woodie for wooden.

CALGARY – With winter winding down, there’s comfort in spending intimate evenings indoors, especially if it involves being treated to acoustic melodies from our favourite coffee-loving punk, Joey Cape.  

Although  Cape  is  most  recognized  for  fronting  the  Californian  punk  band,  Lagwagon,  his  solo  musical career is gaining momentum. The first of Cape’s four solo albums, Bridge, debuted in 2008 and more recently the simply named Covers, featuring unplugged Lagwagon and Bad Astronaut renditions, appeared on his own One Week Record label. 

“I’m always working on new material and I’m always writing,” says Cape.  

“I’m just one of those people. I can’t stay idle. I’m recording a new album right now. It’s got a way to go, but I’m really happy about it. I’ve been writing it for a couple years and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done solo. But you never know, it could suck! So, we’ll see.”  

Cape’s solitary writing efforts usually result in songs of the somber variety, so it’s only fitting that his new material is sincere, emotional and dark. Pulling heartfelt selections from his considerable back-catalogue, he also diversifies his solo shows with a slowed down, bare bones take on some original punk classics.  

“I’ll be honest, I love sad songs, I like songs that are melancholy. It’s almost like that’s art to me, when I hear somebody’s heartbreak and struggle. But, that’s what I want out of a painting and that’s what I want out of a novel. It’s the same with music.”  

True to his word, Cape has steadily refined his style and sound by introducing the unadorned discipline of the acoustic guitar to his naturally restless lyrics. The latter of which is something that the stalwart singer has been perfecting since his early skate-punk days. 

“A lot of Lagwagon songs just sound really nice when I play them on acoustic, because they’re very emotional. “I Must Be Hateful” is the best example of that. It never became a song that anyone ever asked to hear, until I played it on acoustic. I think it’s because we [Lagwagon] missed the mark on the vibe; it’s too rushed and doesn’t have the right flow. It’s the subtlety of it. It’s great, but just keep it simple. You know? But, that’s how I feel about a lot of things, like coffee – it’s sort of like music. Just give me the bean, it’s already good. So, quit trying to reinvent the wheel!”  


Don’t miss Joey Cape on his One Week Records Tour of Alberta. He performs March 9 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club [Calgary], March 10 at the Starlite Room [Edmonton] and March 11 at Wild Bill’s [Banff].

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