By Kevin Klemp
EDMONTON – Over the past five years, Graham Strach, along with a handful of others, have been honing their writing and performing skills under the guise Reform-Punk. Now simply known as Re-form, the Leduc based political punk group are finally ready to release their first album Can We All Really Be Happy. Strach began the band long before he could legally play in a lot of recognized venues around Edmonton, but it seems as though it was worth the wait.
“The night that I turned 18 we played a show and like three more the next week. We really wanted to hit the ground running,” Strach explains.
Strach and lead guitarist Ash Reddy sat down for an interview at Rockin’ 4 Dollars, where the group often hangs out to show their support for the local music community. Not only do they show up to support the community that quickly embraced them, but they play, ravenously seeking improvement and further connections.
“Rockin’ 4 Dollars works really well for us and other new bands,” says Strach. “It’s a great chance for people and promoters to see a new act before doing a full set at a show elsewhere.”
Their first album Can We All Really Be Happy is an analysis of cultural expectations of happiness and contentment coupled with a personal look at introversion and depression. It’s told through the lens of emotionally charged songwriting and the actions to back up everything they’re saying. Instrumentally and thematically based on some of their favourite bands growing up (think Rise Against, Anti-Flag), the album is a promising glimpse of what’s to come for the young but motivated group.
Re-form’s current line-up includes Strach on rhythm guitar and vocals, Reddy on lead, Brett Coles on drums and Marr Guiton on bass. Strach and Coles are the longest standing members, witnessing members come and go for a number of reasons: people moving, people being unavailable and differences of creative vision.
Their politically driven punk rock music and attitude also became the root of some member disagreement.
“We changed the name to ‘Re-form’ to shorten it up but keeping the root word ‘Re-form’ was important to us. We believe in reforming societal norms and society itself; fighting for a better world.”
This vision and political views manifest themselves in the form of a series of questions Strach asks every possible new member of the band.
“We explain that Re-form is an anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-Islamophobic, anti-fascist band, and then we ask the possible candidate if they have any problem with that.”
Unsurprisingly, there had been a few who weren’t on board with that direction.
“We had one guy during an audition who just said he wasn’t interested because of that. There was another person who said he was on board with it, but as we played together his actions and some of the things he said kind of showed to us he wasn’t, so he had to leave.”
Kudos to these punk rockers for practicing what they preach and building a better world.
See Re-form at their album release show on April 14 at Bohemia (Edmonton) with fellow political punks A New Rhetoric, Rebuild/Repair and Me the Guts.A New Rhetoric, Bohemia, Can We All Really Be Happy, Me the Guts, punk, Re-form, Rebuild/Repair