By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Debating whether or not punk is a dying genre is a favourite topic in music circles. While punk festivals like Vans Warped are ramping down operations and guitar companies like Gibson are filing for Chapter 11, it’s the bands themselves that are keeping punk alive.
Take Subhumans, for example. It’s been 11 years since the U.K. anarcho-punk band released Internal Riot (2007, Bluurg Records) but their live presence endures and continues to fuel their popularity.
“Some of the best shows we do are in the States and Canada,” explains vocalist Dick Lucas.
“30 years ago, we were riding high on Sex Pistols and The Clash. There’s an undercurrent going on and there’s lots of anger going on, but there’s still not as many shows as there was 30 years ago.”
Part of the reason why Subhumans has endured for almost four decades is because they still have something to say. As you can imagine, Lucas isn’t fond of the current American administration.
“To say that this is the worst government ever is a massive understatement,” he confirms.
“I wrote 26 song verses the week after Trump was elected. It’s completely fucked! The Republican Party, and even the Democratic Party, to some extent, has become full of nepotism, corruption and lying. Fake news and alternate truths have become the norm.”
Always informed and outspoken on social issues, Lucas doesn’t think social media does anyone any favours.
“All that you ever want is there on the Internet. Those who feel lost can be re-connected. But it’s a lot of wasted time and energy,” he continues.
“The whole social structure is different. People will forget how to read and write. The computer screen flat lines your imagination. It’s still no good for you.”
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For Subhumans – which is rounded out by Bruce Treasure (guitar/vocals), Phil Bryant (bass), and Trotsky (drums), the reaction is to get out and still perform killer shows. Punk is alive and well in Lucas’ mind.
“We want to stay alive and have people turn us up. We want to be relevant in whatever way possible. We never had concrete goals,” he says.
Despite the ocean between the U.K. and North America and the obstacles the band faces in getting here, Subhumans will be ready to rip it up for a trio of Western Canada dates later this month.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s an enormous amount of work to get over there and everything but we always have great adventures when we go.”
Subhumans perform June 7 at The Rickshaw Theatre (Vancouver), June 9 at The Starlite Room (Edmonton) and June 10 at Dickens Pub (Calgary).Dickens Pub, Internal Riot, Subhumans, The Rickshaw Theatre, The Starlite Room