Billy Talent's latest album, Dead Silence, features some of their most ferocious and melodic work ever. They play the ACC (40 Bay) Friday (April 5) with Sum 41, Hollerado and Indian Handcrafts. We caught up with singer Ben Kowalewicz on the eve of the tour's Vancouver stop.
I think of Billy Talent in a Bad Religion kind of way in terms of how you go about your business.
Funny you should say that. The reason I hold them in such high regard is that they always do what they want to do. I feel like we're about 10 per cent too weird for mainstream America but, like they do, we just keep doing our thing. They've achieved a phenomenal amount of success - to the point where they can play anywhere in the world and 2,000 to 3,000 people will come to see them no matter what.
You're playing the Junos... again.
It's strange to think of [being] that young band who pressed 1,000 copies of our first album (as Pezz) at Accudub in Kensington. We gave 100 copies away and had 900 left under our couches. Now it's like, "Well, we need a rock band for the Junos - call Billy Talent." That's great, and our motivation hasn't changed: write good songs, make good music, be appreciative of everything and always give our best.
How's Aaron [drummer Solowoniuk] doing?
He's had a rough go of it lately - from being diagnosed with MS, then last year's open heart surgery and just recently the tragic loss of his brother. Yet he's the most positive, kind person without trying to be - he just is. He's innately good. He's my best friend. When we see him behind the kit, it chokes us up because he's fought so hard to be there. We all have nothing but the utmost respect for him. I just wish the bad stuff would stop.
You had a recent brush with fame?
I was with my wife, Rachelle, in New York where Hayden was playing at the Mercury Lounge. In walks Steve Buscemi, who had Hayden do the title song to his 1996 film, Trees Lounge. We were hanging with Hayden afterwards and invited Steve to join us for a bite. He asked where we were going and said he'd try to come. Sure enough, he and his brother show up at the restaurant. Says he'd love to stay but has the first table read for the new season of Boardwalk Empire in the morning.