Josh Zucker (left), Damian Abraham, Sandy Miranda, Jonah Falco, Ben Cook, Mike Haliechuk are doubtful whether Fucked Up will be playing on MTV any time soon.
FUCKED UP at Sneaky Dee's (431 College), Thursday to Saturday (October 30 to November 1), 8 pm, $12; and at Kathedral (651 Queen West), Saturday (November 1), 1 pm, all ages, $15. lookingforgold.blogspot.com for info and tickets.
There are more than a few bewildering aspects to the success of Toronto punk head cases Fucked Up - none more so than the unprecedented across-?the-?board critical approval of their two full-?lengths, including the just-?released The Chemistry Of Common Life (Matador).
Guitarist and figurehead Mike Haliechuk, aka 10,000 Marbles, knows his band is a media darling and is just as mystified by the attention - glowing reviews in Spin and taste-?making music websites that saddle Fucked Up with carrying the hopes of the entire hardcore genre - as anyone else.
How is it 99.9 per cent of hardcore bands are ignored completely by mainstream media and the indie rock world while Fucked Up are taken seriously (and lauded heavily)?
"You'll read a review that says, ‘This band is really changing the face of hardcore.' Well, how do you know?" Haliechuk asks. "What are these people comparing us to?
"I think that's one of the ways we're pissing people off. If I were a young hardcore kid reading a Fucked Up review in Spin, it would definitely make me groan."
What that surly hardcore kid thinks of the bongo drum section on Magic World, the second track on Chemistry, or other such FU experiments is actually something that concerns Haliechuk, to a degree.
The band has managed to straddle the hardcore and indie rock worlds quite remarkably, a feat few have attempted. But losing touch with the audience that followed the group before their breakout, Hidden World (FAB), would mean more than high praise from tastemaker media.
"We hear bad reviews from our friends and people who used to really like us," says Haliechuk. "It's always good to get a good review in a magazine, but it's way, way worse to have your friend tell you, ‘I don't like your new record.'
"But this band really just became an extension of what it was before. We're still just clowning around; it's just that more people are privy to it now."
Even if Fucked Up's studio efforts have become increasingly cerebral, diverging from anything the tattooed and fickle hardcore community is willing to accept, their live show, powered by plus-?sized vocalist Damian Abraham (Pink Eyes), continues to be an unnervingly chaotic spectacle even the hardest of hardcore bands can't touch.
Just dial up a recent taped performance on MTV, where the band passed on a conventional stage setup and instead stuffed themselves into a Masonic Temple washroom. With fans going nuts inside and outside the lavatory, fighting for space and destroying everything in their way and jostling the unfortunate cameraman caught in the mix, the clip is genuine anarchy.
"I was in that room for about three seconds before my amp fell on my head and I bolted," says Haliechuk. "A lot of people [at MTV] thought it crossed the line; we're probably not going to go back there any time soon. But it was their idea to have us play [in the washroom]."
This was actually their second property-?damaging, head-?banging, blood-?spilling live performance at MTV. Haliechuk thinks the network expected some Fucked Up chaos.
"Knowing the kind of band we are and the fans we have, I think both sides kind of knew what was going to happen."3