Music

Scream and scream again

Alexisonfire’s George Pettit shrieks his way to success

No drinking, no smoking, no caffeine and eight hours of sleep a night. That
sounds like the regimen of an athlete in training, but in fact it’s the
rules George Pettit, lead screamer for Canadian screamo band Alexisonfire,
has to follow to ensure he doesn’t lose what’s left of his vocal
cords. “We try and take a few days off every four days, but
that’s not happening on this tour—which sucks,” says
Pettit, who plans to do at least 20 minutes of vocal warm-ups and drink lots
of warm liquids to keep his larynx limber. “When we’re doing
eight or nine shows in a row, its gonna be a battle, like me fighting my
body, to keep going. I’m gonna really have to take care of myself.
It’s a choice between partying every night and having a good time, or
playing every night and having a good time, and it’s not a choice at
all because I like playing the shows more than I like getting drunk and all
that.” Keeping Pettit’s voice up is important since the band will
soon be touring to support their new album, Watch Out, which is due to be
released around early June. The disc builds on the so-called
“screamo” sound of their self-titled debut album—emotive
lyrics coupled with the harder riffs of hardcore. The band’s signature
is the contrast between soft and hard—take “Adelleda,” for
example, on which shrill guitars and Pettit’s heavy, scream-filled
vocals give way to a soft “tribute to Faith No More” piano at the
end. Pettit says the new album will be even more diverse than the first one.
“We were virgins to writing a full album last time—we got in
there, we pecked away at it, we compromised at it, but I feel we didn’t
comprise any with this album,” says Pettit, adding that they picked a
unknown friend to serve as producer, and are very pleased with the results.
“We’ve got some of the most melodic songs we’ve ever
written and some of the heaviest songs we’ve ever written.”
Anyone attending their show will get a nice sample of these new tunes and, if
past incidents are any indication, have a raucous good time. On their last
spin through Edmonton, for example, they ran into some problems for having a
bit too much “fun” at a place they fondly remember as the
“the venue equivalent of Chuck E. Cheese’s.” “We
invited a bunch of kids onstage last time,” Pettit recalls, “and
the club got all angry at us and called promoters from other shows. From then
on we had to sign these pieces of paper before we played saying we
wouldn’t incite violence and do all sorts of crazy things that we
didn’t do. Like, they made us sign sheets saying we wouldn’t
expose ourselves, but I don’t remember exposing myself. But if
you’re that worried about it, I guess I’ll sign.” V
Alexisonfire With Boys Night Out, Blue Skies at War and Crowned King •
Starlite Room • Mon, May 3

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