The Creepshow has existed for approximately 3652.42 days—or 10 years, if you want to keep it simple.
It’s a notable milestone that caps off a decade of changing vocalists, four albums, support gigs for the likes of NOFX and Dropkick Murphys and a continuously ticking tour odometer. But, as upright-bassist Sean McNab notes, touring wasn’t something the psychobilly group had considered when it got together back in 2005 in Burlington, ON.
“I was tour-managing Alexisonfire at the time, when the band started, and I just wanted to do something fun on the weekends when I was home,” he says from Toronto, shortly before getting back in the tour van for some dates in Canada and the US. “Then we get offered a couple of things and then 10 years later we’re still on tour.”
You would think coming up with memorable moments after that much time on the road would be difficult, but McNab—who formed the group alongside keyboard player Kristian Rowles—can quickly pinpoint two standouts, both of which occurred during the group’s early trips overseas. First, there was the Creepshow’s inaugural trip to Europe for a gig in Germany. A club owner had overheard his DJ playing a Creepshow track, and he immediately flew the band over for a Halloween show, which it played in front of a packed house.
“I don’t think we had really toured Canada at the time, so it was a crazy thing for us,” McNab says, recalling the group didn’t even have an album out at the time—it had only formed about six months prior. “I think we only had like eight songs and they were calling for an encore and we were like, ‘That’s all we have.'”
The second instance McNab points to is the Creepshow’s first gig in Moscow, Russia, around 2010.
“We had no idea what to expect, and the place was packed and everyone was going crazy. And after the first song everyone starting chanting, ‘Welcome.'” he says. “That was the first [time]—aside from that first European show—where I got goosebumps onstage.”
The Creepshow is in a new era of sorts with the addition of vocalist Kenda Legaspi; she came on board in 2012 after the departure of Sarah Blackwood, who is now part of Walk Off the Earth.
“When the first singer change happened it was just sort of a temporary thing; it started out as just like a fill-in type thing and then it ended up becoming permanent,” McNab says, referencing Sarah taking over from her sister Jen (the band’s original vocalist) while she was pregnant. “After the second singer there was definitely thoughts of, ‘Is this ridiculous? Like, you know, is it time to just do something new?'”
McNab and Rowles are responsible for the majority of the songwriting, and they decided to soldier on. A friend recommended Legaspi, and McNab says she was barely half a minute into the audition song before they realized they had their new singer.
“Her voice was a little bit different, but it just sounded amazing with what we were doing,” McNab adds. “We weren’t looking for someone to sound the same; we just wanted it to sound right.”
The band has released one album with Legaspi—2013’s Life After Death—but plans to work on some material during this tour and get back into recording soon after. As for fans getting behind another change in lead vocalist? The reaction has been positive, for the most part.
“I’d be the first person to say when a band I like got a new singer, just pack it in, that’s stupid,” McNab admits, adding he thought just that when Pennywise got a new vocalist, but he gave it a chance anyway. “It’s a crazy thing, because you can lose everything you’ve put 10 years into over the change of just one person. Luckily, it was a really positive experience for us, and it was way better than I expected. We announced it and obviously there were some people that were negative about it, but there were a lot of people who were positive about [it].”
Tue, Apr 28 (8 pm)
With Sam Spades, the Penske File, the Misfires
Pawn Shop, $15