Story: Andrew Kelham

Photo: Ashley Maile

In the parking lot at each venue of the Rockstar Taste Of Chaos tour, there will be a long line of bright, shiny tour buses housing various bands, crew and members of the production team responsible for the shows. There will also be one van, a 2006 Chevrolet Express with 200,000 miles on the odometer-the touring weapon of choice for the Toronto-based quartet Cancer Bats. “Management always brings up the van,” admits vocalist Liam Cormier. “They kept telling us which bands on this tour were looking to share a bus, and we kept telling them we weren’t interested. We don’t want to take a bus, we prefer the freedom of the van. You can take vans like ours to 400,000 miles at least, where we are at right now is gravy train.”

“Unless the transmission dies,” guitarist Scott Middleton adds before laughing. “But that attitude is a theme of Hail Destroyer: That record was about getting in the van and taking the plunge, just going for something we really loved doing.”

Hail Destroyer, the band’s second album, is an unhinged hybrid of punk, metal, thrash and hardcore that encapsulates the spirit of a group who formed in 2004 and spent their first few years losing members and cash while gleefully fulfilling their goal of becoming a full-time touring band. The album also led to a deal with British management company Raw Power (Gallows, Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon), who have convinced the Bat-talion to make a few concessions to their shoestring touring lifestyle. “We are thinking about getting some hotel rooms for some dates of this tour,” Cormier admits, smirking. “Management want us to get a good night’s sleep every now and then so we can play really well. We said, ‘no’ to that initially, but eventually we saw the point in that one.”

In addition to sleeping in actual beds while on the road, the quartet may also debut some new material from what will eventually become the Bats’ third album. “We will spend January banging out new songs before Taste Of Chaos starts,” Middleton continues. “Maybe some of that will get tested out on people at the shows.”

The band-completed by drummer Mike Peters and bassist Jaye Schwarzer-are looking forward to the tour, but like any group of seasoned punks, they know some dates will be better than others. “Anywhere that people love riding dirt bikes or work on oil rigs will always be an awesome show for us,” asserts Cormier. “Hard working-class dudes who like having a good time and have a ton of money from their trade are welcome at a Cancer Bats show. They come early, buy a thousand shots for all their friends and just circle pit the gymnasium all night long. Good times.”