Priests of punk stalk Whistler 

Francophobe has changed his ways

WHO: Nunstalker & Slick 60

WHERE: The Boot Pub

WHEN: Dec. 10

The former leader of a punk rock band with a dubious name says he has seen the light, and changed his ways. Jeff Seely, who played bass for the Francophobes, says once he realized punk rock would not be his full-time occupation, things started to become more enjoyable.

Creative difference broke up the Francophobes, and the energy-draining task of living together and touring together also took its toll. Now that Seely has formed Nunstalker and wears a clergyman’s costume on stage, life is better.

Seely says he’s always wanted to form a band called Nunstalker, who were both hardcore punk and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. The reality is, very few musicians who choose the dark side of rock ’n’ roll make a living at it. He says this revelation has somehow let Nunstalker succeed in what most people call a dying club scene in downtown Vancouver.

"If you get to know the managers, and how they work, you’ll get the gigs," Seely said from the city this week. "If you show you’re a reliable band and you can be there when club’s have cancellations, like at The Cobalt, then you’ll work most weekends. The scene in the city is good."

That being said, Seely says his three-piece band, including Bill Featherston on drums and vocals and Ian Higginbothom on guitar, get off on dressing up as priests and playing up the Satanic stereotype of punk rock and its "evil attributes." Perhaps it’s this attitude that attracts the necessary crowd response. At this summer’s Naughty Camp in Mount Currie, billed as the biggest punk rock concert in B.C.’s history, Nunstalker performed in a slot third from last, just ahead of the infamous Day Glo Abortions.

"At least I think that’s the way it happened," Seely partially recalled. "After that I passed out. We purposely did our first gig as a band last March away from the city, in 100 Mile House.

"Because I wanted to break the band in slowly. I broke away from The Francophobes, because I wanted to go more hardcore and Nunstalker is going along real good now because we’re doing it slowly. We’re coming out with an eight-song CD real soon, and people really get off on us dressing up like priests. It is a parody, but the music’s serious.

"There’s a lot of posing going on in this business and we play on that."

Although Nunstalker doesn’t yet have have any recorded work available, The Francophobes were compared to bands such as Strung Out, Propaghandi and Scum Element. The Phobes managed to release a disc through Spawner, a major independent record company in Vancouver. Their last show was with Fuzz 58 at The Boot on Jan. 30.

At the grizzled old age of 24, Seely is a jaded veteran. But Nunstalker are using that experience to their advantage. Gone are the mattresses on the floor and the beer bottles on the windowsill from last week’s party. In it’s place are three part-time musicians having fun with it.

"Basically, I’ve still got a lot of integrity," Seely insists. "I mean, the Francophobes were going to Europe. So with this band my morals haven’t changed. I’m into it 100 per cent and I’m hoping it will always be good. But it will always be a hobby," said the man who’s full-time job is baking bread. "Punk rock will never be a full-time living for me. It’s just too draining."

Opening up for Nunstalker is Slick 60, a band that has its house in order with a well produced five-song EP called Pay to Play . Like most recorded punk rock, Slick 60’s song structure is much more audible on CD. Their attention to detail is impressive, especially in the opening track. Almost coming off like a demonized Rage Against the Machine, Slick 60’s guitars receive tender loving care in the studio, with some distorted harmonics breaking up the usual straight ahead thrash. Here’s hoping these guys take a little time as the opening act to show Whistler’s punk rockers what they can really do, other than creating a violent mosh-pit.


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