Remember Gob? Of course you do. They were the pinnacle of Canada's (and Vancouver's) pop-punk exports.
Yes, Sum 41 sold more records. Sure, Simple Plan has inspired more squeals from the teenage girl fan base. But Gob not only opened the door for these bands, and other successful Canadian pop-punkers like them, but they epitomized better than any of them the aggravated, gleeful and reckless virtues of youth inherent in all great punk bands.
And all it took is some lunacy.
"We were just a little crazier than everyone, I think," says Gob guitarist/vocalist Tom Thacker. "Not every day — we weren't necessarily a partying cock-rock band of the '80s, but we'd tell someone to fuck off if they were in our faces.
"I don't know. We're nice guys, we just wanted to do things our way."
Thacker founded Gob with Theo Goutzinakis in Langley in 1993. Their first full-length album, 1995's Too Late...No Friends — released just as Green Day and Offspring stormed the radio and video music channels with post-grunge melodic punk rock — struck a chord with angsty Canadian teens. Their video for "Soda," a two-minute starburst of juvenile delinquency, was featured heavily on Much Music.
Just a few months before the video's debut, Thacker says they were stapling posters to walls of Fraser Valley high schools, revving up hundreds of kids who had nothing better to do on a Thursday night in Abbotsford.
"We did everything by ourselves at first," he says.
"We weren't waiting around for anyone to do it. We didn't really think about how much success we were going to have, we just said we want to be in a band and we're going to make fans by kicking ass on the road. It was as simple as that. We were not going to take no for an answer."
In the years that followed, a torrent of similar-sounding bands, led by Green Day and Blink 182, flooded the charts. It was the height of mass teen marketing and Total Request Live, and critics argued that these bands had eradicated everything that was punk about punk rock.
Now, a decade later, as Green Day and Offspring prepare new albums, the entire genre is suffering from a poor reputation.
"I feel like it's kind of a hated genre because people get kind of tired of the three chords and the simpler melodies, where that's one of the greatest things about music, you know," Thacker says. "Simple music is the best music. Everyone loves the Ramones and the Misfits and stuff like that, but once it got too saturated, especially in the late '90s when everyone was in a pop-punk band, everyone starts to hate it."
That is not stopping Gob, however. They've stayed under the radar for the last four years as Thacker took on lead guitar duties in Sum 41, but he says Gob has finished recording their as-yet-untitled follow up to 2007's Muertos Vivos. Thacker says he's not sure when exactly the album will be released but he's hoping by the fall.
"It's more melodic and a little more poppy," he says. "All of our records change a little bit. They seem to be a reaction to the previous record, which isn't even necessarily a conscious thing. We just end up going it a different way, just kind of ping-ponging it back and forth with an angrier record and a happier record. This one is definitely more fun than the previous one," he says.
"Hopefully we'll get out and tour as much as ever, or maybe more, but as far as the album stuff, I don't know if anyone buys records anymore. But we just love doing it. We love being in the band and making music," he says.
They're playing a string of B.C. and Alberta shows, getting back in the swing of it all, letting people know that Gob's still around. And don't worry — they'll play all the hits.
"It just seems like the right thing to do," says Thacker. "The people coming out right now aren't coming out for a new record."
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