Frostbite features punk pirates, Pulley and more 

Who: The Mad Caddies with Pulley, Choke, Closet Monster and Irish Car Bomb

What: Frostbite Tour

When: Sunday, March 7

Tickets: $15

Piracy is about as punk as you can get.

Think about it. Skulls. Crossbones. Swearing, swigging and swaggering. Disdain for authority. All night revelry. Spending extended periods of time cooped up in a vessel with your co-horts.

None of this was lost on California ska-punks The Mad Caddies, who took things to the next level with 2001 album Rock the Plank . The Caddies brand of raucous ska-punk crossed with manic dixieland jazz was a natural fit with pop-culture’s cartoonish vision of life on the high seas, resulting in a mad marriage of the two that became known as "pirate core."

Wisely, the Caddies didn’t use the concept to define the band and left it at that. Who knows what the So-Cal-based six-piece do in the privacy of their rehearsal space, but onstage they don’t wear puffy shirts or shoulder parrots or anything of the like. And 2003’s follow-up album Just One More didn’t have a skull or crossbone in sight.

But rest assured pirate core buccaneers, singer Chuck Robertson says the band still flies the skull and crossbones in their hearts.

He gives a grudging thumbs-up to the recent blockbuster film Pirates of the Caribbean , which garnered a best actor nomination for Johnny Depp. Grudging because there’s a touch of the good ol’ counter-culture bitterness that arises whenever something alternative goes mainstream. The Caddies are in the unique position of being able to say that they were pirates before it was cool to be a pirate.

"You know, we really were," Robertson muses. "Because I swear to God, right when we came out with that record ( Rock the Plank ) the next summer the Warped Tour was pirate-themed, The Voodoo Glow Skulls came out with a pirate record. Everybody was pirate-this and pirate-that. Goddammit! We came up with it first, man!"


Robertson is speaking from California a day before the Caddies set out as headliners on the Frostbite Tour, a three-week sweep of Canada starting in Vancouver and ending in Montreal. Sunday night’s show at Garf’s is fairly early along.

They’ll be supported by four opening bands including Edmonton’s Choke, who were there for their first Canadian tour in 1999. Since then, Robertson confirms the band has had a string of positive experiences in the Great White North.

"Somehow we tricked the Canadians into thinking we’re actually good," he jokes. "Whatever it is I’d prefer to keep it how it is and not talk about it."

The tour also includes plans to record a live album during the Toronto show.

"I’m excited about that because we’ve got almost five whole albums out and it’s definitely a good thing for a new fan or someone else to have all of what we consider are our best songs all on one album," says Robertson. "Hopefully we play ’em good that night."

It may be a while before Canadians get the chance to catch the Caddies again. While they showed up on last year’s Warped Tour roster, Robertson says the band will stay at home this summer and work on a new album. It will be their fifth with NoFx singer/bass player Fat Mike’s Fat Wreck Chords label, which also boasts bands such as Antiflag, Descendents, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, Propaghandi and so many more. And according to Robertson, they have no designs on jumping ship.

"(Fat Wreck’s) a great family to be part of. It’s super laid back and we trust everybody," he professes.

And just as one might imagine, Fat Mike knows the way to a band’s heart.

"The only reason we signed is because Fat Mike took us out to an all you can eat crab night," says Robertson. "They buy us the $9.99 buffet whenever we’re in Las Vegas together and they have lots of parties, at least one a year where there’s free beer and cheese and bread."

The beer at Garfinkel’s isn’t free but five bands for $15 is darn close.

The 1 a.m. Sunday shut down regulations mean that the show will kick off early in order to give each their due.

For more information call 604-932-2323.

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