On the Brink of a new Textbook chapter 

Vancouver’s hardcore punkers try out new frontman on cross-Canada tour

Vancouver-based band ditched the make-it-as-difficult-to-play-as-possible music philosophy for their new album.
  • Vancouver-based band ditched the make-it-as-difficult-to-play-as-possible music
    philosophy for their new album.

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Punk Night

Who: A Textbook Tragedy

When: Sunday, Oct. 8

Where: Garfinkel’s

Tickets: $5

With all the complexity of a mathematically-charged music score and screaming sonic chaos thrust out on a manic head-thrashing crowd, it is no wonder A Textbook Tragedy’s Kai Turmann was feeling a little stretched as both the vocal frontman and guitarist of the hardcore group.

Even though the Vancouver-based band ditched the make-it-as-difficult-to-play-as-possible music philosophy for their new album, they still decided it was time to free up Turmann’s music zone by hiring a frontman and leaving the guitar master to concentrate on his instrument.

“We really want to tighten up as a band,” said guitarist Bill Crook. “It’s hard to interact with the crowd without a frontman…. We are going to have a more energetic live show with somebody in front. It’ll be just another person going crazy on stage. Kai can just focus on guitar. We’ll have a lot tighter live set.”

A Textbook Tragedy will audition Aaron Brink as frontman with a one-month cross Canada tour which touches down in Whistler for Punk Night Sunday, Oct. 8 at Garfinkel’s. Edmonton’s Ten Second Epic will open.

Brink currently fronts Edmonton’s Hundred Acre Wood. A Textbook Tragedy discovered the Alberta talent after inviting Brink to the stage to sing a set on one of the band’s numerous western-Canada tours. The singer-band compatibility was immediately evident. Textbook instrumental tracks were sent to Edmonton where Brink recorded vocals over top.

“We loved the way he sounded with us,” Crook said. “He’s not the new singer for sure. He isn’t sure if he wants to relocate. It’s a big commitment.”

A big commitment with Textbook spending most of their days on the road promoting their most recent album, and their first full-length record, A Partial Dialogue between Ghost and Priest , released to a sold-out crowd at Vancouver’s Mesa Luna last spring.

With a 24-7 touring schedule — one U.S. tour, one cross-Canada tour and four western-Canada tours this year alone — the band soon tired of a monotonous set list and decided to scribble out some new material. The result is a fresh concert lineup as well as a new album, The West Coast Answer , set for release in the New Year.

“We needed some new songs to keep us interested,” Crook said. “We used to be really technical, making songs as complicated as possible. This time we are focusing on writing good songs. They are more fun to listen to.”

With sometimes bizarre time signatures that left audiences unsure of where to find the beat, Textbook’s new music gives listeners more of a head bobbing experience these days, along with a shift from metal influences to a hardcore base.

The band — whose members are just barely legal drinking age — and its mixed up musical assault of metal, hardcore, jazz and ambient rock, has garnered a devout following on the all-ages music scene.

The group scored Calgary and Vancouver shows on both the 2004 and 2005 Warped Tour. Textbook also opened for national acts such as Misery Signals, Sutterfly, Bleed the Dream, Ion Dissonance and The End.

“Things just keep getting better and better,” Crook said. “I think the sky’s the limit for us these days.”

Tickets are $5.

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