Pure punk rock 

Calgary-based Knucklehead prepare to celebrate 15 years of music-making


Who: Knucklehead, Rio Bent, Battle Snakes

When: Friday, May 22, 9:30 p.m.

Where: Garfinkel's

With Kyle on lead vocals, Clay and Jimmy on guitar, Matt on bass, and Eric on the drum kit, Knucklehead has been successfully pumping out straight-up punk rock since the band first came together, almost 15 years ago.

Yeah, that's right, this Calgary-based group has been kickin' around for the better part of 15 years, in one form or another.

"This March is our 15 th year anniversary," Jimmy confirmed.

The original founding members, Matt, Clay and Kyle, played their first show as Knucklehead in 1995, with Matt on bass, Clay on guitar, and Kyle juggling lead vocals and drums. But the lineup eventually evolved to include two new members - affectionately dubbed "strays" - Jimmy and Eric, while Kyle was pulled out from behind the drum kit.
It's clear that these musicians aren't afraid to experiment a bit.

"Anything we want to do, we try to do," he added.

With influences like Stiff Little Fingers, Bad Religion, Billy Bragg and Youth Brigade, their sound is straightforward old school punk rock, though Jimmy points out that they've had just about every trendy label thrown at them, at one point or another, over the years.

"Honestly, we don't really care. It's not of our concern what people call us. We call ourselves a punk rock band - that's basically it - whatever else is going on... or whatever box we fall into for the month is not of our concern at all. We'll keep chugging along past all the trends."

So while their label may change, their music stays the same.

Jimmy actually listened to the group pretty religiously before he joined their ranks about six years ago.

"I was a really, really huge fan and I went to all their shows and the bands that would play shows for them and open for them and stuff," he said.

Over the years, he's watched the band grow and evolve, truly coming into its own sound over the span of its career.

"I think we've evolved, especially in the past few years, quite a bit," he said. "We've matured a lot as songwriters. Knucklehead used to be kind of all over the map and we're a little more focused now on what we do. I think we kind of hit our stride with our sound."

They've clearly managed to nail down the creative process that works for them, which usually entails Kyle coming to the group with a riff or idea, then the other members collaborating on the initial concept.

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