Alexisonfire | Photo by Derek Bremner

Two Catholic School Girls In a Knife Fight! TBT: A look back at Alexisonfire.

by • September 4, 2014

Alexisonfire | Photo by Derek Bremner

Photo by Derek Bremner.

Alexisonfire will always have strong sutures in my heart. Since the release of their second album Watch Out! I’ve been on this band’s heels, listening, sharing, and attending shows. If you’ve ever been to an Alexisonfire show, you know how wild that shit gets.

With the release of their second pressing of their vinyl box set (which I’m eagerly awaiting in the mail), I’d like to take a moment to look back on the band and reminisce about how fucking much they ruled.

Dallas Green, George Pettit, Chris Steele, Wade MacNeil, and Jordan “Ratbeard” Hastings all sat down and gave us a play-by-play about a year ago, walking us through each of their four monstrous albums.

When they released their first album Alexisonfire, they were inspired to give a brief description of their band on a show flyer, directly under their bandname. They were used to seeing descriptions of other bands like “Whiskey Tinged Metalcore From Upstate New York” or “Punishing D-Beat from Syracuse” or “Gasoline Soaked Texas Hardcore.”

They decided on “Two Catholic School Girls In a Knife Fight.”

In this video they go over what it was like heading out on their first tour, what it was like recording as a band for the first time, and how surreal it was filming their very first music video for the song “Pulmonary Archery.”

When I first heard Watch Out! all I could think is “are you fucking kidding me?!” When I inserted that CD in the aftermarket stereo player of my 1989 Chevy S10 pickup truck, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The opening track began and that now iconic guitar riff hit my ears, LOUD. As the intro came to an end and the guitars resolves in harmony, the song quickly exploded into this thrashing punk, post-hardrock sound. I was in full head bang, driving home from the mall, already air drumming.  I was into bands like Thursday and Thrice at the time so this was right up my alley. I was in love.

In this video Alexisonfire breaks down how tough their producer was on them while recording this record and how far they were pushed musically. Above all, they explain how well it paid off. They discuss touring overseas for the first time, traveling to Japan, selling out their first UK tour, attending their first Music Video Awards  and getting drunk, transitioning drummers, and how much they absolutely fucking love “Happiness by the Kilowatt.”

“We always set very small, attainable goals that we thought we could reach.” – Dallas Green

“This Could Be Anywhere In The World” meant a lot to me. I was still young, 20 -21, I was still very unaware of the world at large and became very fascinated with the internet and how easy it was to connect and communicate with people who lived in different states and countries. I was turned on by travel, a lust I have not lost. Like their songs and albums, I too thought “I could be anywhere in the world.”

Alexisonfire discuss their rise to success with their third album Crisis in this video, which debuted at number one on the Canadian charts. The talk about performing in front of 80,000 people, Wade almost dying and being run over, how they felt like they were plateauing, and how life began to catch up with them.

“I thought I had at least one good shot with that style of music” – Dallas Green

In this next video, Alexisonfire discusses Old Crows/Young Cardinals. They took their time with this record, being unsure if they were even going to make another record.

They discuss recording all together or “live” for the first time, instead of individually. They talk about filming the video for the title track at Niagara Falls and the fact that there was a fucking dead body floating in the water the day they were shooting. They explain where the album cover came from, discuss “the largest circle pit of their career,” how they found inspiration from Blues Music, talk about their favorite music video they ever filmed which was for the song “The Northern,” and touch on Dallas breaking the news about leaving the band to pursue City And Colour full time.

“By the end of [the tour] cycle, the band was really fractured.” -Wade MacNeil

In Episode 5 of the five part series, Alexisonfire discusses their Farewell tour. They express how overwhelmed they were with the positive responses and sentiments from people after they announced that they were bringing Alexisonfire to a close. They really pour their hearts out in this eighteen minute documentary. It’s a great recap of the movement that is Alexisonfire. A truly bittersweet end to something beautiful.

“We got to end it on a nice note for our fans.” – Wade MacNeil

This is the last song they ever played as Alexisonfire. It’s called “Happiness By The Kilowatt” and it was performed at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, ON, Canada on December 30, 2012. I had tickets to this show and I sold them at the last minute because I couldn’t leave the United States at the time. If this band EVER plays a show again. I will not miss it. I promise.

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