Depending on your own tastes, you'll probably describe the music of Sore Points in a different way.
If your primary exposure to music is the recent Vancouver scene, you might hear them as a hyper-caffeinated cross between Bishops Green (at least vocally) and the sorely-missed Jolts (musically). Someone with roots in American punk might think of the poppier side of vintage California hardcore, like, say, the faster songs of Channel 3. Nick Jones, of first-generation Vancouver band the Pointed Sticks - who will be one of an all-star lineup of opening acts for this Saturday's show at the Astoria – describes them as a “great young band” (relative to the Pointed Sticks, anyhow) and likens them to the early music of the Damned.
Trevor - drummer for the band, formerly of Nervous Talk, which also featured vocalist/ bassist Shane - says the band has, in fact, gotten references to the Ramones and the Damned more than once in their history.
"To me it makes sense, I learnt how to play from those records, with 8th notes and a loud washy ride cymbal.” But he also tips his hat to “bands like Stranglers, Teenage Head, Slaughter and the Dogs, the Cramps, the Blitz” and others.
There’s also a touching awareness of their local punk rock forbears, evidenced, for example, by their having covered “Behind the Smile” at a Neptoon in-store, a few years ago, shortly after the passing of Subhumans vocalist Brian “Wimpy Roy” Goble. “We’ve played that only once,” Trevor tells the Straight, “as our kind of salute to Wimpy.” (I was lucky enough to be there and they brought a big grin to my face, both by their having chosen a fantastic, under-rated song for a cover and by their having absolutely nailed it).
Did he ever get to see the Subhumans play live? “I did see the reformed band in Calgary, I want to say, like, in 2005 or something? They were great.” (One song on Sore Points self-titled debut, “Nightfall,” might even remind astue listeners of the tune for “Behind the Smile,” at least during part of the verse, though the band don’t make much of the similarity).
And speaking of departed DOA bassists, Trevor also remembers rubbing shoulders with Randy Rampage, years ago. “I had met Randy when I was a teenager at my first DOA show in Calgary,” he says. “He was a true gentleman, inviting us to hang out at their hotel after the show. I remember driving to Canmore the next night to hang out them; this was in winter and me and my friends didn’t have any money for a hotel, and Randy offered us his room – RIP, Randy.”
So of those first-gen Vancouver punk bands, who does Trevor think is truly underrated? “Wasted Lives” – subject of a recent Supreme Echo release – “are my favourite underrated Vancouver band for sure,” he responds quickly. “But any of the bands from the Vancouver Complication could have made the list. Is that not one of the greatest records ever made?!”
We sure won’t argue that point.
It may seem a coup for a young punk band to have the Tranzmitors and Pointed Sticks among their opening acts for a record release show, but “we are all huge fans of Sticks and Tranzmitors,” Trevor continues, “so it was only natural to make friends with your favourite bands. I’ve kept close with both Nick and Jeffrey over the years so it didn’t feel weird at all asking them. We had to change a couple of things like dates and venue to make the lineup work, but it came together and the show is gonna be wild!”
But who is (first act) Chain Whip, anyhow – for those of us not paying attention?
Sore Points vocalist Shane responds that they “are a rad early 80's American hardcore-esque band comprised of some hard working Vancouver music folks.”
Turns out their lineup includes Joshy, of the aforementioned Jolts, which should be all the reason anyone needs to come early and stay.
Unlike some of those early Vancouver punk bands, Sore Points don’t really have that much of a political edge, with lyrics, Shane says, “mostly about coping with existence really.” But he adds, “I suppose they could be considered political in their approach to the way that problem is dealt with.”
The album will see a release on vinyl, he continues, from Deranged Records, and will also be available on Bandcamp.
So with so much awareness of, and respect for, their progenitors, does Sore Points have a hoard of prized Vancouver punk collectibles?
Not really, Trevor offers – though “maybe one of the Bev Davies calendars” counts.
Hmm. Maybe we can get Bev on the guestlist, what say?