12 reasons why Canada rocks!
Annihilator's Jeff Waters picks his 12 favourite Canadian rock ambassadors
With all of its provinces, poutine and 35,749,600 people, Canada's contribution to rock is worthy of some sort of shiny award.
We challenged Annihilator guitarist and Ottawa native Jeff Waters to pick the 10 best bands to emerge from the Great White North. He picked 12.
"I’m going to give this to you in order, but I’m probably going to revise the order the second you shut the machine off," says the guitarist, "but this is my first, instinctual reaction to the challenge posed..."
**10. DANKO JONES
**It’s not necessarily because of his music, but because of his attitude and the fact that he’s Canadian and the industry over there has repeatedly turned their backs on him over the years. That’s happened to me too, and other people on this list, some of which are bona fide geniuses – like Devin Townsend who we’ll be hearing from next – but the fact that he can go and play Scandinavian arenas to 1,000 people a night, and then come home and play small club shows in Ottawa, Canada and have to fight to get towels and drinking water, is absurd. He went on stage once and got shocked by the monitor board because it was so old there was water and moisture in it, he actually got an electric shock whilst he was playing. And this is how he gets treated in his home country. I can relate to that. But his attitude is inspirational. He’s a really nice guy too, and a big, BIG metal fan.
**9. DEVIN TOWNSEND
**Devin is one of the top geniuses to ever come out of Canada. Everything he’s ever done is great. He’s not been an influence on me musically, just like Danko hasn’t been, but I also love Devin’s attitude. He went on an acoustic tour a few years ago across Canada, and he wound up playing shows in front of about 40 people a night. It’s mind-blowing that a country as big as Canada - the population is around 38 million – can turn their back on someone as successful overseas, and as musically gifted as Devin Townsend. He’s a genius.
**Sloan are probably an unheard of band everywhere in the world except from Canada, but they were great and I always appreciated the diversity in what they were doing. In my own little comparison, Annihilator have everything from love songs (The One) to goofy, punk rock humorous songs (Kraf Dinner), to serious songs about family members dying (Phoenix Rising). Musically, we’re just a schizophrenic bowl of poop mixed together, and Sloan were one of the bands that taught me you could mix different styles successfully. Sadly, they never made it though. They were popular in Canada and on the video channels over there, but they were one of those bands that should have been much bigger. I think like a lot of Canadian-only bands – i.e. bands from Canada that only sign to Canadian labels – they screwed themselves over, as it’s a terrible business over there. I think they would’ve been massive in the UK if they’d gotten out of Canada.
**7. BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE
**When Randy Bachman split from The Guess Who, I guess there was a bit of competition because The Guess Who were a huge band at the time, but he somehow managed to get out of one hugely successful band only to form another that was equally as massive. And it was neat to see the guitar player go out and be so successful by singing too. I was only a kid when I first heard songs like Takin’ Care of Business and You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, but even then they blew me away.
**These guys are a Toronto-based band. They were originally fronted by Stace “Sheepdog” McLaren, and were around during the early days of thrash – they were very influential on some of the big names in metal. Older journalists and metal fans – the ones over 40, at least – will remember songs like Evil Invaders and their album Executioner’s Song. Their guitarist Dave Carlo had these brutal riffs that sounded like a super-heavy Motörhead, but a violent one, and he was definitely an influence on some of my early guitar riffs. We have a song called Phantasmagoria, which was a pretty big song for Annihilator back in the nineties, and the main riff from the chorus comes directly from a song called Cut Throat by Razor. So I was very influenced by this band, and they did affect my career a little bit. _