Introducing Bleeker, Canada's new grunge revivalists
They like Soundgarden and Billy Joel? Meet Bleeker, Canada’s new grungers-turned-classic rockers
Bleeker look like pretty indie boys, but they play like veteran rockers – who’d probably crush said indie boys with one riff. Having started in 2003 as the grungy Bleeker Ridge (named after the streets they lived on), the Ontario four-piece became Bleeker only in January 2016 following some stylistic and line-up changes. In the process they’ve opened up their sound and embraced a varied, down-the-years diet that includes Billy Joel, The Beatles, Joe Walsh, Jimi Hendrix and more recent influences such as Soundgarden, Jet and Royal Blood. “In Bleeker we write whatever we want,” says vocalist Taylor Perkins, “and we’re not worried about pigeonholing ourselves into one category.”
“I still get together with my grandpa and we play guitars, and he still plays three or four gigs a week,” Perkins says. “My other grandpa was a trumpet player, my dad played us classical records…”
As under-18s, their gig circuit was restricted to more PG places like coffee shops and bluesy jam nights. Not that this proved very limiting.
“I remember playing four or five sets lasting about an hour each, and the bars would stay open past when they were supposed to close, which was two a.m. here,” Perkins recalls. “So we’d play till four in the morning, drive home for an hour and then we’d go to school.”
Small gigs turned into full tours, their name spread across Canada and beyond, and the band picked up support slots including with Iron Maiden and Aerosmith.
“All the bands our age have only been for touring for two or three years, so I think that sets us apart,” Perkins says. “I’ve been touring for thirteen years now.”
It all could have been very different, though. Having achieved top grades in high school, Perkins had the chance to pursue a ‘safer’, academic life.
“I had to choose between a record deal or university,” he remembers. “I’m really happy I chose music. I think I would’ve regretted not doing it for the rest of my life.”
Erase You is out now via Five Seven Music.