Vue Weekly – Frontman Bootcamp
Vue Weekly interviewed our singer, PJ Lavergne, ahead of our LP release in Edmonton. Read it all here!
There’s another universe out there where PJ Lavergne is singing morose, mid-tempo alt-country songs on an acoustic guitar.
That’s what the vocalist for Napalmpom figures he might be doing if he hadn’t been asked by friends to front one of Calgary’s prime rock ‘n’ roll exports. Well, either that or continuing to host the karaoke parties he’s been in charge of at Broken City for almost a decade now.
“I had a great conversation with a friend when I first started playing with Napalmpom, expressing some anxiousness at what I was going to be doing,” Lavergne admits. “She told me that I should treat the karaoke as frontman bootcamp. I’ve done so much dumb stuff on that karaoke stage, and I couldn’t possibly do anything dumber with the band.”
Lavergne is something of a newcomer to the world of live music, teaming up with bandmates and scene veterans Craig Evans, Ian Baker, Matthew Bayliff and Shawn Petsche when he was past 30 years of age. The move from audience member to singer was a strange one for Lavergne, who points out that he’s been watching the members of Napalmpom as a fan for quite some time. The fact that his first band is also one of the most well-regarded in the province is just icing on the cake.
“It’s been a really bizarre journey,” he laughs. “Sometimes I feel like the little kid brother in the scene, the guy that everybody has been pulling for. I said ‘yes’ something like two years ago, but I wasn’t quite expecting the workload that came with putting out a record. I guess I always had this idea of the montage that you see in movies, where you record in a studio and a couple of hundred dollars later you’re making cardboard cover jackets.”
It took a little longer than Lavergne expected for his band’s debut release, The Unconditional Love of Napalmpom, to come out. Oh, there were various EPs up on Bandcamp for fans to download, but nothing substantial until Napalmpom went into Lorrie Matheson’s Arch Audio some time back to record a nine-track album (including the single and first video, “Guided By Volume”) that will also be available on red vinyl and limited edition cassette.
The album was put on hold for a number of months while the band members cleared their individual schedules, but now it’s finally out. It’s exactly the kind of blazingly unreconstructed rock that you’d expect from Napalmpom, a brazen homage to the bands the group loves most, from AC/DC to Thin Lizzy, Tricky Woo to the Hellacopters. Lavergne is more than proud of The Unconditional Love of Napalmpom, and more than a little thrilled at how people have reacted to it and his band.
“It’s sort of the Rudy moment in my life, where I finally get to go play in the football game,” Lavergne adds. “I feel like this little kid who gets a chance to go and do dumb shit on stage with friends that I’ve known for years, and there’s really nothing else I’d rather be doing.”
Sat, Oct 18 (9 pm)
With Whitey Houston, the Archaics
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