Brutal Knights - A Toronto Punkrock Feast!

By Jens Hellroute

It sure ain't no secret that Brutal Knights' 2nd album, "Feast Of Shame", is my fave record of 2007, and the Toronto punks also delivered the very best show I've seen all year. So it was only natural that I interviewed singer/stand upper xFlansx aka Nick Flanagan when the band destroyed Helsingor, home of poor Hamlet. Musically Brutal Knights draw influences from early 80s US hardcore, Dwarves and Zeke, infused with some hilarious lyrics that poke fun of pop culture trends. Enjoy

WC: Toronto. Canada. North America. Smoking.

xFlansx: In America you can still smoke at the hospitals(This guy is nuts, not a single hospital in the US will allow smoking-->
WC: Toronto compared to Montreal. Montreal has lotsa great bands like Spaceshits...

xFlansx: CPC Gangbangs, Born Dead Icons and other stuff. The difference? First of all, Montreal got like 2 different populations, the french and the english, the french makes a lotta music within itself, a lot of crust punk. And the english scene, but the scenes band together more than in Toronto which is more isolated...

WC: Toronto is mostly english speaking?

xFlansx: It is. Mostly english speaking college students. The hardcore scene is good now, it took a long time, but with bands like The Fucked Up, Career Suicide the hardcore scene came in to itself, and then our band started with a group of bands like Bayonettes, Terminal State. It's a bit more individualistic pursuit in Toronto. There's also later drinking times.

WC: Toronto is like a neat, clean city?

xFlansx: Yeah, but not like Denmark or even places like Germany, there's a lot of homelessness so there's lot to write about in Toronto. And it's a young city, Canada's such a young country like The States compared to Europe.

WC: Has it become easier for Canandian bands to tour America?

xFlansx: It's gotten a lot easier, but it's still hard. But people are nice, talking about different Toronto and Montreal bands. Canada is annoying cuz you can't tour, because all the cities are so far apart...

WC: Well, you wrote a song, "Don't Tour"...haha

xFlansx: Well, yeah, well it's annoying! I think I wrote that after our 1st tour of America, we all got the flu etc. It's our 1st euro tour, they feed us better here, I think it's good we waited til after our 2nd album. And we got stuff on P.Trash Records and people know us a little better. Thanks to your zine, we found it on the internet!

WC: Well, thanks. And I must say that so far this year "Feast Of Shame" is my favorite album. Why is that? Since there's nothing new to it...

xFlansx: Yeah, early80s punk, garage. It's like this, our guitarist Jon Sharron writes most of the music, he's been through so many bands like Union Of Uranus, Choke Hold, Rammer etc., he loves 80s hardcore and Jay Reatard, so do I. And we love short songs, that's what it comes down to, you can say a lot in a short time. A band like Zeke was also an influence, "Kicked In Teeth" Zeke. And my old band Teen Crud Combo also did short songs. So Jon knows exactly what he wants, and then I combine it with my lyrics, it fits pretty well.

WC: I really like the in-your-face and ridiculousness of the lyrics, like "You're Fired!"; you can't fire me, I quit!...Donald Trump?

xFlansx: Hahaha, yeah he was a big influence! That's what I do, references to tv and stuff that people notice and make a funny point.

WC: Fuck Your Extreme Lifestyle ("Extreme Lifestyle 07"), I'm sooo tired of all that extreme sports this and extreme skateboard that.

xFlansx: Yeah, it's pretty stupid, I've been writing about that stuff for 7 years, back to the Teen Crud Combo days we got lyrics for a song called "Extreme Lifestyle", but we never recorded that song. I think the last line is like 'life is a tattoo', haha.

WC: I almost feel sorry for young punks nowadays, you gotta have extreme piercings, extreme tattoos etc.

xFlansx: It's too much! I only got one tattoo, and I regret it.

WC: I have none!

xFlansx: That's the true punk style. But the song is a response to a lot of pop culture; strong men competition etc., why bother?

WC: Like Henry Rollins is hosting a tv show where 'extreme' cars crash into each other and stuff.

xFlansx: All that macho bullshit. Okay, I've started to appreciate a bit more what he did in the 80s, but from 90s until now, forget it. Like he started Black Flag, yeah right.

WC: So do you have anything released after "Feast Of Shame"?

xFlansx: Yeah, we have this 12" picture disc, "Living By Yourself", on P.Trash Records with us on this tour only.

WC: Jay Reatard plays solo on "Extreme Lifestyle '07", and sorta produced the album.

xFlansx: Yeah, he took the guitar and did a crazy job, I still don't know he did it. The mixing job he did on "Feast Of
Shame" is excellent, just as we wanted it!

WC: I heard you do stand-up comedy, under your real name, of course, Nick Flanagan?

xFlansx: Yes I do, I toured with this comedian called Neil Hamburger, do you know him?

WC: No, I'm not familiar with the new ones, I like guys like Bill Hicks. What are your heroes?

xFlansx: I like Richard Pryor. I do this intentionally bad comedy, yet sarcastic and trying to be funny and smart.

WC: 80s stand-up, guys like Sam Kinison?

xFlansx: Yeah, and Andrew Dice Clay especially the record "The Day Laughter Died", it's just him bombing, really terrible, I love it.

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