Burning questions for Alexisonfire

The melodic hardcore band, Alexisonfire, from St. Catherines, Ontario released

“Old Crows/Young Cardinals” on June 23, their fourth studio album since their formation

in 2001.

Members Wade MacNeil and George Pettit sat down with The Oakland Post after

their performance at this year’s Warped Tour.

The Oakland Post: How is “Old Crows/Young Cardinals” different from

prior Alexisonfire albums?

Wade MacNeil: I think when we got off the road from touring “Crisis,” we

weren’t exactly sure what we wanted the album to sound like a hundred percent.

We definitely knew what we didn’t want it to sound like and that definitely came

from a lot of contempt for what screamo has turned into and hardcore and punk and

everything, the state of it these days. The new record is definitely a reaction to that.

The Post: What do you say to fans that dislike the different sound of your

new album?

MacNeil: I think at the end of the day you have to make music that means a lot

to you, that you’re passionate about. Obviously we’re not trying to alienate our fans

by doing something. The bands we love the most are bands that grow and change

and try and push the limits of what they do. We have no interest in remaking the

same record.

The Post: Alexisonfire has been referred to as emo. What are your

thoughts on this?

MacNeil: I don’t know. I mean people like to put tag words on your record, they

need to describe it in some way. I think our music is emotional. I think all good music

is emotional.

George Pettit: Emo is one of those words that punk rockers and metal heads and

hardcore kids use to describe anything that isn’t punk, hardcore or metal. In our

minds we have a very distinct idea of what emo is and I don’t think that we necessarily

sound like that.

The Post: What advice would you offer to anyone pursuing a career in


MacNeil: Just break up. Don’t do it.

Pettit: If you’re pursuing a career in music, break up immediately. If you love playing

music, you should love playing music, it’s not about being famous or trying to get

big. Just do what you love doing and make it a hobby. If you get big, you get big.

Pettit: Here’s one. Listen to lots of music too. Don’t be like, yeah I don’t know. Go

to your local independent record store and meet some kid that kind of looks like you

and communicate. Get involved in the local music scene.

MacNeil: See each other at Tantum Records. Start nodding at one another. See

George in the pit, moshing for your old band, Plan 9. Invite him to a house party

when your mum’s out of town. And then, years later, start a melodic hardcore band

with George. And he says, “I don’t know how to sing” and I said, “I don’t know just do

something.” And that’s it. That’s how you do it, step by step specific instructions on

how to become a band.

The Post: Where do you hope to be in five years?

MacNeil: I think we’ll have definitely been around the world twice by then. We’ve

talked about maybe trying to collect and put together a book of like old photography,

something like that. That’s kind of an idea in the back of our heads. To maybe culminate

with the tenth anniversary of the band which is coming up in a couple years.

Probably writing a new record or touring another record.

The Post: Thoughts on illegal downloading?

MacNeil: I don’t mind it at all. I think it’s great.

Pettit: Yeah I read online today that another court case against pirating has just

gone through and basically they lost, and some 25-year-old student out there… it was

something between $700 and $25,000 per song downloaded that he’s gonna have to

pay. And that is such an ugly thing to do to someone. You read about all these things

like some mother of four gets busted because she downloaded a couple songs and

because they were file shared and all this stuff. The RIAA as far as I’m concerned is

a criminal organization. I think they’re doing worse than what illegal downloading is

doing. Small bands benefit from it, and the big bands, they’re a bunch of rich people.

This is the smallest violin playing for f—ing Metallica. Lars Ulrich is selling his $20

million paintings.

The Post: What ’80s hair band would you have been in?

MacNeil: Who sang “Cherry pie?”

Pettit: Oh, God, Warrant.

MacNeil: Warrant. That guy actually wants to hang himself. I saw an interview

with him where he’s like “I take myself as a serious musician then the label makes

me write ‘Cherry Pie.’ I’m the cherry pie guy all of the sudden I want to kill myself.”

So, yeah probably the guy from Warrant.

Check out myspace.com/alexisonfire for more info.