Real Problems - Everyone's got 'em.
In my quest for an interview with the band Real Problems I found myself embarking on a journey to East Vancouver, leading me to a three level house that would be hosting a keg party with bands playing on the bottom level. When I talked to the band it happened on the top level, and at one point during the evening, when the party was in full swing, I followed a hot girl into the middle level. She turned around and told me to stop following her but that is neither here nor there.
Real Problems have been around for 2 solid years, and when asked how the band began Den-M (bass) told me, “I had been singing in Jones Bones forever and they were getting super flakey and not fulfilling any of my musical needs, so I said; fuck it I’m going to teach myself how to play the bass and start my own band. I was real shit at first, with the only lesson under my belt being a couple games of guitar hero, but I rounded up Cam (guitar/vocals) and he was real patient with me. I didn’t think that it was going to come together so quickly, but we were gigging within 3 months and recording our first EP within 6.” Then Cam piped up, “We didn’t have Jonny Two Sticks at that point and didn’t truly hit full stride until he joined the band.” Jonny Two Sticks was also in the room, but had yet to say anything. He was a big dude, hiding behind hair and sunglasses, and donning a t-shirt that said ‘I’d Rather Be Hammered.’
I asked them how they would describe their sound and after some humming and hawing Den-M spoke up. “That’s the funny part about our band, Jon and I bring in a hardcore influence because we love to rock out, but it’s layered underneath Cam’s garage rock n roll influences. It’s a strange fit, but these days if you’re not doing something original, or have a female singer in a leopard print one piece spandex suit, then no one will care. Not to say that we’re doing anything ground breaking, but Cam’s love of soul music and Jon’s love of metal brings some interesting song writing about.”
The band is set to release their first full-length album this year. “It’s a loose concept album called ‘Welcome To Scum City’. All the songs are about pimps, pushers & prostitutes, crackheads, shifty cops, bums, alleys and street life. It’s still good partying music, but the lyrical content is a bit dark.” Cam explained. “Yeah, our songs are kind of like a piñata full of broken glass in that respect.” Den-M told me with a grin. “Plus I went out one night and got audio recordings of Hastings at 2 in the morning so we could tie all the songs together with some real street noise. I saw an OD, a crackhead fight, two arrests, and talked to a couple prostitutes. Usually I’m the type of person that puts his head down and walks, so it was real strange to be in Canada’s poorest postal code looking for trouble to go stand beside.”
When it came time for the party to start the basement packed out and people were falling all over the place, not caring, while the walls glistened with beer and condensation. Jonny Two Sticks was an absolute monster on the drums and Den-M yelled obscenities at the sweaty crowd, getting the drunks even more riled up than they were before. Cam was coming just short of having to physically shove them to keep them off of his pedals all the while trying to sing and play, it was a wild scene. I even saw Chi Pig there. I was going to ask him if he was a fan of Real Problems but he was in a bit of a mood because he had tripped on a hose in the laundry room and planted his face into the furnace. It looked quite painful, but I’m sure he bounced back. “That’s nothing,” Den-M told me, “at the last party someone fell off the balcony. He was running down the stairs, tripped, and started doing somersaults. He plowed his way through the 2x4 below the banister and flipped through the air before landing on a group of people below.” He pointed out where it had happened and it was a good 15 feet up. I asked if he survived. “Oh yeah he was fine. He actually landed on Cam and put a nice boot mark on his face that was still there the next day. Cam’s first reaction was to put a boot mark on that guy’s face as well, but then came to his senses and realized he’d been through enough. I didn’t actually see it, but apparently he was a big bearded dude who was compared to a Klondike man diving into the gold rush. No gold down here man!”
The last thing I saw at the party was Jonny Two Sticks wearing a toilet seat around his neck and his ‘I’d Rather Be Hammered’ t-shirt was nowhere to be seen. There were beer cans and plastic cups strewn all over the property, and some girl was holding court and drunkenly slurring to a small crowd about her STDs or something of the sort. Maybe I heard her wrong, but I decided it was high time to stumble home. Considering my night was full of Real Problems, it couldn’t have gone any better.
Real Problems hits the stage this Saturday Feb 4th @ The Railway Club where they will be joined by some rock n roll heavyweights The Jolts, Green Back High and Crystal Swells.
And be sure to check out the brand new album 'Welcome to Scum City' at: http://realproblems.bandcamp.com