Alexisonfire (pronounced "Alexis on fire") is a five-piece Canadian post-hardcore band that formed in St. Catharines, Ontario in 2001. The band consists of George Pettit (unclean vocals), Dallas Green (clean vocals, guitar, piano), Wade MacNeil (guitar, backing vocals), Chris Steele (bass guitar), and Jordan Hastings (drums, percussion).
They describe their music as "the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight" (a reference to their song "A Dagger Through the Heart of St. Angeles", also the inspiration for their debut album cover art). When the band came out of the underground like an "utterly captivating car-accident-in-progress" in late 2001, it was enough to impress critics as well as earning their self-titled debut album a gold certification in Canada.
The band has released three subsequent successful studio albums since then: Watch Out! in 2004, Crisis in 2006, and Old Crows/Young Cardinals in 2009, each achieving platinum certification in their native country. Plus three special edition live albums from Manchester Academy, Birmingham Academy, and Brixton Academy. Their accolades include a 2005 Juno Award for New Group of the Year.
In August 2011, George posted a message to fans on the band's official website stating that, following the departure of two members, would issue several special releases and complete a farewell tour before parting ways.
On March 9, 2015 the band announced a reunion tour, their first since their farewell tour in 2012, including dates at Reading and Leeds festivals, Sonic Boom, Heavy Montréal, X-Fest and Riot Fest. On September 19, 2015, at Riot Fest, the band announced their official reunion, though in a post on their official Facebook page the band clarified despite the fact they were "as good friends as they had ever been", there were "no immediate plans" for the future.
Alexisonfire was formed in late 2001 in the aftermath of a three-band break up. Pettit was playing guitar in a metal band called Condemning Salem, Green was a lead singer and guitar player in Helicon Blue, and MacNeil and Steele played in a punk band called Plan 9. These bands broke up at more or less the same time, and Pettit, Steele, MacNeil and Green all still had the drive to play and succeed. They recruited drummer Jesse Ingelevics, and formed Alexisonfire. The band's name was derived from Alexis Fire, the world's only lactating contortionist stripper. This caused problems when she discovered that they were using her website name as their band name, and she threatened to sue the band for copyright infringement. However, it was discovered that the moniker was not registered, and no further action took place. The band released its first EP, Math Sheet Demos in 2002, so named because the CD was wrapped in former drummer Jesse Ingelevics' math homework. The group caught its first break when they caught the attention of recording engineer Greg Below and Montreal journalist Mitch Joel. The pair were setting up a record label called Distort Entertainment at the time, and coincidentally they were looking for artists. Below was working with EMI at the same time and he used this to record the band at the company's in-house studio and land them a co-publishing and distribution deal.
On October 31, 2002, Alexisonfire was released, the cover art featuring two Catholic school girls engaged in a knife fight, which was also the band's description of their music. Although there was a distribution deal with EMI, the album's success was mostly attributed to word-of-mouth. The band proceeded to tour support their album, crossing Canada twice, and began stepping into the United States and European scenes, playing with Billy Talent, GWAR, Juliana Theory, Godsmack, and Glassjaw. In October 2005, Alexisonfire was certified gold in Canada, marking over 50,000 sales. On January 14, 2014 a remastered version of the album, this time by Dine Alone Records, was released.
Watch Out! (2004-2005):
Alexisonfire had attracted considerable attention from major record labels, due to the success of their self-titled debut. However, when they started considering making a second album, the band felt that, for artistic reasons, they should remain independent, as it would give them better chances of developing and deciding their direction. They would remain with Distort Entertainment, and instead of using a famous producer, they recorded the album with Julius Butty at his studio near Hamilton, Ontario.
Watch Out! was released on June 29, 2004, and was immediately successful. It debuted at No. 6 on the Nielsen Soundscan Top 200, and received gold certification in Canada in twelve weeks. The good critical reception came from the fact that the band was more focused from the eighteen months of touring, helping them harness more aggression, release more emotion, and fine-tune all the tracks. This lay in comparison to their debut album, which was mostly first drafts.
I think if you do it long enough, then you get better at it. You're on the road a lot and you just get better. Also, we had a great producer, Julius Butty. We learned what we like to play. We're no longer virgins to the studio. We're just not quite the band we were a long time ago.
-- George Pettit, MusicEmissions.com interview
On June 14, 2005 Alexisonfire posted a statement on their website revealing that founding drummer Jesse Ingelevics was leaving the band. The statement explained that the band and Ingelevics had slowly grown apart, and that he wanted to spend more time with his family and his fiancée.
While touring in support of the album with Johnny Truant and The Blood Roses in Glasgow, Scotland in October 2005, each member of all three bands had the word "Yeti" tattooed on themselves. On an episode of the MuchMusic program The New Music, Pettit and Green revealed that the inspiration for their "Yeti" tattoos came from the 1988 Gary Oldman film The Firm.
On August 22, 2006 the band released their third studio album, Crisis, which Allmusic considers their best to date. The album was marked with a CD release party, where the band performed on a boat in London, England. They also completed three live special edition albums while in England from Manchester Academy, Birmingham Academy, and Brixton Academy Distributed after each show. In support of the album, the band toured across most of Canada with Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats and Attack in Black; the latter was signed to the band's independent label Distort Entertainment. Immediately following that was an American tour with Moneen, Cancer Bats, and A Change of Pace. At this stage they were one of the most popular bands in Canada.
In an interview, vocalist George Pettit stated that he is unaware of the direction that the band will head in for their next album, but that "The next record, I think, is us pretty much wanting to put the knife in screamo. I don't want to be the band that saves it, I want to be the band that kills it."
Though they were usually on tour with Anti-Flag, Norma Jean was their replacement for a short while, however Anti-Flag returned, alongside the bands Saosin, and The Bled. On their UK tour in November 2007, the band was supported by Saosin and The Ghost of a Thousand
Old Crows / Young Cardinals and Dog's Blood (2008-2010):
In July 2008, rumors were circulating about Alexisonfire on the verge of a breakup. Comments jokingly made by Wade MacNeil in an Australian interview on Triple J's short.fast.loud caused a stir with fans of the band:
Since Dallas moved to Los Angeles we don't really talk anymore. So I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see. I don't want to say Alexisonfire is breaking up on your radio show. But ahhh..... I'm just going to say Alexisonfire is definitely breaking up.
-- Wade MacNeil, triple j interview
MacNeil's joke was later explained in a press release from Distort Entertainment and the band:
What started as a couple of jokes to the media has definitely escalated into something bigger. We thought it would be time to send out a little press release to set the record straight. Alexisonfire IS NOT breaking up. We are currently writing new material for our next record and we are all deeply in love with each other.
Alexisonfire revealed the title to their new album at a show in Hamilton, Ontario on December 20, 2008. The album, due for release in 2009, was called Young Cardinals at that point in time. The band discussed the musical direction of the new album in an article:
Fans have a chance to hear Alexisonfire on the boundary of a "new, weird" stuff. ... Alexisonfire is really heavy and that's what we love about it. But I've got a bunch of new ideas that I think will fit with us that are a lot different. I kind of want to try and make these slower songs I've written seem really heavy atmospherically. ... On our last album, I never would have thought to try that because the record was so aggressive, but I'm going to try and take us into some new, weird territories.
-- London Free Press
Alexisonfire began recording Old Crows / Young Cardinals (with slightly altered title) on February 1, 2009 and by March 1, 2009 the recording process was near completion; Only leads, overdubs, and vocals were left before mixing and mastering. As of March 11, 2009 the studio blog confirmed 2 track titles: "Midnight Regulations" and"Emerald St." On March 31, 2009 it was confirmed that Alexisonfire signed to Dine Alone Records. The band was confirmed to play Warped Tour 2009. During the Warped Tour, the band did signings for the non-profit organization Music Saves Lives where they met with fans who gained special access to the band by donating blood.
On April 20, 2009, Alexisonfire released their first song "Young Cardinals" from their forthcoming album for radio airplay, though the official single was not released until May 12, 2009. The music video premiered on MuchOnDemand on May 15, 2009. It was further announced that the album would be released on June 23, 2009. On September 22, 2009, at the XM Verge Music Awards, Dallas Green announced that Alexisonfire will be releasing an EP titled Dog's Blood in the Fall of 2010. During the Autumn of 2009 the band embarked on the Eastpak Antidote Tour in Europe along with Anti-Flag, Four Year Strong and The Ghost of a Thousand, and in October it was announced that they would be supporting Billy Talent on their Billy Talent III Tour in Canada in March 2010, along with Against Me!.
On February 16, 2010, the band was set to play a free all-ages show at the 2010 Winter Olympics venue Live City Yaletown, though the band was forced to cancel their show 10 seconds into the first song after the rush of the audience broke a barricade and people were trampled. 19 concert-goers suffered injuries including broken bones. Alexisonfire would return to Vancouver later that year on November 27 in the PNE forum. On September 28, 2010, the band released a collection of songs available exclusively through iTunes as a digital download. The album, entitled iTunes Originals, contains previously recorded material from throughout the group's discography, versions of some of their previously released songs performed slightly differently and interviews with the band. On November 2, 2010, the band's previously announced experimental EP Dog's Blood was released worldwide and then on November 22, 2010, a digital version of their Aussie Tour 7" was released on iTunes. It contains two cover songs, originally by Midnight Oil and The Saints.
Canceled fifth studio album, breakup and farewell tour (2011-2012):
Dallas Green informed the rest of the band of his intention to leave Alexisonfire in 2010. Green agreed not to announce his departure until the rest of the band decided on their future plans. On February 14, 2011, on their official Twitter page, Alexisonfire announced they had been writing new music for their fifth studio album, describing it as "so heavy it's going to make Dog's Blood look like a ska record". However, on August 5, 2011, Alexisonfire announced their intent to break up. In the statement, George Pettit cited Dallas Green's departure from the band to focus solely on City and Colour, Wade MacNeil's departure to join another band, later revealed to be as the new vocalist for Gallows, and other personal issues among the remaining members as reasons for breaking up. Pettit also described the break up as not being "amicable". Alexisonfire had planned on celebrating their tenth anniversary with one last headlining Canadian tour and "a series of releases", although Green had initially expressed reluctance to take part in any further shows with the band at the time.
For Record Store Day 2012, Alexisonfire and Dine Alone re-issued Math Sheet Demos, which featured demo recordings of songs prepared in the pre-production of their self-titled debut album.
In July 2012, Green stated he had been in contact with other ex-Alexisonfire members, and that he and MacNeil had been "starting to talk about doing some final Alexisonfire shows, because when we did play our last show nobody knew it was our last show." In December 2012-15 months after the band's breakup announcement--Alexisonfire embarked on their international, farewell tour with stops in Canada, UK, Australia and Brazil, originally announced to be a nine-date tour. Due to demand, the tour was later extended to 15 dates. In December an EP entitled Death Letter was released, featuring new interpretations of songs spanning the band's previous four albums.
Recent events and special appearances (2013-present):
On December 25, 2013, the band released a vinyl boxset containing all the four albums as well as EPs, LPs, B-sides etc. limited to 1000 copies. It sold out in just 30 minutes. In April 2014, the band stated on their official Facebook page their intentions to release another box set, this time it is was not limited and is "slightly smaller than the original press and it's a bit cheaper". The set was released in August 2014. ד On March 6, 2015, Alexisonfire shared a photo on Instagram of the heart skull logo with the text "03/09/15" promoting an announcement on that date. On March 9, 2015, following the previously shared post on social media the band appear to have confirmed themselves for several reunion shows, including Heavy MONTRÉAL, Reading and Leeds festivals, Sonic Boom, X-Fest, Riot Fest Toronto and the band's only American date, Riot Fest Chicago.
On September 19, 2015, during the band's last date of the tour at the Riot Fest in Toronto, Ontario, MacNeil announced on stage that the band was officially back. However, the band later clarified this statement, reaffirming they had "no immediate plans" regarding new music or tours together.
City and Colour:
City and Colour is Dallas Green's highly successful folk side project, under which he has released two EPs Missing EP and The Death of Me; four studio albums, Sometimes, Bring Me Your Love, Little Hell and The Hurry and the Harm; and two live albums, Live and Europe 2011; all under the label Dine Alone Records. The Alexisonfire song, "Where No One Knows", was originally (in part) a song by Dallas Green (as City and Colour), where lyrics from the song feature on the track "Sam Malone". Similarly, Dallas Green is said to have written "Side Walk When She Walks" as City and Colour before it was recorded by Alexisonfire. The name derives from Dallas Green's name, Dallas being a city, and Green being a colour. With this project, he has recorded collaborations with The Tragically Hip's Gordon Downie and Attack in Black. It has also won Dallas three Juno Awards for "New Artist of the Year" in 2007 and "Songwriter of the Year" in 2009 and 2012.
Black Lungs is a band formed by Wade MacNeil. Originally its members were George Pettit, Jordan "Ratbeard" Hastings and Sean McNab of the band the Creepshow and the now dissolved band Jersey. After playing a few shows the band dissolved leaving only Wade MacNeil, after which it essentially became MacNeil's solo project. Sammi Bogdanski, Wade's ex-girlfriend's sister, contributed piano to his debut album Send Flowers, which was released on May 20, 2008 by Dine Alone Records.
In early 2008, Wade announced he would be touring with Cancer Bats and A Textbook Tragedy. The Black Lungs live band for this tour was made up of Liam from Cancer Bats on drums, George from Alexisonfire on bass, and Haris from Moneen on keyboard. The tour took in eastern Canada, focusing mostly on Ontario and Quebec with a few stops in PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Afterwards Black Lungs also toured the way across Canada with Cancer Bats and Johnny Truant. Pat Pengelly, formerly of Bedouin Soundclash, replaced Liam on drums.
Black Lungs is currently composed of Wade on Guitar/Vocals, Phil Waring on Bass, George Clark on Drums and Scott Savarie on Guitar.
George Pettit played a show on September 1, 2006 in a band with members of Attack in Black, Keep It Up and Fucked Up. Named after the suicides in Bergenfield, New Jersey. The quartet released a 7" on LowDown Records.
Drummer Jordan Hastings played in a hardcore punk band Cunter with friends from Moneen. The band was formed in early 2009, with the original name Hunter, in Brampton, Ontario. Cunter was played on Toronto's Edge on Punk-O-Rama a day after Young Cardinals played for the first time on the same station.
Dallas Green - clean vocals, piano, rhythm guitar (2001-2010; 2012; 2015-present),
Wade MacNeil - lead guitar, backing vocals (2001-2011; 2012; 2015-present),
George Pettit - unclean vocals (2001-2011; 2012; 2015-present),
Chris Steele - bass guitar (2001-2011; 2012; 2015-present),
Jordan Hastings - drums, percussion (2005-2011; 2012; 2015-present),
Jesse Ingelevics - drums, percussion (2001-2005),
Kenny Bridges - bass (2008)