Canadian hardcore punk band Comeback Kid has been rocking for almost a decade now, and they show no signs of slowing down. Even with a large discography and a dedicated fan base, the group is excited to continue their intense touring schedule and reach out to more people both here in the United States and across the pond. As Comeback Kid relaxes after playing a few dates in Europe and gears up for their national fall tour supporting Underoath, guitarist and founding member Jeremy Hiebert spoke with LA Music Blog about Comeback Kid’s journey as a hardcore band and how appreciative they are of their devoted fan base.
You were a founding member of Comeback Kid. How have you see the band mature and grow both personally and musically since your inception almost a decade ago?
We started the band in late 2000. If you go through our discography of four records, our first record shows a simplistic side of the band. I think over the years, we’ve learned our parameters. We are kind of a punk rock, hardcore band, so we’re not putting out anything that strays too far from that, but at the same time, we don’t limit ourselves. The first record was a simple hardcore record and we don’t want to put out the same record twice. Lots of bands do that, and it doesn’t end well.
We think the fans appreciate it too. There are always people who are bent on the first record, but I don’t think we’re the band that can [make the same record] again. There’s always something new cooking with Andrew, who does most of the writing along with myself. We definitely want to put something fresh out every time.
Your newest album Symptoms + Cures was released a year ago. How did that album differ from previous releases?
Well, that was the second record with Andrew on vocals. The first two records were with our old singer. Andrew was playing guitar at the time, and he seemed like the logical choice because he already had a vocal presence in the band. With Broadcasting, the record before Symptoms and Curses, Andrew hadn’t really found his style yet, so he was mimicking where Scott left off but sort of doing his own thing.
With the new record, Andrew really found his sound and what he was comfortable with vocally. We toured for three years and that gave him time to find his spot. That’s probably what people have noticed the most. I think vocally, [Symptoms + Curses] is the strongest record we have.
Musically, we never really sit down and decide what record we make. It’s song by song. It comes together as it does with no real master plan. We were super-pysched how it came out. Eric Radson and Kenny put the record together. They are awesome to work with because they don’t push their ideas on you, but at the same time they hear things we might be missing, which can complement the song. It was a good experience putting the last record together.
What has been the reaction to your new album, both within the industry and with your fans?
I’ve been blown away – it’s been out for about a year. At first, I have a tendency to be pessimistic and set the bar lower, but I was surprised with the positive reactions pretty much by everybody. Record reviews were all positive for the most part. Fans reacted well to the new record. Our peers, other bands, were stoked as well. It was a huge relief. For a hardcore band, it’s easy to be old news after the second record because everyone’s looking for the next up-and-coming band, and older bands get pushed to the side. We feel very fortunate to have been received well by everybody.
Do you have any idea what the next album will sound like?
I don’t think too much is going to change for us because we just have this simple way of doing things. We haven’t really come up with an idea of what we’re going to be recording or when we’ll write a new record. Every time I pick up a guitar, there are little ideas that come to mind. Garageband on my laptop gets a few additions now and then, ideas here and there.
As far as an approach to a new record, I don’t see us doing that. It’s always song by song, and that’s what works best for us. Other bands like to have a concept [behind their albums], but I feel that is too forced. It’s riff by riff for us. We’ll get into the basement, put it together, do demos, probably tear them apart and start from scratch several times and build it back up—that’s the way it works for us.
You’ve been touring heavily nationally and internationally for the past year. What has that been like?
We’ve been doing a lot of touring. This year has been super busy. We did South America, Mexico. From April until about a week ago we’ve been going back and forth to Europe. We did four separate trips [to Europe] for different tours and festivals, and that’s kept us super busy. In a week, we’re going to be leaving for this tour, hitting everywhere in Canada and in the States. Then we’re going to have a take some time off.
[Touring] is what we love, and we like to keep busy. I’m pretty restless, and I don’t know how I’ll take time off, but it’ll be needed at that point because we want to be on the same page and not burn out. We don’t want to overdo it. We go hard after we put out a new record and then chill and regroup.
What has been the international reaction to your music compared to how fans react here in the United States?
I think right now, Europe is our strongest market overall. I think we’ve made eighteen trips over to Europe over the last eight years. We’ve built a strong fan base out there, and they’ve stuck with us throughout the years. The turnover in North America is high. When people turn 21 or 22, they stop going to shows, which is a bummer for a 35 year old like me.
We also did touring in South America—Brazil, Chile, Argentina, lot of those countries. It’s mind-blowing how many people come out, probably because they don’t get as many shows. You have to choose between shows when you’re in Los Angeles or New York, but Santiago, Chile isn’t getting a ton of international hardcore bands. Kids are hungrier I think, and they’ll all be there when you tour.
We did Southeast Asia a few years ago, places like Hong Kong, Jakarta, Indonesia. So many people came out to those too. Kids have to save a lot more to pay for that ticket, and they really show their appreciation out there. It was insane seeing the reactions we got when we played out there as well.
You are about to head out on a national fall tour supporting Underoath with The Chariot and This Is Hell. What are you looking forward to the most on this tour?
Honestly, food. I’m a bit of a vegan nerd. I always like doing my homework and going to happycow.com. I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be a good, long tour. Short tours are hard to get into the groove, but this tour is five weeks. We’ve been friends with Underoath for a long time. It’s gonna be good being out on the road. We’ve been talking about touring for years, and it’s finally coming together. The Chariot guys I haven’t met, but I hear are great. I love being on tour with friends and good people.
Thanks so much Jeremy! Anything else you’d like to add?
General thank you and appreciation for people who have stuck with us since the early days. I know people get old and grow up, but I’m an old guy and very tickled pink when people are getting out to shows. At the same time, we’re playing with bands we haven’t toured with before, so I’m excited to win over new fans too. I’m psyched.
Check out Comeback Kid opening for Underoath this fall with The Chariot and This Is Hell at The Glass House in Pomona, CA on 9/21.
Comeback Kid Tour Dates:
09/15 – Rogue – Fayetteville, AR
09/17 – Aggie Theatre – Ft. Collins, CO
09/19 – The Rock – Tucson, AZ
09/20 – The Epicenter – San Diego, CA
09/21 – Glasshouse – Pomona, CA
09/22 – Ventura Theatre – Ventura, CA
09/23 – The Avalon – Santa Clara, CA
09/24 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
09/25 – Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
09/26 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
09/27 – Venue – Vancouver, BC CA
09/30 – Avenue Theatre – Edmonton CA
10/01 – The Gateway – Calgary, AB CA
10/02 – Riddel Hall – Regina, SK CA
10/03 – Garrick Centre – Winnipeg, MB CA
10/04 – Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
10/05 – Mojoes – Joliet, IL
10/06 – Radiodown – Covington, KY
10/07 – London Music Hall – London, ON CA
10/08 – La Tulipe – Montreal, QC CA
10/10 – Theatre Imperial – Quebec City, QC CA
10/11 – Rocko’s – Manchester, NH
10/12 – The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
10/13 – Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA
10/14 – Shaka’s – Virginia Beach, VA
10/15 – Jaxx – Springfield, VA
10/16 – Hangar 84 – Vineland, NJ
10/17 – The Big Sandy Superstsore Arena – Huntington, WV
10/18 – The Warehouse – Chattanooga, TN
10/19 – Freebird Live – Jacksonville, FL
10/20 – State Theatre – St. Petersburg, FL
10/22 – Rocketown – Nashville, TN
10/23 – Boney Junes – Evansville, IN
10/24 – Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
For more info on Comeback Kid: