Peace Doesn't Like It Rough

The boys discuss poetry, unity, and Blink 182 karaoke.

When Michael Willock, the guitarist for my favorite all-boy rock band Peace, asked me if I would like to go to the horse races with him and his bandmates Dan Geddes (guitar/vocals), Geoff Dembicki (drums), and Connor Mayor (bass) to do an interview, I gladly said “Yes.”

The first time I interviewed Peace, half of them were on mushrooms. They didn’t tell me until the end of the photoshoot, when I asked their drummer, “What is wrong with you?” because he started babbling on and on about Conan O’Brien and giggling to himself. Who shows up to a photoshoot on mushrooms?? That is weird. We became fast friends after that.

Peace’s debut album, My Face, was my favorite of last year, so when they finished recording their sophomore effort, I immediately forced their drummer to send me the album. Again, they have proven that rock 'n’ roll can still be interesting, inventive, and melodic without feeling washed up and tired. Plus, Geddes knows how to write a hook like no one else. You know, a totally unpredictable, off-kilter hook that somehow won’t get out of your head after the first listen. Peace recently signed with Suicide Squeeze Records and their sophomore album, The World Is Too Much With Us, drops in the fall. It’s catchy, smart and romantic as hell.

As for the horse races, I was excited, and there is no better group of boys to smoke, drink, and modestly gamble with than Peace. We only got to bet on one race because, unlike the veteran gamblers who were dressed in big hats and flowing linen slacks, we were late and already kind of drunk. Dembicki won $20. The rest of us lost. But Dembicki was the real loser because he gambled away all his winnings on slot machines in the basement and then road his bike into a lavender bush. Like total rock 'n' roll stars, we took the bus back to the city. I was molested, propositioned, and danced on by a really loud Frenchman. Peace didn't save me, they just watched him grab my leg and laughed as I slapped him away and yelled, "Enough!" That's what I like most about Peace; they know women don't need to be saved.

Did you have any goals with the new album?
Dan: The process was exactly the same, but it rendered different results.
Connor: I think this album is the best thing we have ever done. [Laughs]
Dan: I’m singing a lot more. It’s lyrically different. I wanted to write less kitchen-sink type of lyrics—my day-to-day life—and more about broader issues.

You know what my favorite song on the album is…
Dan: Yeah, well I did want to write just some straight up love songs.

And you did. “Your Hand In Mine” is the most romantic song I have ever heard. What do you think of that song?
Michael: This is a direct quote of what Dan said when we were recording that song: “The thing about this song is that I don’t agree with myself.”

Do you ever share your lyrics with your bandmates?
Michael: Dan always says to us, “Okay, I got the lyrics done”, but he never shares them. So, the song is finished, but we have no concept of what the whole thing sounds like until we record it.
Connor: Our PA is so shitty, so we can’t really hear what he is saying. We kind of get the Charlie Brown version of the lyrics.
Dan: I’m not afraid to show my lyrics.

Do you fancy yourself a poet?
Dan: Not in the band.

But in your personal life?
Dan: [Laughs] In my poetry endeavors, yes. If we make it as a band, I will never pursue poetry. You can’t do that.
Connor: I don’t know…Billy Corgan did it.
Dan: That book is the worst. The Poetry Of My Heart. I’ve read it.
Connor: Me too. I read a few poems. It’s just junior high bitch poetry.
Dan: You can tell he really likes the Romantics, but he’s interpreting it all wrong.

Would you tell him that if you met him?
Dan: Yeah, probably. I have no personal respect for Billy Corgan.

Do you guys have plans to tour? I mean, you are one of my favorite bands ever, but you guys are lazy. Now you have this sophomore record and American label support, so what’s going to happen?
Geoff: It’s getting real now. We’re going to tour America. We are going to make another album and then tour Europe.
Dan: We are lazy about the organizational stuff, but not about the music.

Yeah, but you have to have a balance. You guys have no get-up-and-go.
Dan: We are lacking in that department.

I’ve been reading Johnny Ramone’s autobiography and the Ramones had all these strict rules on tour like they never roughed it, they always got hotels, no smoking or eating food in the van, etc. Do you guys have any band rules?
Connor: Well, we don’t like roughing it.

What’s the roughest tour situation Peace has ever had?
Dan: The two nights in a row on the side of the van in Cranbrook, B.C were really bad.
Geoff: We were driving back from Regina, which was a heinous show—

Geoff: Oh, no one was there but patrons. On stage, we asked the crowd if anyone could put us up for the night; this had been working, but this time we were met by silence, so we slept in the van. Whatever. We used someone’s hedge as a sink and toilet. One night of that was fine, but then the next night we couldn’t drive far enough to make it home, so we had to spend the night in Cranbrook [small, crappy town] where I happened to go to junior high for two years. We called this guy Ryan I knew from back then and he said there was a house party going on where the people had ripped the engines out of their lawn mowers and strapped them to their snowmobiles.
Dan: I really wanted to go to that party.

And you didn’t?
Geoff: This is the thing: he ditched us.
Connor: We saw him riding around on a BMX at one point.
Geoff: So, we decided to get drunk and visit my old junior high spots.
Connor: We went to the karaoke bar and Geoff did a solo version of “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock.
Dan: I thought we were going to get in a fight with the patrons at the bar.
Connor: Especially when Mike and I did “Adam’s Song” by Blink 182 and we embraced during the break down in the middle. That was tense.
Geoff: That was one of the scariest moments of my life. It was such a rough bar.

Why were you guys in there?
Dan: It was the only bar.

Watching you live, I notice that Connor [on bass] always stands in the middle and Dan, who is the frontman, is shoved on the side. Why do you guys do that?
Dan: My favorite configuration was when we were all in a row, because it felt like a really united gang against the audience. I like that feeling. Sometimes, if I feel really nervous, I’d much rather be on the side.

Do you guys get really nervous? Do you vomit?
Dan: Sometimes. Yeah.

What are you nervous about? You’re such a good singer!
Dan: When I was first playing in bands, I would shake so bad that I couldn’t even play the guitar—like, I couldn’t do the basic motor functions that were required for the show to go on.

How did you combat that?
Dan: Alcohol.

Dan: Now, I kind of like playing sober. I’ve sort of gotten over the nerves, but they come up again sometimes.