The Return of Mutant Rock

Category: music 282

Atomic Machetes resurface for New Year’s Eve gig.

Matt Carter

“I formed the band while living a van that I parked in various parking lots around Fredericton,” says AT frontman, Scrud.  “Inside this vehicle I would often listen to Christian pop radio. I liked the lyrical imagery of those songs and adopted many themes found therein, replacing Christ with Satan and virtue with hedonism.”

The Atomic Machetes formed in Fredericton in 2002. Inspired by the likes of The Stooges, The Sonics, The Ramones, Hank Williams and others, the band have never once strayed from their original intention. Through active years, long hiatuses and career that now spans 15 years, the mission has always been the same: saving Rock and Roll.

“My idea was to form a band that would function as a para-military force with one absolute goal: defend Rock and Roll from its seemingly inevitable demise,” said Scrud. “If you remember, there were a lot of shitty jam bands in Fredericton at that time. It was before they all got haircuts, trimmed their beards, and started calling themselves ‘indie rock’.  Furthermore, nearly all of the supposed ‘punk rock’ bands of Fredericton were particularly weak and needed to be slapped around a bit.  So, I declared myself General of the Mutant Army and promptly recruited a gang – the other members of the Atomic Machetes and our fans.”

The band played their first show on October 31, 2002 at the Elk’s Club in Fredericton.  And for the next three years Atomic Machetes played regularly throughout the province hitting all the familiar stages of the day in Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John and Riverview.

“We also played Halifax a couple times – one of those times being the Halifax Pop Explosion in 2004 – and also played smaller places where other bands were too scared to play,” said Scrud. “Places like Edmunston, Jacquet River, Deer Island, and Truro.”

The band went on to release two albums and one EP: We’ll Cut You Up! (2003), You’re Gonna Get It (2004) and Rock and Roll Is The Only Thing We Got (2004). They also appeared on the compilation, This is Fredericton, Not SJ, contributing four tracks to the 25 song, five band CD.

The band also earned a bit of national attention on their mission to “defend Rock and Roll”. 2004’s Rock and Roll Is The Only Thing We Got held a four-week stint on the Canadian College Radio Loud Charts and was “the 50th most played album on Canadian College Radio in 2004,” according to Scrud.

And then, after a year of hard-earned airtime across the country, Atomic Machetes disappeared. 

“The band ceased to exist because the Mutant Army accomplished its mission,” said Scrud. “Rock and Roll was saved.

“Following 2005, all New Brunswick punk rock bands were essentially derivative Mutant Rock bands. Some, like Hard Charger and Tasty Wangs, are descendants, and others like Spaceblood, Chainsaw Boogie, are copy cats. But all are bi-products of Mutant Rock.”

Atomic Machetes began as a three-piece with Scrud (vocals, guitar), Tommy Blizzard Jr on drums and bassist Greg “Skifflewhip” Carter on bass.

The lineup planned for next week’s show includes Scrud, Blizzard, Buzzsaw (guitar), The Northside Rocker on bass. This was the band’s steady lineup during their most active period.

Despite becoming somewhat inactive 12 years ago, the band have continued to pop up here and there playing the odd festival gig, or basement brewhaha or whenever the future of Rock seemed uncertain.

“The Atomic Machetes reunite anytime there is a threat that Rock and Roll may die,” said Scrud. “This threat remains constant, and thus, we must remain vigilant.”

But the times, they are a changin’, and as Scrud sees it, the world may no longer need a band like Atomic Machetes.  

“Personally, I do it because I have to.  Not because I necessarily want to,” he said.  “That being said, I think given the success of Hard Charger, our job has become largely obsolete. Therefore, this will in all likelihood be the last show ever.”

Only time will tell if this is truly the end of Atomic Machetes. Rock and Roll seems pretty healthy. At least for now.  

New Years Evil @ The Maniac Mansion | Atomic Machetes + Neighbourhood Watch + Hard Charger + Which Witch Is Which | December 31 | Maniac Mansion 


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