Featured article: Billy Talent

Punk quartet Billy Talent started off their life in the early 1990s as Pezz, a name the Ontario-based band adopted in high school. The four boyhood friends, songster Ben Kowalewicz, guitarist Ian D’Sa, bassist Jon Gallant and percussionist Aaron Solowoniuk, met in secondary school where they joined forces around their shared talents and love of music. At the end of the decade the group swapped out their former moniker for their current title after a character in the book Hard Core Logo.

An underground staple on the hard core scene for years, Billy Talent self-released two EPs, Demoluca and Dudebox, both efforts faring well locally. Encouraged by their growing success, the quartet headed back into the box to turn out their independent studio debut Watoosh! While the album was a hit with their current fan base it failed to reach the mainstream audience that Billy Talent was aiming to tap. Luckily their debut effort didn’t fall on deaf ears, and through a blend of Kowalewicz’s connections at a local radio station and growing label interest, Billy Talent snagged its first record deal after co-signing with Atlantic and Warner in 2002.

Their self-titled 2003 sophomore release showcased the group’s evolution from hardcore rock into the poppy-punk style they are now recognized for. The album reached the mainstream audience they had been seeking when it went Gold in Germany and triple Platinum in Canada. Singles “Try Honesty,” “The Ex” and “Nothing To Lose” helped to carry the act through a whirlwind tour lasting into 2005. On the way down the path the boys garnered several awards including two Junos. In spite of some personal health issues, the band closed ranks to support one another and headed back into the studio.

Billy Talent’s recognition as a top player in the punk rock music scene was reinforced with the success of their next two albums, Billy Talent II and Billy Talent III, released in 2006 and 2009 respectively. Both efforts catapulted to the top of Canadian music charts as well as hitting high on charts across Europe, gaining triple Platinum certifications. Embarking on a world tour in 2006, the band hit the festival circuit across Europe, the UK and the US playing with entrenched artists like Incubus at Vans Warped Tour, Rise Against and Cancer Bats. 2009 saw Billy Talent grace the stage at Coachella music festival with The Cure, Paul McCartney and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

In 2011 Kowalewicz announced that the band was off the road and diving back into the studio to focus on their next album endeavor. In an unexpected move the band announced that the upcoming album would fall outside of the “Billy Talent” trilogy and simply be branded X. A tweet revealed that the album would be released in July 2012. As the band’s sound continues to mature, fans can only be anticipating material of the same caliber from this punk rock fundamental.

Written by Destrukto. Original content here: Canadian Music News

About the author

Destrukto is a musician, songwriter and producer from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada with college diplomas in both business and computers. Destrukto has spent well over 10 years playing in, recording and promoting Canadian bands.