Junk - Working Hard Has Never Been this Fun
Junk doesn’t mess around when it comes to having a good time. I’d been told before seeing them at the King’s Head Pub to expect brilliant musicianship, gobs of energy, and an all-around incredible evening. I wasn’t disappointed.
Billing themselves as a cover/party band on Facebook, I expected Junk to take the stage at the King’s Head and play some crowd-pleasing rock tunes to a mostly-disinterested audience. It’s a hard gig pulling people away from their chairs and conversations, and you can’t fault a band for having a tough go of it, no matter how much talent they bring to their craft. What I saw that night in early November, however, was the exact opposite scenario. As Junk picked up their instruments, I grabbed my camera and headed to the front of the room to take some photos for this very column you’re reading. I only had time to snap a few shots, however, before I had to start jockeying for position in an increasingly-energetic, excited crowd. After playing only a few songs, I was forced to retire my camera and be satisfied with what I’d gotten – the space in front of the stage was completely packed with people dancing, jumping up and down, and having the time of their lives, ecstatically enjoying every guitar lick and bass note that Junk was laying down. It wasn’t just the band’s talent (which clearly runs deep), or their set list (which was fantastic). If I had to pin it down, I would tell you that I saw one thing that brought everybody rushing to the stage – fun. Seeing Junk perform live is an undeniably, raucously fun time.
“The thing with this band is we’re all friends.” That’s Jamie Landry, lead guitarist. “We all get along really well, we love hanging out with each other, and we have a good time.” This much was clear from the moment Junk stepped onto the stage: there was no pretense of solemnity or seriousness that some bands feel the need to project – almost every song was interspersed with jokes, laughs, and humour.
“If we’re not enjoying it, we wouldn’t do it,” adds singer and guitarist Andre Scott. “It’s that simple.” If that’s the case, everybody in Junk must be truly, thoroughly loving what they do, because they’ve got one of the most intense gig schedules I’ve ever heard a band maintain. Over the course of 2016, Junk has played shows on a total of 49 weekends – last year, in 2015, it was 51 weekends. “If it was individual nights, [the number of shows] would be in the few hundreds, probably,” Scott mused reflectively. “We would play seven nights a week if the chance came up. It wouldn’t matter what we were doing the next day – we’d play.” That’s some serious dedication!
After hearing how hard Junk works and how often they perform, the energy and enthusiasm they had brought to the stage at the King’s Head was all the more impressive. I couldn’t help but inquire about how they keep it up and where they find the fervour to play so often, while clearly enjoying themselves as much as they do. Of course, like all the best musicians, what looks effortless comes only from tireless practice and dedication. “On nights when that energy isn’t there for us, sometimes it’s a struggle.” Landry admits.
“Then, we get drunk!” Scott interjects with a laugh. “And we have a lot of fun. We make sure the people that are there with us have as much fun as we’re having, and that’s it.” And at the end of the day, isn’t having fun at a rock show what it’s all about?
Aside from Landry and Scott, Junk has two other members: Nicholas “Rick” John on drums and Steve Legault on bass. The lineup has changed a bit – Junk was originally a 5-piece, but turned into a 4-piece after a few shows, “…because of whatever reason,” Landry chuckles. “We’re on our second drummer, but we’re on our, like, fourth bass player. The first one left because I peed on his shoe, basically.”
“He’s filling in for us this weekend though, so we’re still all buddies!” Scott clarifies, laughing. “It’s all still good. And Jamie gave him a new pair of shoes last weekend, so we’re even! This was three years later, though.”
“Still, the gesture was there!” Landry insists with a grin. “I think, you know, the fact that we’re very immature…people don’t get that. We just like to have fun.” Which, I realized, is what it all comes down to. Junk is able to work as hard as they do while still having a great time because they genuinely enjoy it. Playing a gig isn’t work, it’s a joy; it’s a chance to hang out with friends as close as family members, and share in the love of music with others.
I think Scott summed it up best as we wrapped up our conversation: “I don’t think we have fans. We have lots of friends, though. We play for us, and we hope that everybody else has as much fun as we do.” When you get to hang out and play music with your best friends, for your best friends, it starts to come into focus where Junk get their drive and energy from – they’re truly, honestly just having a blast. We should all be so lucky!