Published Apr 17, 2019Very little about Alexisonfire's career makes sense. How did a post-hardcore band with a singer and two screamers become one of Canada's biggest bands, only to be eclipsed by the immense popularity of one of its members' side project?
From the opening notes of the band's debut and across all four of their full-length LPs, Alexisonfire displayed a penchant for pushing the boundaries of what hardcore, post-hardcore, punk and rock could be.
As the now-reunited band ready their first new music in a decade, as well as a slew of new tour dates, we offer a glimpse into some of the notable moments in their career before offering up our extensive chronicle of their entire career in our Timeline.
1. Singer guitarist Wade MacNeil was still in high school when the band started to take off in Canada.
Their first "real" tour is a two-week trek across the United States that coincides with MacNeil's March break — he is still in high school. "I'm skipping school, but then I'm on MuchMusic when I've called in sick."
2. Bass player Chris Steele was fired from his day job after missing a shift to make the band's first music video.
"The idea of us making a music video seemed like hilarious," MacNeil tells Exclaim! Like why would a band do such a thing? Especially a band that sounds like us. But I'm glad we did." [George] Stroumboulopoulos hosts The Punk Show on MuchMusic and begins playing the band's videos. Fan response drives the clips onto the weekly countdown.
The video for "Pulmonary Archery," the record's first single is made with a $20,000 VideoFACT grant. It is directed by Marc Ricciardelli, who goes on to direct most of the band's video clips. Steele has a shift scheduled at Blockbuster the day after the shoot, but can't make it back from Toronto in time and is promptly fired.
3. Singer-guitarist Dallas Green's debut album as City & Colour was the first release on Dine Alone Records.
Sometimes is the first release on [Alexisonfire manager Joel] Carriere's new label, Dine Alone. "Dallas has always been playing acoustic music and writing slow, sad songs since he was a teenager," says Carriere. "He had all these songs that didn't fit with Alexis and it didn't make sense to put it out on Distort, which was branded as a real hardcore, metal label. We wanted to remove it from that. I wanted other people to find out about it that didn't like screaming music."
4. After Green announced he was leaving Alexisonfire, the band contemplated replacing him rather than splitting up, going so far as to audition several candidates.
MacNeil in particular is "hellbent" on keeping the band going and they toy with replacing Green. Rapper P.O.S. is considered after watching him fill in on guitar with Underoath on Warped Tour. MacNeil also travels to Texas and jams and chats with former At the Drive-In and Sparta guitarist Jim Ward about joining, but Ward isn't keen on doing much touring. "I was pretty gung ho to continue and find a new singer," says MacNeil. "But it just kind of fell like it was getting further and further away from us."
5. After Alexisonfire's initial split, singer George Pettit became a firefighter.
Pettit, now 32 years old, becomes a firefighter in Oshawa, ON. "The job has built-in respect to it," he tells Canadian Press in 2019. "It's not something I tend to broadcast."
Editor's note: an earlier version of this story misidentified the source of the 2019 George Pettit quote. Exclaim! regrets the error.