YES THE RUMORS ARE TRUE
Gern f. speaking on behalf of Gern. Yes the rumors are true, after 10 years the United Steel Workers of Montreal are hanging it up. A myriad of factors led to this decision, some personnel some professional. But I think I speak for the whole of the band when I say the biggest issue is we are just plum worn out. With 3 cds under our belts, 400 odd shows, 7 countries, and maybe 250,000km on the various vehicles we’ve owned, man that’s a lot.
We need to give some thanks here, and a nod of the head goes to the good folks at UrbanHanded Works, Rachel Hoffman, Jim Hoffman, and Jessica Burt who worked thanklessly over the years on 5 videos, countless posters, organizing events and fundraisers, as well as promoting most of our local shows and effectively managing us over the years. You made us look good, and professional. We always looked even farther ahead than we were, thank you.
To our major supporters over the years The United Steel Workers of America Local 1005, a great big old thanks. You gave us our first stadium show when you asked us to play May Day at Copps Coliseum those many years ago. As well playing your lock out last spring at the gates of Stelco was my personal favorite for all time most moving shows. Thanks for wrangling all your members over the years to come to our shows, and thanks for holding the line and leading the people, and the workers of our nation and for the inspiration.
To the fans, man without you guys, our venues, our pockets, our websites and our hearts would have been empty. Montreal crowds you loved us from the start and always provided us with inspiration. Maybe a couple of towns like Toronto, St-Johns, Halifax and Calgary were neck and neck as a fan base, but you never stopped coming no matter how many times we played. To all the folks who showed up back in August at The MacAuslin Terrace, which unknowingly turned out to be our last show, you will always be remembered for allowing us to play our finale in St-Henri… how fitting. Montreal’s South West Neighborhoods of St-Henri, Verdun, Point St-Charles and our home base of Little Burgundy, have always played a large part of the psyche of the band. Thanks for coming out.
To the bands coming out of the Montreal scene that have been our brethren this last decade, I have to say you were one of the biggest reasons for doing it all these years. Going all the way back to the originals we played with The Dirty Ol Band, The Cains, The Band Ef, The Wells, Dibondoko, The Cockroaches, Notre Dame de Grass, Yonder Hill, the next wave of great Montreal bands like Lee Mellor and the Mudhounds, The Jimmyriggers, The Unsettlers, Cecile DooKingue, Les Canailles, Dirt Cheep Winos… the list goes on and on. You were our brothers and sisters and you propelled us on. Label mates OX. Two Minute Miracles, Burning Hell and Elliot Brood you made us cool. Road bands like Ukrainia, Obijou, The Good Lovelies, the Steve Brockley Band, The Grass Mountain Hobos and The Tom Fun Orchestra, you got us through the tours. Thinking back when things got hard knowing you might get the chance to spend another night in a hotel with the Tom Fun would get you through. As well I must mention the off shoots here as well, our sister bands and side projects from The Dirty Ol Band, GhoatChrist, Filly and the Flops, Gern f. and the Left Wingers, The Honkytonk Heartbreakers, The Sand Mountain, Throbbing Purple, Matchless, The Slaters, you bled your blood into us and gave us more life. Of course in the over all I’m leaving out a lot of folks here, but you get the idea. Over the years we all leaned on each other, taught each other and paid our dues. You were easily the best part of doing this for so long, and for those bands still breathing I wish much continued success.
The next nod goes to the clubs. A big thanks to all the folks who run the clubs across Canada and here at home if it wasn’t for you we never could have done what we did, thanks for the venues. Tina and Sheila from the Apollo you guys lead the way on how to run a show in a tough town, keep it up. Big thanks to places and folks like (West to East) Royal on Baker, The Black Bird Café, Iron wood, The Slice, Times Changes, The Apollo, Lop Lops, The Neat Café, The Horse Shoe, The Dakota, The Boat House, This Aint Hollywood, The Phoq, The Black Sheep, Le Divan Orange, Sala Rossa, Grumpy’s Bar, The Capital, Baba’s, Plan B, Gus’, CBTG’s and Vera. These are not even close to everywhere we played but these were the clubs that went that extra distance, just didn’t open the doors and expect people to walk in, these folks took a hand in making sure that the shows went better, made sure there was a scene going on, took part in getting the folks out and really giving us a feeling as though they gave a shit about us and the music scene. You folks are gods! Keep this in mind as the local governments attack you, and the industry tries to shun you, and your not always doing as well as you might hope, keep remembering “If you build it they will come”, I’m not shittin here, if the Apollo closed every body is just gonna stay at the cheapest motel and just move on, and then there is nothing going on in that town. The Boat House you are the vanguard to music in your area, This Ain’t Hollywood we had no show in Hamilton until you came along, CBTG’s you are a black sheep but you get it done, and speaking of the Black Sheep, Paul I think you showed us all how to do it. Times Change, we will miss your room and your chicken toss. Have no fear though as we started 10 years ago and started touring say about 6 years ago things have gotten better out there the industry has changed a lot and there are more “Believer Clubs” opening every day, for example The Neat Café. All of you keep pushing, you are not alone. Maybe you guys could start talking to each other a little more, it couldn’t hurt, as we head into what I see as the next golden era of Canadian Music.
And to Phil Klygo of weewerk, thanks for getting us on that bill with Rutledge and Doucette years ago and actually showing up to see our set, man you always have had the ears…..that guy knows talent and can pick them out in a 6 second clip. Phil keep ‘er up pal, you’ve totally had the coolest sounding label for the whole time we’ve done this.
To the band and all its members Felicity Hamer, Shawn ‘Gus’ Beauchamp, Matt Watson, Flipper Frumignac, Dylan Perron, Steve Brockley, Chris Reed, Eddy Blake, Jessie Enns, Kevin McNealy, Sean B’y Moore, Larry Whittaker, Roger Dawson, Seamus Cowan, Jeff Cowan, Derek Skeie, Sean Scanlin, Dan Ellison, Niki Hildebrand, (Blake Gwilliam Curtis) and oh course yours truly Gern f. folks I gotta say it was a real pleasure playing with all of you, every member that came through the band made it bigger and stronger and better, every single member left a mark and added to the band we started mostly as a bunch of drunks and became the professionals known as the United Steel Workers of Montreal.
Once again to all our supporters over the years, from fans, to industry, to media, to patrolling O.P.P. officers on Ontario’s hwy 11, please keep an eye out for all the members of the Steel Workers as this project has come to an end but all of us will certainly continue on in our own directions musically, with what we learned together to guide us. We shall see you out there.
Dec. 9, 2011