If you were to pass Mike Ducak in your local super market, you would never imagine that this calm, quiet, gentle-looking man could open up his mouth and have his lungs growl out fierce, but pure heavy metal.
There has been a lot of buzz going around lately about the newly-formed band that Ducak is fronting, and tonight I am discussing it with him via telephone, as juggling work and a band while married can take up a good sum of your time.
He is kind, polite and intelligent. He speaks in monotone, which I find interesting as he could just as quickly hang up the phone, grab a mic, and turn his vocals into a strapping and compelling masterpiece of thrash.
I dial his number, he picks up, and our story begins…
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): What did you name the band?
Mike Ducak (MD): Right now we’re called The Resurrection. We might change it somewhere down the road.
RMM: Why did you pick that name?
MD:The thing is, this isn’t so much a band as a project. Our good friend, Chris Meyer, who was commonly known as ‘Fattboy’, started a band some years back and had a bunch of songs written, but he was killed in a car crash on December 20, 2010, before he had a chance to perform the music. So this band really exists to pay tribute to him. We’re trying to bring him back to life, so to speak.
RMM: I’m very sorry to hear that. It’s nice of you guys to be doing this. Who is in this band?
MD:I do all the vocals. Josh Brown plays guitar, Curtis Dodds plays bass, and Andrew Johnston plays drums.
RMM: How would you describe your sound?
MD:Hmm. I would describe us as a thrash band, maybe a modern take on old-school thrash, I guess. I find it hard to describe our sound objectively, but it’s definitely heavy and thrashy.
RMM: How did you all become involved in this project and when did it start?
MD:That’s kind of complicated. Chris ‘Fattboy’ and Johnston started this band maybe three years ago, [or] something like that. Eventually they recruited Curtis to play bass. I did vocals on and off but I didn’t want to commit to it. We were all from the same neighbourhood, same high schools. Chris was probably the biggest metalhead I know and he was a great guitar player, so it was good to see him putting it to use again.
Then Chris was killed in the crash. That was a big shock to everyone, and it effectively killed the band. It was actually my wife who had the idea that we should try to continue the band and do a tribute show for Chris. It gave us a sense of purpose, and a way to deal with the whole thing, you know? But first we had to find a guitarist to fill in. Josh was a natural fit. We were in a band called Dark Matter together – really groovy, heavy stuff. So we dragged him into it and we’ve been rolling since.
RMM: How far do you plan to go with this band, and will you be recording an album at some point?
MD:Not sure, and I hope so (laughs). We’re having too much fun to call it quits any time soon. A buddy of ours has recording gear so we’re hoping to cut a record on the cheap at some point. It’s part of the whole vision, to have Chris’s music set in stone.
RMM: What are some of your songs about?
MD:I tried to keep all the songs relevant to the nature of the project. So there are songs dealing with death, in general, and Chris’ death, specifically. Two songs are about music, using fire as a metaphor for the passion for heavy music. The flames of Chris’ music were almost extinguished, but we’re trying to stoke that shit into a huge blaze now, so to speak. Also Chris and I shared an interest in astronomy and cosmology, so there’s a song on that subject.
RMM: Who does most of the song writing or is it a complete group process?
MD:Most of the material was written and arranged by Chris and Andrew before he died. We wrote one new song using some of Chris’ unfinished riffs, and that was a totally collaborative effort. Plus, we’ve been playing one of Josh’s songs that he’s been carrying around for years.
RMM: What has been the toughest challenge within the band so far?
MD:Imagine a bass player and a drummer trying to teach songs to a guitarist, without any recorded material for reference. It was an interesting process. Actually for two of the songs they had rough jam-room recordings, but for the other three it kind of felt like we were pulling them out of thin air. I had only heard the first two songs, so it was mostly new to me, as well. Fortunately Curtis and Andrew both knew some of the riffs on guitar and could show them to Josh. For the lead parts they tried to explain what Chris had played and Josh just took his best guess. It took a lot of time but it actually went better than I had expected.
RMM: Is there a particular artist or band that has influenced your sound?
MD:In a lot of Chris’ riffs I hear shades of Slayer and Death. We all listen to different stuff but common influences are probably Pantera, Sepultura, Carcass, Testament, stuff like that.
RMM: How often does the band practice?
MD:We’ve taken over Josh’s basement for rehearsals. It’s a nice space with a leather couch and a little flat-panel TV so we can watch hockey while we practice. We’ve been going two or sometimes three times a week to get ready for our first show.
Since the beginning, our purpose has been to play a tribute show and give everyone a chance to really celebrate Chris’ life and hear his music. The show [was] at Jersey’s in Burlington on February 11. It’s also a fundraiser for the Music Therapy program at Sick Kids hospital. Try to make something positive from it, you know?
We’re expecting a lot of old friends to come out so it should be a really good time, and probably an emotional event for some people. I just want people to get a sense of the effort and passion Chris put into this music. Finally it will be heard.
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