By Will McGuirk
Social commentary is not normally the initial go-to subject when writing up the riff-ready rock songs but thankfully someone is taking it back to the days of The Clash, Fugazi and Rage Against The Machine. Royal Tusk from Edmonton, are using their stage to take on economic disparity, opioid crisis, gun control but they do so in tandem with grungy riffs and a searing delivery. They will be delivering to Oshawa at the Music Hall Thursday Aug 22 2019. Texas King and Outshined will open. They are touring their latest release Tusk II.
Its not the easiest of roads, choosing self expression over pandering to the masses but someone’s gotta do it and Royal Tusk have taken on the mantle. Slowcity.ca asked why?
“As musicians, I feel like we have a platform where we get to say our thoughts and how we are feeling. We have the ability to speak our minds and hopefully people can see and hear that. This is not to say that every musician has to address every issue so literally, by performing your art, and bringing people together in a safe and peaceful environment, that in my opinion is just as effective,” says bassist Sandy MacKinnon.
He says he has been in bands with singer/guitarist Daniel Carriere for almost two decades so when Carriere had a new project he was first in line. Calen Stuckel came in on drums and Quinn Cyrankiewicz on guitar. Their intention was to write from the heart rock ‘n roll, but not necessarily to write of the heart lyrics.
“People in today’s society are totally immersed in everything that is going on. Lately it has become next to impossible to turn on the TV or even log onto social media without being bombarded with the awful travesties that are going on all over the world, hell, sometimes even in our backyard. It wasn’t a conscious decision to address these matters, it came through an idea that it was time to speak up. If these matters are on our mind and are forming the way a song sounds, then we naturally should say how we feel and what we are thinking,” says MacKinnon.
What they were thinking and what they are saying could get drowned out in the loudness of the metal but MacKinnon says the way they feel is the way they play. Its the passion which creates a deeper, longer-lasting connection he says.
“The beauty of music is that the listener has the freedom to feel and interpret how the music/art makes them feel,” says MacKinnon, “Some people might focus and get too literal with lyrics that an artist is portraying and might miss the actual message that’s underlying. By bringing attention to the awful events that are going on, yea, it can sound grim, but underneath it all, the real message should be about unity, about coming together to make a change, and that we are not alone. Heavy metal, like all music, has the ability to bring us together, feel accepted and be among like minded individuals.”