By Joanna Orland
It’s a good thing the Inbreds are forgiving lads. The Oshawa band was mildly snubbed by Halifax pop scenesters Sloan years ago when they gave them two demo tapes. Although Jay Ferguson was “really polite and nice,” rumour has it the band never even listened to the Inbreds’ demos.
But Soan finally came around after band member Chris Murphy heard the Inbreds play on tour with the Superfriendz (also Halifax natives).
And so the deal with Murderecords, Sloan’s brainchild, was born. After several independent albums, the Inbreds have released Winning Hearts on Murderecords, their first album on a major label. Inbred Dave Ullrich acknowledged the merits of being independent.
“The good side was that it showed us a lot about the business and how to do things,” said Ullrich. “And we did so much for ourselves that when other people start to do it, whether they’re right or wrong, you can usually tell. [On your own] it’s probably easier to keep tabs on how your whole thing is developing.”
Sloan’s Chris Murphy also directed the video for the Inbred’s catchy-as-hell single, “Attitude.” The concept for the video revolves around a 19th century master magician named Hilario. In fact, Hilario has been a recurring character throughout the Inbreds’ career. Band member Mike O’Neill identifies Hilario as his “fictional grandfather” and hilario was the title of the band’s first indie CD.
The Inbreds’ unique bass and drums sound evolved years ago when O’Neill and Ullrich were still in high school. The two never engaged in a conversation until Grade 10.
“The way I remember it is turning around and Mike was looking at me or something,” Dave explained. “And that somehow started a conversation, and from there, one of the first things we talked about doing was playing even though I didn’t really have a drum set and he had his brother’s guitar. So we sorta got together and started this thing of playing on Sundays all through high school, just for fun.”
“He had a tape recorder and his friend’s echo machine and we did sorta this rap group, The Inner City Rappers or something like that, and that was the first time we ever got together,” O’Neill added.
The guys have certainly come a long way since their high school days, but will still never forget their first real gig at a small club in the city of Thunder Bay.
“Halfway through the set, it was a lonely night on stage. There was no one there,” recalled Ullrich.
“Literally, by the second set, there was no one watching us. All of a sudden, everyone starts walking toward the stage and the owner starts saying ‘cut, cut!’ At the time we just assumed that they were kicking us off the stage ‘cause there was no one there and it didn’t matter. But it turned out that the club was on fire and they were telling us to get out. It was our very first show and our very first time touring Canada.”