GrimSkunk is a rock band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with punk, rock, progressive and world music influences. Its style is self-described as “world punk” It is regarded as being part of the foundation of the Quebec “alternative” scene, having influenced many young musicians and bands.
The band integrates many languages into its songs, such as French, English, Spanish, Greek and Persian. It has also integrated many styles of music, including punk, hardcore, reggae, progressive and psychedelic rock, ska, rap and world music.
Over the years, the band shared the stage with many established acts such as System Of A Down, Meshuggah, Manu Chao and Suicidal Tendencies, as well as peers Anonymus, Vulgaires Machins, Deadly Apples and The Sainte Catherines.
GrimSkunk was formed in 1988 from a previous hardcore group known as Fatal Illness. GrimSkunk played its first show in April, 1989. The band’s first demo album, Autumn Flowers, was released two years later, in April 1991. Along with Groovy Aardvark, the band was among the first “alternative” bands to tour Quebec, thus creating a market for this genre.
In the first years of GrimSkunk’s career, cannabis was always very present in the band’s image. Hemp leaves were on their CD covers, and references to cannabis could be found in the albums’ names (Autumn Flowers, Exotic Blend), in their songs’ titles (Zig-Zag), and in their lyrics (“Pourquoi, pourquoi ne pas fumer? / C’est ben légal de boire”, Why, why can’t we smoke / Isn’t it legal to drink?). The band’s name itself is an allusion to skunk cannabis.
The band’s second album, Meltdown, was released in 1996.
In 1997, GrimSkunk members founded an independent Montreal-based record label, Indica Records. From then on, all of the band’s albums were released on that label, which also helped to promote local alternative bands.
In that same year, the band’s longtime manager and friend, Simon Gallipeault, was killed in a “hit-and-run” longboard accident involving a car. The band became self-managed with Franz Schuller as the main “mouthpiece”. The 1998 album, Field Trip, is dedicated to Gallipeault and his voice is sampled before the track “Live for today”.
The bass guitarist, Marc “Boris” Saint-Maurice, left in 1999 to become an activist in the marijuana legalization movement, founding the Bloc Pot and the Marijuana Party of Canada. Todd Wircham replaced Saint-Maurice for a few years. He has since been replaced by Vince Peake, the former Groovy Aardvark singer and bass guitarist.
In 2002, the band released its seventh album, Seventh Wave, which was not well received by certain critics and fans who did not like the musical change in direction.
In 2002, GrimSkunk performed its first and only unplugged show in Saint-Roch Church in Quebec City.
In 2006, the band released Fires Under the Road, which marked a return to the sound of the earlier albums.
Podcast Episode XXX: JOE EVIL of GRIMSKUNK
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