Toronto’s Kill Cheerleader earns praise from Lemmy and Nikki Sixx

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 21, 2007

By Steve Newton

The band photo inside last year’s Kill Cheerleader CD, All Hail, shows four sweaty, straggly-haired, apparently shit-faced dudes holding each other up. But a photo sent to the Straight by Spinerazor Records last week includes a fifth member in the group. No biggie, according to vocalist-bassist Ethan Deth. As he explains by phone from London, England, it doesn’t really matter how many people are in the band.

“We fluctuate,” he says, half-jokingly. “Sometimes there’s two of us; sometimes there’s seven of us. It depends on who gets arrested, who makes it past the border. Who knows, you know.”

After a little more prodding, Deth reveals that the newest member is the similarly pseudonymed Zach Slaughter, who plays guitar—if and when he fits in the trunk. “He wanted us to come to his town to play with his band,” Deth grudgingly reveals, “and to prove that there was gonna be hundreds of kids that are into metal in his town, he sent me a video of his band. I liked everything he was doing on-stage and invited him into our band, so he moved to Toronto.”

Kill Cheerleader–which plays the Cobalt on Friday–is based in Toronto, although Deth isn’t particularly proud about being located at the Centre of the Canadian Universe. “Fuck geography,” he contends. “Who cares where we’re from, you know. It’s just a town.”

Some of Deth’s animosity toward Hogtown may arise from the fact that his band keeps getting banned from the city’s live-music venues. “We got banned from one club because they wouldn’t pay us, so we smashed the glass door,” he recalls. “We got banned from another one because we kicked over a few mike stands and the sound guy started a fistfight with us, screaming, ‘Don’t touch my mikes! Don’t touch my mikes!’

“And remember that Great White fire that killed a buncha people? A week after that, we lit a mannequin on fire, and everyone in the club thought that they were gonna die because that Great White concert was so fresh in their minds. Everyone ran outside and the rumour started that we actually lit the club on fire, so we got banned from that one.”

Kill Cheerleader may be alienating nightclub owners across Toronto, but rowdy behaviour should be expected from a band whose proclaimed goal is to “drink and fuck”. Their antisocial antics haven’t stopped the group’s music—which it describes as “punk-metal” but which is really just riff-riddled hard rawk that smells like grimy strip clubs, puked-up Jack Daniel’s, and blown Marshalls—from being heavily praised by know-it-all critics and umlaut-obsessed rockers alike.

In the absence of a new Hellecasters disc, I put All Hail on my Top 10 list for 2006; Mötley Crüe ‘s Nikki Sixx called Kill Cheerleader “the best new band” in his online journal, and Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister declared them “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band since Guns N’ Roses”.

Now, judging by his flippant tone on the phone, Deth could care less what I think; neither is he a hard-core fan of the Crue. (“I can’t pay attention to any Mötley Crüe after the first album.”)

But he does put some stead in the words of the mighty Kilmister.

“If Lemmy says it, it’s gotta be true,” he contends.

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