Five Minutes With: Vancouver Rock Band Bend Sinister

For over twenty years, Bend Sinister has been a freight train with no signs of slowing. Forged in the spirit of defiant, high school rock-n-roll idealism, the band came to life in 1999 when band leader Dan Moxon (vocals/keys) rallied some classmates to start writing and performing music influenced by math, indie, prog and alternative rock.

Finding an early cult audience with the 2005 album Through the Broken City, Moxon began a journey that would take Bend Sinister through multiple record deals, a dozen full-length albums and EPs, several world tours and a creative arc that bridged the technical math rock influence to the songwriting and pop sensibilities of radio. Their soaring vocals and dynamic, keyboard-driven sound owes as much to Supertramp and Yes as it does to Harry Nillson and Paul McCartney.

Singing about love, life on the road, and dogs, it wouldn’t be odd to hear the tender longing of a Billy Joel piano ballad followed by the grimy, fuzzed-out riffing of Queens of the Stone Age with the dramatic crescendo of a Mozart symphony culminating in a fist-pumping BTO lumber-rock singalong chorus. Yes, all in one song.

The band’s dedication brought their high-flying, big-kick energy live show to stages from North America to Europe supporting rock luminaries like Steve Morse and Mike Portnoy, playing major events like the Vancouver Olympics and Pop Montreal, performing a private show for Them Crooked Vultures and scoring CDN commercial radio hits with “Don’t You Know” and “Walk the Other Way”.
Older, possibly wiser, and currently signed to Cordova Bay Records, Vancouver-based Moxon and his now longtime band mates Joseph Martin (guitar), Matt Rhode (bass) and Nick Petrowich (drums) have been furiously writing and recording the band’s 7th full-length album. Their attitude not so far removed from their school days, Bend Sinister maintains the burning tenacity required to press on as a working indie band.

Produced by regular collaborator Ben Kaplan (Rare Americans, Five Alarm Funk), the band’s double single Price You Pay/Hot City was released on Cordova Bay Records on July 14th followed by a full-length album in early 2024.

Bend Sinister

Name:

Dan Moxon and Joseph Martin of Bend Sinister

Genre:

Rock

# of Albums:

5 albums

Latest Album:

Foolish Games (2018)

Latest Single:

New double single “Price You Pay” and “Hot City”, out now.

Latest Video:

Favourite musician growing up:

I went thru many stages and was mostly a metalhead in my early days. Metallica was my favourite band and my first big concert where I drove to Vancouver with my brother and went to Thunderbird to see them. Honourable mentions – David Bowie, Black Sabbath.

Favourite musician now:

It’s cliche but I love Paul Mccartney. I just found two massive volumes of charts for every Beatles song and it’s been a joy to flip through and play/sing so many. I put out a cover in 2020 of a song from his first solo album called Every Night.

Guilty pleasure song:

I’m really digging the new Carly Rae Jepson song ‘The Loneliest Time’ which also features Rufus Wainright who I recently saw do an amazing orchestra show with the VSO. Though I also get into anything Lizzo or Billy Eilish.

Live show ritual:

Whenever the band just before we are on says it’s their last song I head down to the green room and do a semi-half-assed 5m of stretching and warming up my voice with scales. I think these things only really help if you spend more like 20-30m.

Favourite local musician:

I’m really digging Art D’ecco’s tunes who we met years ago when he was in the band TV heart attack was part of a music contest/camp we did in 2009 I think. He reminds me of Iggy Pop or maybe even Bowie at times.

EP or LP?

Always a full-length record if we have the time and money to do so. I find EPs are really annoying as they often get lost in translation on Spotify and streaming platforms when they sometimes show up as a single or not listed in the discography.

Early bird or night owl?

We just had our first baby who is turning two on Dec 24th. I would have said night owl previously but now I’m in bed around 10 pm every night. Luckily she is a good sleeper but still wakes us up around 7 every morning.

Road or studio?

I think the road is getting harder and harder to make money and exposure and the lustre of partying thru the night and crashing on someone’s floor has also worn off. I still love connecting with audiences and playing shows but only when the opportunity is right or the gigs are cool. My goal is to just keep recording and releasing music that I’m passionate about and hope that people take a moment to listen.

Where can we follow you?

InstagramFacebook

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Rapid Fire Local Questions:

What is your favourite local restaurant?

Alouette Bistro – New(ish) French bistro on Hornby Street. Upscale but unpretentious – fun staff and a great duck cassoulet.

What is your favourite street in your city and why?

Kingsway – It starts at the regally named “Kingsgate Mall” and ends at a Chocolate Factory. And on your journey, you find Chicken World, Beefway Meats, Tina Cake Desserts and another dozen unique cafes and restaurants.

What is your favourite park in your city and why?

Harbour Green Park – mainly because I live next to it. But it has a great view of Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains and always ample grassy areas to flop out or play badminton or whatever.

What is your favourite music venue in your city?

Tyrant Studies – It’s above the Penthouse Nightclub and they host jazz and experimental music every weekend. Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr used to hang out there back when the Penthouse was a speakeasy and had a steakhouse upstairs.

What is your favourite music store in your city?

For records, it’s Noize to Go – Kind of small but I always find something interesting there. For guitars – I’m not much of a gearhead – my guitar is a Basone which was made by Chris Basaraba and I used to frequent his shop in Vancouver. But sadly he passed away earlier this year. But his shop was my fav.

 

About Demian Vernieri 489 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.