F-cked Up gives birth to some Smartboys

What do you do when you're in a world-renowned hardcore punk band and members start having babies and the lunch breaks get longer and longer? Mike Haliechuk and Jonah Falco of Fucked Up have been recording music by themselves for about seven years now, during which time they've racked up 30+ tunes. It wasn't until a few months ago, however, that they finally found a singer and asked a couple others to join, officially forming Smartboys. Reminiscent of 70s pop-punk with vocals that hint at glamrock-era Bowie, their lyrics (dissatisfaction at work) and melodies are decidedly more accessible, but the same skill and passion evident with Fucked Up is readily on display.

I sat down with Mike Haliechuk (who was born/given the most perfect NHL-er name, no?) who was nice enough to offer a little insight into this promising side-project.

Who are Smartboys?
Myself and Jonah Falco from Fucked Up. Together we wrote a Smartboys 7" in maybe 2005 or 2004 but we didn't have a singer. Fucked Up was doing a record (Hidden World) and we would just work on these songs on the side when people had lunch or something. So we just sat on it because couldn't find someone to sing until six months ago. He (Tim Westburg) emailed us vocals and we were like "yep, that's the guy." As soon as we found him we asked Warren Calbeck who plays in a band called Molested Youth and our friend Steven Foster (Doldrums and Donlands and Mortimer) to join. We've had two practices and now we're a band!

Fucked Up is busy enough right now (they're currently on tour) — why is now a good time for a side project?
Because everyone started having babies. Josh had a baby in January so that put us out for like four months and then Damien had a baby in June and that put us out another four months and now it's September and I think Jonah will probably have another baby. But that's what we're all about — playing music while other people have babies.

Where can people see you?
We're playing our first show at Pop Montreal on September 22nd as a kind of warm up to the show at The Hoxton on September 26th opening for Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall. We've recorded a 7" but have no release date yet. Other than that we have nothing planned. We're taking it very slow. Honestly I'd met Tim like twice before our first practice and one of those times it was randomly at the supermarket. Very informal, very new. We still haven't had our second practice.

Where does the name come from?
The name is taken from a song by a 1970s punk band from Ireland called The Starjets. Also, we're kind of like, the smartest boys, so that's the meaning of it (laughs).

Photo by Denise McMullin

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