As I enter The Spill, I see Wayne Kennedy sitting alone at the bar, a PBR on the surface in front of him. As I approach him, he turns slightly. The room is empty. Some alternative band plays through the bar’s sound system. He takes a sip of his beer and greets me coolly.
If the name Wayne Kennedy sounds familiar, but you don’t completely remember why, it’s probably because you attended one of his popular $2 Punk Shows. The first show occurred as a last-minute idea in 2013. This one-off show ended up being remembered by many in the music community, and Wayne was often asked when the next show was going to be. In October 2014, he approached Dave Tobey with the idea of holding a monthly cheap punk showcase. These shows were held once a month at The Spill from January 2015 to April 2016. Wayne speaks of this time fondly and proudly, but at the same time seems sick of talking about it.
“I liked doing those shows, but the problem with them was that they gave me a name as a promoter and not a musician,” he says. These shows were meant to be a supplement to his actual musical output, but the success and popularity of these shows seemed to overshadow Wayne Kennedy the Musician, whilst also taking up a lot of his time and energy that otherwise would have been used to create.
We chat about the uselessness of school, and he jokes about Music Business Management courses. Our conversation touches on the recent rallies and protests in Peterborough. We laugh at Kevin Goudreau’s stupidity in claiming that he is not a Nazi, even though he sports a Swastika tattoo. He tells me that he now owns a dog kennel (which I very much did not expect).
Wayne and I have known each other for about 2 and a half years now. My first interview with him was one of my first articles for Arthur. In my years of knowing Wayne, this was the calmest I’ve seen him. The tail end of the Punk shows ended in a lot of bullshit for both Wayne and the music community in general.
His shows and The Spill were accused of being unsafe due to individual assholes, and Wayne ended up fronting the blame for these accusations. I won’t and don’t want to go into more detail on this. Past issues and articles can be consulted on the Arthur website.
The point is, Wayne is much more comfortable and less stressed than the last time I saw him in April of 2016. His pacing and stress at that show has changed into collected coolness. I can’t help hearing the final chants of that night, however, when 100 of the Spill’s attendees chanted Wayne’s name in thanks and regards for all he had done.
Having prefaced this heavily, Wayne has come out the other side of these shows with a new record and revamped sound. His new EP, which will be reviewed in the next issue of Arthur, contains 5 new tracks. After more than a year-long hiatus, Wayne started performing live again. In July, having taken over his Grandparents’ business, Wayne started playing and writing more frequently.
“The good thing about owning your own business is when that spark of creativity happens, you can pick up your guitar and play.”
Wayne tells me that his new EP is “going to be different.” He states, “The first two [EPs] are quite thin because it is just my guitar and vocals. That was the complaint that I always got, ‘It isn’t bassy enough, there’s no low-end.’”
His newer project promises a fuller sound, with distorted, amplified guitars, gang vocals, and recording and mixing done by Mark Rand from local Punk act Cross Dog.
“The first two songs,” Wayne tells me “are really personal. Because very typically with acoustic, you’re kind of like, I don’t wanna say personal, but you’re like ‘These are my feelings, there are my thoughts.’”
However, the rest of the songs take on broader subjects bridging the personal and entering into societal commentary. He tells me the songwriting process for these tracks, “The other songs I wrote as if I was in a band. It’s like if the band didn’t show up, so the singer sang all of the songs.”
He continues, “I like these songs a lot. I’m really… It’s like if I could hit the reset button. Start fresh with this being my first one.”
Our conversation finishes with some final thoughts.
“It’s better. I know everyone says that every time they make a new CD their new shit is the best thing they’ve done. This genuinely is. It’s not the same sappy acoustic shit. It’s harder.”
I’ll take Wayne’s word as bond here. He’s come through in the past, and I’m sure he will again.
Wayne’s EP will be reviewed in the next issue of Arthur Newspaper. His next show in Peterborough is on November 14th @ The Spill. He plays weekly Thursday night sets at Atria in Oshawa. He has t-shirts for sale, and will have CDs of the EP when it is done.
Catch his past tunes on his Bandcamp.