Wayne Kennedy: creator of $2 punk shows at The Spill

Photo by D Vulgar Photography

The Peterborough Punk Prince doesn’t even live in Peterborough. He lives in Port Hope. Despite that minor flaw, Wayne Kennedy is a pretty rad guy. Wayne is the creator and promoter of The Spill’s $2 Punk Shows, and is launching an independent folk-punk record label in the spring with his friend and fellow musician, James Higgins.

His label should be up and running by the spring, but before you go scouring for records, read Wayne’s conversation with me about Peterborough, the $2 Punk Shows, and his sound.

How did the Punk Shows get started, and what was the original vision for them?

Well, originally, it started with my band Television Warfare [who] had a show booked here in February 2013. It was supposed to be our album release, like an E.P. release show, and due to us being dumb, idiotic people, we didn’t get the album done. And I didn’t wanna cancel the show, so I just said, “Let’s just throw a $2 punk show.” That’s legit how it started. And then that night was huge!

It was just one of those things that you can’t stop, you gotta do another one. It was my way, my band hosted, [and] we closed out the night; it was our way of practicing in front of an audience. We did that for about seven months. In August 2013 was the last show that year. A year and half went by, and people kept asking me when the $2 shows were gonna come back.

Then in October 2014, I messaged Dave Toby (owner of The Spill), and said, “Hey, do you wanna do them again?” And he said, “yeah,” so we schedule in every second Friday of every month, and now we have a huge thing going. The vision was [just] I realized that this was a throwback to a lot of the punk shows in the ‘80s – two bucks, spray-painted banners and stuff, so I guess this is kind of an homage to that.

What do you think the Punk Shows add to the Peterborough music scene that was lacking before?

I think it adds consistency. There’s always something. There’s always a show every month at least. These shows aren’t competition. I support all bands as much as I can. Even outside of the Punk genre, Peterborough has a got a very rich mix of fuckin’ music. It just helps keep it consistent. I think it helps the Punk music scene out because some months, there aren’t any more Punk Shows, and there’s only one, so it’s a constant “just keeping it going.”

Do you think Peterborough needs Punk, compared to other cities?

I don’t know if it’s a matter of needing or wanting. I think that clearly with the attendance, Peterborough wants punk shows. Maybe I’m fucking crazy, and people just like it because it’s two bucks and they can get drunk. But I think, clearly with the shows this year, that Peterborough wants punk. Which is great. Cameron from Piss Locusts put on shows; Katie Green puts on shows sometimes. I love seeing that. It’s nice and Peterborough seems to love it. They pay two bucks here and they still got $18 in their wallet to get beer.

What does Peterborough have in the music scene that other cities don’t?

Enthusiasm. 100% enthusiasm. The biggest thing every band says when they play [is] they love the reaction of the crowd and the participation. That’s the biggest thing. I do the shows in Oshawa now, and Oshawa is great, too. We get big numbers, lots of people come out, but Oshawa is a little different; there will be a group of people kinda at the front moshing, and then a bigger group in the front just standing. It’s not because they don’t like the music, it’s just the city. It’s a reserved kinda attitude maybe, I don’t know. But Peterborough – definitely, people go nuts here. I see people crowd surfing at the shows sometimes. Peterborough definitely does enthusiasm.

So, tell us a little bit about your own music, define it, and talk about it.

Well, with my stuff, it’s just me writing songs Acoustically, solo. The thing with me is people will tell me, like, “You’re not really folk.” And I’m not. I don’t think I’m folk at all. It’s literally as if I were to write songs for a band, these would be the songs, and I’m just playing them in a stripped down manner. It’s like a band where, if the singer does a solo set… that’s the idea. I still play really fast, I still yell a lot. It’s just easier because I can play a show on the fly if I’m free.

Can you name some influences so the readers can get a basis for your sound?

A big one is Against Me, I really love the singer’s acoustic stuff. I don’t necessarily sound like that. Joey Cape, the singer from Lagwagon. Tony Sly (No Use For a Name), and then I like a lot of full bands. Black Flag, The Descendents. I bring a lot of the full bands into the music, try and make it a little more thrashy with the music. Against Me is one of the biggest ones. If I could write songs like that, that would be the goal. I would write songs exactly like that. *laughs*

Is there a type of band or a type of sound that you look for when you book people?

Honestly, I look for bands that are in it for fun. I like bands that wanna have fun, because when you have bands that wanna book, and they want money… There’s nothing wrong with that. I have the utmost respect for any band that can do that, and get a paycheck from this. That’s the dream. [But] I love bands that wanna have fun, that if at the end of the night, I hand them $40, they’re thrilled and grateful to have a packed room to play for. That’s gas in the tank, and they’re happy for that.

What are some of your favourite Peterborough bands? I don’t know if you should answer that question…

You’re gonna paint a fuckin’ target on my back with that one. I won’t say anything bad about any band whatsoever. I may have my opinions of things, but I won’t talk shit about any band. I tell people to get out and support any band that they can, and that isn’t some sort of hokey tagline or anything. Bands that really stand out to me are artists like Garbageface, because you know he’s very different. For a town where, you know, you’ve got your university indie-rock bands, which are all phenomenal, but then you’ve got those kind of obscure kinda things, and then you’ve got Garbageface, who is just totally unique.

Maybe I’m misinformed on all of the other Peterborough doom rappers, but I love seeing him play a lot. I honestly haven’t come across a [single] Peterborough band that I don’t like. That’s what I love about Peterborough. For a smaller city, there is a lot of music. There are still artists that I’m discovering on a day-to-day basis that I didn’t even know existed here. And that’s what I like about here, you are constantly finding something new. It’s cool.

Finally, what’s your favourite alcoholic drink? Beer and non-beer. I ask everyone at the end.

Oh fuck, okay, so beer. I don’t drink much beer, but when I do, I drink PBR because I have been told it’s just beer-flavored water and it’s cheap. And all the cool kids drink PBR. My favourite other drink would have to be Rye and Ginger because that’s just fucking classy. So fucking classy.

The next $2 Punk Show is coming on Friday, November 13 at The Spill. Make sure to check out Wayne’s monthly punk shows, usually held on the second Friday of each month, and keep a look out for any Folk You in the Face releases, as they are sure to be rad as fuck.

About Tyler Majer 70 Articles
Tyler works out of Peterborough, Ontario, and reluctantly attends Trent University. He loathes deeply, while drinking often. The cigarettes will soon consume his life. Read his poetry while you still can at https://aforeword.com/tag/tyler-majer/ while reading his journalistic work at this very site. I would say that he would be appreciative, but that may not be the truth.