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A Conversation With Kyle Bishop
by Jay Debauchery
June 16, 2002

So Victory’s P.R. department does it again…they schedule an interview and decline to notify the band of said interview. It’s happened to me a couple times before with this label but Kyle, the singer of Grade, is more than willing to spare a few minutes so I can complete my task. He sits in front of me in a little table on the Fitzgerald’s balcony trying to adjust a wobbly stool while his Morrisey coif still stands tall. After getting the tape recorder and questions out, it starts.

Jay Debauchery: So for the record who am I speaking with?

Kyle Bishop: My name is Kyle.

J: Lately a bunch of bands have been blasting their labels on the internet. Like, Thursday came out and said a lot things about Victory. How do you feel about bands behaving like that?

K: With Thursday and or Hatebreed and or who else has done it with other labels, I mean, I’m sure everyone has their reasons and I usually support bands before I support labels and in the case of Thursday I think that both Victory and Thursday have sides and understand their points. I don’t want to side with anybody I think they’re both right. People have their own opinions and different directions in life and sometimes they don’t work out and it’s unfortunate that it had to work out like that. I think that my point of view in our band, I would never ever defame anyone that helped us out along the way because I think that every step that we made we would not be where we are. So I have full appreciation no matter how small or how great people have contributed to us.

J: How has that support helped your sound to progress?

K: It’s just progression as a band. With Victory we get tour support and more money to record records and which gives us more time to tour and develop our sound and more time to write music which ends up making our skills and refining what we want to do a lot greater. So it helps out more than you could possibly think.

J: A lot of bands have trouble getting into Canada and I was wondering if it’s as much trouble trying to get into America, especially now.

K: It’s always been harder to get into the U.S.. The U.S. has a very strange policy with working permits and other things. We were going across illegal for probably six years and then we starting doing it legal 2 or 3 years ago and it was more of pain in the ass than actually faking it across. Going into Canada is easy, if you do it properly just like going into the United States is easy, if you do it properly. Bands and people just have to learn how to go around the proper way of doing things. Usually venues and stuff in Canada will pay for immigration and stuff for the U.S. bands and when you try to do that in America, the Americans are like, “What are you talking about?”

J: Awhile back I heard you were doing a solo album. What can you tell me about that?

K: I wrote songs for the Swarm and Achrid and I write songs for Grade and they both have their places. But there is other side to me which accidentally comes out and I have lots of songs, like hundreds of songs, ready to go and record. But, they are a side project and they wont come out until I have the time to do it and want to get away from Grade to do it. It’s definitely different.

J: Since Best Buy banned your last album due to the cover art have you ever thought about doing an impromptu show outside one of their stores to just fuck with ‘em?

K: No. I find that they have already given us enough good press from being a bunch of idiots. That surprised me more than anything else.

J: Do you guys plan on recording anything sometime soon?

K: Ahhh…..hopefully. (Chuckles) There is a lot of songs that have been written, music wise, as well as ideas lyrically that are floating around and it’s something that will hopefully and eventually happen.

J: You guys are touring with really aggressive bands right now (Strike Anywhere, Good Riddance) and you certainly fit in with that but you go to softer songs like “Seamless”, how does that work with the crowd most nights?

K: I think a lot of times are mellower songs almost catch people a little bit more than the aggressive ones. Being on this tour has been more difficult because we’re playing to new people and we’re actually doing that a lot now. Playing to new people and new crowds. You’re not playing to your crowd and not feeling great cause every kid isn’t singing along and this way kids stand there and go, “what the fuck are they doing?” And half the kids get or one kid gets and that’s cool. We’re playing stuff we love with people I like a lot and songs we love. And if one person gets interested in it, then that’s cool. Strike Anywhere and Good Riddance are incredible bands and I’m happy to be on this tour even though we are the odd man out but I like being there.

J: What gets played the most in the van?

K: Wow.

From here Kyle goes on to list an enormous amount of bands that would take me into my golden years to transcribe so here are a few plus his comments.

K: It depends on who’s driving and what’s going on. A lot of Morrisey, a lot of the Smiths. Iron Maiden, In Flames, the Haunted a lot of Pantera. A lot of Pantera on this tour for some reason. Strung Out is a hell of a lot. There’s a lot of doom and heavy stuff but also Archers of Loaf and Jeff Buckley and my new favorite band called Ours, which is like the reincarnation of Jeff Buckley. I play a lot of singer/songwriter stuff. I think every band you talk to will have a broad range of stuff. We’ll go from Black Sabbath to Massive Attack in one second.

J: The Black Halos have said that Canada has openly and publicly apologized for Bryan Adams but I can’t find anything to confirm this. Can you help me out?

K: (Laughs) Oh Black Halos, I love those guys. I’m not apologizing for Bryan Adams, I love him.

This brings a shocked look to my face but Kyle’s answer is quickly qualified in a good way.

K: You wanna know why? He suckered all you Americans into giving him your money and that’s the greatest thing I could ever think of. That’s just irresponsible.

We spent a few minutes discussing Canadian bands and music and Kyle apologized for Default. Good man.

J: Any final words?

K: (with an evil grin) No.

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