When Cancer Bats first played in Sudbury sometime in early 2005, they played for about 50 people, Liam Cormier, the band's frontman, recalls.
Over the years, their local shows have experienced sizable growth.
Coming back 12 times in the past six years and hanging out with “friends” in the dining room of Burger King until the wee hours of the morning has solidified the Toronto-based hardcore band's fan-following in the city.
“They paid attention to Sudbury when other bands didn't,” Frank Chartrand said. “When you're in Toronto, it's easy to ignore northern cities.”
Cormier said Chartrand is one of the main reasons his band has made return visits to Sudbury. Chartrand has promoted Cancer Bats shows in Sudbury since the start, and plans to continue.
Chartrand doesn't take all the credit though. He said the fact that Cancer Bats are “an awesome band” makes it easy for them to attract crowds on their own.
When they aren't making the trek north to play local venues such as the Sudbury Arena, the Jubilee Centre or “Frank's mom's dance studio,” they set their sights on other parts of the world like Europe.
Cormier said the band spends a lot of time on the road, driving. But it's worth it when he's able to connect with fans in cities around the globe.
“I know tons of the kids that are at the shows,” Cormier said, whether he is playing to a crowd here in Greater Sudbury are playing to one in Germany.
Since inception, the band has went through some lineup shifts. They haven't given up on the white bat donning the hospital cross though.
Cormier described the symbol as “a bat that will bite you and give you cancer, in an 80s horror movie kind of way.”
Cormier said he and the band's guitarist Scott Middleton used to paste pictures of this “cancer bat” throughout Toronto. At the time, they thought they just creating “street art,” but before they knew it it had become a form of publicity for the band.
Some of the bats are still up throughout Toronto, Cormier said.
Cancer Bats have released three albums, and are getting to work on their fourth.
“We became a full-time band by accident,” Cormier said. Not that he minds the responsibility that comes with being a “full-time” musician.
“I haven't worked a real job since 2006,” he said, reflecting on fulfilling his dream of being a rock star.
Cancer Bats are playing with 3 Inches of Blood and Barn Burner on May 21 at The Jubilee Centre, located at 195 Applegrove St. The all-ages show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets to it cost $20. They can be purchased at the door.
For more information about the band, visit cancerbats.com.
For more information about the show, check out http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=131332426935122.