Making memories with Misery Signals

Milwaukee band part of packed lineup at Garf's on Sunday

It has been more than a year since hardcore metal band Misery Signals has done a gig in Whistler, and the band has literally toured the world since, but guitarist Stu Ross said he remembers the last Whistler show well.

Well, sort of. Let's just say there was a lot of drinking, some sleepwalking, and a random hotel room involved. Details are blurry, but it was memorable nonetheless.

This time around is sure to be just as unforgettable, at least for local music fans, what with five bands on the bill at Garf's and a ticket price of only $10. You sure can't beat $2 per band in these economic times.

Misery Signals is set to headline the show on Sunday (June 7), with Haste the Day, Dead and Divine, Architects, and Sights and Sounds rounding out the lineup. Misery Signals is touring in support of its 2008 album, Controller.

Ross said the band has put together a set full of material from the latest album, plus some older material to mix things up. He said the band is happy with the shows on the tour so far, and he thinks the set showcases the Misery Signals well.

I'm excited about the material we're playing and it's going over well, Ross said.

The Misery Signals show is pretty loud and pretty aggressive, he said, and people who aren't familiar with the band should be prepared for a big, burly man who stands there and screams his brains out. That would be the Misery Signals frontman, Karl Schubach, who joined the band in 2006 after Jesse Zaraska and the rest of the band parted ways.

Listening to a few Misery Signals tracks on MySpace, there certainly is a lot of screaming happening. But then suddenly there are brief snippets of mellow, melodic music in the midst of the chaos.

Ross said the band has never wanted to simply play straightforward, predictable metal. All the band members have strong melodic sensibilities.

Just because we play metal doesn't mean that's all we listen to or all that influences us, he said.

Misery Signals is based in Milwaukee, but both Ross and Schubach are Canadian and from Edmonton and Regina, respectively. Ross said that when the band has a chunk of time off - which is rare these days - he still heads home to Edmonton.

The band has faced many challenges, even before it formed out of the ashes of two other bands in 2002. The bands that would see some members go on to form Misery Signals experienced setbacks when some members quit and then tragedy when two members were killed when a drunk driver hit their van.

In the early days of Misery Signals, the musicians would travel 24 hours by car to write music and rehearse because half the members were still living in Canada. Then, of course, further challenges came when Zaraska left the band in late 2005.

A new frontman, two albums and countless shows later, Ross said the band is in its most comfortable and casual place ever. Touring isn't a struggle anymore and everyone knows his role and does what needs to be done, he said.

It's not really a grind anymore, Ross said.

In the last year alone Misery Signals has toured the U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. After this tour it's time for a bit of a break, and possibly starting work on the next album, Ross said.

Rock out with Misery Signals, Haste the Day, Dead and Divine, Architects, and Sights and Sounds, Sunday (June 7) at Garfinkel's. The show starts at 9 p.m. sharp. Tickets are $10 in advance at Billabong, Katmandu, The Hub and online at

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