Ladyhawk is a functioning rock and roll band again
by Chris Morin
With Shotgun Jimmie
Vancouver-via-Kelowna four-piece Ladyhawk is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a cross-Canada tour. Holding a band together for a decade is an impressive milestone, but the road to achieving it hasn’t always been smooth.
Formed in 2004, Ladyhawk quickly left a major mark on the Canadian music scene with their debut album, a self-titled effort released on U.S. label Jagjaguwar in 2006. The band dropped an EP (Fight for Anarchy) in 2007, and then another full-length album (Shots) in 2008 before promptly disappearing into the indie-rock ether.
“It’s crazy that we’ve kept going, considering how unsuccessful we were for the first few years,” says guitarist Darcy Hancock. “Unfortunately, right when our hard work was starting to pay off we were all burnt out on it, so it’s hard to think of any particular great moments or terrible moments.
“I love touring so I don’t need an excuse to do this,” he continues. “But it’s so crazy that we’ve been a band for 10 years. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that we started, but our lives are in very different places now than when we started the band. It seems like it was something that was worth celebrating.”
Ladyhawk combines hard-hitting guitar anthems with frontman Duffy Driediger’s sly, sleazy insights. “’Cause sometimes the people you fear/come wearing the friendliest faces/only to make you feel you’re the last one there when the party’s over,” he sings on “Dugout”, the lead single from their self-titled debut.
Along the way, the band embarked upon multiple cross-Canada tours, opening for groups like The Constantines and Black Mountain. It was a good party while it lasted, but it also contributed to the near-demise of the group, says Hancock.
“Life on tour is this weird bubble that doesn’t make sense to anyone who isn’t living it. It’s hard to describe that tiny world. It’s always hard to come home from tour and readjust. I love being on stage — it’s where I have the most fun. I like recording too, but I guess we didn’t look like we were having fun all the time.”
Just when it seemed like Ladyhawk was going to call it a day once and for all (with most members moonlighting in other projects far more than focusing on the group), they surprised everyone by releasing the full-length No Can Do in 2012, and getting back on the road.
It remains to be seen whether Ladyhawk will return to full-time status, but Hancock says he’s optimistic that the band has at least one more album left to record.
“We’ll see how this tour goes, and whether we’re inspired to write another album. I hope so and I think that we will, but I can’t promise anything. No Can Do took four years to finish. I know why people would assume it wouldn’t happen, because we probably played one show a year during that time. We weren’t really much of a band then.
“I’d like to get back to the point and this is the test,” he continues. “I see no point in working the job I do for money. It’s a waste of time. We’re all better at playing music now, [so quitting] seems wasteful when we could work better at something that we do well now.”