What do a birthday, a heart attack, and a new album have in common? If you were at The Corktown for The Castor Troys EP release party last week you would know.
To celebrate the release of their new EP entitled “Legends Never Die”, The Castor Troys took to the stage at The Corktown Pub in Hamilton last Saturday night, bringing with them the energy and talent the band has quickly become known for.
Fresh off their opening set at The Headstones, the band kicked off their set with their usual flair and prestige.
Armed with instruments as their weapons and near poetic lyrics as their souls, the Troys received a warm welcome to a nearly sold-out house, filled with fans and supporters.
The Castor Troys are a story-telling band like no other band around town. Their lyrics are focused heavily on true stories which include bank robbers, war time stories, and of course, lovers.
I had a chance to sit down and talk to Aaron and Bryson after the show to discuss their new album.
“Releasing this album was a long process. It took about two years” described Aaron.
“It was a change of guard really. We sort of left the punk realm exclusively, and geared more towards rock and roll, but it’s been good because we’ve kind of carved out a niche in this really busy Hamilton Market. Everyone has their own sound, and we found ours. This is our heading. I’m really happy with how every track turned out. Every single one was a labour of love.”
When asked where the inspiration behind their true story songs came from, Aaron was quick to explain:
“I’ve always been a story teller. I come from a long line of bull-shitters I guess? No, I just collect a lot of them. Take the Stopwatch Gang, I’ve been fascinated with them since I was a child. Reading about them in the paper, or seeing them on America’s Most Wanted. I’ve always rooted for the bad guy too. That’s why we’re called The Castor Troys – the villain.”
In addition to crime and villain stories, there are also war stories as well, such as the song Wreck of the Bastard. It seemed appropriate to talk about with Veterans Day taking place only a few hours later.
“The Bastard, was a spitfire. It was assigned to my father-in-law, Ray Munroe, in Scotland. He was 18, he flew some combat missions. He took on German Fighters as young as you could be, before you know anything from anything, and he’s in the thick of war. The particular story that the song is about was that his engine in the plane exploded because of sabotage. So he thought for sure he was dead. He crashed landed, but thankfully survived. That’s really the whole story. Then he also survived two more crashes (after that). He was just one of those individuals that was almost un-killable.”
“He was a WWII hero. One of Canada’s most decorated fighter pilots, but because we’re Canadian, nobody knows about it. But if we can share stories like that, in any way, that’s what we’re here for.”
The stories translate to rock anthems like those not previously heard in Hamilton’s scene. Choreographed jumps, perfectly synced lighting and enough hair-whipping to give someone whiplash, the show and release at the Corktown was truly a cause for celebration.
“We had an awesome time. We had an awesome turn out and a lot of love tonight, and everybody was rocking out just as much as we were,” explained Bryson.
When asked where their energy comes from, they were both eager to answer:
“Mostly it’s just the adrenaline from the crowd. We saw everybody up front of the stage, and they were rocking out, smiles, and it’s our happy spot. When I get behind the kit, that’s my happy zone. People, always say ‘you’re always so smiley back there’ and I say back “Well, yeah, I’m having the time of my life. It’s my happy spot!” – Bryson.
“I’m a performer, so I feed off of it. The bigger the crowd, the more I’m into it.” – Aaron.
One minute a band can feel like they’re on top of the world, but then, suddenly reality kicks in when you least expected it.
Earlier in the week, the band experienced an event that could have easily changed everything for them.
“It kind of starts at the Headstones show. It was the time of our life,” explained Aaron.
“It was a bucket list goal that we had always aimed for, and we achieved it, and it was great. It was amazing. Then, two days later, not even, our guitarist Chris had a heart attack. The bottom fell out. It was as if rock bottom had a trapped door sort of thing. We didn’t know where we were going next. We didn’t know if the show was happening, we didn’t have any next steps other than visiting our brother in the hospital. That’s it. That’s all we had to do. The show would come second.”
Despite a shorter set than the band would have liked, you would have never known that Chris or the guys had had such a crazy week.
The troys still managed to have the Corktown Pub moving and singing along to songs off the EP.
“Everyone still showed up, and they showed all of their love and support for us and Chris,” Bryson said, looking around the room surrounded by his fans.
“That’s Hamilton though. That’s the scene. This scene is really like none other that I know,” Aaron exclaimed.
“Who have you ever heard of that has had a heart attack and then can play a show like that? Like six days later?”
The answer to that of course, was the evening’s show stealer, Chris.
But when tragedy struck the band, the tour didn’t seem so certain.
“A bunch of shows were booked, and it was like ‘alright, is this tour done? I dunno, it doesn’t matter,’” explained Bryson.
Thankfully, due to the quick thinking of Chris, and some help from Hamilton Health Sciences, he was able to make a quick and speedy recovery and perform a short 6 days later.
Aaron continued the story, “The good part of the story, is that Chris recognized that he was having issues. He called Telehealth, they helped him out immediately. He knew his family history, so he knew not to screw around with it and get to the hospital. They immediately treated him, as they had thought that he had indeed had a heart attack, and they scoped him, and sure enough, they put a stint in. He had a completely blocked right artery, and there was no damage done because they got to it so early.”
Proving that Legends truly never die, The Troys are committed to carrying on their tour to celebrate their album, and bond as a band.
“As long as Chris is good, We’ll figure it out,” said Bryson.
“There might be some alterations to the tour, but, so far everything is still confirmed to keep on going. We’re going to do all of the gigs that we have booked, but do shorter sets. Everyone understands what it is we’re going through. We would love to take it longer, but we have to take Chris’s health into consideration”.
Worth noting was the fact that modest Bryson nearly went the whole night without mentioning his birthday. In fact, it wasn’t until vegan cupcakes were brought out after the mic’s were turned off and lights brought up, that anyone turned the spotlight to him to wish him a Happy Birthday.
“The castor Troys rock you, and then we feed you cupcakes,” joked Bryson as they were handed out.
The Castor Troys will continue running down their dreams with their Legends Never Die tour around Ontario, performing at various locations. Be sure to check out their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account to see where they’ll be next.
Legends Never Die is now out on most major online-music platforms, with CDs and limited press vinyls available through the band.