The Planet Smashers celebrate their second decade playing together with a tour for the music off their newest album Mixed Signals. Even twenty years later, the Smashers maintain their upbeat and body-moving ska sound. “This new Planet Smashers opus remains a damn good third wave ska product and ideal summer soundtrack” The Hour is noted as saying on the bands website. Their plucky bass and punk-like undertones satisfy almost any listener, and still draw in the old school skankers.
While most bands have to think of ways to get their audience moving to their music, the Smashers have never had any such problems. “Never. Not once. We’ve had a couple tough ones where we were wedged between a couple hardcore bands, but people were still dancing, moving around.” Frontman Matt Collyer says, “Probably the darkest was when we opened for Simple Plan and that was just because for most of the kids there, we were the first band they had ever seen live. They just didn’t know what to do, so we told them ‘You guys are supposed to dance now’, and then they did it.”
The Smashers don’t usually have to twist any arms to get people dancing. The Montreal Roller Derby girls were even skanking on their skates towards the end of the Planet Smashers newest video Tear It Up. The video features their hometown roller derby team Montreal Roller Derby and the Planet Smashers as the opposing team throughout the video. The derby girls really kick some ass in it, and Collyer was still feeling it days later. “It’s been three weeks and my ribs are still sore! They weren’t even trying. They could’ve done so much worse.” Collyer says, “But it’s hard just standing on roller skates, as we found out.”
Even though Ottawa is close to the Smashers hometown of Montreal, the band hasn’t had the opportunity to tour through here in some time due to high production costs. Their tour this spring started out in western Canada with their latest show last Thursday in Vancouver. The Smashers play Mavericks this Friday before looping back to Montreal and heading into the states until the end of May. “We’re not a full time touring band anymore,” Collyer says, “I had a couple kids in 2009 and like to be around for them, I don’t want to be out on the road six months of the year anymore.” Most bands run the risk of losing their following when they stop touring, but the Smashers have made an effort to play festivals like Rockfest to continue their following and generate new fans.
The Smashers’ two decades of staying power means they’ll be bringing ska to the uncoordinated dancers of the world for years to come. If they don’t, now at least they have a roller derby career they can fall back on. “We get challenges from other teams now,” Collyer says, “We haven’t taken anybody up on it, but we’re posturing like we will.”
The Planet Smashers 20th Anniversary Tour stops in at Mavericks (221 Rideau Street) this Friday April 25th with The Scally Cap Brats, The Cardboard Crowns and Suit n’ Toques. Doors open at 8pm, tickets are $17 and can be purchased here or at Vertigo Records.