Biography

Billy Talent

Members: Benjamin Kowalewicz, Jonathan Gallant, Ian D\'Sa, Aaron Solowoniuk

Active: 1993 - present

HISTORY

The band originated in Meadowvale and Streetsville, Ontario two neighbouring districts in Mississauga, a large city west of Toronto, Ontario. In 1993, Ben Kowalewicz and Jon Gallant were part of a band called \"To Each His Own\", where Gallant played bass, and Kowalewicz was on drums. Kowalewicz moved to vocals, and Aaron Solowoniuk was recruited in his place. They then met Ian D\'Sa backstage at their high school talent show. The trio would then go on to merge with D\'Sa, whose current band \"Dragonflower\" happened to be breaking up at the time. They originally started playing music which was a mix of grunge, and hip-hop. Their merging would bring on the name \"The Other One\" for a short time, and eventually Pezz.

Pezz began writing, performing songs, and gaining attention and credibility at first locally, and soon in Toronto\'s broader indie music scene. Their first recording was a cheap 4-track demo. It was recorded in Ian D\'Sa\'s basement in July of 1994, and was named Demoluca, after a friend of the band named Jason Deluca had stopped by the house, banging on a basement window while the band was recording. Soon after, in January 1995, they all put in money to record another demo of better quality with engineer/producer Dave Tedesco at \"Signal to Noise\" studio which they called Dudebox. It wasn\'t until the band members maxed-out their credit cards, and collaborated with Juno-nominated music producer Brad Nelson, that they recorded their first full-length album, Watoosh!, in 1998 at a studio called \"Great Big Music\". While popular within Toronto\'s indie scene, it did not reach large mainstream sales levels.

MAINSTREAM SUCCESS

In 1999, Pezz ran into some legal trouble over their name. A punk band from Memphis, Tennessee used the same name, and indeed had released their first record under that name in 1990 (however, their first full-length was not released until 1995). At first, the Canadian Pezz\'s management threatened a lawsuit and demanded $5,000 from BYO Records, the Los Angeles-based record company, at the time, for the American Pezz. In time, the band relented, and soon renamed themselves Billy Talent in 2001. The name was inspired by \"Billy Tallent\", the name of a guitarist in Hard Core Logo, the novel by Michael Turner and its film adaptation by Bruce McDonald.

As Billy Talent, their sound began to move in a more aggressive, punk rock direction. Their four song EP, Try Honesty, was released in September 2001, and the band became increasingly well-known, and their live shows, noted for their high energy, more frequent.

In 2002, the band quickly attracted considerable interest from major record companies. In the end, the band signed with Atlantic Records and Warner Music Canada. In the fall of 2003, the band released their full-length self-titled album, Billy Talent. The album found considerable mainstream airplay and sales success. \"Try Honesty\" was a successful first single, and was followed by other singles into late 2003 and 2004. The band played sold-out shows in Canada and the United States and had success in Europe as well. The band received Juno and MuchMusic Video Award nominations and awards, and spent late 2004 and most of 2005 touring. As of June 2006, Billy Talent the album, has gone 3x Platinum in Canada and will likely achieve mainstream success in the United States as well after playing shows at almost every Warped Tour 2006 festival.

BILLY TALENT II

The band\'s second album was mostly recorded at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver B.C., again working closely with good friends Gavin Brown and Chris Lord-Alge. This time however Ian D\'Sa got a chance to try his hand at producing. The band also recorded cover songs of John Lennon\'s \"Cold Turkey\" and the Buzzcocks \"Ever Fallen in Love?\" during these sessions.

Beginning in the fall of 2005, songs from the new album were purposely leaked by the band to gain publicity. A demo of \"Red Flag\" circulated across the internet, even though it had already appeared on the soundtracks to Burnout Revenge, Burnout Legends, SSX On Tour and EA Sports\' NHL 06, and on the Atlantic Records compilation Black by Popular Demand. \"Devil In A Midnight Mass\" and \"Surrender\" were available for download on the official website exclusively on Christmas Day, 2005 and Valentine\'s Day, 2006, respectively.

\"Devil In A Midnight Mass\" was the first single for the album, officially released on April 20, 2006. The final version of \"Devil In A Midnight Mass\" was made available online through the band\'s Myspace, as part of it\'s official single release. \"Red Flag\" was the second single. A video for it was shot on July 21, 2006, in Los Angeles, California.

On June 23, 2006, all of the tracks were officially released onto the band\'s MySpace as a listing preview for the fans, and four days after the album being leaked onto BitTorrent. The next day, ten of the songs were removed, leaving \"This Suffering\", \"Devil In A Midnight Mass\", \"Red Flag\" and one of the songs from their self-titled album.

The album hit the shelves on June 27, 2006. It fared very well in Canada in its debut week, landing in at number 1 on the Canadian charts with 48,000 copies sold the first week. However the success didn\'t duplicate itself in the U.S., where the disk came in at #134, selling only 7,231 units in week 1.

The day after it\'s debut, the band performed a Intimate & Interactive outdoor concert on MuchMusic in the CHUM-City Building parking lot in Toronto, Ontario. They were also interviewed by Much VJ Devon Soltendieck, and asked questions from viewers via telephone, e-mail, and videophone.

The music video for their third single, \"Fallen Leaves\", was shot on the first two days of November 2006, in Los Angeles, CA. It was first played in Canada on Much on Demand on November 27th, 2006, and worldwide the following week.

The band performed a live session for Mike Davies on BBC Radio 1\'s The Lockup on September 12th, playing the tracks \"Red Flag\", \"Devil In A Midnight Mass\" and \"This Suffering\".

During the band\'s most recent UK tour, Ben was forced to return to Canada for family related reasons. The band had to miss their Southampton show in Ben\'s absence. The whole band returned the following month to play the show. Halfway through the performance, Ben apologised to the crowd for his absence the previous month, which was followed by a heart warming round of applause from the crowd.

On November 22nd, the band made its American premiere on the Late Night with Conan O\'Brien show, performing \"Red Flag.\"

On the 12th January 2007 the music video for Fallen Leaves was made available to watch in the UK on the Rock channels Kerrang TV, Scuzz and MTV 2.

On Jaunary 18th, the band started their first Canadian arena tour with the bands Rise Against, Anti-Flag, and Moneen in Victoria, which will go through the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec City and ending off Febuary 8 in London,Ontario.

ALBUMS

1998 - Watoosh!
2003 - Billy Talent
2006 - Billy Talent II

LIVE ALBUMS

2006 - Live From The UK

EP\'S

1993 - Demoluca (as Pezz)
1994 - Dudebox (as Pezz)
2003 - The Ex
2003 - Try Honesty
2006 - Devil In A Midnight Mass
2006 - Red Flag
2007 - Fallen Leaves

SINGLES

2003 - \"Try Honesty\" Billy Talent
2004 - \"The Ex\" Billy Talent
2004 - \"River Below\" Billy Talent
2004 - \"Nothing To Lose\" Billy Talent
2006 - \"Devil In A Midnight Mass\" Billy Talent II
2006 - \"Red Flag\" Billy Talent II
2006 - \"Fallen Leaves\" Billy Talent II
2007 - \"This Suffering\"

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