Shrine Of American Martyr, or The Shrine as we came to be called was in some ways a super group at the time, starting in ‘99. Making up the band was me and Mac Ogilvie on guitar and sharing vocals, Lance Purcell (from Snot Party and Falling Out) on drums, and Scott Leighton on bass. At the time Mac and Lance had a lot of notoriety for being in The Plan, Mac had just come off of singing for influential Halifax hardcore band Equation Of State, and I was doing Useless Solution and Envision. Scott was a hermit from Truro.
|The Shrine live @ The Arts Guild, Charlottetown, PEI|
The band was kind of Me and Mac’s brain child. We wanted to form a really chaotic, intense hardcore band that appealed to several factions of the hardcore/punk scene. We combined influences from the emerging "screamo" scene - bands like Orchid, Page 99, and The Locust, and combined them with moodier stuff of the 80's like Joy Division and The Cure...though the result was all power. Mac and I traded off lyrics creating a co-frontman dynamic, and our shows were always super chaotic, sometimes superseding the music. The hardcore trend of wearing shirts and ties while playing hadn't really exploded yet, so in the beginning this was something we did at every show.
We had set up a short Canada and east coast US tour sometime in the winter of 2000, and in turn every show got cancelled in the weeks before we left but one show in Boston, MA with Orchid. At the time, we were still all obsessing over that band, so decided to drive down to play it anyway. We rented a van and loaded all of our gear and made a 3 day trip out of it, only to arrive to the house the show was at in Boston and find out that Orchid wasn't playing. In fact, they were never even asked to play - a friend of a friend of the promoter said he'd ask them and forgot. We still got to play with Eulcid, who ended up buying all of our demos to sell on their tour.
We made the rounds around Halifax and PEI, building a reputation for our intense live shows. We got arty and incorporated projected video into some shows, did unexpected covers (like Suck My Left One by Bikini Kill), and in our later songs played into long winded, jammier interludes, though very little of that stuff was ever documented.
With Mac and Lance doing The Plan simultaneously, Lance felt like he didn’t have the time needed to dedicate to our later, more involved stuff and decided to quit. Not really sure where to go from there, I started playing drums in practice to keep the band active, but I couldn’t match the talent Lance brought. We were unable to find a suitable replacement, and additionally I believe there was tension between Mac and I for creative control of the new material. Such is the problem with having two frontmen. We decided to call it a day, and Lance came back in to play a last show in 2001 at the TKO space. I somehow set Gerry’s guitar amp on fire during our set. Oops.
We recorded a four song cassette and self released it at (I believe) our first show. It was recorded by Mike Catano (of The Plan, North Of America, The Holy Shroud, Thrush Hermit, etc.) in his parents basement. Mac and I went in with no lyrical structure, and the result was amazing. The fact that it was recorded in 8 track analog made it really powerful as well. I’m not sure how many were made. The Shrine was a band I was really proud of what we achieved, and the demo we produced. I’d like to see it be released on vinyl someday as I think it holds up against the test of time.
There’s never been a reunion show since our last official show on Good Friday of 2001. I’d like to think it will happen eventually.
DOWNLOAD THEIR ONLY DEMO!!
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