The Sainte Catherines
Contributed by Dante3000, Posted by Fat Wreck Chords Interviews

My man crush and yours, Dante3000, sat down with Fat's favorite (and only) Quebecois band, the Sainte Catherines. Hugo, Mark and Pablo schooled Rich on a short history of the band, their views on the mainstream and various surfaces fit for the signing of signatures. As with all of Rich's interviews, you can hear the full audio of interview at Sound Scene Revolution. Back to the hot tub.

Would you guys like to introduce yourselves? Hugo: My name is Hugo. I sing in The Sainte Catherines.
Mark: I’m Mark and I play guitar.
Pablo: I’m Pablo and I play bass.

I guess the first question is kind of a general on, could you give us a brief history of the band, how you got started and all that? Hugo: Yeah, we started in 1999. We did a bunch of CD’s on our own label and a bunch of seven inches and close to 400 shows before signing to Fat Wreck Chords. Now we’re doing more shows and the new CD is called Dancing for Decadence. We’ve played close to five hundred and twenty something shows and…
Mark: We’ve had five vans.
Hugo: Five vans. Five drummers. At least twenty…
Pablo: That dude is totally puking over there.
Hugo: And that dude puking over there. That’s the newest member.

So how many different people have been in the band? Hugo: Twelve.

So you currently have three guitarists, how did that come about? Did you decide you wanted three or did three people just happen to work out? Hugo: It was more uhm…We had a guy that left and we wanted a new guitar player…
(Everything is interrupted by an old security guard coming by to inform us that open containers and drugs aren’t allowed outside and the cops will arrest us for it, even though no one is drinking or doing drugs in the van) Pablo: And that was some sketchy dude.
Mark: It was Willie Nelson. (laughs)
Pablo: Willie Nelson just told us to not smoke weed in the van. Thank you Willie.
Hugo: So, we wanted a new guitar player and Mark and Louie, who are in the band, played in another band that we really like and are friends with. We didn’t want to break the chemistry that they had going on, so we asked both of them to join, so it would be a lot more fun. The more people in a band, the more fun you have. So that’s why we have three guitars.

One of the most recent articles that has come up is that you won "Best Punk Album of the Year" at the Quebec Independent Music Awards, is that correct? Mark: Yup.

How do you guys feel, we’re you stoked on that? Mark: It’s cool. We got like a free satellite radio. (laughs)
Pablo: That was the best part.

Was there a trophy or anything like that? Mark: Yeah, we got a sweet trophy in the shape of a moose’s…eh, what do you call those (motions to head).
Sound Guy Nariman: The antlers?
Pablo: The lanterns, uh the antlers. Right.

Interesting award. Did you guys attend the ceremony? Hugo: Yup. It was fun.
Mark: It was pretty cool actually.
Pablo: We pretty much made fun of everybody there. (laughs)
Hugo: We could dress well and go on stage and talk shit a bit. (laughs)

Did you guys wear tuxedos? Hugo: Not tuxedos.
Pablo: Nice suits.
Hugo: We were the well dressed band for sure.

I believe it was quoted from you Hugo as saying, "Doing independent and underground music isn’t a step before being mainstream. It’s a choice and a lifestyle." With that, if you were ever given the right opportunity by a major label do you think you’d ever take it? Pablo: No.
Hugo: Nope.
Mark: No, that’s not really something that interests us. Having like huge ass debt. And having to…
Hugo: I don’t like shaking hands and sucking dick.

It’s the shaking hands mostly. Mark: The sucking dick is alright.
Hugo: Sucking dick I like but I like underground dicks.
Mark: You like to do it to people you like

Not because it’s business. Mark: Exactly. Because then you just turn into a whore.
And that’s not why you got into music. Mark: Partly but you know.
Hugo: If I would start like a rap band maybe I’d try for the major thing.
Pablo: Yeah, fucking Wu-Tang Records.
Hugo: But Sainte Catherines, that’s not what we’re all about.
Mark: With your mad rhyming skills. (laughs)
Hugo: It would not be fun, and we’re just trying to have fun.

So, one of the things I was reading is you weren’t able to make a couple of stops on your recent tour. The first is the Seattle stop, you weren’t able to make that. Mark: Yeah, we got stuck just like on the edge of the Rockies in Alberta and there was a big snow storm. We didn’t have any winter tires and we had our trailer hitched. We couldn’t even pull out of our motels driveway. So we had to cross over the Rockies and we were like, "Eh, maybe it’s not such a good idea". We had to wait it out a bit because it was a snow storm, like a big snow storm. Like fugly shit.

So you figured it’s best to miss one show. Mark: Exactly, instead of missing the rest of the tour because we got fucked.
Hugo: So we got scared.
Mark: Yeah, because it was a sketchy drive.
Hugo: So we spent two days in the motel going into the hot tub and I think it was probably more fun that those two shows.

Especially if your van would have gotten fucked up. You said you’ve been through five vans? Pablo: Yup.

What happened to them all do you remember? Hugo: Mostly transmissions.
Mark: We’ve had like five vans but we’ve probably had like ten transmissions. The thing is we don’t have money to buy new vans, so we buy old vans for like a grand or two grand or whatever and just run them into the ground. Then we just sell them to other bands that don’t know better. (laughs)
Hugo: I remember the first van we had died in New York and it got into two accidents in the same day. We got smashed by, who again?
Mark: The traffic by this old black lady.
Hugo: No no, some black guy. I don’t know but he’s a well known black guy.
Mark: This other time we were parked…
Hugo: In front of ABC No Rio and some handicapped kid ran into the van, so it was twice in the same day and it died. But, we bought that van for $500. So it’s what it deserves.

What’s the worst thing to happen with any one of your vans? Mark: We got stuck for like a week or so in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is basically like a shit hole. Sorry to anybody from Thunder Bay, but you guys probably know it by now. (laughs) We got stuck there when our van fucked up on like a Friday and we had to wait until Monday and then they figured out they had to order a transmission from Toronto. So, it basically took us a little over a week to get out of this place. It sucked, it was one of the worst weeks.
Hugo: My worst experience was I think our second or third van. It died when we were back from tour and like 45 minutes to Montreal. Like we had 45 minutes to go to get to Montreal and the van died, the transmission again. So, we hitchhiked. We were two teams of three I think. It took me and the other guy I was with more than 30 hours to get back home. We slept in a ditch on the highway.
Mark: On the side of the road.
Hugo: Then we woke up and we were tired again and so we slept in…There was a go-kart thing outdoors and there was this huge inflatable go-kart and we slept on it. And then we got arrested and they handcuffed us and then they searched us, like they thought we were criminals, I don’t know. They drove us to another town and we had to call our parents, so they had to pick us up. (laughs) I felt like a loser.

I bet that really makes your parents feel like you made the right [career] choice in life. Mark: "I’m in the ditch behind the go-kart".
Pablo: They were convinced then, "Oh yeah, my son made the right choice".
Mark: "Are you sure you don’t want to go back to school?" (laughs)
Pablo: You know they don’t ask you, "How was the tour?" after that one. (laughs)

Back to the original question about shows you couldn’t make, the other one was Salute St. Marie, I can’t pronounce it. Everybody else: Sault St. Marie
Pablo: That was really sketchy. We had a tour booked and we went online looking for a show and these three kids contacted us to set up a show in Sault St. Marie. We were like, "okay, fine". This one kid was really persistent and was like, "I want to do the show. I want to do the show. I want to do the show." So it was like, alright dude you seem to be really into it. By the time we got there the dude had all the excuses in the book. Didn’t rent a PA. He said, "There’s a rumor going around that there’s no show going on". It was just like, "What are you talking about? There’s no rumor guy". This is Sault St. Marie there’s like three people here. So we asked him, "Well, where’d that rumor come from?" And…
Mark: My girlfriend.
Pablo: If someone’s gonna tell you, "I hear the show’s not happening", and he’s telling you, you’re supposed to say, "No, it’s happening. I’m putting on the show". This guy was like, "Oh, okay. So, if that’s what people are saying, duh". So we’re going to go back but we’re not going to do shows with those dudes, we’re going to do shows with Amber. She’s a really nice girl.
Mark: The thing is, that the guy was pushing it like, if the show was going to happen he was going to have to pay for the hall. Then if the show did happen like two kids were going to show up because of this bullshit rumor that there was no show. So, we wouldn’t have any money because he would have to pay the bar. So we said, "Give us whatever you would give to the bar".
Hugo: And then we went to the hot tub.
Pablo: Back to the hot tub.

At least there’s always the hot tub at the motel. Hugo: Yeah, it’s always better than the show. (laughs)

If only you could do that for a living. Hugo: If someone would pay me $20 a day to go into the hot tub I would do it.
Mark: Like a little buy out?
Hugo: I would quit. Hot tub tour would be the best thing ever. If there was an arcade too man.
Mark: Pinball machines.
Hugo: A couple of pinball machines. And maybe cable TV too.

So the next one is mainly directed for Hugo, you play in a country band as well, right? Hugo: Two country bands. One is with everyone else [in the band]. It’s called Yesterday’s Ring and it’s like a folk/country/punk thing. The other one is just me and the guy from Inpesy and it’s like country covers from before 1960. And I really like county music. As much as hot tubs.

Now, is it hard to do either of those when The Sainte Catherines have obviously been touring a lot? Hugo: Not really because, uhm…
Mark: It’s on the down times.
Hugo: And it’s kind of I don’t really think about it, I just do it. Like, Yesterday’s Ring we just started doing this band for fun and we just like it so much we keep doing it. It’s not like, "Let’s try to find time for it". When we’re tired of playing fast music, we play slow music.
Mark: There’s less tours and stuff with the other bands too.
Hugo: Exactly, it’s local shows and some out of town shows for Yesterday’s Ring but not much.

How’s the response been? Hugo: It’s actually, really really good. (laughs) Which is kind of a problem.
Mark: Girls are like, "You should drop off The Sainte Catherines".
Pablo: Everyone’s like, "I like The Sainte Catherines but Yesterday’s Ring is way better". And we’re just like, "yeah" (laughs)
Hugo: In Montreal it’s as popular as The Sainte Catherines and around Quebec it’s getting there. It’s good.

So, how has the tour been going for you guys thus far? Hugo: It’s been fun.
Mark: It’s been really good so far. The shows are full and the people are good so it’s fun.
Hugo: It’s a great tour. Play in front of a lot of people.
Mark: Although in Portland we had some interesting moments with the crowd. People were grabbing Hugo’s cock.
Hugo: And they stole my hat and they ripped it up.
Mark: And they were unplugging shit from the board.
Hugo: People hated us.
Mark: They were just bratty little kids I guess.

Will your cock recover one day? Hugo: Yeah it’s good now, after the hot tub.
Pablo: Some pain killers.
Mark: It’s back. Back in action. (laughs)

Just wanted to make sure incase someone is interested. Hugo: I’m sure someone’s interested.
Mark: Someone, somewhere is disappointed. (laughs)

Well you did sign a boob earlier. Hugo: I can sign dicks too. If you want me too.
Pablo: (imitating Hugo) "I can only put the H on this one, this sucks. Why’d you bother me with this?" (laughs)

I can sign dicks too.

So I got two questions I want to ask because you’re from Quebec and you are French Canadian. First question is, do American girls really dig guys who can speak French? Everyone: Yeah.
Hugo: You just…
Pablo: Just go huhhuhhuh (French laugh)
Hugo: You just saw that before, I just signed a boob. You don’t see an American band do that. (laughs)
Pablo: Like last night at the show and people were into it and Hugo said one word in French and everyone was like, "Fuck yeah dude! Circle pit!"
Hugo: People were like masturbating in the crowd.
Pablo: Throwing panties at us.

The next question I want to ask, are you guys separatists? Hugo: Yeah. (laughs)
Mark: Yeah mostly just to piss off English people.
Hugo: Yeah we are, let’s have a country man. I like the fact that we sing in English and we’re separatists. I just think Quebec is better than anywhere else.
Mark: Well, the English singing part doesn’t really have anything to do…
Hugo: Well usually most separatists are like pro-French and sing in French. There aren’t a lot of English bands that are separatists.

Do you get a lot of people from your area who ask why you don’t sing in French? Mark: Yeah, actually.

We want to play in California, you douche bag!

What do you say? Hugo: We say, "We want to play in California, you douche bag!" (laughs)
Pablo: I tell them I’m Spanish.
Mark: The thing is it’d be hard to do all that we’d be doing if we just sing in French. We’d be stuck in Quebec and going to France and stuff like a lot of other bands are doing in Quebec. And to me that’s not what we wanted to do in the band.
Hugo: We like the bands that sing in French, it’s fun. But, we always wanted to travel with music.