Back Breaker is a Anti Fascist, Working Class Oi / Hardcore Street Punk band from Kitchener, Ontario. The idea for “Back Breaker” was formed by vocalist “Terry DCHC” a few years prior to the actual formation of the band, as a tribute to the working class breaking their backs to earn a paycheque. While working as a Unionized Structural Steel / Ironworker, Terry was in an accident at work in 2017 where he broke his back, leaving him paralyzed and in a wheelchair and the name “Back Breaker” taking on even more significance.
Check out their latest EP, “By Any Means Necessary” below.
Interview with Back Breaker!
You guys just released your EP, “By Any Means Necessary” on February 1st. It is mentioned that this album is a salute to the working class and those fighting fascism. Can you go into more detail on this?
“By Any Means Necessary” is meant to be a salute to the working class and those fighting Fascism across the world, our songs were written in the spirit of the worker and the struggles that are still faced in the work place and everyday life, from unfair working conditions to poverty, racism, and class war. These songs are meant to inspire and conspire with the average person who can see that direct action and solidarity are the only way forward, in both the fight against fascism and in our everyday lives. From start to finish “By Any Means Necessary” is a call to action; Track 1 – “Boot Boys” is a salute to those already in the streets fighting for the future, kids, students, teachers, union members, all those on the frontlines. Track 2 – “Anti Fascist Oi” is specifically directed at our Anti Fascist brothers and sisters around the world, who are truly making a difference in the fight against fascism, for putting their lives on the line and never giving up. Track 3 – “Pull The Fucking Trigger” is our promise to fight all forms of fascism wherever we see it arise, in the streets or at a show, by any means necessary. Track 4 – “Union Made” is a salute to Joe Hill of the IWW and every other union member who has and is fighting for better working conditions, fair pay, benefits and the future worker, as well as those fighting to form unions around the world. Track 5 – “Guilty” is originally written as an Anti-Iraq War song by Jay, Deville and Nathan in their past band “Scream Bloody Murder”, we re-wrote the lyrics when President Trump began his campaign against Iran earlier this year to call him, the media and other world leaders out for their complicity in the build up to another war in the Middle East. Fuck Trump, Fuck NATO, Fuck War, and Fuck Fascism.
What would you say is your favorite track on this album and why?
It’s funny, this is one that we all agree on for many reasons. Although all of our songs have elements that we really love, “Union Made” takes the top on this one, from the music to the message and the overall emotion of the song. We all feel that this is one we really put our hearts and minds into, one that we can all relate 100% to, and one that represents us as a band and showcases us as individuals. “All For One and One For All”
How has the music scene been in your hometown and how has that contributed to forming Back Breaker?
Kitchener Waterloo goes through waves, we used to have an extremely vibrant and active underground music scene but in the mid 2000’s things got really violent and things slowed down. After the hard work of individuals like Chris Walton, Stacie Jones, Kyle Wappler and others putting on house shows at “The Snake Pit” and gaining access to new venues across the city like Harmony Lunch, Chainsaw, and others the scene was finally doing good again. As a promoter (Terry DCHC) I would constantly try to bring in politically conscious bands, and after noticing the lack of Oi bands around the area, and wanting to start a band for years it felt like it was the perfect time. Now with the gentrification of Kitchener / Waterloo, coupled with the housing problem, the current opioid abuse issues, the loss of friends and the loss of venues like Harmony Lunch, Back Breaker only has more flame to add to the fire.
Tell me more about your accident and how it has affected you.
In 2017 I was working in Toronto, Ontario finishing my apprenticeship for Structural Steel Iron-working, a job I had been working since I was 12 that had taken me across the country. On July 13th, 2017, I was up finishing off an awning on the far side of the building. When break time came I was the last one down off the Iron as I was further and didn’t hear our boss call, by the time I got down everyone left to grab coffee and it had started to rain so my boss asked me to plug in the lifts and clean because we were going to pack up for the day. As I was walking backward towards the final lift, throwing out the extension cord I stepped into a 25-foot-deep air ventilation shaft. Someone had removed the safety barrier earlier that morning without telling anyone. When I fell, the first thought in my mind was “get out of this hole” and that’s when I realized my legs didn’t work. Thankfully, I didn’t hit my head and was completely conscious through everything until the hospital induce me into a coma because of blood loss.
After calling for help for what seemed like an eternity the site supervisor found me and asked “do you need an ambulance?”, after what seemed like another eternity the fire, ambulance and police showed up. Undenounced to me, my spud wrench fell out of my tool belt as I fell and stabbed me in my left bicep, my ribs were broken and I had a punctured lung which is why I was losing so much blood. Once the fire department got me out of the hole, the ambulance rushed me to the hospital where I was put into a coma and underwent two lifesaving surgeries, the first lasting 14 hours and the second another 11 hours. When I came to, three days later that’s when my nightmare truly began. Thankfully I had my family, friends and especially my girlfriend there to help push me through it all.
When the doctors finally told me everything and what to expect, I found out I had severed my spinal cord and compression shattered my T12 vertebrae into so many pieces there was nothing left, I also broke my L3, L4, and S2 vertebrae, the left side of my pelvis in 2 places, three broken ribs, and a punctured lung, I was given 7 or 8 blood transfusions, they used two of my ribs to rebuild my T12 vertebrae. I was now paralyzed from the waist down, and told I would never be able to feel or move anything below my waist. Then began recovery, after 13 days in ICU beside gunshot victims and car accident survivors, watching people die beside me, I was finally sent to a rehabilitation center. Originally, I was told I would be in the hospital for up to six months and rehab for another 8 to 12 months but was home in 2 months due to my determination and defying what the doctors said was possible for me.
Honestly, the accident affected me in every way possible, from my emotional and mental state to how I have to interact with the world, with friends and family. The accident and everything since has shown me how resilient I am, and what is possible if you don’t give up, it’s taught me not to let what others think, say or suggest to define who I am or what my outcome in life will be. It taught me the strength of the Union, and showed me that they were with me and would fight for whatever it was I needed. It has shown me who my true friends are, and what matters most to me. My accident not only gave me a second chance at life it’s allowed me to refocus on activism, on community, on family and so much more.
Two years later on June 13th, 2019 Back Breaker played our first show.
What bands (or individuals) have helped inspire and motivate the growth of the band?
Terry – “For me, Back Breaker was an idea prior to my accident, it was about going to work every day and breaking your back just to bring home enough pay to scrape by. Then I broke my back at work and it took on a whole new meaning for me. Truthfully, I was really inspired to get things going through promoting shows, bands like The Essential Letdowns (Kitchener) Bad Egg (Waterloo) with their amazing stage presence, emotion and energy, to bands like the Union Thugs (Montreal) who brought a real message to that energy. Obviously, a lot of inspiration for me comes from bands like The Oppressed, Oi Polloi, Stage Bottles, and other Anti-Fascist bands but also from bands like Stick To Your Guns, Race Riot 59, Sick Of It All, artists like Immortal Technique, Rebel Diaz, and KRS ONE. A lot of inspiration comes from the friends I have met in the music scene and across the world in the AFA community and their commitment to making a difference at home and abroad.”
Jay – Influences are Tim Armstrong/Lars Frederiksen of Rancid. Kerry King of Slayer, Jake Casualty, of The Casualties. They are what make me want to play guitar and continue to become better at the moment. Motivation to continue in Back Breaker, same reason when I started to make music. When that stops so does Back Breaker for me.
Nathan – “I am really inspired by Travis Barker for the amazing application of his techniques that he works so diligently at perfecting. As well as Abe Cunningham and Jeremy Tagart for the way that they really “play for music” by accenting and playing off of the vocalist as well as the guitarist rather than just “locking in” with the bass player.”
What do you see for the future of Back Breaker? Full length album? Tour?
Right now we are planning a few things! We are working on a split with Prior Convictions from Hamilton, Ontario. We have a few singles in the works and plan to release another EP this summer. We are also working on a few tours as we speak, we are planning on hitting up Western Canada this June. We were just asked to come out to Germany in August to play “Fak Se Sommerloch” – Fest 2 Freiraum Dachau in Munich as direct support for Fontanelle (Leipzig, Germany). We are making plans to play a couple other shows in both Germany and Italy. As for a full length album, we will have to see what the future holds but we are very confident and hopeful that there will be a lot more to come!
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