VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 18 | Dont Mind Dyin Return from the Dead
Dont Mind Dyin Return from the Dead
To say that I don’t embody the stereotypical appearance of a metalhead is a bit of an understatement. I can’t boast a wardrobe of Megadeath and Rage t-shirts, or jeans that have quite obviously survived an apocalypse or two. (But that’s just it; these are stereotypes.) Either way, I’m not your typical metal-goer. And yet, at Dont Mind Dyin’s Return from the Dead show at Guelph’s Jimmy Jazz on Friday, April 27, I found myself in the front ranks with the best of them, soaking in the sweet intoxication that comes with one’s first real head bang. And I certainly wasn’t the only bright-eyed newbie in the room. The crowd that night was an eclectic mix of all types; a celebration of the diversity of metal and its burgeoning impact on the Guelph community. Although these dudes won’t admit it, I’d like to think Dont Mind had something to do with this progressive exposure.
The band, comprised of vocalist Derek Prince-Cox, guitarist Greg Richmond, drummer Dylan Dawson, and bassist Ben Alexis, was a lovechild of southern Ontario talent. Individually (and in some cases collectively) these guys have been rocking in metal bands for over a decade, playing in some of the biggest names, like Arise and Ruin, and alongside heavyweights Underoath and Unearth. These are well respected musicians who have, deservedly, garnered a fine gathering of devout followers throughout the years. Sure, their individual accolades in previous bands may have jump-started Dont Mind’s success, but it was their ingenuity, stellar stage presence, and raw talent that brought the people in droves.
In the basement of the Jazz, beneath the anticipatory clamour of a growing crowd, I had the chance to chat with Dawson and Richmond, two of the founding members of Dont Mind, about their experiences in the Guelph metal scene and their new and promising directions now that they’ve disbanded.
Dont Mind brought a little something new to the scene that was wholeheartedly received. As Dawson puts it, “We loved the stuff we were listening to, but there was stuff that wasn’t being made. Greg came to the table with these odd southern rifts that we weren’t hearing and these deep badass sounds.” When asked where they drew their inspiration for these sounds, Richmond points to the blues, 70’s rock, classics like The Doors and The Band—basically the type of music their dads exposed them to during car rides to Grandma’s house.
They also entered the scene at a time when metal was not necessarily showcasing in bigger Guelph venues. As Dawson notes, “Venues were being destroyed everywhere, being taken away from metal bands everywhere because of the stigma of metal. But these guys are going to do really well for the establishment and, for the most part, treat it with respect. These people are good, hard-working dudes.” Richmond recalls the difficulties inherent in performing in a city that offered limited exposure to smaller metal bands: “Back then Guelph was just a hard market to tap.” The venues that would brave to put on a metal show would only do so for big names that could draw respectively big numbers, like Between the Buried and Me.
Around 2009/2010, though, a sort of metal revival showed its face in Guelph, perfectly coinciding with the formation of Dont Mind. At this point the band was fortunate enough to fall upon popular downtown venues like the Jazz that, due to the relatively small metal scene up until that point, hadn’t billed a band like theirs. “I was just a guy mopping floors there at that point and asked the manager if he would give us a shot. I felt it was a nice way to break out of the box, by doing a free show but in a sweet environment,” recalls Dawson. “Metal has progressed in Guelph because venues have opened up. Opening those doors gives bands a chance to book more shows and showcase things to newer audiences… But there’s no way we’ll take credit. We didn’t change anything other than that we were the lucky ones to stumble across this place.”
With a successful last hurrah under their belts, Dont Mind looks to continue on doing what they do best, but in different capacities. Dawson is headed toward a different focus now, more along the lines of promoting and stepping back from the stage to be a more behind-the-scenes man through the success of GAIN Music. But he admits, “I’m gonna keep having fun with it. I’ll never stop playing and being in jam halls, smelling like jam halls.”
Ben Alexis has gone on to a more punk rock sound with Hounds, a Toronto-based group made up of a wicked mix of musicians from Hostage Life, I Hate Sally, and the Flatliners.
As for Richmond and Prince-Cox, they have partnered up once again to create an extension of sorts of Dont Mind by the name of Wakeless, which has already begun to show huge promise. “When Dont Mind ended, I never stopped,” says Richmond. “I asked Derek to go forward, but since Dont Mind was such a special Guelph thing, I figured we shouldn’t mess with it. Let’s change the name and go from there. We’ll continue to do shows, write music, record albums. It’s just what we do.”
And you do it damned well.