For most heavy bands, being dropped by a major metal label might be a detrimental situation, but, when Metal Blade Records chose to release them about a year ago, the band Bison b.c. took it all in stride. After seven years and a three-album output the two camps have gone their separate ways. “They got to run a business and we aren’t making any money for anybody. So we had to go. That’s it. No hard feelings,” guitarist/vocalist Dan And deadpans. And if this seems like a step backwards these guys will have nothing of it. “We know enough people who put out records,” And says. “We don’t need some big label down in the states or whatever.” The mighty Bison does not slow easily and rumbles on.
One of the first orders of business was to change their name back to their original moniker and drop their ex-label’s suggested “b.c.” from the end and once again be known simply as Bison. “If someone wants to sue us, go right the fuck ahead. I don’t know what they would even get,” guitarist James Farwell laughs. The subtle name change may seem insignificant to people in these parts that most already know them as just plain Bison anyway. The joke was often made that the “b.c.” is silent. Outside of their hometown that is not the case. However, they don’t seem too concerned that the name change might fly over the heads of their fan base outside of Vancouver. “Our fans aren’t rocket surgeons,” jokes Farwell. “I am sure they will catch on eventually.” It is because of said fan base that Bison will fly unfettered as an independent band. They used their years on Metal Blade to their advantage by touring relentlessly and releasing massive records. Over the years there has come a following bordering on cult loyalty. Word of mouth is the best weapon in metal and Bison has spread the word immensely with their insane live show, nice-guy underdog attitudes and hard work.
Also on the agenda is a new recording, which Bison hopes to be out in the spring followed by some tour dates. So the Bison boys, rounded out by bassist Masa Anzai and drummer Matt Wood reunited with their long time producer pal Jesse Gander at his new Rain City Recorders to lay down some new songs. “It’s going to be a two song, hopefully a twelve-inch record, 45 RPM. One song on each side. Both songs are over nine minutes. That’s the release we are discussing,” Wood explains the plan. “The two new songs are huge, man.”
“We wanted to do something new. We wanted to show people that we are still around thinking and creating,” Farwell pipes up in a rare serious tone. “We don’t need a big label to be able to do that. That’s why we recorded so quickly and that’s why we released something for free. That label would have never let us do something like that. It’s a lesson to ourselves and also to other people who think you need that shit to survive.”
If you have not seen Bison live then you are really missing out on a true hoof-stomping cavalcade. Their live show is probably the most convincing reason that they will be able to continue on despite a small setback. They’ve built a reputation of delivering mountain staggering bovinian riffage soaked in beard sweat. They are the full effect and deliver with a certain amount of controlled chaos as your eardrums get absolutely drilled. Sounds like fun, now get in.
Get Bison’s brand new song here and make sure to catch them live on Feb. 22 as they headline the Rickshaw Theatre with opening bands Grass City and the Sumner Brothers.
By Heath Fenton
Photo: Derek Carr