Life as a member of Alexisonfire must be pretty exhausting given the guts and passion thrown into every single performance. So it was simply super that guitarist Wade MacNeil took the time to have a quick chat with us before playing the Manchester date of their European tour. And what a lovely chap he was too.

R13:Hello, Wade. Thanks for chatting to us. So, the new EP, 'Dog's Blood', is an absolute cracking return to the Alexis sound of days gone by. How does it feel going back to Old School?
Wade:I think what led it to be that is that we didn't really stress out over it... we just wrote some songs and we didn't spend much time on them? So maybe what the old Alexisonfire sound was about.
R13:Rough and ready?
W:Yeah we just decided we weren't going to be hashing out until we made more sense of it.. you know keep going until it just deteriorated into noise. It was really fun to record, we did it in like two days in a recording studio downtown in this area that's really arty, weird, hippy area of Toronto called Kensington Market. Yeah, it was a riot.

R13:You've been to the UK a fair few times now... and the last couple of times just happened to be in November.
W:Ah yes, Alexisonfire's yearly trip to the UK!
R13:Did you get to see any fireworks??
W:We did actually! We were in Portsmouth on the day of... it's Guy Fawkes day, right?
R13:Yeah that or Bonfire Night... on account of him being a traitor and all that.
W:Yeah its funny you guys celebrate it...I think its great that you celebrate someone trying to blow up Parliament. But then someone told me that he was trying to blow it because he didn't agree with the progressive ideas of government?
W:So that's kinda not very cool. He's a rebel but if he's trying to set you back to some kind of archaic way of life... I don't know about that.

R13:Back at home you are national superstars. Is it drastically different touring in venues over here in Europe than in your own back yard?
W:When we're in our own back yard I think people do this thing all the time where they'll look at me...they'll talk to their friend then they look back and they decide that it wouldn't be me for some reason! 'Wade wouldn't be at a hockey game in downtown Toronto! That's crazy! Why would he be here??' I don't know what people would think I must be flying a plane around or something or driving around in my limousine or whatever nonsense people have got in their minds that we do. But by and large people around Toronto decide it's not me.
R13:Its probably a good thing though isn't it?
W:Yeah its pretty good!
R13:Well done your face!

R13:Terence and Phillip... national treasures or grotesque stereotypes?
W:They're not a national treasure but I think they're pretty funny though. Canadians don't take themselves very seriously.
R13:Are they fans of flatulence?
W:I don't know about that... seems a bit odd... but not as odd as a head that sort of lifts off when it talks.
R13:Maybe kids will be growing up thinking that's what all Canadians look like.
W:Probably. We live about half an hour away from the border, and some people right across the Buffalo border think that Canada's this frozen wonderland. I go to Buffalo a lot, it's really close. And people go to Buffalo to go skiing and you meet people there that think Canada is this Nordic, dog-sledding place....some of those cliches are definitely true, but it is funny.

R13:Your live shows are very intense and very sweaty...and the audience loves it. Do you enjoy them as much as your crowds do?
W:I think they are. Playing music is really exhilarating and really fun. The bands I always grew up liking the most are the bands that played like they had everything to lose. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing a band standing still, looking like they don't give a fuck, like it's hard 'cos they're so cool. I don't wanna be cool.

R13:If you were allowed to be unleashed in a city you visited over here in Europe whilst on a day off and hop on a sightseeing bus, where would it be and why?
W:We got no time off whatsoever this time, but we've seen some stuff, we've been to Europe enough to. We had some early days filled with seeing some museums and churches so it's good. We've seen a lot.

R13:Your gravelliness and screaming are absolutely vital ingredients to your sound as a band. Do you get through a lot of soothing ice cream?
W:I dunno, I've always sounded like this!
R13:Since you were a baby?
W:Ha, yeah imagine a baby talking like this... but seriously, I've always sounded like this. Its not like some self-inflicted pack of cigarettes a day, too many whiskey drinks kinda thing. Which of course, doesn't help it.
R13:Some people have to work hard at a voice like that.

R13:You, George and Dallas have all had some cheeky side projects on the go... is variety the spice of life? Does it make coming back to work as Alexisonfire fresher?
W:Cheeky ones?? Ha, well it keeps it fresh that's for sure, yeah. It really does. We are very very passionate music fans and just the ability to do something else is nice. What's good about it is that it doesn't force us to put these strange things into Alexisonfire that probably don't need to be there. If anything, it focuses us onto writing the music that we should be writing. Its good.
I think a lot of people would say that it would detract from the band, but a Black Lungs song wouldn't find it's way onto an Alexisonfire record, and the same with a City and Colour. It's really clear cut what's what, and especially with Alexis, it's all of us writing together. One person's idea might get worked on more and more. Usually, the songs that I prepare the most for are the ones that don't get used. It works the best when can say 'here's this guitar line' and we all work on it.
R13:So is your writing process a case of coming together and throwing it all out there?
W:Yeah, it usually starts out with just a simple riff, or an idea and we just build on it and grow it into something everyone likes. Sometimes its tough because you might like a part a lot and others might and so it can hit a little too close to home. But I think this pushes us to be better.

R13:What is your proudest musical achievement?
W:I'd say... having a chance to play with people we really admire. And sharing the stage with bands that I really respect and respect what they do. Bands I may have grown up listening to. It can be hard to pinpoint one exact thing. Playing Brixton Academy was cool... yeah, that was really cool.
Having the chance to go out on the road with Hot Water Music or playing with Dropkick Murphys and then go hang out with those dudes. You know, I've grown up listening to those bands. Those bands have shaped the way I look at music and look at the world and to get to be buddies with those guys. It's cool.

R13:Do you still get a bit starstruck meeting people you grew up listening to?
W:When we were at Reading Festival... this along the lines of the Dropkick Murphys thing... we know the piper because he's Canadian, (laughs) yes because Canada is that small! You just know everybody- even if it's a street punk band from Boston. Yeah, so we know Scruffy and we ended up having a beer with him after one of our shows, and he was like, 'Wade, have you met Spider Stacy from The Pogues?' And I said, 'No. I haven't' And then I was hanging with The Pogues. I didn't know what to fucking do...! I was just talking to Shane MacGowan and he was talking about when they opened for Bob Dylan...and I just tried to keep up. That was a good day.

R13:What question have you never been asked in an interview and always wished you had?
W:Probably not. I wish I never got asked 'Is it Alexisonfire or Alex Is On Fire'. Or 'where did you get your band name from?' I want to start carrying around a switchblade so I can just pull it out and look at them saying (in a scary voice) 'NEXT QUESTION!!!'

R13:It's Alexisonfire's tenth birthday next year... happy birthday! Have you got anything special planned?
W:We've got a lot of ideas. I don't want to say anything yet because I don't want to give it away but we definitely will do something special for the Alexisonfire decade.

R13:2010 is nearly over and Christmas is rapidly on it's way. What are you going to be asking Santa for this year?
W:Last year, Santa and my Mum had a meeting, which I assume must have something to do with my girlfriend, but Santa got me a first pressing Misfits 'Halloween' 7".
R13:That's pretty cool...
W:My Mum gave it to me wrapped and I thought 'Oh my God, it's not a huge sweater!' or a blanket or something... something that your Mother gives you that you pretend you love and it's so impractical and you don't have anywhere to store it. But last year my Mum got me a that and my head exploded. So hopefully Santa will just keep going the same way and I'll get a Misfits Bullet 7" this year.
R13:I hope Santa's reading this.
W:I hope so.

Thanks again to Wade for taking the time to talk to us. Go track down 'Dog's Blood' if it's the last thing you life will be far richer for it. And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed that Santa (and Wade's Mum) makes a note of Wade's Christmas wish.