Funerary was a metalcore band from Hamilton, Ontario, active for a little under a year in 2000. In late 1999, Chris Logan quit SeventyEightDays. Prior to that, he had played in Chokehold, Burst of Silence, Prayer for a Fallen Angel, Crumble, Manhunt, Bottom Line, Short Fuse and God’s a Poseur. He was then operating the record label Goodfellow Records and working at Sonic Unyon. He had also previously operated two other record labels; Structure Records in the early 1990’s and Sunblister Records (and its fanzine) in the mid-1990’s. In early 2000, Chris started up a new vegan straight-edge band with two of his friends: drum master Brendan Munn, who had recently been given a double drum bass pedal by his girlfriend and had previously played in Avarice, Ignorance Never Settles, Believe the Lie and Garbagedrink, on top of operating the record label Redstar Records; and skilled shredder Ronnie James “RJ” Larente Osbourne Beam, who had played in Avarice, Ignorance Never Settles and Countdown to Oblivion.
Chris then approached guitarist Christian McMaster, who was at the time playing in The Swarm aka Kneed Deep in the Dead, and prior to that had played in Burst of Silence, Left for Dead, Ignorance Never Settles, Firestorm and filled in on a SeventyEightDays tour. About a month after Christian joined the new band, RJ was asked to fill in for The Swarm as a temporary guitarist, shortly before the band folded in March of 2000.
The new band shared a jam space in Sonic Unyon’s basement in Hamilton with what was left of SeventyEightDays (aka 78 Days). By then, SeventyEightDays was comprised of Matt Beckman on drums, Josh Fletcher on guitar and Tom Piraino on bass and vocals. This version of SeventyEightDays decided to change name to “Dropping Bombs”, as Tom’s vocal style was much different from Chris’. Tom, who had previously played in Left Behind, was asked to join Funerary as their bassist and he jumped at the opportunity to play heavier material. The new band was heavily influenced by At the Gates’ “Slaughter of the Soul“, Carcass’ “Heartwork“, In Flames’ “Colony“, Soilwork, Meshuggah, Slayer, Bolt Thrower, Death, Obituary, Converge, Cave In, Botch and Goodfellow Records’ latest signing, Shogun.
After a few songs were written, the new band was asked to play an impromptu set during a Sonic Unyon basement show in the spring. At the time the band hadn’t settled on a name. Chris has suggested “Funerary” (after watching the 1981 film “The Evil Dead“) as early as February, however, some of the other members were unhappy with it and it therefore took months before the name was finally accepted. Because of this, they were credited as “The New Band” on the flyers of their first few shows. The first people to book the new band were Erik Hoibak and James Hamilton (owner of the Takeover Group Inc. and Re-Define Records), who set up the yearly Mayfest (or May Festival) in Oakville, Ontario.
The 2000 edition of the festival was scheduled to be not only Funerary’s first official show, but also Dropping Bombs’ first show. The two-day event was scheduled to feature Every Time I Die, FaceDown, The Juliana Theory, Nora, No Warning, The End, Kid Gorgeous, Apathemy, Moneen and Jerk Circus on Friday May 12th; and Buried Alive, Confine, Walls of Jericho, Next 2 Nothing, Maharahj, A Death for Every Sin, Malakhai, Midtown, The Stryder, Then Who Is the Liar?, Right Brigade, Kid Gorgeous, Near the End, Dropping Bombs and Funerary on Saturday May 13th. The Friday concert went on as planned at The Pine Room, but the Saturday concert at an empty lot on 9th Line ended up getting cancelled two days early and Funerary didn’t get to play.
Erik was a big fan of the new band and kept in touch with them until they agreed to book another show. It was finally set for Friday, July 29th at The Pine Room in Oakville for a condensed version of the cancelled May 13th date of the Mayfest. What little has been found of this planned show was to feature Buried Alive, Confine and Funerary, but this show is rumored to have fallen apart when Funerary backed out.
“The New Band” was then booked to play with Acacia and Ex Number Five on July 15th at Dave Stevenson’s house (257 Bankside Drive), in Kitchener, Ontario. Kitchener was only an hour away, but as the band was still so new, they didn’t yet have a van. They made the trip in several cars packed with their gear and while driving there, had plenty of time to discuss the situation of the band name. Chris finally convinced the other members to settle with “Funerary”. By the time that they made it to Kitchen late in the evening, Dave had given up hope of seeing the band. Acacia and Ex Number Five had already played and when Funerary arrived, they were bumped up to the headlining spot. Chris got on the stage and introduced the band at their first official show; “We’re Funerary!“. That evening, they performed four original songs and a cover of At the Gate’s “Blinded By Fear“.
A short time after this first official show, Funerary booked a recording session at Blue Tilt Studio, aka the “Cat Piss Studio”, as those who recorded there came to call it because of a prominent smell in Dan Zivkovic’s basement. Blue Tilt Studio was notorious for turning out sub-part material but bands like Left For Dead and Chokehold had made it “cool”. Avarice and Ignorance Never Settles had also recorded there. Funerary started tracking all the instruments for their four original compositions over a weekend and then took a break to allow Chris to finalize his lyrics.
The plan with the recording session was to release the material as a demo/EP on CD through Brendan and his business partner Paul G.’s record label, Redstar Records. It is possible that Goodfellow Records was to be implicated to a degree but the band members recall Redstar Records being suggested as the main company. Both Redstar Records and Goodfellow Records had a national distribution deal with Sonic Unyon Records, as Chris and Paul worked there.
In the down time between the instruments getting tracked and Chris going back in to record his vocals, the band was able to listen extensively to the session. After hearing the recordings profoundly and repeatedly for a week, they grew to hate the lackluster production. But the problem was not only in the mix but within the raw tracks themselves as they were poorly recorded. They knew that it could not be salvaged and they decided not to return to Blue Tilt Studio to finish the session. The instrumental recording session would stay as is and was only used for Chris to practice his vocals to outside of rehearsals.
Before planning out where they would re-record their first release in the autumn of 2000, a few more shows were booked. One of these was possibly a concert with Shallow North Dakota but no information of this has been found. On October 21st, Paul G. booked them at Sonic Unyon Records’ go-to venue, Hamilton’s own Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Hall (local 107), often shortened to “The Hall” or referred to as the “Sonic Unyon Hall”. The event was booked with Maharahj, Lorraway, Rise Over Run, Overthrow, Something to Believe and Forever the Pain. This show would go down in history as Funerary’s most notorious appearance.
By this time, The Swarm had broken up and Christian joined Haymaker with ex-Chokehold and Left For Dead guitarist Jeff Beckman. This was a period when Hamilton-based bands, considered by its residents as a blue collar city, had superficial issues with Oakville/Burlington/Mississauga-based bands, which were considered white collar neighborhoods. On the evening of October 21st, Christian and the Haymaker cast and crew took this “beef” way too far, to a point where Funerary suffered by association.
To start the night, Forever the Pain did not play because their drummer Mike Box had quit less than a month prior. Their replacement, Graham Malloch wasn’t ready in time to play any shows so they had to pull out four days before the event. Sean Dooley, guitarist in The End, had offered to drive Lorraway from Mississauga to Hamilton, using The End’s tour van. Two bands into the show, while Lorraway was playing, some members of Haymaker sneaked outside to spray paint “DEATH TO FALSE METAL” on The End’s van. This forced everyone in attendance of the show to move their traveling vehicles to different parking lots, away from the venue in hopes to prevent additional vandalism. When Maharahj came on to play their set, Christian walked on stage and slapped their singer Garren Ustel in the face. This childish behavior quickly escalated to verbal disagreements and Christian had to be physically dragged off of the stage before the Oakville band was able to resume their set. But minutes after Maharahj resumed their set, Christian jumped back on the stage and shoved Garren in the chest, causing him to tumble backwards and fall down, bringing with him the guitar amps. Simultaneously, someone from the Haymaker cast or crew threw a stink bomb on the stage. Maharahj decided to cut their show short and head for home. The Haymaker cast and crew, who were not even performing that night, were then forced to leave the venue.
Dave Johnston, drummer in Maharahj, asked his girlfriend to watch their tour bus while the band packed up. Just as she got to the new parking lot where the band had moved their bus, a car packed with Haymaker’s cast and crew sped by her and rushed to Maharahj’s vehicle. They quickly slashed one of their tires and were about to go for a second one when she ran over and caused them to flee. Luckily, Maharahj had duel wheels so they were able to drive home, but not without damaging the bus’ axle further. Maharahj and The End later held a fund raiser show in Brampton, Ontario with Moneen in order to gather money and fix their vans.
Back at the venue, Funerary was setting up to play their set. Christian decided to tape a switchblade knife to his guitar’s head-stock; by swinging his guitar upwards he was able to flip the knife open. About two songs into Funerary’s set, he attempted this maneuver; he whipped his guitar up, the knife flipped opened and when he went to jab towards the audience, he ended up stabbing the knife directly into a ceiling light bulb, blowing out the venue’s fuses. Somehow, Christian got out of this unharmed. But Funerary, as a band, was deeply affected by this. RJ and Brendan refused to finish the set after the power was back on and walked off the stage. They threatened to quit the band if Christian kept up the immature behavior. Already riled up by the many incidents of the evening, Christian continued arguing with Brendan during their drive back home. Holding up his belief that humiliating another band based on their location was honorary, Christian ultimately quit the band later that evening as he got out of the car. His last words to the band were that Haymaker held a better future for him than Funerary.
That very evening, rumors and exaggerated versions of the events (as if the facts themselves needed to be magnified) started appearing online on message boards. Maharahj also posted on their website that Funerary was responsible for damaging their van. The show was already labeled as one of the worst concerts in the Southern Ontario metal and hardcore community. Chris was quick to respond publicly to the rumors and explained that the behavior did not come from the band but solely from their ex-guitarist and the band members and friends of Haymaker, who were not even playing at the show. The four remaining members of Funerary were devastated by the incidents that occurred and were furious that this had blemished this new all-star band’s name. They were also distressed by the fact that they had to find a replacement for Christian, as this was not a band that could get away with a single guitar player.
A week after the Transit Union Workers Hall show, Funerary was booked to perform at the yearly Rocktoberfest (previously known as Octoberfest) in Oakville. The festival was booked by Chris Logan, James Hamilton and Paul G. and took place at The Pine Room on Friday, October 27th and Saturday, October 28th. Rocktoberfest 2000 was sponsored by Chris, Paul and James’ companies: Goodfellow Records, Re-Define Records, Takeover Group and Redstar Records. The 2000 edition of the festival featured a massive line-up, including Nora, Godbelow, Midtown, Death Threat, The Hope Conspiracy, Buried Alive, Ex Number Five, Blood Has Been Shed, Supersleuth, Dead to the World, Darker Day Tomorrow, Kid Gorgeous, Unearth, Problem Solver Revolver, Day of Mourning, Upended, Jerk Circus, Soul Phoenix, In Dying Days, A Death For Every Sin, Rise Over Run, Chore, Brother’s Keeper, Ruination and of course Funerary.
But because of the unstable condition of the band and their lack of a second guitarist, Funerary did not perform at Rocktoberfest. Chris, RJ, Tom and Brendan continued rehearsing in downtown Hamilton for a few more weeks. They racked their brains suggesting every possible guitarist they could think of that met their criteria; someone who was vegan and straight-edge, and not only into the proper style of music but someone who could play it. No one locally matched the requirements. Chris was deeply affected by the deterioration of the band and he felt that Funerary was the best band he had ever been in. He went as far as to tell the other band members that he would never sing in another band again if Funerary didn’t work out. The moral within the band was low and before the end of November Brendan departed. Without a drummer, Funerary ended permanently.
Following the end of Funerary, Chris took a few years off from performing in bands and dedicated himself to his record label Goodfellow Records. Eventually, he went on to play in Anxiety, Tundra, Skull and Longest War. Brendan never played in another band and also focused on his record label Redstar Records. Redstar Records folded less than a year later in 2001. RJ went on to form The Abandoned Hearts Club in December of 2000 with members of Spread the Disease but did not play in any other bands after that. Tom went on to join At the Mercy of Inspiration, and later played with Our War (with Christian), Cursed (again with Christian), Fever Out, Limiter and Forest City Arson Squad. Cursed eventually signed with Goodfellow Records and amends were made between Chris and Christian.
Download Funerary’s Blue Tilt Studio recording session
- 2000-??-?? Sonic Unyon Basement (Hamilton, ON)
2000-05-13 Mayfest Festival, The Pine Room (Oakville, ON) Every Time I Die, The Juliana Theory, Nora, FaceDown, No Warning, The End, Kid Gorgeous, Apathemy, Moneen, Jerk Circus, Buried Alive, Confine, Walls of Jericho, Next 2 Nothing, Maharahj, A Death for Every Sin, Malakhai, Midtown, The Stryder, Then Who Is the Liar?, Dropping Bombs, Right Brigade, Kid Gorgeous, Near the End
- 2000-07-15 257 Bankside Drive (Kitchener, ON) Acacia, Ex Number Five
2000-07-29 The Pine Room (Oakville, ON) Buried Alive, Confine
- 2000-??-?? ??? (???, ON) Shallow North Dakota
- 2000-10-21 Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Hall (Hamilton, ON) Maharahj, Rise Over Run, Lorraway, Overthrow, Something to Believe,
Forever the Pain 2000-10-27/28 Rocktoberfest Festival, The Pine Room (Oakville, ON) Nora, Godbelow, Midtown, Death Threat, The Hope Conspiracy, Buried Alive, Ex Number Five, Blood Has Been Shed, Supersleuth, Dead to the World, Darker Day Tomorrow, Kid Gorgeous, Unearth, Problem Solver Revolver, Day of Mourning, Upended, Jerk Circus, Soul Phoenix, In Dying Days, A Death For Every Sin, Rise Over Run, Chore, Brother’s Keeper, Ruination