Louis Mistreated was an incredibly melodic emo band from Mississauga, Ontario that somehow escaped the radar of mainstream popularity. But I really feel like they belong up there with Christie Front Drive, Sunny Day Real Estate, Texas Is the Reason and even their local competitor, Sinclaire. As it stands, not much of the memorabilia could be found for this band, apart from all the recordings (of which only the first demo’s artwork was found) and parts of the photoshoots. If anyone has their demos, flyers or anything else baring their name, please leave a comment and help us complete this band’s history!

In the beginning, Ryan Zdebiak (bass) had been jamming with James Brylowski (drums) in his basement, as early as 1994. But it wasn’t until September of 1995, when Mike De Eyre came in on guitar, that the start of this band really came together. Mike had initially gone to a different high school but when he switched over to Lorne Park Secondary School, he immediately hit it off with James and Ryan during their sophomore year. At first they divided vocal duties between themselves and wrote what they remember to be goofy teenager songs, such as “Ironic Pig”, “Ubducted Dice” and “Molested Ceiling”. Jeremy Nichols, an old friend of Mike and Ryan, was asked to join the band in November of 1995. Influences from this early on range from Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Grade, Converge, Shoulder, Racer, Sunny Day Real Estate, Ignorance Never Settles, Sprucehill, Hourglass, Blake and naturally New Day Rising, which James’ brother, Adam, had joined as their guitarist in the fall of 1995.

Louis Mistreated in the summer of 1996, Ryan, Jeremy and Matt

Louis Mistreated in the summer of 1996, Ryan Zdebiak, Matt Davis and James Brylowski

One day after rehearsal, the band was brainstorming band names (such as “Iron Bum”). Mike and Jeremy were planning to go to Radiohead’s show at the Warehouse in Toronto on December 12th 1995,  and had the idea of naming themselves after one of their song, “Lewis (Mistreated)”. Jeremy suggested spelling it “Louis Mistreated” for “copyright purposes” and to add a little French background to the name. The band’s early sound was a contradiction. Some songs (One Too Many, Visions) sounded like they could easily belong on a New Day Rising or Ignorance Never Settles release, while others (Wish a World…, Isolated) showed an incredibly melodic side that would be secluded on later material when the band truly found their direction. Although their lyrics would never reflect it, three fifths of the band (Jeremy, Mike and James) were and still are to this day vegetarian and supported animal rights liberation. One of their usual meetup spots was Buddha’s Vegetarian Restaurant in Toronto. The band was partly responsible for getting the entire southern Ontario hardcore scene to start eating there.

In early 1996, Mike joined Montgomery 21 as their keyboardist. Mainly known as a New Day Rising side project headed by Chris Gray, Montgomery 21 also featured Adam Brylowski on drums, which created a triangular connection between the three bands (New Day Rising, Louis Mistreated and Montgomery 21). Although Louis Mistreated had played some mini shows in their basement for friends, their first official show was at Mike Charette’s house in Port Credit, Ontario with Montgomery 21 and Ignorance Never Settles. From then on, the band started playing shows almost every two weeks, often at the Erin Mills United Church in Mississauga, which were also mostly booked by Mike Charette and Neil Rodman (of Acrid). One of these on April 13, 1996, was shared with New Day Rising, Grade, Hourglass, Seer and Exit Wound. A funny story about the band’s early days, while still in high school, they invited girls that they liked to come check out their band practice, as a first date and personal shows for them.

It was on April 26th of 1996 that Louis Mistreated booked a day of studio time at Signal 2 Noise Studio in Toronto with Rob Sanzo. S2N was in the mid-90’s, one of the most popular studio for hardcore and metalcore bands in Ontario. It cost the band about 500$ to record. Their first six song demo would be mixed a month later by James Cavalluzo of Malhavoc, on May 17th and 20th of 1996. The artwork for the demo would be created on James’s computer. Even for a first demo tape, some of the band members thought the artwork looked bland and unimpressive, featuring stock pictures of mountains.

Louis Mistreated's first demo tape. Front layout

Louis Mistreated’s first demo tape. Front layout

Louis Mistreated's first demo tape. Back layout

Louis Mistreated’s first demo tape. Back layout

During the summer of 1996, Louis Mistreated expanded to a second guitarist. After trying out a bunch of people, Matt Davis would be welcomed as their fifth and final member. Matt had been eyeing Mike’s girlfriend and some of the members didn’t think it was a good idea to have him in the band, but music proved to be a stronger bond than women because Louis Mistreated only got better with Matt’s presence. Their influences shifted to Christie Front Drive, Mineral, The Gloria Record and even more importance was put on Sunny Day Real Estate and Radiohead. Matt’s first show with the band was also their last time playing at The Church. Some of the other bands they played with during the rest of the year included Bree, Hourglass, Pez, Attack of the Hungarian Incelander, Karenza, Acrid, Sprucehill, Grade and Racer.

In 1997, James started a second band, Girl Next Door, which focused on more poppy, radio friendly music for teenage girls. Meanwhile, Louis Mistreated headed to Rumenal Records’ studio to track four songs for their second demo tape. They chose to go to Rumenal because it was located right in their hometown of Mississauga and because it was relatively cheaper than Signal 2 Noise. Many bands had made the local studio famous, including Shotmaker, Blake, Holocron, Eliot Rosewater and Seer. The recording session with Mike Pedrow featured four songs, three new ones (“Tricycle”, “Another Midnight”, “Superego”) and a re-recording of “Isolation” from their first demo. The melodic elements on this recording session were put forward, leaving behind all hardcore influences. Louis Mistreated was now an emo band. To add to the emotional status, Jeremy would often quit the band and would have to be chased after and lured back into band practice.

Through out 1997 and 1998, they played again with most of the same bands but also with Converge, Ink and Dagger, Rockets Red Glare, Spread the Disease and of course Girl Next Door. Another band Louis Mistreated would play with was Kiss the Midget, an alternative/wild/space/rock type of band, who had their own record label, Inferno Records. After playing a show together in July 1998 at Club Shanghai on Spadina Avenue in Toronto, the member of Kiss the Midget responsible for Inferno Records (Brent Bedford, apparently a millionaire) offered to sign them on their label. He put them in contact with their label representative/manager in Toronto, Tracy Hooper, who offered to pay for the recording and production of their third demo tape. LM headed back to Mike Pedrow’s studio to track five brand new songs. A couple of days later, either in late 1998 or early 1999, they had their third demo, baring the Inferno Records logo. Only between 100 to 250 of them were made. To help promote themselves, Inferno suggested that they come up with an original story behind the name of their band, “that they were named after the Canadian folk hero Louis Riel”, an important politician in the history of the province of Manitoba. Louis Mistreated didn’t go for it.

Around the same time, one of James’ friend, Reem (last name missing) took the band’s first photoshoot outside of Jame’s house. James then created the band’s website (http://geocities.com/3453/louispage.html). The two Rumenal Records studio session were then combined into a home-burnt CD-demo in a white slipcase cover, a black sticker over the CD and a typewriter font with the band name, as CDs were quickly becoming the norm for the music industry. They also changed the types of venues that they were playing. While initially playing mostly all-ages churches, YMCAs, and little clubs with no drinking, the band found themeslves able to play in bars and bigger venues with no age concerns, like Lee’s Palace on May 3rd 1999 and The Warehouse. After seeing Sunny Day Real Estate play at The Guverment on July 4th 2000, they got to give Jeremy Enigk their demo.

By then Matt and Jeremy were attending Guelph University, while Mike, James and Ryan were at Ryerson University. After a huge party in Guelph, celebrating the end of final exams of their second year of attendance, in the spring of 2001, the members drove back to Ryerson and decided to start recording some of the new material that had been written since the Rumenal Records days. Mike was taking a Radio and Television class and had access to a studio on the university grounds. Hung over, but highly willing, the five guys tracked the majority of four songs, three originals plus a cover of Sunny Day Real Estate’s “In Circles”, over the next two months (finishing in July of 2001). Only two of the three originals remained; “How’s the Weather” and “Saturday Night Lullaby”, as the last one was completely scrapped. The Sunny Day Real Estate song would shortly after be submitted to a compilation being put together by a certain “Captain Catfish” from the “In the Blue” (Sunnydayrealestate.net) message board. Through his new imprint, CatFish Records, he was planning a tribute to the prolific emo band after hearing of their disbandment in June of 2001. Unfortunately the compilation was never finished due to lack of bands submitting songs

As for the three songs that were kept from the recording session, the band never liked their mix and therefore never released a fourth demo. But they were uploaded online on their new website (http://louismistreated.tripod.com) and shared through their page on RollingStone.com. It was only years later, after the band was long broken up, that Matt, now a producer, mixed them properly and gave them the recognition they deserved. The songs also featured Mike’s unmistakable piano/keyboard skills, which had only previously been heard in Montgomery 21. In late 2001, another of Mike’s acquaintance, Margi Ende, who was writing for the Ryerson newspaper/magazine “The Eyeopener”, wrote an article covering Louis Mistreated. For this she took the band to Toronto’s Chinatown for a new exclusive photoshoot. The article was published in the January 9th, 2002 issue.

2002 would feature less shows by the band but not less in quality. To start out the year, Louis Mistreated got to play with one of their hero, The Gloria Record, at the Horseshoe Tavern on January 23rd 2002. Although The Gloria Record was meant to be supported by Her Space Holiday during their first of three North American tours in 2002, the band couldn’t make it across the border for the three Canadian shows. Leaving Louis Mistreated to open up directly for The Gloria Record! LM ended up partying with TGR backstage and garnered one of the only mention of any opening bands in Gloria Record’s tour diary. They were asked to open up for The Gloria Record again when they came back that summer, on June 14th 2002 at The Raven in Hamilton. Very little is known of the activity of Louis Mistreated during the rest of 2002, though they were still actively playing shows. On June 12th they performed at Lee’s Palace (booked by the Bedlam Society) and on November 21st they played The Underground in Hamilton with Racebannon, Helen of Troy, Masters and Moderns and Silverstein. It would be Louis Mistreated’s final show. Multiple reasons have been stated for the end of the band, including the rave scene (which killed the hardcore scene for university students), lack of interest from some of the members, but most importantly the starting of a new band. Chris Gray had recruited Mike De Eyre to play bass in The Black Maria that very November of 2002. Black Maria took so much time and eventually broke big in 2005. Matt and James would reunite later in 2003 for their new band Wren City Churches, which also featured Jame’s brother, Adam.

Download Louis Mistreated’s complete discography

-Show listing (work-in-progress)

  1. 1996-04-13 Erin Mills United Church (Mississauga, ON) New Day Rising, Grade, Hourglass, Seer, Exit Wound
  2. 1998-07-?? Club Shanghai (Toronto, ON) Kiss The Midget
  3. 1999-05-03 Lee’s Palace (Toronto, ON)
  4. 2001-12-26 Lee’s Palace (Toronto, ON) The Getaway, Jerkbank
  5. 2002-01-23 Horseshoe Tavern (Toronto, ON) The Gloria Record
  6. 2002-06-12 Lee’s Palace (Toronto, ON) One Of These Days, The Patients
  7. 2002-06-14 The Raven (Hamilton, ON) The Gloria Records, Her Space Holiday
  8. 2002-11-21 The Underground (Hamilton, ON) Racebannon, Helen Of Troy, Masters And Moderns, Silverstein