By Allen Steinberg /Quinte Arts Council
When Belleville-based punk band Last Chance Marie was voted “Best Local Performer/s” by the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board’s Best of the Bay contest earlier this year, they were absolutely floored. Having not played a local show for quite a while due to the ongoing pandemic, they weren’t even expecting to be on anybody’s radar.
“Honestly, I was really surprised to win the vote for best performers. It’s definitely not something we were shooting for at all,” says lead vocalist + guitarist Tayson Ingersoll. “That almost makes it more special, being acknowledged for something you didn’t expect to have a shot at. Especially after so long of playing in the area and sometimes with nobody there in our early days. It’s crazy to see how far we came just by not quitting.”
But to everybody else with a sensible grasp on the Quinte music scene, this win comes as no surprise. Since Last Chance Marie formed in 2009 with members Ingersoll, Tim Chatson (bass) and Josh Elliott (guitar), they’ve been the heart and soul of the edgier-side of local music; the lifeblood of a punk-rock scene that at times, was otherwise pretty dormant. For years, they’ve been abiding by their own rules, performing their emotional, hard-hitting songs at venues like The Core, The Belle Pub and Stix and Stones. Aside from these smaller-scale venues, they also jumped at the opportunity to open for Canadian pop-punk powerhouse Sum 41 at Empire Rockfest in 2017. They’re probably one of the only bands in the region that has the guts to smash their guitars on stage. Last Chance Marie is oozing with passion, and people have been taking note.
It’s an understatement to say that the band’s success did not happen overnight. Indeed, this recent recognition has arrived at the end of a nearly 12-year long journey recording their debut LP. Facing setback after setback from producers, members moving across the country, member changes and miscellaneous life-things getting in the way, there were times when the band thought their record would never see the light of day. Song ideas they had from when they were teenagers were forced to stand the test of time as each member ascended into adulthood. It seemed like the years began to pile up atop of their musical careers.
That all changed when they decided to start from scratch with Trenton, Ont.-based producer Todd Barriage, who helped speed along the process and inject life back into the veins of the punk-rockers.
“Man, I’ve spent so much of my life trying to put the album out. It’s weird that it’s in the rear-view now because I was looking forward to it for such a huge chunk of my actual time on Earth,” says Ingersoll. “When we decided to start fresh and record with Todd, everything just became so much smoother.”
Ingersoll had more than a decade to ponder his past ideas and like any of us would, he started to doubt if they were still any good or not. While having all of this time to dissect his own songs did inevitably lead him to be constantly questioning their quality, it also allowed him to grow as a person and thus allow the songs to be interpreted different ways as the years went by, he says:
“I was thinking a lot about the album and I didn’t know if it was as good as I once thought it was or if I liked a particular song as much as I used to. I really started to question everything. But as time passed, I began to appreciate it in new ways. And it means something different to me now than it did back then. It ended up being really cool to have this growing experience with your own album.”
Finally, in February of this past year, they dropped their debut LP, This Is Just Sound. The album features one of their first ever written songs, the cathartic “This Is A Song, Not A Statement” which was only previously released on MySpace back in the late 2000s. Let that sink in for a second.
Last Chance Marie is now working hard on their sophomore full-length record and is starting to plan shows for later this year. Ingersoll says that this new record will bring upon a brand new chapter for the band, and that alone is something to look forward to.
“In the next few months, we’re going to start recording our second album. As much as I love the first album, this new one is definitely a better representation of who our band is now. I’m sure it’ll take less than 12 years this time.”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 Issue of Umbrella magazine, out now.
Photo Credit: VIRGINIA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY