Hailing from Hamilton, Killjoys consisted of guitarist and frontman Mike Trebilcock and drummer Gene Champagne on drums, who’d played together at one time or another since they were ten, and Shelley Woods on bass. With a combined influences list that spanned Cheap Trick to the Ramones to Black Flag, they were writing some material, and by ’92 they’d made enough of an impression on the live circuit they were signed to indie Cargo Records.
Recorded at home at Soho Common Recording House, they released their debut album, STARRY in early ’94. Hot with campus radio stations and playing the Ontario market, they gathered some steam and signed with Warner, who quickly re-released the album with Terry Brown (Rush, Klaatu, etc) brought in to remix some of the tracks.
National airplay on both radio and MuchMusic with “Today I Hate Everyone” put them on a cross-country tour. One of the hottest indie groups on the scene, subsequent singles “Dana” and “Any Day Now” continued their push, and they opened for The Posies, The Lemonheads, and Matthew Sweet over the next year and a half. They were also nominated for a Juno Award that year for best album design.
They went to Ardent Studios in Nashville to record their follow-up, GIMME FIVE in ’96, which helped earn them a Juno Award the following spring for Best New Group. Four singles were released, and all did well at home. “Soaked” peaked at #20 on the pop chart and #8 on the Alternative chart, which also saw “Rave + Drool” make it to #6, and was also on the very first Big Shiny Tunes compilation. Although “Sick of You” didn’t chart, “Look Like Me” made it to #37 on the pop chart. It also included their cover of Game Theory’s “Like A Girl Jesus.” More cross-Canada tours ensued, as well as a few dates into the US, and road highlights included opening for Green Day and the Foo Fighters.
On the store shelves in ’98, their third album, MELOS MODOS featured the lead single, “I’ve Been Good.” While in Mexico filming the video prior to the album’s release, a disgruntled crew member stole the film, demanding $13,000 in ransom. They caved – he got his money without going to jail, and the video was made and got some airtime. It made little difference though, as the single failed to chart, as did its follow-up, “Perfect Pizza.” Some tours with I Mother Eart and Tea Party followed, but a changing musical landscape and waning interest in alt/grunge meant Warner dropped them by the summer.
The show at The Rivoli in Toronto resulted in the live album, ONENIGHT AND A MORNINGAFTER the following spring – initially self-released, but re-issued as soon as they signed with Shoreline Records the floowing spring. Following some dates across the country, the band took some time off while working on other projects, which ultimately led to their unofficial break-up.
Trebilcock released the solo album SHIELD MILLIONS in 2001 on his own Jolleycut Records, and then worked on film projects over the years – including doing the soundtracks to the indie flicks “The Friday Night Death Slot,” “Poltergeist Encounters,” “You Don’t Belong Here,” “Hit The Hitman,” “Exorcism of the Dead,” and “Sweet Karma.”
Over the years he formed Lo-Heels with Woods and recorded the material for a record which remains unreleased. He also formed Simply Saucer – a psycadelic punk cross, and released an EP with his new project Semetary Spawn in 2018 called MUSIC FOR MANIACS VOLUME ONE. He also wrote the theme songs for Canadian TV – including “Comedy at Club 54” and “Canadian Sportfishing.”
Champagne did some session work after the band split, and formed Junior Achiever, releasing ALL THE LITTLE LETDOWNS in ’08. It featured some contributions from Woods, as well, and the band found a following in Japan. In later years Champagne joined Teenage Head as their touring drummer, and then formed The Unteens, a punk/rock hybrid on the side.
Rhino Entertainment meanwhile had released a Killjoys compilation in their ‘Essentials’ series in ’05, and then another one – the five track EP, HI-FIVE – just in time for Christmas a year later. In 2011, they were featured on a compilation with The Ramones, Ween, and Husker Du entitled TODAY I HATE EVERYONE – PERFECT SONGS FOR A CRAPPY DAY.
They reunited for the odd one-off show here and there over the years, including ringing in 2014 at home at This Ain’t Hollywood, then again a few more times before the 2015 Juno Awards celebrations. This in turn sparked a series of touring spurts over the next few years, including opening for Soul Asylum.
Over the years, a number of the band’s tracks have made their way to film scores – including “Monkeysucker” and “Everything” in the movie “The Boys Club” in ’97, “Candyland” in 2009’s “Sweet Karma,” and “Today I Hate Everyone” was used in the film “Wet Bum” in 2014.