No Fools No Fun
Andre Pettipas and The Giants
With No Fools, No Fun, Andre Pettipas and The Giants capture the no holds barred, kick-ass ethic they bring to their high-octane live performances, and everything they do as a band, like never before
“That’s why we did the album live off the floor, and, actually, ‘No Fools No Fun’ isn’t just the first track on the album, it’s also our go-to opener live,” says Andre Pettipas, the Nova Scotia-based rock outfit’s frontman and primary songwriter.
It’s also the ethic that was top of mind from the moment the band headed into The Chalet Recording Studio in Uxbridge, Ontario, with producer Brian Moncarz (Alice Cooper, Our Lady Peace, The Tea Party). “It was ‘let’s just have fun,’” he adds. “We didn’t target a certain sound, but we’re huge fans of 90s rock and pop, 1970’s guitar bands and records, and I’m a huge fan of the 80s attitude of bands like Guns N Roses.”
Nowhere do those influences come across more clearly than on standouts ‘The Swedish Motel’ (the song that led Moncarz to reach out to Andre Pettipas out of the blue, initially), and ‘Overtime’ – a track that somehow channels the sound of Sloan and Black Sabbath simultaneously and displays the band’s ability to combine vastly disparate genres of rock and roll into a sound that’s undeniably and uniquely their own.
That’s as much a hallmark of the signature brand of rock that Pettipas and the band (bassist Travis Pettipas, guitarist John MacDonald, and drummer Mark Cosh) collectively dubbed Grease Coast Rock n Roll as it is of their approach to songwriting, performing, and life in general. As Pettipas puts it: “Everyone has enough pain and anguish taking up residence in their minds at any given time. For us, it’s like, let’s just forget about all of that for a while and have a good time.’ That’s what we do at our shows and that’s the approach we took to this album.”
The result on lead single ‘Sympathy Card’ is a ripping good time track that emphasizes shrugging off adversity and not wasting time complaining about what you can’t change, but always making an effort to change what you can. “Literally, it’s about sucking it up and getting on with it. If you’re always playing the sympathy card, no one’s ever going to take you seriously.”
Clearly, that’s a message that resonates widely with people – regardless of whether they're trying to get past an annoying day at work, or, you know, just trying to feel a little better about living through a global, once in a century, pandemic.
Already ‘Sympathy Card’ (which was produced by and features The Trews’ John Angus MacDonald) has hit #27 on the Billboard Active Rock Chart, has landed a top 50 spot on Canada/USA Billboard Active Rock chart, and, by extension, set the hook for a growing audience drawn to a band whose music is as invigorating as it is fearless.
Truth be told, the ‘damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’ approach that ‘Sympathy Card’ is meant to inspire in listeners is exactly what inspired Pettipas to start the band originally in 2015; on the heels of a nasty bout with Encephalitis that hospitalized him and left him unable to work or drive for six months. True to form (and to the ethic No Fools, No Fun espouses at every turn), within a month of leaving the hospital Pettipas won the Arkells, ‘Leather Jacket’ cover contest, and a plum opening slot for East Coast musical heavyweight, Joel Plaskett.
In 2016, with the release of their debut album, Stay Gold (2016), and the single, ‘Long Way from Home’ (ft. Ashley MacIsaac) – which hit #1 on the East Coast Countdown – the band established their popularity regionally and landed a spot as finalists in 2016’s Casino Nova Scotia’s Artist In Residence program.
After winning 2017’s Q104 Homegrown Challenge, Andre Pettipas and The Giants showcased at numerous industry shindigs, including Indie Week in Toronto and the 2018 Live at Heart festival in Sweden, and toured relentlessly; both on their own and as a support act for Big Sugar, The Trews, The Sheepdogs, One Bad Son, Monster Truck, Kim Mitchell and Sass Jordan, among others.
Along the way, they’ve gained a reputation as an incredibly tight live act, and as a band that routinely crank out the kind of eminently hooky, sing a long, anthems that stick in your mind and just won’t let go – a reputation that not only got Moncarz’s attention but drew a variety of talented and enthusiastic musical guests to the table on No Fools, No Fun. Among them: harmonica player, Gord Stensrud; backing vocalists Jesse Brown and Bodan Mullholland; long-time Giants’ touring keyboardist, Leith Fleming-Smith; as well as Shawn Mendes’ touring keyboardist Eddy Ryuter, the Arkells’ Max Kerman, and Blind Melon guitarist Chistopher Thorn, whose slide guitar playing is featured on the album’s second single, ‘Homesick’.
‘Homesick’ is, in fact, the most personal track on the record, Pettipas says; a song written while on tour and while he was plagued with a brief, but an acute case of the kind of self-doubt every touring musician feels at one time or another. “I wrote ‘Homesick’ early on,” Pettipas explains. “We were touring through Alberta and we did this gig where only four people showed up. It was just one of those nights, where I was like, ‘What am I doing with my life?” The feeling passed, he adds, but the song stuck – even though Pettipas initially didn’t think it was a fit for the band. “Once we all put our stamp on it though, it ended up being a crowd favourite.”
The fact that Thorn also loved the track was just the icing on the cake: “No word of a lie, when I first put ‘Homesick’ on after he laid down his guitar tracks, and heard his entrance on the first chorus, I literally had tears coming out of my eyes. To have Christopher and all these musicians from some of our favourite bands on our record, it’s really something.”
Then again, so are Andre Pettipas and The Giants…
With their 'take no prisoners' live performances, stellar musicianship, and habit of finding grist for the songwriting mill in everything from hip hop and southern rock and pop to prog, Andre Pettipas and The Giants are a rarity – an act who absolutely refuse to let anything take the fun out of their creative process and performances on record or on stage, and with absolutely no fear of stepping outside of the box to get their message across.
Put bluntly, No Fools, No Fun is the perfect soundtrack to chase away the late pandemic blues and a rarity in itself, the kind of record that – even when you think it can’t possibly get any more fun to listen to – it does.
Listen. Loud. Now.
No Fools No Fun 3:520:00/3:52
Dark Times 2:390:00/2:39
Last First Date Ever 2:310:00/2:31
Sympathy Card 3:100:00/3:10
The Swedish Motel 3:060:00/3:06
Wound Up 3:020:00/3:02
Spoonfed Lies 3:190:00/3:19
Russian Roulette 3:120:00/3:12