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Comeback Kid Are Still Looking For Trouble

The hardcore heavyweights continue to build on their brutal and beautiful foundation.

by Myles Tiessen

Photo by Aaron Schwartz

“We’re not trying to make a big fucking splash statement with this EP,” admits Andrew Neufeld, lead vocalist of Canadian hardcore band Comeback Kid. “[With Trouble], we’re just writing songs even though it’s not going to be for everybody.”

This statement, however, doesn’t mean that the band was simply throwing ideas at the wall. Grinning from his home in Toronto over a blurry Zoom call, Neufeld quickly recovers, saying there was no room for apathy or indifference when piecing together these songs. To him, Trouble is an alarm, reminding fans that “[Comeback Kid] is not going away. So, we have to keep things as consistent as possible.”

That consistency has been the narrative for the entirety of Comeback Kid’s 24-year career, and their longevity and endurance is undeniable. Part of that is due to Neufeld’s decades of experience and inherent industry agility. Between dozens of interviews every press run, accompanying music videos, or even his begrudging participation in those ranked listicles, Neufeld knows how to play the game.

Since their inception in the icy fields of Winnipeg, the band’s legendary live shows and deafening output have essentially made them a household name, or at least, a punk house name. From Turn It Around through Broadcasting…, all the way to 2022’s landmark release Heavy Steps, Comeback Kid has continually metamorphosed their sound to fit both stadiums and dive bars alike.  


From the RANGE archives: Comeback Kid performing at the Biltmore Cabaret circa 2018 (Photo: Darrole Palmer)


Neufeld says categorizing Trouble is nearly impossible. “It’s us kind of spreading our wings creatively a little bit and just kind of writing some different types of songs,” he says. A playful sonic experiment that strips away some of the heavier metallic hardcore songs that typify their sound, Trouble is littered with street-punk tracks, Oi! rippers, and other genres the band has always loved but never fully dabbled in. 

To him, although the songs of Trouble are distinctly unique, they exist in a similar world to Heavy Steps—not B-sides, per se, but companions. Neufeld will often keep ideas on the shelf, revisiting them months, sometimes years down the line. “Now I have maybe some more life experiences that I could add to a song or ideas to add after the dust had settled,” he says.

“So, [the songs on Trouble] were some that we took out of the woodwork and just allowed ourselves to explore a little bit more. Songs that maybe at the time when we were writing our last record just didn’t fit,” Neufeld continues. “A lot of the songs, I think, are kind of just like fun songs that [shouldn’t] always be taken too seriously. There are some tongue-in-cheek lyrics, we allowed ourselves to go to a major key on a chorus, and some of the songs are a little brighter than a normal Comeback Kid record.” 


From the RANGE archives: Comeback Kid performing at the Biltmore Cabaret circa 2018 (Photo: Darrole Palmer)


To Neufeld, evolution is not only a necessity; it’s an artistic inevitability. “I definitely wouldn’t say this is the new sound of Comeback Kid, but we just allowed ourselves to explore a little bit more,” he says. 

The inevitability of change is something Neufeld says doesn’t just appear in the music; it’s in the lives and individual human growth of the band members. Compared to the early 2000s, where he says it hardly ever felt like the band would turn off the ignition on their tour van, many members now favour the domesticity of home, support of families, or to revel in the wonder of raising children. 

When asked if he sees a similar maturation in their audience, Neufeld deadpans: “There are more parents at shows. They still buy merch, so that’s kind of cool.” 

Comeback Kid’s fanbase is loyal and zealous. Neufeld says most have been following the band for over 15 years and grew up congregating in the pit of dingy dives worldwide. For many, the band has been a gateway into the transmutable world of hardcore and, therefore, holds a sentimental place in their hearts. Some people at their shows go for nostalgia, some go just to stand in the back and listen to a blisteringly talented band, but Neufeld’s favourite crowd goes for another reason.

“For hardcore, you’re always so obsessed with the crowd’s reaction and people going crazy,” says the frontman. “I’m looking for people fucking kicking the shit out of each other and going apeshit.” 

Despite Neufeld’s seemingly candid indifference to the impact of Trouble, the EP is a testament to the band’s unrelenting growth–evolution and change are inescapable. As Neufeld screams on the new EP: “DISRUPTION CAN’T BE STOPPED.”