Ripcordz - 40 years of Montreal Punk with Paul Gott

At Boîte à Musique, we have the chance to meet musicians of all styles. Sometimes, some of them are also legends of the underground scene. This is the case for Paul Gott and his group Ripcordz. Over the past few months, we had the chance to receive him for an interview to mark the 40 year anniversary of the most senior group on the Montreal scene.

The group also launched their last album in March 2020, at the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, Ripcordz would tour all over Canada, but this time around they didn’t have the opportunity to launch Don't Buy the First Album, Jerk - Wad. Get This One! with a tour.

In this interview, Paul Gott explains the group's philosophy, as accustomed to shows at Foufounes Électriques as in a Saskatchewan Punk House. Ripcordz are not getting rich from Punk. On the contrary. if they can support a cause, play a free show, or even donate one of their songs for an obscure compilation, they are happy to do so. It is first and foremost the love of the Canadian punk scene that drives the group.

40 years of Montreal Punk

Founded in 1980, Ripcordz has over 2,500 shows and 18 albums to their name. But Gott didn’t stop there, he also founded the Montreal tabloid RearGarde in the mid-1980s, as well as the EnGuard Records label, both specializing in the underground scene and whose main goal was to promote local groups.

Dozens of albums were released on EnGuard Records through to the end of the 90s by various groups such as GrimSkunk, Vagabonds, Self Control, Walter, Les Bons à Rien and Les Ordures Ioniques to name just a few.

Driven by this desire to support the underground scene, Paul Gott continues to help small groups who ask him for advice. And it’s why Ripcordz continues to travel those long Canadian roads (at least, when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic).

Ripcordz en concert à Vancouver en mai 2018

The golden age of the underground scene

Many fans talk about the heyday of the punk scene being somewhere in the 1980s, but Gott disagrees. Indeed, for him, the golden age is happening now! His message is clear: Let’s stop glorifying the past and realize how lucky we are to have a strong and diverse scene right now. There is no shortage of talented bands. Who knows if that little band you saw last year won’t be the next Black Flag or the future Nirvana. These bands didn’t start their careers playing in front of thousands of people.

Until then, if the 1980s really continue to fascinate you, why not take the opportunity to listen to Ripcordz’s discography?

Ripcordz Bandcamp :

Ripcordz Facebook page :

Text and interview by Éric Faucher

Video filmed and realized by Matthieu Patenaude

Ripcordz' Gear Rundown

Paul Gott : Vocals and Guitar

Guitar brand and model : Gibson L6-S (1974)

Strings : Dean Markley Regular

Picks : Tortex yellow

Amplifier : Gallien-Krueger Backline 100 Combo

Pedals : none

Distinctive element for your tone : I never change my strings or clean the guitar. I find it adds to the wall of distortion we're looking for.

Essential element in your Backline rider : an amp with distortion

Influences as guitarist : Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, anybody who can't play lead

Musical influences : so many Punk bands, but also bands that influenced the original Punk bands like Eddie and the Hot Rods, the Flamin Groovies, Robert Gordon, the Troggs and the Pretty Things

Microphone : seriously? I can choose a microphone? Never have done that.

Any other special elements (pedals, effect, etc.)? : nope. Generally, I ask them to turn down the reverb and any effects

Influences as singer : Popeye

Who makes back vocals in the band : Alex (bassist) and whoever else wants to grab a microphone

Alex Gauthier : Bass

Bass brand and model : Fender Jazz Bass

Strings : D'addario

Picks : Dunlop 88mm

Amplifier : Traynor

Cab : One I can find at venue

Pedals : none

Essential element in your backline rider : Bass cab

Influence as bassist : 70's and 90's punk

Musical influence : Punk, Metal, Rock, Pop

Gopal D : Drums

Drum : Sonor Performer Series (14"snare, 12"tom, 14"tom, 16"floor tom 20" kick).

Pedal : Tama Speed Cobra

Sticks : Vic Firth 7AN

Drum influences : Dave Weckl, Neil Peart, Phil Collins, John Bonham, Gavin Harrison, Larnell Lewis, Tony Royster Jr, Marco Minnemann (& many more!)

Music Influences : Led Zeppelin, Rush, Genesis, Soundgarden, Tool, Incubus, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan (& many more!)

Éric Faucher