Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk
The Casbah 306 King Street West

Being a big fan of the team over at MTV News Canada, I was excited to learn reporter/host/producer Sam Sutherland would be stopping by Casbah to promote his book Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk.

I learned more about the book during my Rendezvous with Sam earlier in the week, where I asked about the project’s initial inspiration, the influence Hamilton bands had on Canadian punk, and Sam’s thoughts on the genre today, among other things. (He also gave some of my favourite Rapid-Fire answers so far.)

George Pettit and Sam Sutherland
George Pettit and Sam Sutherland

Sam teamed up with some musicians along his book tour, and for Hamilton’s event he was joined by George Pettit of Alexisonfire. Together, they brought a bunch of vinyl (in a “tickle trunk,” they joked) to spin some tunes and reflect on the history of punk in Canada. With a limited knowledge, myself, it was really interesting to learn more about it.

They focused quite a bit on Hamilton punk bands that were vital to the genre – Teenage Head, Simply Saucer, The Forgotten Rebels. They noted that Hamilton’s “DIY” aesthetic was a big part of how those bands approached what they did. At one point, Simply Saucer set out to write a record every week. George also pointed out Daniel Lanois’ inventive production on their work.

George Pettit and Sam Sutherland. Taken with Instagram.
George Pettit and Sam Sutherland. Taken with Instagram.

After the chat, we were treated to set by Arson, a classic Canadian punk band that had never played in Hamilton before. They were a lot of fun to watch – so much energy (the drummer was practically flying out of his seat!). To see a band still rocking it 30 years later was just awesome.

The event had me coming away convinced that I need to keep expanding my musical repertoire and dig deeper into punk music. Perfect Youth seems like the best way to start, and it’s now on my to-read list.

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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