On the air since 1985, Power Chord is Vancouver’s longest-running heavy metal radio show. Co-founded by Gerald “Rattlehead” and “Metal Ron,” the show has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years, shifting the format and adding four new hosts: Andy “Grotesque,” Coleman Ingram, Erik Wessel, and Serena Navarro. Discorder recently caught up with Ingram and Navarro to learn about how the five-host dynamic works and their thoughts on the state of Vancouver’s metal scene.
How did you get your start on Power Chord?
Ingram: It was a result of me hanging around at CiTR, doing a bit of volunteering and fill-in shows. Robin, CiTR’s programming director, sent me an email saying that Power Chord needed a new host. I decided “Yeah, I’ll give it a shot!” I’ve been a metal fan for most of my music listening life so it was natural for me. I did one or two shows then Andy and Ron were like “Cool, we like what you’re doing, carry on.” This summer, I had to go away to work a couple of months so we needed another host. At the same time, Navarro had moved here from Calgary.
Navarro: A patient from the pharmacy that I work at said to me, “You keep wearing metal shirts, you should probably listen to this show ‘cause you’re gonna like it.” So I started listening to it, and then I found out they needed hosts and I thought “Sign me up, I like metal!”
How do you guys coordinate a show with five hosts?
Ingram: Among the five hosts involved right now, we all play whatever we want within the spectrum of heavy metal. Ron plays a lot more older stuff. He’s been a metal fan since 1985, so his tastes skew towards the more Classic spectrum. Serena, Erik, and I listen to a ton of new music. It’s cool because Power Chord has gotten a serious facelift just within the last year or so. It’s practically a new show. You could put five metalheads in the same room, and they won’t agree on a single band.
Navarro: I listen to some of Ron’s shows and I’m like, “I have no idea what those last 10 bands were” or “I’ve heard of a couple of them but I’m not a fan.”
Ingram: We try to appeal to as many subgenres as we possibly can and that’s why it’s great having more hosts involved.
When did you discover your passion for heavy metal music?
Navarro: Well, I liked Korn when I was 11…
Ingram: That counts! The first time I ever heard Korn in grade six, I remember thinking, “This is the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard!”
Navarro: I just remember buying the album right away and thinking “I don’t know what this is, I don’t know why I like it, but I’m gonna listen to it!”
Ingram: Smashing Pumpkins is not a metal band but they had heavy elements I really liked. My introduction to metal was Load by Metallica. When I was in grade four, I saved up my allowance and bought a Metallica box set for $100, which was a lot of money when I was 10!
How would you describe Vancouver’s metal scene?
Ingram: I’d say it’s quite tight-knit and very diverse. A lot of bands share members and play together. Everyone supports each other. There isn’t a specific “Vancouver sound” but it’s cool to see bands from Vancouver make it to an international stage, like BAPTISTS. It’s a thriving scene and it’s definitely got the attention of the international underground metal world.
What’s your favourite name for a heavy metal band?
Navarro: Dead Jesus? That’s the only thing I can think of.
Ingram: I was going to say Anal Cunt.
Navarro: Oh yeah that’s a good one!
Ingram: That’s just the most offensive one. Honestly, Black Sabbath is a fucking amazing band name. Just hearing that name gives you a pretty good idea of what it’s going to sound like. It’s an immediate punch-you-in-the-face, make-you-pay-attention kind of name.
What’s in store for Power Chord?
Ingram: We’re pretty fresh. There’s been a passing of the torch happening here. Ron and Andy are still involved, but only to whatever degree they want to be included.
Navarro: I feel like we have a lot of passion as young folk. We’re excited to have more promotion and to build a community a little bit more through promoting shows and the metal scene here in Vancouver.
Ingram: There are a lot of people who would be really into our show and the music we play, that don’t even know it exists. We are going to get some stickers made and start handing them out at shows, design some shirts, and have more bands come into the studio to talk about their shows or tours.
If you’d like to indulge your craving for heavy metal, tune in to Power Chord every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on CiTR 101.9FM or citr.ca