To celebrate the launch of ‘The Ugly’, we have invited BrewDog to our place for a Tap Takeover. And they are bringing beers never before tasted in Canada! Join us starting at 5:00 to taste their beers as well as our collaboration, ‘The Ugly’.
Back in 1978, Toronto’s burgeoning punk rock scene was turning this somewhat conservative town on its head. At the forefront of the phenomenon was ‘The Ugly,’ formed by Sam Ugly and fronted by the now sadly-departed Mike Nightmare. A true hooligan, Nightmare notoriously told one CBC reporter that “if I wasn’t in rock ‘n’ roll, you guys would be lying on the floor right now and I’d be stealing your wallets”. This wasn’t just talk—Nightmare had done hard time and the group had to advertise their shows without showing pictures of themselves, such was the frontman’s relationship with Toronto’s finest.
In keeping with this genuinely underground ethos, The Ugly took to “pirating” gigs. This tactic involved showing up unannounced at other shows, only to jump on stage to seize the gear between scheduled groups and knock out their own sets without bothering to ask permission. Such shenanigans went spectacularly sideways in fall of ’77, when the band showed up at a festival they had been barred from, intending to kick the Viletones off stage and commandeer their set. After throwing a burning guitar at their rivals, the Ugly managed to play for perhaps a minute before everything collapsed into a riotous brawl between bands, bikers, punks and fans.
Frustrated by their lack of headway, the band soon split up without a single release, although further acrimony followed when Nightmare released a 1978 power-pop 45 with a new line-up trading under the name. It’s a decent single, but far from what had made the outfit their fearsome reputation. A later incarnation of the band, with former Dream Dates frontman Greg Dick taking over from Nightmare (RIP), was active in recent years, even releasing a 45 in the rawer, tougher early tradition.
This collaboration with Brewdog is a salute to those lively days, when Toronto the Good lost its innocence in the first local eruption of punk rock.
Check out the Ugly’s first single here
More about the Ugly can be found here