Billy talent

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History and Evolution

Logo from Billy Talent

The Band was founded around 1993 but it isn't know a certain date. Leadsinger Benjamin Kowalewicz was born on the 16th of decembre in 1975 in Montreal (Quebec/Canada). He went to the „Out Lady of Mount Carmel Secondary School“ and here he got to know Jonathan Gallant. He and Gallant played together in a band called „To Each His Own“. They weren't quite popular, but they played on a talent show, where Gallant and Kowalewicz got in contact with the future band members.

Billy Talent

They decided to make music together. So a new band was founded, called „Pezz“ with Kowalewicz (vocals), Gallant (bass), Ian D'sa (guitar+songwriter) and Aaron Solowoniuk (drums) that played Progressive-Rock. After some local gigs in 1998 they recorded an album called „Watoosh!“. The album was sold out quite quickly (2000 copies), although it can't be called a musical masterpiece. If you confront Billy Talent today with this album, they are not happy. On this album there were pieces of music with more than 8 minutes long. After a while, there was the point where the band recognizised that this wasn't the way, the wanted to walk along. So they reorientated theirselves to Punk music. They had also troubles with a band called also „Pezz“ and so their todays name „Billy Talent“ was found. It comes from a charactere out of the movie Hard Core Logo. The new name in combination with their new style they became interesting for Torontos biggest radio rock-show and the producerin turned out to became a big fan and arranged them a record deal with Atlantic Reords. The 23rd septembre 2003 the album named like their band appeared. The singles Try Honesty, The Ex, River Below and Nothing to lose came up shortly after. The song A Devil in a Midnight Mass was downloadable at their homepage at christmas. Surrender, another one of their songs was downloadable on the Valentines day 2006 for free. Both of these songs appeard on their 2nd alum called „Billy Talent II“ that appeared the 23rd of june. Whats happening in future with the band is unclear, as the drummer Aaron Solowonuik turned out to have multipis sclerosis.


Billy Talent performing live

The Watoosh! Album covered a varied number of styles going from ska over punk to hiphop. On their 2nd and third album they have a different sound, as they say, the use no inspirations from any other band. Altough you can't deny that in their sound are some similarities to Rage Against the Machine and Refused. „Unfortunatally“ they do like those bands and so you can say that they're influenced by them, altgough they keep saying it's their complete own sound. But still, their sound is very unique, through the fresh mixing of these styles and bands and adding kind of „Rock'n'Roll“ feel to it: exspecially the lout-quite and tempo changes and Kowalewiczs variable voice have to be mentioned here. It can also be said that the majority of their songs is in the key of D as their big „fans“ of the drop-d tuning on guitar. Billy Talent II was again a stylistic change: the compositions became more melodic, less angry and the tempo became more regulary. Besides that you can hear a more of singing of Ben and a less of shouting. They were often said to be close to the emo-scene as their wore – sometimes – black cloths and sang emotional lyrics, but confrontated to this statement, Billy Talent said, this would be „ridiculous“.



Their first album is typical progressive rock and you can find a lot of very long tracks here. To this album Billy Talent said later, they always tried to find their own sound and as a result they tried to get everything out of a musical idea – even if it took 10 minutes. Some years later they recoginizised that this wasn't the style they wanted to play music. It appeard on the „Nettwerk“ lable.

Cover of the Watoosh! Album by Pezz


01. "M & M"

02. "Fairytale"

03. "Nita"

04. "Mother's native instrumental"

05. "Bird in the basement"

06. "Recap"

07. "When I was a little girl"

08. "Warmth of windows"

09. "Square root of me"

10. "Absorbed"

11. "New Orleans is Stinking"

Billy Talent I

Their first „professional album“ with a producer and a record deal. This is also the album that brought them „mainstream“ success. It won many prices (Juno Awards 2005 „best rockalbum and MuchMusic Award 2005 „Best music video“ and „best rock music video“ (both River Below)). Besides that it became 3x platin in Canada. It appeared in 2003 by Atlantic Records.

Cover of the Billy Talent I album.


1. "This Is How It Goes"

2. "Living In The Shadows"

3. "Try Honesty

4. Line & Sinker"

5. "Lies"

6. "The Ex"

7. "River Below"

8. "Standing In The Rain"

9. "Cut The Curtains"

10. "Prisoners Of Today"

11. "Nothing To Lose"

12. "Voices Of Violence"

Billy Talent II

After their first great successful album they did not hurry to came up with a successor. They made firstly a break to get (back) in contact with their friends and families. The album was produced by Gavin Brown and guitarist Ian D'sa. The mixing did Chris Lord-Alge. The often critisited voice of Kowalewicz is – in my opinion – sometimes no fitting, because the shouting just doesn't fit into some ballads. But this is a matter of taste – some love Kowawelicz unique sounding voice, some doesn't like to hear him screaming. The album appeard in 2006 and became 2x platin in Canada and 1x platin in Germany.

Cover of the Billy Talent II album (2006)


1. "Devil In A Midnight Mass"

2. "Red Flag"

3. "This Suffering"

4. "Worker Bees"

5. "Pins And Needles"

6. "Fallen Leaves"

7. "Where Is The Line"

8. "Covered In Cowardice"

9. "Surrender"

10. "In The Fall"

11. "Perfect World"

12. "Sympathy"

13. "Burn The Evidence


Studio albums


Billy Talent I

Billy Talent II




Try Honesty EP

Try Honesty / Living in the Shadows

Live albums

Live from the UK Sept/2006



Try Honesty

The Ex

River Below

Nothing to Lose

Devil in a Midnight Mass

Red Flag

Fallen Leaves


This Suffering