Luke Lalonde and Mitch DeRoiser met as babes in diapers (they’re cousins). Steve Hamelin was recruited from a high-school music class while Andy Lloyd was the first friend the three Midland, Ontario boys made after relocating to the big, bad smoke (Toronto).

The four twenty-somethings make up Born Ruffians who are currently on tour and this weekend’s main course at The Ship, courtesy of MIGHTYPOP. Mitch DeRosier fielded questions of the W-H variety as the boys drove their tour van from Ottawa to Montreal.

The group previously played under the moniker Morning To Drive as a result of having had a parental play under the same tag in the seventies. Luckily, they wisely chose to rename themselves something more suitable to their sound and decade. After a few missteps including playing shows under far less appealing alias’ (The Pathetics, ouch) they finally settled on their current epithet. Hey, names are hard — ask any expectant couple, explorer or artist. The motivation for the name change, though, was relatively straightforward.

“We kind of wanted to have something of our own, be our own band and have our own name. I wish there was a better reason why we chose Born Ruffians besides we thought it sounded cool.”

Commercial success

Sounding cool is definitely part of the plan and there is a plan of sorts as each song is full of intention and energy. The playfulness and melodic appeal of their music is undeniable. A number of businesses have recognized this in the band and tapped them for commercial rights with spots in Australia, the UK  and France.

“I think [commercials] are very beneficial for bands, if you can get the right one you’ll be very lucky.” —Mitch DeRosier

“I think [commercials] are very beneficial for bands, if you can get the right one you’ll be very lucky. One that doesn’t irritate anyone but gets your song out there. It’s kind of like, you know bands are always looking for new ways to make money, make some money to keep making records. I think they can really help to grow a band’s profile and get the exposure they need.”

This didn’t cause any strife amongst the group as they hadn’t made any hard and fast rules concerning such matters in advance. In fact, they had been advised not to make rules preemptively as they would likely get broken. But the group agrees they would not allow their music to support a product or service they felt was in poor taste or harmful in any way.

The Tour

The Born Ruffians don’t have a favourite venue necessarily, as they consider the energy of each show individually rather than the specific venue. The Opera House in Toronto comes to mind as a stand out just the same, as family and friends get to attend the shows. And it’s also where the group saw influential bands like The Strokes play.

“They’re pretty much why we became a band.”

In many ways the Opera House was where they dreamed of playing and that dream has now manifested into reality many times over. Not to mention that it just “sounds great in there.” DeRosier says the energy of the tour is building with each city, which could make this their best tour yet. He also mentions that he has been forewarned after mentioning his upcoming visit to the rock.

“I was just told by some random cab driver a couple days before the tour to get my drinking arm ready.”

Let’s hope he took the good advice.

The Born Ruffians will be playing at the Ship on Duckworth tomorrow night and Saturday April 9th.