Cannon Bros. – Just like Mario Bros.

By Taylor Burgess

Photo: Adrienne Huard
Photo: Adrienne Huard

Cannon Bros. are Cole Woods and Alannah Walker, who have lived pretty much their whole lives together—they’ve been going to the same schools since grade two and they both played on Oak Park’s water polo team. As Winnipeg scenesters might know, they’re also one half of the band the Playing Cards, a band that has been around since Walker and Woods were in junior high school.

So imagine my joy when I approach them at the Albert after one of their shows, Woods slams down an empty plastic tumbler on a table and says, “Alright, I’m good to go.”

“I don’t know exactly when it was,” said Walker in the Albert’s lobby, sitting up by the hotel entrance. “We were drinking at the Lo Pub and we realized how easy it would be to be a two piece. It’d be less hassle to book shows and set up for shows.”

Cannon Bros. started off pretty quickly after that, about half a year ago. Walker had already been learning drums for the six months previous, and Woods picked up the sticks from then on. Since then, they’ve been a guitar, drum, and dual vocals duo that switch instruments between songs—similar in form to Vampires, though not in style. Whereas Vampires spin more sweat-soaked tunes, Cannon Bros. go for perfect plaid pop, which is an extension of their songwriting in the Playing Cards. And although the two have since disconnected themselves from their other pop group a little, there weren’t fights over it.

“I don’t think they care too much about it,” said Woods flatly.

“We’re definitely not writing as many songs for the Playing Cards as we used to,” said Walker.

Walker also commented that the Cards’ bass player David Schellenberg is in a bunch of bands now anyways: Mt. Nolan, Les Jupes, and the Departures. And there certainly weren’t any hard feelings from him—he was hanging around the lobby for most of the brief interview.

The band has made a fan most notably out of Greg MacPherson, who I’ve seen sincerely yell “Hey, nice song!” to the timid duo while they were onstage. Woods is going to be touring in Macpherson’s band this summer, playing bass. Woods also still plays in Right Through, and very occasionally does solo shows. Recently he played a set at Music Trader for Record Store Day, doing a tribute show to Alex Chilton—a member of Big Star, a former teen idol, and an inspiration to the scrappy-yet-poetic Minneapolis band the Replacements.

And where did the name Cannon Bros. come from?

“Again, that’s from when we were drinking at the Lo,” said Walker with a laugh. “There’s a cannon on top of the fireplace there. And Cole was kinda drunk, he kinda looked at and said, ‘We should be called Cannon Brothers.’”

Woods said in reply, “Well it’s like the Mario Brothers, Hammer Brothers, Righteous Brothers… You know how it is when you’re drunk.”

Check out the Cannon Bros. in action on June 19 at the Park Theatre with Enjoy your Pumas and Sons of York, or at the Rudolf Rocker on July 4 with Braids, Gobble Gobble, and Not Animals.