Canadian rocker girls rock the Pub, pack the floor

Drummer Maya Miller and guitarist Becky Black of The Pack A.D. rock out at the Pub this past Saturday. Photo by Jesse Hoff/Sun Star

By Andrew Sheeler
Sun Star Reporter

“We Kill Computers.” That’s not just a statement, not just a lifestyle, it’s also the name of the latest CD by the girl duo, The Pack A.D. Becky Black and Maya Miller form the female band, a garage-rock and blues outfit that’s been compared to the White Stripes and the Black Keys but with vocals that call to mind Janis Joplin. On Saturday night, The Pack A.D. played to a crowded pub audience estimated at around a hundred strong.

This was the Pack’s first foray into the 49th state, although the band had played a show at Whitehorse YT last year. The Fairbanks Concert Association, which had approached the women with the idea, set up the concert. Fresh from recording their latest album, Saturday’s show was their first outing since breaking from tour and the rigors of showmanship hit them both hard. While rehearsing their set prior to the show, Miller said, they had to take a break halfway through. But that practice paid off when on Saturday, more than 20 people crowded the pub dance-floor to rock out. Dozens more clapped and cheered while Black’s vocals filled the room.

The Pack A.D. formed in 2006, but before that the women had been in another band together. “We sucked, but we had a lot of fun,” Miller said.

“I was doing nothin’ but pumpin’ gas,” Black said. When Miller and Black hit it off, they decided to form their own band and The Pack was born. Trouble loomed early when MySpace shut down their page five separate times, in response to a request from a California rap group also called The Pack.

“We tried to fight it, but money won,” Miller said. Miller and Black decided to change their name, and in the end they went with the initials A.D., which stand for “After Death.”

Despite their presence on MySpace and Facebook, both Black and Miller are vehemently anti-technology. “We have a shared dislike of social networking on the web,” Miller said.

“Computers suck, animals rule,” Black added.

They said that although necessity dictated they maintain sites on both Facebook and MySpace, they drew the line when it comes to Twitter.

For just the two of them, Black and Miller had virtually no problem filling the room and making themselves heard. When asked what motivated them to remain a duo, they both said that it’s hard enough getting along with just one other person, much less several. “It’s really hard keeping the band together,” Miller said. She said a band’s success often is measured just in its ability to stay together. Both Miller and Black said they knew of too many bands that fell apart just as it was about to make it to the top. In their own band, Miller attributed their success at staying together to the fact that, “We’re both pretty good at comfortable silence.”

Comfortable silence was a necessity for Black, “ We spend way too much time together.”

Miller and Black both said that Fairbanks fascinated them. “Alaska doesn’t feel terribly American,” Miller said. She said that people in Fairbanks struck her as being similar to those in Whitehorse, who weren’t terribly Canadian. Rather, Miller explained, the people of the far north seemed to be their own culture entirely. Miller said that she loved that about both places.

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