Big John Bates has appeared on Snowpiercer (Netflix 2020) and Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi 2006) with music on movie and TV soundtracks world-wide. Their albums chart on campus radio across Canada, are played on NPR in the USA and community radio in Europe. They have been featured in books and glossy magazines world-wide. Bates has played shows / festivals / toured with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Nick Oliveri, Dexter Romweber, SCOTS, The Fuzztones, Goddamn Gallows, The Blasters, Koko Taylor, T-Model Ford, Legendary Shack Shakers, Slim Cessna and Murder by Death - thousands of dates across Europe, North America and Japan.
John was also the founding singer of thrash-metal pioneers Annihilator; writing for 6 of their LPs, penning their biggest songs Alison Hell and King of the Kill.
“One of Vancouver’s most notorious musicians ”
— Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“With Skinners Cage, Bates and company have taken their sound from southern-gothic Americana to something approaching a mutant hybrid of postpunk and Weimar Republic cabaret. The addition of violinist RequiEmily to the usual lineup of Bates (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals), Brandy Bones (bass, cello, vocals), and Ty-Ty the Saviour (percussion) certainly helps in that regard—her approach is more European chamber-punk than Kentucky bluegrass. But if that doesn’t convince you, consider that the Noirchestra recorded Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s “Moon of Alabama” for this LP—a midnight-exorcism version that will make you want to throw your copy of The Doors onto a Samhain bonfire. So, yes, this music will make perfect sense in Köln and Dresden, and it might make sense to you too, if you’ve ever wished Jeffrey Lee Pierce had lived long enough to make the cabaret-noir record you always knew he had in him.”
— Georgia Straight (Vancouver)
“The mic stands were adorned with animal skulls. The vocal duo of Brandy and John was intricate, and they shared the duties well while the technical skill overall was incredible. Straight up, this was one of the best live sets I have ever seen. Every time something awesome happened, it would get one-upped by something even more insane. It was an “anything goes” show. Every second was a memorable moment, I dreamt about it that night. It was the definition of “putting on a show”. Blew my face off with such a sick combination of gritty riffs, interesting vocal arrangements and stage presence.”
— Scene Magazine, (Halifax Pop Explosion)
“The third album to come from the tireless touring machine that is the Big John Bates: Noirchestra now finds the musician stepping out into slightly different terrain. The songs are less full-on rock attack and more exploring of textures and variations while still working firmly in the Americana Noir genre the band is known for. Having been involved in thrash metal (Annihilator), garage (Voodoo Dollz) and goth (Bates Motel) one constant has held with every project from Big John Bates. The music all sounds like it will go over well in-concert - and does!”
— Stuart Derdeyn (Vancouver Sun)
“Big John Bates has moved to dark roots rock as evidenced by their opening song “Amerkin”, a track with a soul- shaking beat. And while the music may have changed, the intensity and fervor of this band’s live performance has not. Bones shines in all her sultry, gothic temptress glory. She is the true master of her massive bass, using it as not only a tool to make music but as an instrument of seduction. “Taste the Barrel” showcased Bones’ eerily whispery vocals, accompanied by Bates’ banjo sounding guitar, giving the song a true dark country feel. Fans lined up outside didn’t know what they were missing, and if they did, they were all the sadder for it.”
— Music Examiner (Toronto)
““Amerkin” could please the post-rock crowd as much as the group’s devoted fans. "Wide Open Blues” blends doom-wop piano plinks and down-South accordion runs into a jumped-up swamp stomp. Upright bassist Brandy Bones mans the mike on the back- porch ballad “Taste the Barrel”, joining Bates to deliver the rootsy punk number “Fields on Fire”. The latter’s high point, however, isn’t the sweet-versus-sour vocal interplay, but a scorching, off-the-rails solo. ”
— Georgia Straight (Vancouver)
“Big John Bates is not only a band, they are an infectious lifestyle choice that needs to be absorbed by all of humankind. ”
— Twin Cities Magazine (Minneapolis)