Faking the Canadian Government funding of Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne's wedding

by Josiah Hughes

July 2, 2013






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THE CHAVRILLUMINATTI: Faking the Government Funding of Chavril's wedding.

There’s a temptation to broach the subject of arts funding with an air of paranoia. For one thing, we’ve got a hefty, country-wide supply of mediocre music to complain about, and whining about stuff is super fun in and of itself. Add in the innate sense of entitlement that comes with being a creative person in 2013, however, and the question becomes “Why are they getting money and I’m not? Didn’t you know that when I was a kid I was told I could do anything I want if I put my mind to it? I’m getting my parents on the phone.”

It’s a subject that was explored in various rants on muckraker Paul Lawton’s blog Slagging Off earlier this year, where he essentially tore the Canadian granting process a new eh-hole (sorry) and suggested that the money could be put to better use if it was distributed in smaller portions to more acts.

That’s probably true, and it’s certainly an important discussion to be had. But I’m not really mature enough to have that sort of conversation anymore. When it comes to talking about Canadian indie music in this day and age I turn into a giggling moron. When I addressed the issue with my colleague and best bb boy (ed note: and now AUX Associate Editor) Mark Teo in a FFWD cover story, my proudest moment was comparing Saskatchewan indie rock band Library Voices to an actual library. I spend a lot of time pronouncing that one indie dude‘s name like “Dang Mangmang” in casual conversation.

Despite my best efforts to deflate the healthy debate with annoying sophomoric banter, people (mostly artists, since people with real-life jobs worry about real-life things) continue to fret over who gets what piece of the funding pie. There’s a valid suspicion underlying these conversations, and the sentiment that all the wrong people are getting the money isn’t always far from the truth. Still, all it takes is one Government of Canada label on a shitty Most Serene Republic CD and half of these people turn into a musical Alex Jones, treating the grant committees with the same tinfoil hat-wearing disdain they would the Bilderberg group.

As such, I knew just the right project to address the paranoia surrounding Canrock’s non-existent illuminati while revelling in some sweet, sweet Internet mischief.

On August 21, 2012, I turned 27. I didn’t fall prey to The 27 Club, but I did fall off my bike on my way to work that morning, and I fractured my elbow. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, but it did seem a little weird and ominous that I’d hit the pavement on my birthday, require three screws in my arm, and have most of my life put on hold for months. Still, checking my Google Reader (R.I.P.) in the waiting room, it all became clear. There was evil in the air. Ageless mall medusa Avril Lavigne was engaged to wed the noodle-haired hellspawn Chad Kroeger.

“After a six-month courtship, the Canadian rockers are engaged to be married,” People magazine reported as the term “Canadian rockers” had never sounded grosser. It was a pairing at once unnerving and beautiful made even more perfect when they were adorned with their shipping name, Chavril. It’s so perfect because ultimately, the tasteless goons who worship Nickelback really are Canada’s chavs.

A month later, when I was back in the waiting room to get my bunged-up elbow looked at, the issue of HELLO! Canada with Avril and Chad on the cover came out. There they were, the next great couple of pop culture, like Jay-Z and Beyonce but Canadian and covered in frosted tips and Axe Body Spray. The sort of socialites who hang out with Ben Mulroney while maintaining their rock ‘n’ roll edge. Celebrities for people who think the Junos are a meaningful cultural institution.

As time went by, I couldn’t stop thinking about their wedding and what it would be like. How many heart-shaped skulls would there be, and where would they be placed? Would they have shisha readily available during the ceremony, or just throughout the reception? Would the officiator be a brunette model in black leather pants or a blonde model in black leather pants? Just how many dudes with eyebrow rings and JNCOs would interrupt the service with an impromptu skate sesh down the aisles? Would Avril’s bridesmaids be wearing Hot Topic or D-Tox? Would they say “I do” or something cooler like “fuckin’ rights”?

There was very little information out there, but I did learn that the wedding would take place in Lavigne’s native Belleville, ON and that it would likely happen on June 15, which is also when NXNE took place (I always found that a bit strange — the Chavril wedding seemed like more of a Canadian Music Week kind of thing). (Ed note: Of course, Chavril ended up out-Chavriling all of us and got married on Canada Day. But in France. So minus two points.)

That’s when inspiration struck — using the wonderful, whimsical, world wide web, I knew that I’d probably be able to leak a relatively realistic wedding invite. What’s more, I figured that I could subtly stir the pot with a well-placed government grant logo or two.

It was tempting to whip up a mess of shit with sloppy PhotoShop lasso tool work, “punk” stock photos, flame-painted borders and neon-green Comic Sans, but I knew that’d be too far from believability. What they lack in class, Lavigne and the Kroegs make up for with piles upon piles of Canadian currency. They’d surely be able to hire a graphic designer, who in turn would probably have their most frustrating assignment ever.

Fortunately for me, my sister-in-law is an accomplished, award-winning graphic designer. She’s also a lover of a good (or bad) prank — she unironically owns every season of Just For Laughs Gags on DVD. It took practically no convincing, and a day later we were planning a wedding together. Soon, I had PDFs of two print-ready wedding invites (one for the ceremony, one for the reception).

It took all of 30 seconds to Google Chad and Avril’s parents’ names, and I figured that Chad would use his birthname Chad Robert Turton on his wedding invite to class it up for once. You’ll notice that the crossbones on the skull up top also have hearts on them, an amazing touch from Shauna’s design. The skull was added after we thought it almost looked a little too classy. Also, I found St. Thomas’ Anglican Church through checking out what was available in Belleville. If they do actually get married in that town it’ll probably be there.

Then I searched “Belleville night club” and found a spot where they could conceivably host an after-party. The design was all Shauna’s, with a nice array of clashing fonts and some goofy wedding skulls in the background. Only now do I notice that I misspelled the word “performances” in the copy, but no one else seemed to notice or care. They were probably too busy freaking out over the various funding-related logos posted at the bottom. In my demented fantasy, Mariana’s Trench would be shrieking out some gross anthems while Avril’s bridesmaids made out with people from Theory of a Deadman, and our tax dollars would be footing the bill.

Once our horrendous masterpieces were complete, I wasn’t too sure how we’d get them out into the world.

Posing as a print shop employee, I posted the invites on a blog, where I wrote, “I’m a huge Nickelback fan. I also work at a printing shop in small town Ontario. When I was handed the files for Chad and Avril’s wedding I knew I wanted to share it with the world. Please be respectful, I could get in a lot of trouble for this.”

Despite some strategic hashtagging, I didn’t get any reactions. Presumably that’s because Nickelback and Avril Lavigne fans still use flip-phones and don’t spend much time on the web. Or if they do, maybe they are the people who make comment sections so endlessly frustrating.

Either way, I needed a new strategy. I tried sending it to Perez Hilton, but that didn’t work. I even sent it to Alan Cross, but he didn’t seem to care. Instead, he posted a video of Bono hanging out at the Forbes 400 summit.

It was a tough line to toe, so I sent the link out to a handful of well-connected friends, keeping it cool about my intentions and pretending it was something I had found. I knew that at some point one of them wouldn’t be able to resist passing it on to another friend and that, hopefully, it might eventually make its way to the right hands.

I was growing so impatient as I waited for someone, somewhere to pick it up. Then, in what can only be described as a Chavril miracle, the news somehow made its way to Vice’s music outpost, Noisey.

“Here are Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger’s wedding invitations” they wrote, adding “At least we think they are.” They went on to share the details of my fictional blog post, being kind enough as to protect my lowly print shop employee’s livelihood by blocking out the address of the wedding and the reception. They also added a garish Noisey watermark to the background of the blog. Sorry, Shauna.

Best of all, and unlike NME’s haphazard coverage of the fake Rustic Authentics clothing line, the folks at Noisey actually did some serious research. “We’re not 100% sure as to the total veracity of these invitations,” they wrote. “But we did place a call to the venue that the reception is purported to be held, and the manager confirmed that Lavigne frequents the club.”

Noisey Associate Editor Sasha Hecht tweeted, “.@b_shap cold-calling print shops in a small town in Ontario asking if anyone on staff is a “huge Nickleback fan” for #journalism.” She may have misspelled Nickelback, but she was clearly working hard to verify the story.

This was all happening in Brooklyn, so they didn’t pay any attention to the myriad government logos at the bottom of the second invite. Fortunately, however, a handful of Canadian commenters did.

A Facebook commenter on the Noisey site wrote “So their reception is sponsored by the government of Canada? Cause that’s the logo at the bottom… Doesn’t seem “right”.”

A Tumblr user reblogged the story from Vice and offered up a nice lil Cancon rant, saying, “If this is true then I’m embarrassed that the government, SOCAN, and Factor are sponsoring the reception. Totally not a legit allocation of funds that are supposed to support independent musicians.”

Over on Facebook, there were plenty of angry rants, with people expressing all sorts of disgust at the idea that our tax dollars would support such an abomination. I’m talking about a lot of all caps “REALLY?!?” sorts of statuses. I had secretly told AUX contributor Mish Way about the joke in its earliest stages, but I think she may have forgotten because she shared it on her Facebook and wrote “UM HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOO.” From there, a handful of Canadian music figures questioned how they could possibly get a Factor grant for their wedding reception. “Nice one, Canada,” a friend wrote.

There were a few Tweets about the Canadian government aspect of it too:

@hilarygp3 :
Not sure what’s most perfect about Avril Lavigne + Chad K.’s wedding invites: color scheme, skulls, or Canada logo?

Lol why is the government of Canada sponsoring Avril and Chad’s wedding?

There were also some reactions to the article that were just straight-up great.

A Tumblr user wrote, “I know Lavigne has this thing about not growing up. But could she at least get out of her middle-school emo phase while she’s a public figure and like… 40?”

And some tweets:

@Nickelbackers @NoiseyMusic would they have such tacky wedding invitations that look like they cost 2 quid

Here Are #avrillavigne and #chadkroeger’s Wedding Invitations: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/here-are-avril-lavigne-and-chad-kroegers-wedding-invitations…” hmm, I’m a huge fan but “chav” seems fitting! :-/

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger’s wedding invitations are the most Chavril thing I’ve ever seen.

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger are getting married on my birthday, which is the best gift I could ask for

Even renowned Canadian DJ Skratch Bastid weighed in, tweeting, “So if you’re not going to Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger’s Wedding on June 15th, then you should come to Bastid’s BBQ.”

From the get-go, a group called Nickelbackers were tweeting some unwanted skepticism at Noisey, and then they eventually figured out that the whole thing was a hoax. Turns out that Avril Lavigne was set to perform in Chicago on June 15 at the B96 Pepsi Summer Bash. Noisey didn’t take the link down, but did run an update pointing out that the invites were fake.

“But this raises a larger question,” they added. “Who would care enough to make fake Avril Lavigne wedding invitations and then leak them in this way? Answer: bored people.”

Noisey, I have a name and it’s Josiah Hughes. Thanks for posting those invites and you’re welcome for all the hits! Here’s to never growing up.

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 Issue of AUX Magazine.

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Tags: Music, Cancon, AUX Magazine, Avril Lavigne, Chad Kroeger, Chavril






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