British Columbia

'It was pretty real': B.C. band's latest song reflects on overdose death of childhood friend

Vancouver-based band We Are the City has just released a new album and the title track focuses on the overdose death of a childhood friend.

We Are the City released new album Thursday

The title track of We Are the City's latest album reminisces about an old friend who died from a fentanyl overdose. (Kirsten Huculiak)

Cayne McKenzie, lead vocalist with Vancouver-based rock group We Are the City, had already started writing a song about losing a loved one when his childhood friend, Kyle Tubbs, died suddenly from a fentanyl overdose three years ago. 

That song ultimately became the title track on the band's latest album, R.I.P, released Thursday night. 

The group started writing the song about friends growing apart, becoming interested in different things and following different paths. When Tubbs died, it took the existing vocals out of the song and improvised new lyrics, which is what is now featured in the song. 

"I was just lying on the couch by myself and I just listened to the song, and I was listening to some of Kyle's music as well," McKenzie told Radio West host Sarah Penton.  

"That was it. There is a lot of time and a lot of emotion put into it but actually not a lot of thought put into it. It was pretty real."


The song looks back at the last time McKenzie saw Tubbs, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, while sharing music with each other. Shortly after, the lyrics reference memories of his friend that may fade over time and thank him for their friendship. From there, the song becomes increasingly emotional, as McKenzie's voice seems to become uneasy. 

Drummer Andrew Huculiak said that while he's anticipating the song will be special, he's also dreading it. 

Releasing a song that personal and emotional comes with challenges, including playing it live over and over again. The band has just started rehearsing it and working on how to perform it. 

 "It's one of those songs that I don't think it's possible to disconnect from the emotion of it," he said. "It's a good thing that it isn't. I mean that's what people go to shows [for], to see something true."

With files from Radio West


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.