New Music

No-guitar punks CROSS DOG raises the volume on reproductive rights with “Jane Roe”

6 mins read

Since 2013, CROSS DOG, the no-guitar punk powerhouse from Peterborough, Ontario have been creating a unique blend of noisy, bass-driven punk that’s both relentless and thought-provoking. With no guitarist in the lineup, they’ve crafted a sound that’s raw, powerful, and unmistakably their own. Their latest release, “Jane Roe,” from the forthcoming LP ‘All Hard Feelings’ (out June 7th on Stomp Records), uses the pseudonym to represent everyone fighting for reproductive rights, highlighting the ongoing struggle not only in the US but also in Canada, despite its legal status since 1988.

Tracy A, the band’s frontwoman, penned this song from a deeply personal place, sharing, “I wrote this song as someone who has been saved by this choice; as someone who has witnessed what happens to unwanted or underserved children in our society; as someone who believes that forced birth is morally wrong.”

CROSS DOG by @shotbysaidom
CROSS DOG by @shotbysaidom

In our recent conversation (see the full interview below), Tracy and Mark Rand (bass) delved deeper into the motivations behind “Jane Roe.” They stressed the importance of raising awareness about the critical issues surrounding reproductive rights, especially in light of recent events in the US, where the overturning of Roe vs Wade has placed millions at risk. The band aims to shine a light on the broader social issues connected to this fight, emphasizing how these challenges disproportionately affect non-men and are used as tools of control.


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The album’s cover art, featuring a baby picture of Tracy juxtaposed with a menacing snake, encapsulates the album’s themes of innocence lost and the harsh realities of growing up. The tension and metaphorical depth of the image mirror the hard-hitting content of their music. ‘All Hard Feelings’ is set to explore themes of anxiety, depression, and societal disillusionment, with lyrics that are their most personal to date, reflecting the collective angst experienced during the pandemic.


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CROSS DOG’s formation back in 2013 stemmed from the synergy between Mark and Mikey, who were initially part of a local band’s rhythm section. Their decision to forgo a guitarist was both a practical and creative choice, allowing them to develop a distinctive sound without the usual constraints. Drawing inspiration from the likes of DEATH FROM ABOVE and ROYAL BLOOD, they’ve carved out a unique niche within the punk scene.

Looking ahead, CROSS DOG is excited for their local album release party on June 7th and has plans for shows across Ontario this summer, with a Western Canada tour in the fall. Their new album aims not just to resonate but to rally listeners, encouraging unity and action through its powerful messages.

Let’s start with the new single, “Jane Roe.” You mentioned that it represents everyone fighting for reproductive rights. Can you dive deeper into the personal and political motivations behind this song?

I wouldn’t say that there are exactly any specific motivations behind the song, other than really just highlighting the ongoing battle for the legal protection of a pregnant person’s right to choose what happens to their body and life, specifically here in Canada and the US.

We also want to make sure people are aware of the fact that despite the legal protections here in Canada, there is an ongoing issue of access to these life-saving medical services nationwide. And since the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US, the issue is much more dire for millions, with some states criminalizing this medical procedure. This issue touches on so much more than abortion itself; it confronts social issues that tend to disproportionately impact non-men, and this legislation is wielded as a form of control over anyone who is physically capable of becoming pregnant.

The idea that someone can go through an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy without significant consequence to their life, give birth, and simply put the child up for adoption to a loving and capable family is a total fallacy.


The cover art for “Jane Roe” features a young girl. Who is she, and what does she symbolize in the context of the single and the entire album?

The cover art for that single, and the entire album, feature a picture of Tracy as a baby. We found the picture at Tracy’s parents’ house and honestly thought it would be a funny juxtaposition to the album’s material. The back cover features a menacing snake (in the same room as baby-Tracy) which we thought created some tension, and is a metaphor for the “hard feelings” that come with growing up and losing innocence (which relates to the lyrical content on the album)

Glancing at the rest of the songs on the album, can you tease their lyrical content, too? What stories and ideas inspired you to write them?

We will always write lyrics concerning socio-political topics and human rights, but this album contains our most personal lyrics to date. Most of the songs for this album were written during the pandemic, so they naturally refer to the anxiety, apathy, depression, and uncertainty that we all felt during that time. There are also songs that are straight-up diss tracks! Don’t piss us off or we’ll write a song about you….

How did CROSS DOG come together? What inspired the formation of the band back in 2013?

Mikey and I were playing as the rhythm section for a local band, but every time the other members took smoke breaks we would play around with some aggressive bass and drum ideas. Eventually we realized we could make a band with that sound, and invited Tracy to join us as a vocalist. The other group disbanded over time, and we’ve been focusing on Cross Dog ever since.

Your sound is quite unique, especially with the intentional omission of a guitarist. How did you decide on this lineup and style?

I (Mark) had collected a lot of gear over the years, being both a guitarist and bassist in previous bands. When Mikey and I would mess around with ideas during the aforementioned smoke breaks, I hooked all my amps up together to simulate a full band’s sound.

It worked surprisingly well, and sounded gnarly, so we just went with it. It also eliminates “too many cooks in the kitchen”, so we were able to write songs very quickly. It’s been a fun and interesting challenge working within our band’s limitations.

Are there any other bands you know of that also don’t use guitars and have a similar style to yours? Were any of these bands an inspiration for CROSS DOG?

Bands like Death From Above and Royal Blood have been using similar set ups their whole careers, and have had mainstream success with it. We’re certainly not the first band with this setup, but the bands I just mentioned were never an influence for us musically. None of our actual influences are bands who omitted guitarists from their lineups.

Cross Dog by @mihaontour
Cross Dog by @mihaontour

Could you tell us more about your upcoming LP ‘All Hard Feelings’? What themes and messages are you exploring in this album?

Our lyrics on this record tackle subjects like reproductive rights, social justice, inequality, anxiety, depression, and existential dread. That all might seem bleak, but the overall vibe of the record is more of a call for people to unite than to simply feel outraged. Musically, it’s heavy as hell, but still fun to listen to. We hope it makes listeners raise their fists and bang their heads.

Do you have any gigs plans lined up for the next few months? Any specific places you’re excited to perform at?

We’re very excited to play our local album release party on June 7! It’s been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to play for our friends and family in Peterborough. Other than that, we have a few shows around Ontario over the summer, but we’ll be doing a proper western Canada tour in the fall. We’re stoked to play places we’ve never been before.

Tell us a bit about the punk rock scene in Peterborough. How’s the local scene doing, and are there any other bands we should keep an eye on?

Peterborough’s music scene is unique in that no two bands sound anything alike. It’s fun being on a bill in Peterborough because they’re always so eclectic.

Garbageface is one of the first local artists we ever shared a stage with, and he continues to work harder than any other musician we’ve ever met. He has an endless discography and even published a book to help other touring acts. He’s seriously an inspiration. His DIY work ethic makes us look lazy by comparison!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that we haven’t covered? Any upcoming projects or messages for your fans?

We just want to say THANK YOU to anyone who has been paying attention to us over the last 11 years. We’re just so grateful that you’re not sick of us yet.

Our new record is out June 7 on Stomp Records, and we promise it’s our best material to date. Thanks again! We appreciate y’all more than you will ever know!

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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