Constantines performing at Concordia University, 2005
|Also known as||Horsey Craze|
|Origin||Guelph, Ontario, Canada|
|Labels||Three Gut, Arts & Crafts, Sub Pop|
|Associated acts||Baby Eagle, Woolly Leaves, The Weakerthans|
The band was formed by Steve Lambke, Bryan Webb, Doug MacGregor, and Dallas Wehrle in 1999, following the break-up of Webb and MacGregor's emotional hardcore band Shoulder (which Wehrle had joined before the break-up). Their style has been described as "art-punk", and they have been compared to bands like The Clash, Fugazi, Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements, and Nick Cave.
From their hometown of Guelph the band relocated to London, Ontario and then to Toronto, where in 2001 they released their self-titled first album. Constantines enjoyed widespread play on campus radio and was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. The first track, "Arizona", is based on the suicide of Danny Rapp, the lead singer of Danny and the Juniors of "At the Hop" fame. The song begins with the lyric "This is a song about the death of Danny Rapp. And that great gospel jest called rock 'n' roll."
In 2002 they added keyboard player Evan Gordon to the lineup and released the EP The Modern Sinner Nervous Man. Gordon left the band soon after to pursue his own song writing. He was replaced by Will Kidman, and the band released Shine a Light in 2003. This album was the band's first to be released outside of Canada on the Sub Pop record label.
In 2005, they embarked on a cross-Canada tour with The Weakerthans called The Rolling Tundra Revue. Later in the year their album Tournament of Hearts was released September 27 by Toronto record label Three Gut Records in Canada, and on October 11 by Sub Pop in the United States.
The members of the Constantines have occasionally played shows under the name Horsey Craze, covering Neil Young songs. In early 2006, they released a vinyl only split-album with The Unintended. The Constantines recorded four Neil Young covers for the LP, while The Unintended performed four Gordon Lightfoot songs.
In 2007, following the demise of their former Canadian record label Three Gut Records, the Constantines signed with Arts & Crafts. On January 15, 2008 they released a limited edition 7" on white vinyl, entitled Hard Feelings. Their fourth full-length album, Kensington Heights, was released on April 15 in Canada and April 29 in the US.