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Smokestack Jacks to become a trio

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Popular Lethbridge blues/ rock power duo Smokestack Jacks is about to become a power trio.Smokestack Jacks are adding a bassist. Photo by Richard Amery
 Smokestack Jacks, who won the Lethbridge College Students’ Association band Wars, Jan. 21 have welcomed aboard bassist Michael Kaye.
 Kaye will we making his official stage debut with Smokestack Jacks at the Tattoo Convention, April 23 opening for the Dayglo Abortions.
 But if the Smokestack Jacks choose to compete in the next edition of  Lethbridge College band Wars, March 1, He may make his debut early.

“We were pretty cocky going in, because we hadn’t heard of most of the other bands playing,” admitted Smokestack Jacks guitarist/vocalist Dave Bullied.
“Rather we thought we could win if we played a good show,” amended drummer Geoff McDonald.
“We felt  the other bands were really amazing, especially Caste of Shadows at the end, and Penny Fortune were really amazing and different too, so we were starting to sweat by 11:30 p.m., ” Bullied added, noting though they received an invite to compete again in March, they are undecided about it.

“We’d feel a little guilty about competing again,” he said.
“We wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for our fans. Battle of the Bands is a popularity contest, so  it was really  flattering to find out that we are that popular. We couldn’t have done it without our fans,” Bullied said.

The duo met in high school and went their separate ways, McDonald returned to Vancouver  where he played in numerous different musical projects, then returned to Lethbridge and joined Jeremy Floyd Cowper and the Messenger band on bass.
Bullied stayed around Lethbridge and played in several bands including Red Wine Smile and the Windy City Blues Band.
 When Red Wine Smile broke up, he reconnected with McDonald, who had since learned  to play drums.

“When Red Wine Smile broke up, I was going crazy not playing music, so I called Geoff and asked him ‘Do you still have your drum set,’” Bullied related adding they started playing as a duo in 2008, developed the image of white wife-beater shirts, hats and suspenders and the music.


“We felt very confident and said let’s make it one step better,” McDonald said.
“Dave (an artist) has a lot of costumes and we liked the look. And we sweat a lot on stage,” McDonald said.
“I’d play naked if it wouldn’t offend people,” laughed Bullied, who writes the guitar lines and vocals.

“I wear my influences on my sleeve. I’m not the greatest guitar player or singer, but I can do both, so I wanted to play to my strengths,” Bullied said.

“Rock and roll is simple. We want our music to be fun to watch and fun to listen to,” he said adding their songwriting has evolved since recording their self titled EP, then their full length self titled Cd with local record company, Ghostwood Records, so they decided to add a bassist.

“We always get people asking ‘why don’t you have a bassist?’ or saying ‘you need a bassist,’ but that’s not why we got one,” said McDonald adding the new music explores the band’s more classic rock roots.

“Michael is Mr. Bass God. He has an excellent résumé. He was  the touring bassist with Prism. We’re still going to go on the road as a duo. We’re not going to add him until it is 100 per cent. We have to develop the live show with him,” McDonald continued adding Smokestack Jacks have been auditioning bass players for the past couple of months and thought Michael was the best fit.
“There is a lot more interest in music that is different like a duo. We’re a duo and Penny Fortune is a duo. People are more receptive to different music,” McDonald observed.

“This is by  far the best band I’ve ever been it. And it’s great to be able to play my own music rather than somebody else's,” Bullied said adding they would like to tour, but that is a tough gig for original musicians.
“We’ll play weekends in Calgary, Edmonton, Kamloops, Saskatoon, Regina, anywhere within a seven hour drive,” Bullied said.
They plan on recording their new CD with their new bassist at Ghostwood Records’s Studio in  the next year for a release in 2012.

—  By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
A version of this story appears in the Feb. 2, 2010 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
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Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 February 2011 20:35 )  
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