Chad Vangaalen to premiere new band at Electric Eye Music Festival


Calgary based Juno award nominated musician Chad Vangaalen has been staying close to home lately, taking care of his two daughters, but emerges from his cocoon of isolation for a visit to Lethbridge to open the Electric Eye Music Festival, May 7 at the German Canadian  Hall with former band mates Viet Cong and Fist City.

“ I’ve got to drive straight home to get my girls to school. I’m trying to be as little of a deadbeat as possible,” he chuckled over the phone from his home where he and his family are fighting a bout of 24 hour flu.
 He will be playing with multi-instrumentalist Ryan Bourne and drummer Chris Dadge.

Chad Van Gaalen opens the Electric Eye Music Festival, May 7. Photo by Richard Amery
“ This will be the first time we’ve played live together. So I’m very excited about that,” he said.
“ And the guys from Viet Cong may get up and play a few songs with me,” he said.
It  has been several years since Vangaalen played southern  Alberta.

“ I think the last time I played there was a festival too,” he said.

The Best Alternative album Juno nomination for his latest CD “ Shrink Dust” came as a surprise.
“It feels good when people care about it,” he said.

 Around the same time, his usual backing band Viet Cong started taking off, which lead to finding a new band.

“ I’m very happy for them. I hadn’t played with anyone else for about a decade. But they have this crazy touring schedule of like 100 dates a year. I didn’t want them to have to fly back to play with me,” he said adding he and Viet Cong’s Scott Munro played together even longer.

“ As soon as that album came out and everyone started talking about it, I knew,” he said adding losing Scott Munro was the biggest challenge of all when Viet Cong started becoming successful.

“Guitar has always been a challenge for me. Scott is familiar with the tuning I use. He would always be the one to tell me where I was screwing up. He’d always remind me ‘you’ve got to do this there,’” he said adding he is pleased to see his friends doing so well.

“It’s nice to see it. I’m more excited for them than anything,” he said.

 Van Gaalen doesn’t tour very often or play live much at all as he’d rather stay home taking care of his family, working on music and animation.
“I’d rather be at home than in a van,” he said.


“ It takes me a lot of preparation to play live,” he said.
 He is always experimenting with new instruments.
“ I got a pedal steel guitar, but it took a while before I got proficient enough to  record it or play it live. But it took everything in a new direction,” he continued adding his favourite instruments to use and play are reed instruments.

“ I like reed instruments. Often I’ll employ clarinet. It is a less abrasive than a saxophone,” he said.

 He is working on new music, but is not officially working on a new album.

“ I have enough songs for a song based project, so it seems a waste not to release them,” he said adding he will likely put one out in the Fall.
“ I’m getting back into improvisational music — creating a song on the spot and it exists just for the moment. I could haul a tape recorder around and record every show live. But I’m not I excited about that,“ he said adding his interests are leaning towards electronic music.

“I don’t want to alienate the fans I have,” he continued.

 He said he is also not interested in putting together a show combining his animation with his music.
“I like to keep those two separate,” he said.

“ I don’t know how I feel about something like that. I don’t have the time to design a show and synch up the video,” he continued.
 He is excited about  premiering the new band.
“ I am excited about that. We’ve never played together live before,” he said.
 Chad Van Gaalen, Viet Cong and Fist City play The German Canadian Club to open the Electric Eye Music Festival, May 7 at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 May 2015 09:57 )