Gambit pays off with a hit
Frustrated with the lack of radio interest in One Bad Son’s third album, the enterprising band decided to show up at various rock stations in Western Canada to play their song Scarecrows in person.
Sometimes that meant driving 20 hours to play a four-minute tune on air, recalled the group’s drummer Kurt Dahl. “But it paid off.”
The Vancouver-based group that performs with Crash Karma on Friday, Oct. 4, at The Vat in Red Deer, reaped big radio success with Scarecrows, which went to No. 5 on the charts.
“Finally we began being treated like we were a real deal band,” said Dahl.
He cautioned, however, that One Bad Son already had two albums under its belt before trying this gambit to promote the group’s self-titled release.
“Radio doesn’t want random guys showing up to play at their stations. We had been dealing with these people for the past eight years, so we had some respect and they knew us by name.”
The extra effort helped the musicians, originally from Saskatoon, get their music broadcast across the country by radio stations that are generally partial to playing classic rock hits from the 1960s to the ’90s.
“I’m a big fan of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam,” said Dahl, who understands why this timeless music will never die. At the same time, he knows it can be a struggle for newer groups to try to pull some air time away from legendary bands.
“Right now Stairway to Heaven is more competition for us than anything the Sheep Dogs might release,” said Dahl, who believes new artists have to respond by “making exceptional music. ...
“You have to keep pushing yourself and asking: are you really making the kind of music you want to be making?” It’s easy to sound just like your last album, he added, “but then you are just repeating yourself.
“It’s harder to push away from that and try something new — because it may suck. But real art is all about doing something unique,” he added.
Dahl, who graduated from law school before joining the band, mixes both worlds by being a music industry lawyer when he isn’t playing with One Bad Son.
In October, his focus will be exclusively on the group — also consisting of vocalist Shane Volk, guitarist Adam Hicks, and bassist Adam Grant (Granny) — during an exhaustive tour from Peterborough, Ont., to Vancouver.
After it wraps, Dahl said his bandmates will begin working on their next album.
While the last release spawned the singles Scarecrow, It Ain’t Right and the latest, Retribution Blues, Dahl said “with the next album, we’re going to push ourselves to make the greatest album we’ve ever made.”
Tickets for the 9 p.m. show (doors open at 8 p.m.) are $20 in advance from The Vat or 53rd Street Music, or $25 at the door. For more information, call 403-346-5636.