Head of the Herd performs at the International Beer Haus and Stage in Red Deer on Saturday

Head of the Herd performs at the International Beer Haus and Stage in Red Deer on Saturday

Head of the Herd bring the blues

Head of the Herd’s Neu Mannas and Clayton Frank might never have met and formed their popular blues-rock band if their former girlfriends hadn’t been roommates.

Head of the Herd’s Neu Mannas and Clayton Frank might never have met and formed their popular blues-rock band if their former girlfriends hadn’t been roommates.

Both guys were attending the University of British Columbia — Mannas studying economics and Frank in commerce — when they began bonding over their shared love of sports and music.

“We started hanging out during a road trip to Boise, Idaho, where we were going to watch college football,” recalled Frank, who performs with Head of the Herd on Saturday, May 3, at the International Beer Haus and Stage in Red Deer.

The 28-hour round trip was made more bearable by listening to music they liked in the car. And Mannas and Frank were blown away by their common taste in blues-flavoured rock ’n’ roll.

They decided to start playing their guitars together as soon as they got back to Vancouver. And that’s basically how Head of the Herd, which generated No. 1 hit By This Time Tomorrow and the singles Ain’t My Day and We Could Be Together, came into being.

Their musical partnership has now survived longer than Mannas and Frank’s romantic entanglements (listen to the songs on the first album to discover what went down with the former girlfriends, said Frank). In 2011, the two musicians were urged by a friend to enter their five-piece band into a Fox Radio talent contest — and despite only playing together publicly four times previously, Head of the Herd ended up winning the Seeds prize. Former winners included Nickelback, Bif Naked and Matthew Good.

The mentoring opportunities this presented are still causing positive ripple effects. Frank said that’s how he and Mannas met the illustrious Gggarth Richardson, who helped produce Head of the Herd’s By This Time Tomorrow album, along with Rick Jackett and James Black from the band Finger Eleven.

The title track from that 2013 CD didn’t just gain legs on radio — it’s also been used as a soundtrack for NHL playoffs. Some of the group’s other songs leapt off the airwaves to be featured in videos for Rip Curl, GT Bikes and Red Bull (Knock Me Down), and a show on Billabong’s Sony TV channel (Erinyes). Frank doesn’t think allowing commercial uses for his Vancouver band’s music should be considered “selling out” as much as opening up different listening opportunities for audiences.

“As long as we’re open and honest in our music, what does it matter?”

The 30-year-old Comox, B.C., native believes he and Mannas, a 26-year-old Calgarian, are about as real about conveying raw emotions as any songwriters can be.

“Some of our lyrics are about stomach-turning moments,” Frank said, pointing to the “Don’t you leave me” chorus in By This Time Tomorrow, which he feels will be recognized as gut-wrenching by anyone who’s ever tried to staunch a bleeding relationship.

That you already know, on a subconscious level, that an affair is over by the time you have to plead with someone to stay “is what makes saying (those words) so hard,” he added.

Frank similarly used real-life disappointment to write Knock Me Down. He recalls being so sick of writing sad songs after a relationship breakup that he turned his hurt into something else.

“It became a positive song, saying if you knock me down, I’ll be all right. I’ll always fight.”

Another tune, the darkly lyrical Erinyes, is about an experience so personal to both songwriters that they don’t like talking about it.

Like The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and The Sheepdogs, Head of the Herd is among a handful of groups that have found success playing in the classic blues-rock tradition of bands like The Rolling Stones.

While the genre’s popularity is eclipsed by pop at the moment, Frank believes it will always survive in some permutation since “everything goes in cycles.”

He’s thankful to radio stations, such as Red Deer’s The Drive, for keeping this music alive on the airwaves. Head of the Herd is so popular, locally, that the group’s last Red Deer appearance sold out, along with shows in Toronto, Vancouver, Oshawa and Kingston.

“People really seem to respond well to us there. Playing in Red Deer was a highlight of our last tour and I hope people come out in strength again,” said Frank.

Tickets to the band’s 7:30 show with Diesel May are $17.50 from Ticketfly.com. For more information, call 403-986-5008.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Shanna Lydiard is upset to have had mail delivery cut off last month to her West Park street because of water main reconstruction. Delivery is to resume by May 19 at the latest, according to the City of Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Red Deer woman frustrated by mail delivery suspension due to construction

Shanna Lydiard said residents shouldn’t have to drive across the city for their mail

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen received his COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Jackson’s Pharmacy in Innisfail. (Devin Creeshen Twitter photo)
COVID-19: Most local MLAs have received their first vaccine shot

Alberta’s NDP is encouraging all MLAs to get vaccinated and publicly promote… Continue reading

Alberta continues to wrestle with high COVID-19 case numbers. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer up to 858 active cases of COVID-19

Province reports additional 1,799 cases of the virus

Bo's Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening.
(Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

The Bowden Institution medium security facility near Bowden has 15 active COVID-19 cases. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
15 active COVID-19 cases at Bowden prison

Bowden Institution has had 36 positive cases this year with 21 recovered and no deaths

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Ottawa Senators centre Josh Norris, right, celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with left wing Brady Tkachuk Wednesday May 12, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Norris scored winner, Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in Andersen’s return from injury

Norris scored winner, Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in Andersen’s return from injury

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the trophy after beating Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, in the final at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, in Montreal on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Philadelphia Flyers' Travis Sanheim (6) and Brian Elliott (37) celebrate with teammates after the Flyers won an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Puck luck? Hockey’s secrecy makes betting on NHL a gamble

Puck luck? Hockey’s secrecy makes betting on NHL a gamble

FILE - John Davidson, left, president of the New York Rangers, and Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton pose at a news conference in New York, in this Wednesday, May 22, 2019, file photo. The New York Rangers abruptly fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 with three games left in the season. Chris Drury was named president and GM. He previously served as associate GM under Davidson and Gorton. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
New York Rangers fire coach Dave Quinn, 3 assistants

New York Rangers fire coach Dave Quinn, 3 assistants

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, returns a shot from Ilya Ivashka, of Belarus, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Wilfredo Lee
Canadian Denis Shapovalov books meeting with Nadal in third round of Italian Open

Canadian Denis Shapovalov books meeting with Nadal in third round of Italian Open

United States goalie Alex Cavallini (33) deflects Canada's Marie Philip Poulin (29) shot during the first period in the women's 3-on-3 game, part of the NHL hockey All-Star weekend, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in St. Louis. Hockey Canada's roster of players invited to try out for the 2022 Olympic women's hockey team indicates the squad will be experienced up front and less so on the back end. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Roberson
Hockey Canada announces players invited to try out for women’s Olympic team

Hockey Canada announces players invited to try out for women’s Olympic team

Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Hernández 2 HRs as Ryu, Blue Jays improve to 5-0 vs Braves

Hernández 2 HRs as Ryu, Blue Jays improve to 5-0 vs Braves

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save as Maple Leafs defenceman TJ Brodie (78) and Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) look for the rebound during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Leafs and the Canadiens will meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years when the 2020-21 NHL post-season gets underway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Leafs, Habs will face off in long-awaited playoff rematch, Oilers will face Jets

Leafs, Habs will face off in long-awaited playoff rematch, Oilers will face Jets

Most Read