Growing up as a drummer and would-be rock musician in Rimbey could be a pretty lonely preoccupation, admitted John Lenherr.
“There were too many hockey players and not enough musicians,” said Lenherr, who eventually moved to Red Deer, then Ottawa to pursue his musical dreams.
His journey is now coming full-circle: Lenherr’s Ottawa-based band, Silvergun and Spleen, which won $20,000 radio station contest that paid for a new CD recording, is on a cross-Canada promotional tour that stops on Sept. 7 in the drummer’s hometown of Rimbey.
“It’s awesome to go home again,” said Lenherr, who’s looking forwards to the “reunion” of family and friends that’s sure to form when his “pelvic rock”/dance band performs at the Grand Hotel in Rimbey.
Silvergun and Spleen is throwing a CD release party for their Semi Truck album, which will be released on Sept. 11.
Lenherr’s group is made up of his beehive-sporting girlfriend, vocalist/guitarist Marie-Eve “Merv” Mallet, and her equally tall-haired sister Veronique “Vern” Mallet, who sings, plays the guitar and keyboards.
The Mallets are from New Brunswick, but met Lenherr after all three musicians were living in Red Deer.
The trio relocated to Ottawa about a decade ago, thinking they might study music at university, but ended up forming a band instead. Eventually they became a quartet with the addition of bassist Chris Page-Manson.
Forming Silvergun and Spleen in 2006 was inevitable, said Lenherr, since “being rock musicians was something we’d always dreamt about.”
The heavy-hitting band was getting regular gigs in the Ottawa area, and as far as Montreal and Toronto, before entering The Big Money Shot contest sponsored by radio station Live 88.5 FM.
As one of 64 groups in the running, “it was pretty intense,” said Lenherr, but his band members relied on their tight musicianship and aggressively upbeat sound to get noticed. “You don’t want to get cocky, but you have to have some confidence,” he added.
After winning the contest, the band hired producer Jon Drew, who has worked with Tokyo Police Club and Alexisonfire, to help record their Semi Truck album, as well as a professional publicist and promoter.
This seems to be paying off with an article about the band appearing in UMM (Urban Male Magazine), some 7,000 Twitter followers, and now the first Silvergun and Spleen single, Crack, picked up for regular rotation at the Live 88.5 FM station.
Despite his group’s distinctly urban sound, Lenherr believes some rural sensibilities are retained in the hard rock influences that lie beneath the synthesizers.
“I might live in Ottawa, but I’ll always have my rural roots.”
Tickets to the Rimbey Grand Hotel performance are $20 (which includes a copy of the soon-to-be-released CD) from the hotel or by visiting www.silvergunandspleen.com.