ALBERTA BOUND AND BACK AGAIN: July 21-27

Well.  Malcolm Maclean called me and said ‘I want you to come to Alberta and play my wedding.’  I asked what the date was and he said July 30th and I was sad to report that was impossible as it was Artswells.  So he called me back after calving a few cows and said they changed the wedding date and now I had to come…so I said HELL YEAH!!  Now I’m heading over the mountains and gonna play a bunch of shows…tell your friends to be there!!

 

July21: DV8 Tavern, Edmonton AB

July22: TBD by the groom, Bonnyville AB

July23: Malcolm Maclean/Jeny Soucy Wedding, Bonnyville AB

July25: Sideliners Pub, hosting open stage, Edmonton AB

July27: Pinecone Opry with Boots and Give Em Hellboys, Red Deer AB

July29-Aug1: ARTSWELLS FESTIVAL, Wells BC


NO MORE TROUBLE IN THE PEACE: Online Release July 29

No Trouble In The Peace Album Cover low qANNOUNCING ONLINE RELEASE ON CD BABY and BANDCAMP: July 29th!!

Doing this to try and raise more capital for the project.  You can also donate at our GoFundMe page.

Also coming soon: official music video for NO MORE TROUBLE IN THE PEACE.  In editting and production right now, hopefully ready by July 29th as well.

Also coming up…official album launch…NO TROUBLE TOUR DATES including October 1st at the Prince George Legion, October 9th at Vancouver’s WISE Hall and October 15th at the Occidental in Quesnel!

Join us on facebook!!

46

“NO TROUBLE IN THE PEACE” – Album

ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Canadiana  outlaw country virtuoso and folk singer Joey Only and his band of Outlaws are hot out of the gates and ready to share their latest recordings. Fresh back from the Transgression Trail, Joey Only has a brand new full lenth LP, “No More Trouble in the Peace”. This album is about trouble and redemption with explicitly Canadian content.  The songs you will hear on this album speak about the restlessness of the heart, finding family, lost loved ones and overcoming unimagineable struggles.  Anyone who has heard the demo cuts already agrees, this record will be the best product Joey Only has ever created.

ABOUT THE ALBUM
The title track ‘No More Trouble in the Peace’ is a joke song about the oil and gas companies trying to take over my friends ranch up in the Peace District here in British Columbia.

‘Beer League’ is a hockey song telling the story of the Big Dog Plumbing Team down in Nanton Alberta.  The last team unfortunate enough to have Joey Only staking down the wing.

‘North of Number Seven’ waltzes eloquently about the loss of the old rural ways.  It’s a lament about how things just never stay the same.

‘Walker Rock’ encourages survivalists to hit the bush when the shit hits the fan.  Live in the shadows, think like an animal…you will do what it takes in those life or death days.

‘Noble Cause of the Cowboy Soldier’ is mostly based on the true story of a fallen friend and his family.  The Alberta born young man went to Afghanistan and didn’t last a month there, the family didn’t want him to go but he believed he was doing the right thing.

‘Tempest Wind’ is the true story of our friend Tempest Grace Gales murder on Hornby Island BC, November 16th 2009.

I become widely known as a Stompin Tom Connors impersonator.  So I rewrote the words to Tom’s tune ‘the Don Messer Story’ and relabled it ‘the Stompin Tom Story’ and now open my Stompin Tom Tribute shows with this number.

‘Cold Wooden Box’ is an epic waltzing ballad that reminds us to not take life for granted because it is so short.  The only success I hope for is to have my songs remembered when I am gone.


JULY: Shows in Alberta and BC..Album Printing Underway and more

MapleRidgeJuly2016Firstly…the album has gone to print!!  NO MORE TROUBLE IN THE PEACE is weeks away from being back in our hands.  Official release is going to start in September/October with shows already booked for PG, Vancouver and Quesnel .  It was a project we started in March 2015 and have patiently, meticulously and laboriously combed over every detail of the production so as to make it as close to as what we view as perfect as possible!

Advanced copies should be available by the time Artswells rolls around.  We will also be doing an online release in the near future to try and raise some more capital, look for the announcement very soon as to the date for that.  Also, we are still accepting donations for thisRickshawPosterJuly2016 project.  I am going into debt for duplication but am still hoping to pay our publicist from our gofundme campaign, as it is what we have left in the bank is probably less than half of what she’ll need.  This whole project is for nothing without her publicity!!

 

SHOWS!!  Yes, coming down to the Lower Mainland this weekend.  Friday night we’re at the Haney House in Maple Ridge and Saturday we are at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver (with Devil in the Woodshack, Space Chimp and Cornshed).  The show promises to be fabulous!!  From there I have a couple weeks off before I head over to Edmonton to play PineconeOpryDV8 on July 21 and then to Bonnyville AB for Malcolm Macleans cowboy wedding to Jenny Soucy.  The next week I will make an appearance at the Pinecone Opry in Red Deer Alberta (July 27 with Boots and the Hoots and the Give Em Hell Boys).

Artswells Festival starts here right after that which will kick off my busiest part of the summer schedule…the next number of weeks after that have me busy at Camballah, Robson Valley Festival and Music on the Mountain!

I am very much looking forward to all that’s coming up!  Will keep this short for today…No Trouble In The Peace Album Cover low q


Outlaw Band June Newsletter

We just played our first gig in seven months as a band.  If you recall bassist Ed Hanrahan had double knee surgery and has been on the disabled list since last year.  But we got to Sweetwater 905 Festival outside Rolla BC and hit the stage at midnight firing wildly in all directions.  Ed was so happy to be back.  We were so happy to have him back.  We were so happy to be back.  The crowd exploded with joy and so did we.  So we’re back!!  RickshawPosterJuly2016

That same weekend we also recorded 3.5 hours of footage for a 3.5 minute long music video that’s in production.  No More Trouble In the Peace will be the first official music video of this album – and with any luck it’ll be public midsummer.  Josh Trotter Wanner did the filming with us in locations such as the Sweetwater Festival, the Rolla Pub, the Peace River and more.

The album No More Trouble in the Peace is now mastered and the artwork layout has begun.  The album will be released in mid-September and we are currently booking the release shows which I ambitiously hope will take place in many towns across the BC.  More on that later.

We are still raising money for the record and desperately need support…all the money we raised so far has already been spent on production.  Please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/joeyonlyoutlawbandand give us your childrens college fund.  In return we’ll say a healing prayer for you or something

Upcoming shows!!  You can find us at the Haney in Maple Ridge on MapleRidgeJuly2016July 8th and the next night (July 9)  in Vancouver at the Rickshaw Theatre with a slew of great bands such as Devil in the Woodshack.  It’ll be a legendary show, all the bands involved are noteworthy!

There’s a rumour we’ll be opening for a famous Canadian classic rock band in July as well but no confirmation on that yet.

Then I’ll be in Bonnyville Alberta on July 23rd for Malcolm Maclean and Jeny Soucy’s wedding with Edmonton’s best outlaw band the Give Em Hellboys.  The rodeo is in town there that weekend so I’ll be playing a show there as well as another in Red Deer (which will be announced in two weeks time).

The end of July brings Artswells which I will play at for the 11th consecutive time.  I have now played more Artswells Festivals than any other singer songwriter. The line-up looks great again this year.

The next weekend I attend once again an annual private party called Camballah  before we get to Robson Valley Music Fest the next weekend on August 13th.  August 20th we’ll be at Music On the Mountain in Fort St.James opening up for the legendary punk band DOA.  My summer season always ends with Barkerville Cowboy Festival on September 10th.

From that point forward we start our CD release shows…details on that will come out next month!  Already I can tell you we’ll be at the WISE Hall in Vancouver on October 9th!!  This is gonna be a fun summer…but I’m already looking forward to the fall and our album launch.


PLUCKING GROCERIES FROM THE FRESHWATER

When I go fishing I’m usually not in it for sport, I intend to eat something.  Even if you play by the rules there’s an opportunity to eat for cheap and make a dent in your grocery bill.

HUNTING FOR FISH
The best advice I can offer you is talk to the people in your community

12lb pike, caught with a worm and bobber while standing in some rapids outside Actinolite Ontario...good memory, good eating.

12lb pike, caught with a worm and bobber while standing in some rapids outside Actinolite Ontario…good memory, good eating.

who know the place better than you.  Go and do what they tell you.  Use common sense, don’t be greedy and don’t fish out the stock.  Know what the rules and penalties are where you are going.  Don’t leave home and not have gear.

Use live bait when you can.  When I was fourteen I landed a 12lb pike with a worm and bobber.  I’ve caught fish with corn, cheese balls, frogs, dead mice, minnows, leeches, crayfish, grasshoppers, fish eyes, roe, chunks of bacon, dragonflies, moths, grubs, newts and every kind of lure.  If I told you I used a kitten for musky I was kidding.  A combination of lure and live bait can work best but not all places allow for live bait fishing.

First fish of 2016, a keeper.

First rainbow of 2016, a keeper.

I use a lot of different techniques in a year.  It’s a game of percentages.  In the right moment the same trick may work for any kind of fish.  Learn the tendencies of different fish.  Talk to locals, watch fishing shows, experiment, observe and try different things.  Taking account of the body of water, its currents, time of year, time of day, weather, type of bait/lure, types of fish present and whether your technique is working will all greatly effect your odds.

Where legal to do so salt the water with something greasy like a piece of salmon roe.  When the oil spreads it sometimes turns a quiet hole into a predator hot spot.  I put smells on my hands so that my stinky, greasy, cigarette, liqour smells don’t taint my line and lure.  Touch your catches so your hands and lures stink like fish.  This is important in murky water.

Retrieving a snagged lure on a day I left the hip waders at home.

Retrieving a snagged lure on a day I left the hip waders at home.

I’ve done a lot of fishing from shore.  I use hip waders and often throw down the rivers current.  Getting your lure to play properly in the current is key, sometimes this is impossible standing on shore.  I look for deep pockets in the water, drop offs, places where currents converge and hiding places.  Learn to work your lures in different ways.  Figure out where the hunters hide and get their attention.  The hip waders are also handy in lakes where deep water is further from shore and often allow me to safely retrieve snagged lures.  If I’m fishing far out in them I bring a net.

Always hold the biggest fish out in front, unlike here in this 1983 pic where my relative holds the small fish and the 8lb sheepshead is behind my head.

Always hold the biggest fish out in front, unlike here in this 1983 pic where my relative holds the small fish and the 8lb sheepshead is behind my head.

I find weights on my line are helpful for getting a good cast off but in shallow water they can lead to snags.  Quality 8-12lb test fishing line is worth the extra money; it’s thinner, stronger, casts further, tangles less and you lose fewer lures.  Always bite off bent, twisted and compromised line and start fresh.  Sometimes I find it handy to go to some shithole, like Walmart, and get those 5 packs of red devils/spoons for $5.  I don’t want to throw away my best lures in rough or shallow water.

Cheap telescopic rods break easily but you can clip them on your pack with a caribeaner and go anywhere in the bush.  Go to yard sales and buy everything that is cheap.  I have eight different rods kicking around I don’t care about for other people.  Canoes are easier to fish in than cayaks.  Get a second hand motorboat if you can.  9 horse motors are cheap at Crappy Tire and good for trolling.  Ice fish if it’s winter.

Even if all you get is a real small fish...make sure you never let your father-in-law forget the day you caught more than him.

Even if all you get is a real small fish…make sure you never let your father-in-law forget the day you caught more than him.

When a fish grabs your line jerk the rod and set the hook deep in its mouth.  Keep tension on the line.  Set your drag so that if the fish pulls a bit of your line comes out and decrease your chance of breaking it.  Be strong if they are going into obstacles, stay with them but try to keep them deep as long as you can so they jump less.  If they jump let off so you don’t pull the hook out of their mouth.  Let them run if they want but keep tension so the hook stays set.  Let them tire out.  Being impatient and trying to get the fish in too quickly may result in losing them within your reach when they flail.  Use a net.

A lot of people like to drink beer when they fish, fishing with a bobber

Rainbow trout.

Rainbow trout.

works well for this.  I’m an active fishermen and I never seem to be able to take my hands off the rod long enough to drink.  That’s why I suggest either hard liquor or pre-rolled joints that can just hang out of your mouth while you fish.  Instead of trying to pass one joint around sure everyone has their own.  Don’t let your hands get too stinky.  If you get caught drinking and boating you’ll have a bad day.  Make sure your boat isn’t helping an invasive species of plant or animal move to a new habitat.  Be a safe boater.

COOKING AND STORAGE
Why not cook it in the pan with some butter over a shoreline fire.  I often cook them whole then pull the spine out.  Fillet bigger fish.  A

Just another 2lb large mouth.  Photo outside Parry Sound 1992.

Just another 2lb large mouth. Photo outside Parry Sound 1992.

large pike can be filleted so you don’t get many bones.  Make sure your fillet knife is sharp.  I’ve bought a lot of cheap fillet knives over the years.  Make a kick ass soup out of the filleted spine.

I think baked fish is best served medium-rare to medium and cooked at 300-325 degrees.  Butter, salt, pepper and lemon are a must.  Stuff it with onions and garlic.  Make your own tartar out of mayo, relish and lemon juice.  If you have fillets or salmon steaks dip them in egg then roll them in flour loaded with garlic salt and pepper.  Throw them in the deep fryer or a well oiled cast iron pan.  Salmon heads make excellent soup.  Eating the brain seems bizarre but that’s what a fat craving grizzly bear would want.  The cheeks and eyes are rich.  Not all fish are fatty enough to sustain you.  By making use of the head and bones you can score more precious fatty acids.

Smoked trout a'la'Joey

Smoked trout a’la’Joey

I love my smoker.  The Little Chief smoker works well.  I have a big wooden box with a door and a hole at the top, there’s oven racks inside and a hot plate.  I put a pan on the burner with various bits of wood in it.  Sometimes I buy premix packs and sometimes I use Cottonwood or whatever is handy.  See what trees in your region are used by the locals.

The brine is important, don’t skip on the brown sugar or maple syrup.  You can half smoke your fish for a couple hours or leave it for a day or two so it dries.  You can use your smoke house like a big dehydrator, add heat but no smoke.  You can freeze your smoked fish.  You can freeze all of your fish.  Canning and pickling fish works but it’s not really for me.  Canning, smokehouse and brine recipes are online.

Chowder made from smoked fish.....mmmmmmm.....

Chowder made from smoked fish…..mmmmmmm…..

Lastly always keep a spool of fishing line and some hooks in your truck or survival kit.  Becoming a ruthless fish killer takes time.  If you’re hungry you’ll either learn quick or be glad you learned before.  You will need to do more than just read articles.  You’ll have to learn to tie your own hooks and put your own worms on them.  Good luck!

Sockeye salmon

Sockeye salmon


MARCH: band news, tour news etc.

FB Banner.Final

 

 

 

BOOTS AND THE HOOTS TOUR COMES THROUGH THE CARIBOO: April 4th at the Jack of Clubs Pub in Wells BC and April 5th at the Occidental in Quesnel.  I’ll be opening for these shows.  We met Boots and his Hoots in Red Deer Alberta last year.  They play an old-timey kinda pro-cannabis country music and dress like the Grand Old Opry.

SOUTHERN SPRING SWING APRIL 22-30: I’ll be heading down south in April to play Penticton’s Gallery 557 on their artistic Pecha Kucha night on April 22.  The Byng Roadhouse in Cranbrook on April 23.  The Grateful Fed in Kelowna on April 27.  I’ll be performing my Stompin Tom Tribute on April 28th at the Royal on Baker in Nelson BC.  House show with Dave Soroka in Grand Forks on April 29th.  Gallery Vertigo in Vernon with Dave Soroka on April 30th.

SUMMER FESTIVAL CIRCUIT: We just agreed to play Sweetwater 905 on June 11th in Rolla BC.  After that we have a lull till I play solo at Hootstock Festival at the end of July.  Other notable festival appearances will be Artswells, Robson Valley Music Festival and Music On the Mountain where we get to open up for the legendary punk band DOA!!  As always I’ll be doing Barkerville’s Cowboy and Drover Festival in September.

NO TROUBLE IN THE PEACE -ALBUM UPDATE: Six out of nine songs are done and ready for mastering for our new record No Trouble In The Peace.  Advance copies will be ready in time for festival season and our official release and promotional push will commence when the summer ends.  The songs sound better than I ever dreamt they would, I just know this record is gonna turn some heads.  We’re still trying to raise money to pay for the whole project, especially to pay for our publicist and her operating costs.  If you wish to donate please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/joeyonlyoutlawband

10TH YEAR OF THE BAND: On March 3rd the Outlaw Band didn’t celebrate our 10th anniversary, but it happened anyway.  To celebrate I released my movie NO GLAMROCK COUNTRY STAR on youtube.  That’s episode 1 above us which takes place in Kelowna.  The movie is made up of 15 scenes from my 2005 tour.  I think I sold 300 of the DVD’s in 10 years so I decided to make it free and have it be seen, some of it is pretty good.  You can see all 15 parts here:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfV_OphtphlCVYuBKPZTtezFMfDXUHru7

ANOTHER NEW VIDEO: I played a gig in Fort St.James earlier this month and we made a movie while we were up there.  It’s the song

Stupid Fuckin Things I Done by Andrew Neville.  I been playing it for years and have no intention of recording it, so I thought I’d just make a cool youtube movie with our friends from Music On The Mountain Fest.  It’s pretty funny…enjoy.

Lets see, what else.

SHOWS OVER THE LAST MONTH: There’s been a few.  Two of them were here for groups of sledders.  At the second one we befriended a wonderful woman named Laura Storoschuck who was killed just the next day which also happened to be Valentines Day.  Michael Mourneau and I also played at her funeral two weeks later in Williams Lake.  We made a few friends out of all the sadness but that was a strange time indeed.  Mike and I also did two gigs at Troll Ski Resort while I played a solo show up in Fort St.James in the middle of March.

Anyway, I think that’s all for today…cheers…joe


Original Six Outlaws…#2: Rick McCallion on Bass

March 3rd 2016 will mark 10 years since the first Outlaw Band pilot show at Spartacus Books in Vancouver BC.  Today’s blog is about how Rick came to be our bassist for the first 2.5 years.

 

MEETING RICHMOND RICK

For a couple years Rick was the most dedicated and most important member of the band.  We generally rehearsed at his place, he updated web pages, made sure other members had cheat sheets and owned the fleet of Dodge Caravans that we ran into the ground.  Like everyone else involved it seems to me a real coincidence I got to know Rick so well while its an unlikelyhood that he would have become a bass player in our band.  After all, he wasn’t even a musician when I first met him.

It was during a long rainy spell in February 2003 that I ended up down

Rowan and Rick in Fernie BC, November 2007. This was the last show we did that year, they went to Vancouver and Leah and I moved to Nanton Alberta for six months.

Rowan and Rick in Fernie BC, November 2007.

in Richmond BC to see about this house sitting gig.  I had only been in Vancouver a few months at this point but had already been through a lot settling into life on the coast.  I had been a homeless squatter with pnuemonia, a member of the legendary Woodwards occupation and had basically couched surfed/house sat through three different places afterward.  By this point I was actually sleeping on a bed made of my own clothes in a heatless appartment my friend had which was only made more bearable by my -20 rated down sleeping bag.

I had no idea what I was going to do with myself, or where I was going to go in life so depression was quickly taking over my thoughts.  The weather was so dreary and the dampness seemed colder than I ever could have imagined.  My health wasn’t well and I barely had a dollar to my name.  I had dreams that I felt I was impossibly far away from.  I was still organizing with the Anti-Poverty Committee in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside but I found myself missing the Tenant Action Group comrades back in Belleville Ontario.  I didn’t feel like I had any friends on the coast and in some ways I can say those feelings were justified.

However there were people who I seemed to have affinity with.  One of them was this sorta strange and gentle character I can only describe as a modern day monk.  His name was Sean and he sported a bald head and a long beard.  He was then and still is a perceptive character with very convincing ideas about the nature of government.  I met Sean at Woodsquat and then other left wing events I happened to be at in the city, he was keen to get involved with things as he could.

One way or another Sean knew I had nowhere to go, and was suffering for it, so he told me he might be able to help.  His housemate Rick was going to go to Gautemala for a project that involved computers, coffee and chocolate so the house would have no one in it for several months.  Sean didn’t actually live in the house as he and another fella named Bob lived in vans parked around the property.

I went out and met Rick one night and we instantly got along.  Without

Zippy on cello, Rick on bass. Robson Valley Music Festival August 2008, our last show together as the original lineup.

Zippy on cello, Rick on bass. Robson Valley Music Festival August 2008, our last show together as the original lineup.

further adieu I was able to stay at Rick’s through most of the spring of 2003.  The property was on the edge of a forested section outside of Richmond directly under the flight path of the big jets coming into YVR which would often rattle the windows on their way overhead.

The living room was great for songwriting and I made good use of it those months I was there.  I’m not sure how many songs I wrote there, or which ones, but I do recall making some progress on my fledgling act.  Rick also had an amazing collection of original 1970’s psychadelic rock albums which I spent a lot of time listening to and learning about.  At one point I made sure to record all my favorite records he had on to cassette tapes for further study, in some ways these bands are still a big influence on me.  Knowing what kind of music Rick was into as well played a role in the Outlaws becoming a band that pushed our shows to a psychadelic level.  All this seems fitting seeing as Rick’s living room would become the place where the band became the band just three years later.

Once Rick came back from South America I moved into a Strathcona single room occupancy place called the Bad Manors – which is famous for how many down and out or upcoming musicians had lived there.  My stay there was but a few months before moving around to a number of other places and going through a few years of relative stability in Vancouver.  Besides all that moving around I did Rick and I still kept in touch.

 

TREE SITS AND WILDERNESS TRIPS

Rick is a genuine environmentalist which is something we held in common.  We had a number of adventures together in the years leading up to the formation of the band.  One July weekend we went up to the Elaho Valley, camped out and hiked around while Rick recounted many of the stories from the big forest protests he had been a part of there.  We ended that weekend by roping up and scaling down a cliff to get my cat Buddy who had decided to sleep on a ledge below our picnic site that seemed to have enough sunlight for him.  That’s right, my cat came camping.

On another occasion in August 2003 we drove out to the Anderson River somewhere outside of Boston Bar and took bicycles over to where Cattermole Timber Company planned to cut an old growth forest stand known to have spotted owls in it.  We biked more than 20km to get to the lookout and biked back spending a great deal of the return trip flying down steep switchbacks and never having to pedal.  For all our efforts we found his car to be sabotaged when we got back to it making our journey back to the city interesting to say the least.

Later in 2003 word got around that Cattermole Timber out of Chilliwack had been granted permission to log an old growth stand on Elk Mountain just outside of Chilliwack.  The next few months became very interesting as we got involved in the only forest action I was ever part of.  First we made friends with native allies from Cheam First Nation such as June and Fred Quipp and later became active in the protest camp itself as supporters.  We brought up provisions and often would go out just to visit, play songs and raise morale.

The cover of an informational zine I made for the Elk Creek Tree Sit.

The cover of an informational zine I made for the Elk Creek Tree Sit. (2003)

One day late in December Rick and I roped up and climbed to the platform at the top of a very large tree.  Swaying around in this giant tree was an amazing experience leaving me feeling so alive afterward.  However that very next day loggers wisely used a distraction tactic to make the activists think they were going to take a new road in, when the activists went there to intercept some other fallers came in and ended the tree sit camp once and for all.  They fell the very tree were in the day before.

As a last ditch effort to stop the logging operation one of the youth at the camp anonymously claimed the trees were spiked.  Although it was never proven to be true, and I have no knowledge that they actually did do this, it didn’t stop Joe Foy and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee from offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the tree spikers.  I never forgave Joe Foy for this personally, most of the kids at the camp were barely over 20.  Another spotted owl habitat was destroyed as was my remaining faith in liberal environmentalist movements.

So as the next two years passed Rick and I stayed buddies, one whom I knew I could trust.  Everything I had seen and experienced at the Elk Creek forest defence camp was because I was there with Rick.

 

RICK JOINS THE BAND

This brings me to February 2006, that month leading up to the formation of the band.  I had returned from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, fresh from my experience of having a real band playing behind me and decided I was going to build my own once and for all.  I’m not entirely sure how it all came about but somehow or another Rick and I got to jamming at his place semi-regularly.  Our friend Luka also joined us frequently and we were starting to visualize the possibilities of a band.

Zippy, Kenan, Rowan and Rick behind the Royal Hotel in Fernie BC...February 2007

Zippy, Kenan, Rowan and Rick behind the Royal Hotel in Fernie BC…February 2007

I had set up the Outlaw Band pilot show at Spartacus Books which would happen on March 3rd.  I already had the services of a professional double bass player handy to me in the name of James Forrest.  When it came time to do the gig I did one set with Rick and two with James backing me up.  Rick had only just started to play bass and quite limited with what he could do, being new to music he especially struggled with song structure which he compensated for by having detailed cheat sheets.

However it was pretty obvious after this first show that James Forrest is the kind of bass player every aspiring country-folk singer would want to have behind him.  I also knew that bass players like him in Vancouver aren’t all that loyal to one particular band, they are hired ringers and if the gig pays well they will be there.  Of course our Spartacus gig paid squat but James was keen to make a try-out of it.  Of course having to commit to a bass player who is a professional and is busy with a number of other acts would make touring as a unit nearly impossible.

Knowing that Rick was going to be more willing I quickly started to think that maybe he was the way to go.  Up to that point I don’t think Rick expected that he had the chops to keep up with the project but I knew something about the electric bass guitar.  When I was a 15 and got my first bass Mike Rose and I immediately started working towards starting a punk band, in six months I went from having no skill on the instrument to being pretty good on the thing.  Maybe Rick wasn’t all that great in March 2006 but I correctly assumed he would be a lot better by the time March 2007 rolled around.

Rick at Book and Company in Prince George for the Artswells Fundraiser. June 2007.

Rick at Book and Company in Prince George for the Artswells Fundraiser. June 2007.

He made some immense improvements over the next year becoming a reliable ‘hold the fort’ bass player.  Picking a player who would be dedicated to the concept of a band…a family…a crew…was one of those smart things I did.  I wanted a democratic band of willing participants invested in our success, not hired musicians that you couldn’t rely on from week to week.

Not only did having our own bass player allow us to tour western Canada but I’m not sure we ever could have done so much of that without Rick’s driving efforts.  He also had a handy hippy living on his property named Bob who could fix just about anything wrong with our tour vans.  Rick really brought a lot to the table and is one of the biggest reasons the Outlaws had our first string of successes.

Rick waterproofs the leaky trailer that Todd Serious/Rebel Spell gave us.

Rick waterproofs the leaky trailer that Todd Serious/Rebel Spell gave us.

So in the weeks after the very first Outlaw pilot show I knew that I would somehow try to work with Rick while I had this amazing cello player named Zippy Zaenker who I also knew without a doubt I was going to work with.  I wasn’t sure how to mesh the two sounds together of a bass and a cello.  At this point I figured I was actually building two seperate bands and would figure out how to reconcile this problem later.  What I was doing with Zippy was essentially a continuation of the folk-punk act I had been doing the last few years…whereas what I wanted to do with Rick more represented the direction I wanted to take my music.

I wanted to be a real deal outlaw country singer.

If anyone has ever heard the Joey Only Outlaw Band EP (2006) they will understand what I mean by having two distinct sounds…part of that recording is the trio of Rowan Lipkovits, Zippy and I…while part of it is an example of what the Outlaw Band was going to try to do.  Often I would play one gig with one lineup and another gig with the other lineup depending on what made more sense for the room…and sometimes I’d play with both at the same time.  But by the time 2006 ended both lineups were integrated into one giant band and it pretty much stayed that way for the next two years.

So now I had a cello player…and a dedicated bassist.  I needed someone who could play with a cellist and I needed a drummer to play with the bassist.  I was in luck, a month later (April 2006) I met accordionist Rowan Lipkovits and drummer Kenan Sungur.  Almost all of the principle players would soon be involved.  When all the peices came together we were able to put together an ass-kicking road troupe that never backed down from a chance to go hard….but that’s a blog for another day.

Rick fixes a picnic after fixing the trailer during a breakdown outside Drumheller Alberta, June 2007

Rick fixes a picnic after fixing the trailer during a breakdown outside Drumheller Alberta, June 21st, 2007 on our way to Saskatoon.

Rick played gigs in four provinces with us during multiple tours until the end of the summer of 2008.  I believe he most likely was on stage with me for somewhere around 150-200 shows.  Rick became one of the principle people who helped me get through my recovery from tuberculosis.  He was our tech expert

We worked him hard through stressful trips and if we weren’t getting along at the end his time in the band it didn’t take long for us to admit our parts and stay friends (as we are to this day).  After surviving a few health scares and moving out of the city Rick continues to play music with a number of friends where he now resides on the coast. 

Thank you Rick for helping make the band happen…happy anniversary old friend.