Tag Archives: The Occidental

The Malcolm Maclean Pains, Troll Telefest, Canada Games and More To Say


One of the more exciting things to happen in January was when I welcomed my friend Malcolm Maclean to this part of BC for a four show weekend swing. Malcolm is the wily cowboy I was building fences with for the better part of two months last summer in the Dawson Creek district.  What was especially nice was having Allen Christie, a fairly good cowboy singer in himself, playing leads while my dear friend Lindsay “Bootsy Cline” Thompson played the double bass.  It had been a while since I was a drummer but I was right to think I could still do it.  By the end of the weekend we were a hot band.

The trip started Thurs.Jan 24th with a show at the recently re-opened Riley’s Pub then 1397531029_MalcomMacleanBandcontinued on to the Fort St.James Legion the following night for Robbie Burns Dinner.  The Legion event was complete with Lionel from Music On The Mountain Festival rendition of ‘Ode To Haggis’ and the subsequent serving of such things.  Guess I didn’t know I would like haggis.  Wasn’t so bad, I’d eat it again.  Saturday the 24th saw us end up at the Occidental in Quesnel and Sunday night we closed the trip up with a night at the Jack of Clubs Pub here in Wells.

I would call the trip mildly successful.  Malcolm was set him up with an important meeting, we introduced him to no less than 7 festivals board members, a major booking agent, a newspaper writer, two radio stations, the best sound guy in northern BC, photographers, bar owners, musicians, cowboys, farm hearted folks and the town of Wells. We got treated well and didn’t come close to losing our hats. Mission accomplished. We don’t mess around.



Due to the Canada Games Telefest was a little earlier than usual this year falling on January 30th instead of the first weekend in March.  The snow conditions have been nothing to brag about this year, but fortunately a half foot of snow fell the day before so there was lots of good riding to be done.  I did find however my favorite steep runs were already tracked out by the time I got to them.  Snowboarders got scared and put the brakes on but also succeeded in wiping the layer of powder clear off the crust beneath it, I came flying down there and realized I had no control…ate it a little and decided to stick to forest runs that were less chewed up.

IMG_5952By 2:45 I hit my last run from Silver T and rode all the way to the lodge, walked in, tuned up my guitar and pretty soon we were puttin on a show.  I did the whole show still wearing my snowboarding gear and managed to win a nice set of goggles for a door prize.  The room got dancing afte a while, a nice dinner was served, a good crowd stayed and beers were consumed.  We probably played for close to the three hours with intermittent breaks for supper, prize giveaways and the addition of a few guests on stage.  Leah opted not to sing the whole show but she came and did several duets with me while Mike’s 7 year old daughter stole the show with her country song medly which we assisted her with.

All in all, I gotta say, I just love Troll Ski Resort…family run operation, great snow, affordable, great atmosphere, lots of terrain, great verticle…everything you need.  We’ll certainly hope to stay a part of Telefest for years to come, three in a row just isn’t enough yet.



So we are on the mainstage of the Canada Games on Feb.22nd at 5:30pm.  Will be real neat to play right before the days medal ceremonies!! Gonna be a different sort of bunch backstage then I’m used to…might be a hard bunch to get smoking and drinking with us, might better just be on my best behaviour for a change. I have done it before.  Maybe one of them will let me touch their medal.

Another honor we have to announce is our participation in this years North Country Fair up by Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta.  It is one of the most prestigious festivals in the west to play!  What really made me blush was that they called us.  Most of you know, I don’t apply myself to things, or write applications, or grants or any of that shit.  So when we get asked to play a new festival it’s a real honor.

Troll Telefest poster

Troll Telefest poster

Not sure how many festivals we will be doing this summer, been busy playing 8-10 a year since 2008.  I got a second baby coming in May and this summer may be a write-off till we make adjustments in our lives.  For sure we are coming to Sweetwater 905 in Rolla BC and I can’t see myself missing Hootstock in Forest Grove.  Artswells you know we’ll be at cause it happens around my firepit.  Without any serious developments this will probably be our schedule this summer.  I have been asked about solo shows and I’m undecided.  My personal feeling is that we will have a new album out so I won’t want to play solo shows so much.  The band makes everything easier and it’s the band sound I want to get into your heads and living rooms!

Cheers for now…joe


Historic Account of Outlaw Band Happenings in Quesnel

Truthfully there wasn’t that many shows and the first ones still rank highest on my list.  I came north one summer to do a couple shows Jesse Mathies had been working on with his band The Effigy.  Arriving in Quesnel we spent the next few weeks hanging around town, going to all the scenic places and even came out to Wells and hiked to the top of Mount Murray.  In a sense the story of my first show in Quesnel is the story of how I came to live in Wells though I could never have guessed that first time here standing on top of Mount Murray that I would call the plateau before me home.  What I was thinking of was the red and dead trees from the pine beetle, as far as I could see.

This amazing summer of adventure, based out of Jesse’s parents basement, culminated in an amazing show and secondly in a split album people are still fond of.  That album was basically created in Barry McKillicans studio and it would forever be known as the Quesnel County Country Punk Conspiracy.  That’s when we recorded Smells Like Quesnel for the first time.  It was that song that got me an invitation to play at Artswells Festival which I have now been a part of for a decade…those events way back then set the stage for my life here today.

I have no recollection of the first show I did in Quesnel back then, so it must’ve been awesome…but for some reason I don’t think so.  It must’ve been just fun enough that I stayed around for the big show. The big show was on July 23rd 2005 and besides Under the Volcano Festival was really the highlight of my summer.

The Elks Hall lay host to this ridiculous assortment of bands such as The Tups, Four Horns, The Hippiecritz, Joey Only and the Effigy!!  There were too many drunk teenagers to count and somehow we managed to survive what was essentially an illegal alcoholicaust with no one bearing any responsibility for the occasion.  It’s these sort of all ages DIY punk bashes in rental halls that have become a thing of history…perhaps it was because the way we all behaved, punk across North America being teenage assholes.  It was sure fun.  I probably played 40 shows like that in my life…and that was actually the last one.

Teenagers were vommiting as quick as they could between RCMP visits to the site…that sorta thing.  My memory is vague of the occasion but I know I paid for it dearly.  I have grown up considerably since then.  I don’t really party with teenagers much anymore but at 25 it was a little less weird.  They think I’m weird now.  That’s the difference ten years will make in your life.

The next show we did was in the very same hall.  We were already a little bit older and wiser.  There were no teenagers puking over the backside of a Ford Tempo.  It was with Murray Boal and his excellent band.  The show was well attended, largely by a more adult crowd.  No one was drunk in public, though I might have been close to the line.  The payout helped our band get up here to do some recording with Barry who was also playing bass with Murray at the time. After a week or so at Barry’s I took a Greyhound bus back to Nanton Alberta where I was living and working for the winter.

That was in 2008.  I still believed back then that it was possible that I could become a success in the music industry despite not being all that great at music in general.  Not long after my youthful idealism was largely crushed, and not by any one thing which is unfortunate cause there’s no real story to tell.  Nonetheless, with no end in sight to the ‘small time’ as Corin Raymond would put it, I kept playing shows and having a lot of fun doing it.

I can’t exactly say the Hallis Lake Halloween party was inside the borders of what is commonly agreed on as being Quesnel.  Perhaps it’s just better that I have a good excuse to not talk about the debaucherous things that I participated in that night.  If I started telling those stories I’d have to talk about Bobb Inn and Artswells and Troll Ski Resort and every show we ever did in Wells and while we’re at it might as well write a paragraph about Williams Lake.  NO WAY!  Only shows that happened inside the town boundary of Quesnel can be discussed in this blog entry mostly so that the government will never know what really happened at Hallis Lake that night.

Since then we bought a monstrosity and moved to Wells to spend the rest of our lives fixing it.  We have been in the area for a while but we still haven’t made too much of a habit of trying to play in Quesnel.  I think that’s a shame and I know part of it is that until recently there’s been very little live music culture in Quesnel, a lot of people are just learning now how to go to shows of original live bands…they’ve never done it before.

Nonetheless…We have played two Billy Barker Days.  We really enjoyed playing at the Cariboo Hotel and hope we get to do that again sometime, we did two shows there and they were really well attended.  The Cancer For Life people got us on board there in 2013 and I’ve played no less than four times at the Quesnel Farmers Market.  I also did some work with Shaw Cable in Quesnel all about music in the Cariboo.

Then the Occidental happened and it became an innevitability that we would start putting on some Outlaw Band shows.  We just never did, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t want to.  I know how awfull you all must feel about me sharing my gifts so rarely with the local townsfolk.  Wells is so close, but really it’s a long ways away.  Time to change that trend for a little while.  I hope we keep motivated to keep coming to town and playing for you, it would be because you all kept coming to see the only outlaw country band in northern BC.

So, without further adieu, see you at the Occidental on Saturday November 29th.  The band is ready.  Then on December 19th I’m gonna do my Stompin Tom Tribute at the Quesnel Legion, consider that one a Christmas gift from me to the city.

October Was a Quiet Month But…Shows in November Again

Wasn’t too much for shows since the last time I wrote to you all on this here blogaroo.  There were two solo nights at the Occidental in Quesnel which is threatening to become a monthly routine..it’s fun to play there, the sound quality and attention to detail is beyond the wildest dreams of most bars.  The full band will be there on November 29th, a Saturday, so get ready Quesnel, it’ll be a huge deal to have us playing in there finally as a band.

Also in late September was another fabulous Bobb Inn party.  After a hiatus we finally felt ready to get back together after what was a really busy summer, so we’ve been rehearsing now.  We also played at the Wells Hotel 200m from my house in a last minute effort to try to raise some money for a senior citizen who lost everything in a nearly tragic fire last week.  It was a last minute event but we still raised $340 for her and had fun with who could be there in the Pub, it is quiet season in town here…no tourists, even the locals seem to be either busy as all hell gettin ready for winter or not here at all.

Other things have happened over the last month though.  We aired our last and final episode of Tracey’s Traxx  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KljYL1gL-H8) on Shaw Cable Quesnel.  It largely features an interview with myself and Linda McRae, I’m not a fan of my hair in the interview, but other than that it is quiet nice to have this chit chat between me and my old friend immortalized.  What’s really cool though is that in the wake of that show ending we are starting to work on a brand new show for Quesnel Shaw Cable Access called THE CARIBOO REVIEW.  The first thing we’re gonna shoot is the last ever (we hope not) Mamaguroove show at the Occidental this Halloween with Tax Free Liqour.  Hopefully before the new year we’ll be airing shows.

Jian Gomeshi talked about me and played Birthday Blizzard Busride Blues on his former show Q…right before the whole world found out that he is some kind of perverted and potentially violent jerk…exactly how bad no one can say for sure.  So I just squeeked in there before his whole world fell apart.  Pretty cool huh.

On November 8th I’ll be at the Seniors Centre in downtown Prince George doing my Stompin Tom Tribute show for CFIS Radio.  Don’t let the venue name fool you, it’s a serious room and we’re gonna kick the living shit out of the floors to raise some money for CFIS Radio.  Tickets aren’t cheap, but they will sell out, get them now.  From where?!?! I don’t know…I just play music.  We’ll also be up in Fort St.John on Saturday November 22nd and as I said at the Occidental in Quesnel November 29th.  Try to catch a show if you can.  I got another Stompin Tom Tribute show that’ll run December 19th at the Quesnel Legion!  The most exciting show that’s coming up on the horizon I can’t even tell you about yet cause the contract isn’t signed…so hopefully in next months blog there’ll be something to boast about.

I got interviewed by a Prince George newspaper and the interviewer said I was far more engaging than that Johnston guy from the Doobie Brothers.  So there I was at the CN Centre checking out the Doobie Brothers cause we got free tickets and everything.  Pretty sweet show I guess, musical proficiency beyond reason.  I think the world needs an Outlaw Band with that sort of execution.  We aim to make it happen!  What I don’t want to be is just another band replaying the same tired old hits to a mindless audience…BUT…to the Doobies credit, they all look great, sound great, were jumpin around and having fun.  I’m glad I got to see anothe legendary act before they stop touring forever.

In our rehearsals we’re getting ready for a new album…we’ve already added these new songs I’ve written in to the show, ran through many of them live for the first time at the Wells Hotel and I was mostly happy to have six new tunes run so smooth. Helps to have a hot lineup of free agents, we still boast Sean Scallin who’s been with me now since March 2013…replaced Joel with Ed Hanrahan on the big double bass…and our newest secret weapon has been the rippin tele shreds of Mike Morneau.  We got a little ways to go be as hot as I know we can, but this is a solid line-up that can stick together for a while.

Soon we’ll be recording a record and these songs will be in your Ipods!  Sean’s favorite is WALKER ROCK, while I like TROUBLE IN THE PEACE.  Leah sings real nice back-ups in NORTH OF NUMBER SEVEN and LET ME COMFORT YOU.  NOBLE WAYS OF THE COWBOY SOLDIER is a true story about a young man we know that was killed in Afghanistan while COLD WOODEN BOX and STOMPIN TOM STORY were inspired by my love of the man.  Can’t wait to have the album recorded, seems so far away….but soon enough you can all have a copy of NO MORE TROUBLE IN THE PEACE.