One of the Kootenays’ hardest working and hardest rocking bands is presenting an annual tradition with a twist.
The Halloween Howler, presented by the roots rock outfit The Bison Brothers, is the first act to open at the Key City Theatre’s Live Lobby Lounge — the newly renovated lobby area now serving as a smart-looking smaller auxiliary venue. The evening is also serving as a vinyl release party for the trio — comprised of Tim Ross, Ferdy Belland and Colin Righton.
“Tim’s birthday just so so happens to be October 31, so it doesn’t take a rocket-surgeon to figure out excuses to have a memorable birthday party,” said bassist Belland.
Belland and Ross had been playing music together since 1999, but the Bison Brothers in its current form solidified in the Fall of 2012, after Belland moved home from Vancouver and Righton joined as drummer.
“Our potential as a power trio came to life literally after our very first jam session,” Belland said. “We click together personally and musically, which is a rare and precious thing, and everything’s been moving really fast ever since.”
The band has progressed to being an all-original material unit, and on Saturday, Oct. 31, two of those songs will be presented in vinyl form to the musically inclined public. Appropriate to the day, the “Vampire Sessions” EP features two songs about those creatures of the night — “Vampire Boogie” and “Vampire Blues.”
Belland explains that “Vampire Blues” is from the point of view of a broken-hearted Count Dracula, “swilling cognac and recalling the temptress that done him wrong!”
“‘Vampire Boogie’ is a standard barrel-house rocker, about how we’re going to be up all night anyway, so why not party with the vampires.”
The occasion will also be the first time in 30 years that a Kootenay artist has put out a vinyl release, Belland said. This latest will be presented, appropriately enough, in transparent, blood-red vinyl.
The vinyl record has never really gone away.
“Vinyl culture never died, even after mainstream record stores in North America deleted major-label LPs back in 1990 and focused on CDs,” Belland said.
“The DJ/nightclub scenes helped in that, as well as the underground punk movements, both of which maintained vinyl releases. But mainstream major-label artists kept releasing their new albums on vinyl…you just had to live in Europe or Japan to buy them!”
Belland said that since the modern personal-computer age kicked off at the turn of the century, home stereo systems melded with PCs and there was a dramatic disappearance of high-fidelity home audio.
“This caused changes in the mainstream recording industry, since it seemed that overnight everyone suddenly was listening to music on tiny computer speakers. Then came the iPods and Smartphones, which are really just modern versions of the old transistor radios the youngsters loved back in the 1950s.
“But over the past decade there’s been a rennaissance from music lovers worldwide who’ve sought to bring the home listening experience back to life…and vinyl is what delivers it.”
The “Vampire Sessions” EP was recorded at Casey Lewis’ Echo Base Studio in Calgary, and is being pressed through Canada Boy Vinyl in Calgary. They opened for business in April of this year and they’re the only Canadian pressing plant alive. It’s such a headache to press vinyl in the USA or in Europe and then get soaked for the brokerage fees when you ship it all back home.”
Belland says the band is going to have its A-game on on October 31.
“(Tim Ross) has dozens of strong tunes, and even if I wasn’t his musical sidekick I would want Canadian music lovers to know of his songs. Folky and earthy, some of them, and rock revivalist, the rest of them! He’s truly up there with people like Nick Lowe, John Prine, Dave Edmunds, and John Hiatt. And I’m proud to be part of the collective whole that makes his stories come to life.”
The Bison Brothers Halloween Howler and EP release party takes place at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Key City Theatre’s Live Lobby Lounge.