How weird is it that the province of Saskatchewan can produced two hard rock drummers both called Kurt Dahl. Drummer number one is Lanigan, Saskatchewan’s Kurt Dahle, percussionist for 1990’s rock band Age Of Electric who went on to play for the New Pornographers. Kurt Dahl, without the `e’, on the other hand, is the driving force behind Saskatoon’s One Bad Son who is in the process of completing a national club tour in support of their latest 604 recording `Black Buffalo’.
“No we are not related but maybe if you go back six generations to Norway, we might be and Yes, I have met the other Kurt while we were in Vancouver, talk about a doppelganger! It was really strange,” reported Dahl without the `e’ in between completing an Eastern Canada tour opening for Airbourne before heading out to do a bunch of headline Western dates.
There are actually quite a few notable comparisons between Age Of Electric and One Bad Son. Both bands released locally successful records as they battled to make a mark in Western Canada. Age Of Electric, comprising of the two Dahle brothers; Kurt and Ryan and the two Kerns brothers; Todd and John, created an initial ripple with their 1989 Ugly EP while One Bad Son, sparked by support from a local intern deejay, caused a buzz with their 2006 debut record `This Aggression Will Not Stand’ and a debut single “Alive In Texas”
Age Of Electric later enjoyed a brief amount of success on the MCA label with a self-titled debut release and a follow up `Make A Pest A Pet’ while Dahl, vocalist Shane Volk, guitarist Adam Hicks, and later bassist Adam Grant have spent 10 years building up their fan support platform which has culminated with two studio albums on Chad Kroeger’s Vancouver-based 604 label, a self-titled release in 2012 and their latest recording which dropped in October of this year.
Ever since the trio of Dahl, Volk and Hicks roomed together in Saskatoon in 2004, they began the formative challenge of creating a new rock band and writing new material while sticking to very specific principles. “We noticed over the past five years that there have been a lot of bands that don’t even play their own instruments during their recordings. It’s all backing tracks and sampled drum beats “observed Dahl. “It’s like Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix never did that! When you heard their records, you felt you were in the studio with them.”
Weaned on early Soundgarden and Pearl Jam with harder influences like Metallica and even some Neil Young in the mix, the band suffered the usual early growing pains of people pulling in different directions. “But if you do it long enough, you eventually develop your own sound,” analyzed Dahl. “It’s taken us 10 years to get this far but it’s been getting easier as we’ve progressed.”[quote]It’s taken us 10 years to get this far but it’s been getting easier as we’ve progressed[/quote]
One Bad Son enjoyed some early success when a track off their debut record, “This Aggression Will Not Stand (a line from the Big Lebowski movie), titled “Alive In Texas” received local radio support from a zealous intern deejay. Their 2007 follow up album, `Orange City” generated two more regional hits; “Crowded Mic Stand” and “Sun/Fire” which allowed the band to start touring through Western Canada, opening for Godsmack, Buck Cherry and Default. Following the 2010 release of their Ep` Rustbucket’, Default’s drummer Danny Craig suggested the band move out to Vancouver where he offered to produce their next album for Chad Kroeger’s 604 label.
The sessions for their self-titled debut went well but when it came time to releasing the record, a certain Carly Rae Jepsen was hitting the charts with her 604 global smash “Call Me Maybe” which meant all the label’s resources were channelled into promoting her subsequent record, Kiss.
“We literally sat around Vancouver for like two years just jamming and writing new stuff, at the time we thought we had made the worst possible mistake,” allowed Dahl. “But in retrospect it was a time that defined the character of the band. When our record finally came out, we were totally aggressive in promoting it.”
When they ran into radio resistance on the record’s debut single “Scarecrows”, the band blitzed select radio stations, performing the track live and sparking continued exposure to the single. “We could do this because we had cultivated these stations over a period of time,” informed Dahl. “Any other new band trying this would have been told to piss off!”
Radio support for “Scarecrows” resulted in an expansion of One Bad Son’s live opportunities and they found themselves in 2013, opening for The Sheepdogs at that year’s Grey Cup festivities in Regina while touring nationally with Buck Cherry and Monster Truck.
It’s a growth that continues with their latest opus, `Black Buffalo’, produced by Eric Ratz. A high octane set of incendiary rockers like their latest single “Vinyl Spin Burner” and the intense, slow-burning “Satellite Hotel”, the record’s debut single.
“It’s important to us that we captured the live energy of the band,” noted Dahl. “We’ve tried for a very organic sound; there are no overdubs, very few takes, very sparse arrangements. We are less into production and more into performance.”
One oddity in the record’s song selection is a cover of the Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer”. “It’s a song you wouldn’t expect from us, but it goes over great live,” enthused Dahl. “If our version just sounded like a cover then we wouldn’t do it, but I think we add something to the track.”
Admitting that One Bad Son can pull crowds of over 800 people in Western venues but are still at the 100-200 mark in the East, Dahl is enthused by the band’s reception during their recent Eastern club stint opening for Airbourne. “We’ve been getting some strong airplay which helps but even in places like Montreal, where there’s no airplay, we notice that the audience has a “show us what you’ve got” attitude during the first song, arms folded. Yet by the end of the first song, the fists are pumped, by the second song they are singing along and by the end of the set, they love us!”
One Bad Son doesn’t have any unrealistic goals. From day one, it’s been a slow, steady climb but as the fan base builds and the gigs get stronger, Dahl is hopeful of possibly a U.S release and may be touring opportunities in Europe and Australia.
“We just keep bringing our live show to the people and continue to develop a loyal following,” Dahl concludes. “Our ultimate goal is to give our fans something they can’t replicate digitally.”
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