Bleeker Ridge singer, Taylor Perkins once described Orillia as “Somewhere you would go and watch a movie, leave and go break things!”
In the real world of mere mortals such as you and me, the Bleeker Ridge boys would be hanging out on campus, playing the frat house, watching movies and breaking things. When of course, they weren’t working a menial 6-11 shift at the local fast food outlet.
In a world of rock stars and gorgeous birds with oversized mammarial protrudence, that is not what they have to do. They hang out in bars with topless painted ladies and play kick ass live music for the masses.
I was present for a Bleeker Ridge show at the Edmonton Events Centre in 2011 and was lucky enough to meet most of the the band, I ask Perkins on a recent chat where Dan Steinke (Guitar) was when his band mates where signing posters and meeting with fans? “I’ll bet $100 he was out having a smoke.” Perkins wagers. I quickly have to disagree with him. I saw pictures post-concert and he was definitely making himself known to the advertising ladies. “Oh my god, you are right. I’m actually always where the painted ladies are.” Bellows Steinke, with a loud, proud, masculine laugh.
I know one of the ladies, so I promise not to tell, but Perkins insists we take this information to print. Steinke agrees “yes, do it and tell her I said hi.” I guess he figured that it can only increase and improve upon his rock star status after all.
Three of the four band members met at age thirteen. Singer Perkins was 14. That was nine years ago. That’s right; the average age of this band is 21.5! They have come a long way since then, playing local blues clubs and being driven by their parents. “They took us everywhere,” Perkins tells me.
Having already given it to Canada fast and hard and with an ever growing number of fans, they are mentally heading to the border quicker than you can say Small Town Dead (the band’s first CD with Roadrunner Records).
Perkins, his brother Cole: guitar, Dan Steinke: guitar and his brother Dustin: drums are collectively Bleeker Ridge and that collectively, makes them shit hot.
There is no other explanation. Not a realistic one anyway.
Steinke tells me. “We have been writing again and we are writing currently for record # 2. There is a lot more in the mix, but we can’t say what right now.” He teases.
So, as we play the waiting game for record # 2, Bleeker Ridge plays several dates in Ontario and Quebec in the early part of 2012. What about live shows for the rest of the year, I enquire? “There are always lots of festivals in the summer.” Perkins enthuses, “We love festivals, but what we really want to do this year is play the States, make ourselves known there.” He adds. I agree that this is an excellent idea.
Impressively, all the song lyrics on Small Town Dead sound as if they were written by older, far more experienced souls and the music that carries them is equally impressive. Sick Of You is as emotionally touching as the former song, but in a harder, more aggressive manner. Little wonder there, when you consider that it was co-penned by Tyler Connolly, singer with Theory of a Deadman.
Dave Bassett (Shinedown and Sevendust) is also responsible for lending his professional penmanship on In Our Hands, Pick Me Up and Still Standing. The core of the record though, remains Bleeker Ridge, through and through.
Not only do these guys get an A+ for their CD, but they really are seriously hellish impressive live too. They give their all and the crowd loves them for it. “It really is all about the crowd.” Perkins tells me. “If the crowd is really into it, then it motivates us more too. We, like anyone are a little rusty for the first three or four shows of every tour. The more we play the more comfortable we get.” Steinke definitely gives it 150% live; I wonder how he doesn’t have a permanent case of Metallica neck? “It’s usually sore for the first three days, but it’s nothing that a few Advil and some Jack Daniels can’t fix.” He gives up.
All recording and live perfections considered I still wonder, did any professional training help to produce such high standards?
“We all had different lessons in the same music store (belly laughing) but they didn’t last long.” Steinke offers, still chuckling. I can understand this completely. When you see him, Steinke shows no comparison to a conformist in any way shape or form, so I ask what he likes to do other than just music. “I just came home from Costa Rica yesterday and I spent all week out there surfing. When I’m home I like to snowboard and skateboard too.”
So then I wonder, what gives for the highly animated man with the killer voice. What floats his boat? I am probably expecting something equally high energy, so I am pretty well gobsmacked when Perkins calmly informs me that “I play music and I drink a lot of coffee and tea. I hang out with friends and I really like to drink beer too. I’m a big drinker.” Well, that explains the animation and also gives reason for his not being quite as adventurous as his band mate, just a little more tipsy and possibly friendlier? Let’s keep hoping he is generally close to a washroom!
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