“We still play too loud. It’s one, two, three rock n’ roll,” said The Stampeders Rich Dodson.
The Stampeders, Canada’s iconic band of the ’70s, is hitting the big stage at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17.
Yes, that means ‘Sweet City Woman’, ‘Carry Me’, ‘Oh My Lady’, ‘Wild Eyes’, ‘Devil You’, ‘Monday Morning Choo Choo’ and more.
If, like a whole generation of Canadians, you remember this band, made up of Dodson, Kim Berly and Ronnie King, you’re probably already hearing at least one of those songs in your head.
The guys are still singing and playing, and taking the occasional tour, so the Valley is lucky to get them.
“It’s hard to describe being in The Stampeders as work. We’re very fortunate for that,” Dodson said in an interview with Black Press recently. “That’s sort of what this band has always been.”
Originally known as The Rebounders, the group formed as a five-piece band in the late ’60s in Calgary before they relocated to Toronto and rebranded as The Stampeders. After the group was whittled down to it’s core trio, they rose to international fame for their platinum single, ‘Sweet City Woman’, for which they won Juno Awards in the categories of best group, best single, best producer and best composer.
Now that they’ve reached those heights, Dodson said, it’s time to just have fun.
“We wanted to do a little southern B.C. tour. It’s fun going through that spot again. It’s a little run we’d probably never really do,” Dodson said. “We’re full up on fame and just looking forward to more fun.”
The Stampeders split in 1977. But, in 1992 at the Calgary Stampede, the trio brought The Stampeders back to life and have since been recognized by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) for their lifetime achievement, been inducted into the SOCAN Songwriters Hall of Fame on five occasions and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame for ‘Sweet City Woman’.
However, instead of doing the lengthy tours of old, The Stampeders now prefer to keep their road time light.
“Maybe 25 dates a year is all we do. It’s enough to keep it going, not be done with it, to keep it fresh,” Dodson said. “The touring thing, I rather like. I never thought I would miss it when I left, but I did.”
They’re still comprised of the original trio, Dodson with his signature double neck guitar, Ronnie King who tows the bass line and Kim Berly who keeps the beat.
“I’m looking forward to the tour, and at our age, this could be our last southern B.C. tour,” Dodson said. “It’s nice to be up front and close to the audience. The band has nothing to prove and we don’t take it too seriously.”
However, they don’t disregard the tunes and they bring their own light and sound people on tour.
“It’s fun to get together with the guys again. It can be a little tiring, these barn burners, but reconnecting with the fans afterwards is a big buzz.”
And, despite significant changes to the business since The Stampeders rose to fame in the ’70s, Dodson said connecting with fans is just as easy and important as ever.
“The internet is the big change. The internet has allowed us to reintroduce The Stampeders,” Dodson said.
“Come check out the old guys when they’re still jumping around, and the clock is ticking,” Dodson laughed. “We’re just kids. We’re 70, but we’re just older kids.”
Tickets are $62.50 each. Get them online at https://ctcentre.bc.ca/TheatreManager/1/online?performance=2389 or by calling the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529.
-With files from Parker Crook