| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 06:00 am
Old rockers never die. They just join a new band or book another tour.
For about 25 years Kim Upright kept his professional drum kit packed away. But when invited to join A Bunch of Marys three years ago with lead vocalist Mike McDonald and bassist Duane Alias, the St. Albert resident compared it to riding a bike.
“I got into the groove after three or four practices and I haven’t stopped,” says Upright whose power pop trio will be debuting their acoustic show at LB’s Pub on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Upright stretches back a long way on the St. Albert music scene. His musical interests popped up in Grade 4 when he joined forces with another junior rocker Graham Brown. By Grade 7, they found Bob Drysdale, a worthy bass player and blasted through their first practice in Upright’s house jamming Black Sabbath and a few songs Brown had written.
By the time Sir George Simpson Junior High’s variety night rolled around, the trio submitted their names using the hard rock moniker Stones. They even had it etched on the bass drum like the big boys.
“I don’t think we were very good,” laughs Upright. “But we did have fun.”
By 1975 the trio, now in high school, changed their name to Hot Toddy and then to Modern Minds.
At the same time, the young musicians started jamming with Moe Berg, who later became the front man for the nationally acclaimed band Pursuit of Happiness.
“Moe was in Grade 10 and he was playing Neil Young. We were in Grade 9 and still playing Smoke on the Water. Bob and I showed up and we jammed all day long. It was great,” says the 1977 Paul Kane graduate describing the initial hero worship.
Well known throughout the Edmonton area, Modern Minds played original material and developed a reputation for selling out college shows, radio shows and hall parties.
Paying his bills as a graphic arts designer, Upright saved his coin and went on an exploratory trip to England in 1981.
“I went to see bands at night and visited museums during the day. I came back a year later. Being a prairie boy I got claustrophobic. I got tired of not being able to see 100 yards in a straight line.”
Upon Upright’s 1982 return, he reconnected with Brown and old friend Mike McDonald. Brown was renting a house on Sheridan Crescent with bass guitarist Mark Brostram. The basement rumpus room was converted into a jammin’ stage and weekend house parties ran like clockwork.
Many people went through the house and it was nicknamed the Sheridan Club. It was also where Upright, Brown and McDonald formed the hit band Jr. Gone Wild.
“Mike suggested the name and he started writing songs.”
Their first show was at the Sheraton Hotel’s basement nightclub where they opened for Moe Berg’s band Ramage & The Belts. For the next year, the band’s dance card was full. Highlights ranged from opening for Rank and File and headlining at the University of Alberta’s Dinwoodie Lounge to recording in Vancouver.
In 1983, Upright moved to Vancouver but after his first son, Aaron, was born in 1992 the family moved back to St. Albert “to raise our kids and maintain our friendships.”
Upright hasn’t played in St. Albert in three decades and is looking forward to entertaining the hometown crowd.
About 75 per cent of A Bunch of Marys repertoire will be original with some Elvis Costello, Beat Farmers and Marshall Crenshaw thrown in.
“First and foremost the songs are really good and there will be a lot of old friends who can share the experience. We’ve been told we’re a good band and we’ll rock the place.
Showtime is 9 p.m. LB’s is at 23 Akins Drive.