The Dudes

The Dudes (Just Get Past Their Name and Into Their Music)

The Dudes are my new favourite band and it upsets me, because they could have been my new favourite band about three years ago. At that time, their second album, Brain. Heart. Guitar., sat on my desk for two months before I moved it elsewhere. All because I didn't really care for their name. I am ashamed of my actions in the past, and while I generally do not condone second chances for other people, I'm giving myself one.

A month ago The Dudes latest album, Blood. Guts. Bruises. Cuts., arrived on my desk and I put it on. Now, I put it on everyday. I immediately arranged an interview with Dan Vacon, the creative force behind the Calgarian rock band, to speak with him about their new album, the bonus DVD included with it, and their twelve year journey.

The Dudes arrived in Toronto on Tuesday to play Lee's Palace and they're sticking around to rock the Reverb this Saturday as part of NXNE - which is happening RIGHT NOW!

For a band that's been around for twelve years, three albums and an EP really isn't a whole lot of recording. I asked Dan why it seems as though it took them awhile to get serious. He explains:

"It was a long time before we were decent. Dude, we were like the shittiest punk band, man. We cleared many a bar for sure. We sucked. But we kept playing, and a lot of people liked our antics, and we became more of a rock band. Then, the people kept coming so we kept playing."

The Dudes are undoubtedly a rock band, and any former elements of punk have long since been replaced with hints of blues and soul. Their lyrics are fun and their music should be played loud. Like, eleven loud. I recommend 'Honest Mistake', and their single, 'Pretty Lies'. There are fourteen tunes to choose from, which makes it longer than most rock albums, on average.

"We have been actually taking quite a while in between albums, it's like three years or something. We might as well do it right, you know. We had all those songs, and I think people will appreciate it too. More bang for your buck. We do a couple songs in the studio, and it's like, well we might as rip off another one," Dan tells me.

A DVD is included with the album. Breakfast at Rock Central is a thirty minute documentary about a pancake breakfast the band threw at their house, for about eight consecutive years, during the Calgary Stampede. What began as a breakfast turned into a legendary backyard concert party that was stopped only when the city tore down the bands' house, which they had named Rock Central. Besides being an interesting flick, it also provides the viewer with some background on The Dudes and what they're all about. I asked Dan why they chose to include it.

"Well, you get more of an insight into who we are. We're not just some dudes [I don't know if I should capitalize that or not] who got together last year and threw an album together. It gives a little history, and starting point you know."

Dan told me his thoughts on the sad demise of Rock Central.

"Yeah, she got torn down a few years ago, so no more stampede breakfasts. It's the gentrification of our age. Nothing cool and old is around for very long."

I plan to prove him wrong. I will be the coolest senior ever. I have to be cool sometime, and it wasn't in high school and it's definitely not now. But later...

Expect them to go coast-to-coast sometime in September, which leads me to some interesting extra information: The Dudes have played Canada extensively, and have toured Europe thrice, but they have never played a single show south of the border. Crazypants!

Photo by Randy Gibson

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