Midd age rockers

Jan DeGrass/Arts and Entertainment Writer / Staff writer
January 17, 2014 01:00 AM

Midds make music: (l to r) Jeff Lucas, Ray McNally, Grant Olsen and John Geoffrion.

Promoting good, live music - that's one of the goals of The Midds, a danceable rock band with some elements of folk,blues and reggae.

Their other goal is to have fun, they tell Coast Reporter. As a group they have a good sense of humour, and they joke with each other a lot. But they also rehearse twice a week, every week, since they first got together in 2007.

They have a commitment to performing - you might have seen them at Canada Day and Music in the Landing in Gibsons. They feel they are now ready with enough original material to enter the recording studio. Yes, they may have fun, but they agree that they take their music seriously.

The name of the band, The Midds, hints at their age: four self-employed, middle-aged guys who are at that certain age.

"Some people buy a corvette, some people start a rock band," says drummer Grant Olsen.

The Midds play about 80 per cent originals and the occasional cover from artists such as Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Dire Straits, Allman Brothers and U2.At a November gig in Gibsons, the band tore up Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World".

Their next gig is this Saturday, Jan. 18 at a favourite venue, the Roberts Creek Legion.

They joke that they will be on stage first, leaving the late night set to the group Zen Archer Collective. "We're older; we want to get to bed earlier," they say.

Jeff Lucas, a cabinet maker by day, is a mean lead guitarist who plays smoking solos by night. Ray McNally on guitar gives up the lead vocals and he's truly found his voice with this band. McNally bubbles with original songs - the lyrics are key and he counts Bob Marley as an influence.

Bassist John Geoffrion believes in keeping it simple. "Play bass, but don't take away from the song," he says.

Of the four, drummer Grant Olsen has the most musical training. At age nine, his first love was Beethoven, and he studied music at the college level. Clearly he now loves rock, and he sings back-up vocals. Olsen also plays with a local folk band, Corduroy Ridge, and both McNally and Olsen perform solo acts.You might remember the two from a band called The Copper Stills, currently on hiatus.

Olsen is now coordinating entertainment at the Creek's "Little Legion" and he is keen to promote it as a venue. There is often a Friday evening live show in a variety of musical styles and he will be on stage, of course, for the Saturday night dance with The Midds starting at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 for members, $10 for non-members. He points out that a better deal can be had for $55 a year as a member of the Legion. Members pay half price at the door, but visitors are signed in at full price.

It's a hard route to go - to make it as a band on the Coast - and the Midds are just reaching their midway point, planning to record a CD at Strait Sound and to tour Vancouver Island. What advice would they give others?

"Don't quit. Just do it," says Geoffrion. "Over four or five years you realize how much you've improved."

© Coast Reporter

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