Got You Covered
by Heather Roberts
If you want a band for your wedding or party that really cares if your having a good time, that will tailor their music to your taste, hire the Wannabeez. The Wannabeez are a cover trio with vocals by Richie Bulger and Brian Langille (currently a music teacher at Englewood School), held together by the drum beat of Carl Cormier.
In the past they have been involved with such iconic PEI bands as Spare Parts, The Tropics and Big Tilda.
Despite Richie Bulger’s creative songwriting ability, the trio are devoted to their cover band because a cover band, according to Bulger, who has been playing in Charlottetown since he was 17, “has greater accessability.” The guys simply get more exposure as a cover band. “It allows you to hone in on your chops.” And it is true, with such a wide repertoire, the appeal of the Wannabeez is definitely non-generational specific. They play because they love the music.
Playing all this inspirational music helps the writing process. But any short-term plans to record original material are kept at bay at the moment because there just isn’t enough time. While the relative safety of being a popular cover band means lots of gigs, it means that the weekends are pretty much taken up. Between personal commitments and the band, there is not much time left for songwriting and jamming, something that Richie Bulger regrets, but at the same time understands is a necessary part of the industry at this level.
The Wannabeez started as a four-piece, but in the six or seven years they have been performing on the Island, they have cropped their number down to three, which left scheduling easier. Working three guys around a busy schedule of gigs is hard enough.
Citing influences from contemporary rock to blues, the members of the Wannabeez were originally inspired by the Big Three of the 70s: Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. They also draw inspiration from April Wine, Rush, Lynard Skynrd, Frank Zappa and the like. But with a huge playlist, they will play you anything from Jimmy Buffet to Ozzy Osbourne. So you may very well hear “Sweet Home Alabama” right up next to “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” And thats what the fans love about the Wannabeez. “Though at our age,” says Richie Bulger, “they’re not too crazy!”
The Wannabeez can be found at St James Gate, The Olde Dublin, The Churchill Arms or the Kensington Club—they play most Friday and Saturday nights. But they will come to you—you can book the Wannabeez for birthdays, weddings, country dances and house parties. According to Richie Bulger the most rewarding part of being in the band is the occasions when, at one of their gigs, they have stumbled across a couple whose wedding they played at two or three years previously—and then feel all over again the bond they shared on the night, feeling “part of something.” Its an “addictive pre-occupation” says Bulger.
The Wannabeez are playing on the 10th of July at St James Gate.