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Nat Lamoureux

A Different Drummer
by Jaclyn Killins

Nat Lamoureaux

When the bell rings for lunch, most elementary school kids gobble down their food and head to the playground. Not Nathaniel Lamoureux. Lunchtime was his chance to hit up the music room and have the drum kit all to himself. When Christmas holidays came, the teachers let Nat take the kit home.

At 16 he saved up and bought his own kit. On Friday nights he couldn’t get his parents out of the house fast enough so he could play for hours and hours. Years of reluctant piano lessons gave him an ear for music, and he was able to teach himself drums.

In high school band at École François Buote, “the teachers would give me the music and I would just do my own thing,” Nat said. He was bored with the material and thought the toms are all different voices and the cymbals have so many spots, why not utilize this. “I really like to make every part of the drum kit part of the song,” he said. The teachers humored him.

Nat’s skill on drums was his ticket to the adult world of the Carrefour Theatre pub. His parents signed the forms to let him play during the big open jams. When school let out he’d start setting up, wanting everything perfect. “As soon as I started playing I was playing with great players,” he said. The jams helped him develop into the solid drummer he is today.

As a member of four bands, Nat is possibly the busiest drummer on the Island with 3–4 gigs a week. “I don’t take it for granted,” he said. His wife Jill supports him in his music 100 percent, despite the times they don’t get to see each other as much as they would like.

Nat is the drummer for Tim Chaisson and Morning Fold, and also plays drums for the John Connolly Band, for cover warriors Big City (headed by Joey Kitson) and Vintage 4.0.

“It’s an amazing way to keep on top of your game,” Nat says of playing in cover bands. His versatility on the drums comes from being open to play anything, even stuff he isn’t familiar with. “I’ve whipped out some Def Leppard songs I’ve never heard of,” he said.

When an encore at John Connolly’s CD release demanded they play a song called “Wonderdrug” Nat smiled, nodded and picked up the beat, despite not knowing the song. The crowd was none the wiser, and the encore rocked the night to a satisfying close.

His past bands include Midnight Auto Supply, Stride and Wax Poetics.

Nat’s great play and professionalism gets noticed and gets him fill in gigs with the Charlottetown Festival every summer.

He knows when to stick to the “meat and potatoes,” he knows when to give and when to take. Of the drummer’s relationship with the music he says, “It’s in the palm of your hand but it’s not yours.”

Acorn Rangers

Talking Bands

by Jaclyn Killins

Matt Harper, Gerard MacInnis and Tim Kelly

During a recent Acorn Rangers show at Hunter’s Ale House the keyboard player of Loudlove, Emile Leitch, who was seriously wounded in a car accident this summer, sat in for a song. Jaws dropped and eyes bugged out around the bar as they laid out a steaming funky jam. In the middle of it all, Leitch started bleeding from the head. They tried to slow down for him but the guy wouldn’t stop. “He was nuts man, he was rad,” Tim said.

The Acorn Rangers are an instrumental funk band with influences of rock and trance. Most of their songs are improvised, lending their music a spontaneity that makes for extremely entertaining live show.

It is the nature of the jam band to feed off the crowd, and if they get a good crowd dancing in front of them the Acorn Rangers can cook just like the woodstove that is their namesake.

The band is made up of two DJs, bass player Gerard MacInnis is GboxJellyfish and guitar player Tim Kelly is Tom Kruz. Matt Harper, the drummer of Island rock band Intoxicado, rounds out the trio on the drums.

Blake Gagnon was the original Acorn Ranger drummer. When Matt, a punk rock drummer replaced him the sound became heavier.

Gerard plays with a funky, slap bass style similar to Flea of the Red Hot Chili peppers.

Tim owes his musical abilities to his Grammy who taught him to play piano as a boy.

After ten years, Acorn Rangers has become somewhat of a side project that just won’t die. They keep it going with a “Let’s party” attitude. A bunch of gigs this summer alongside bands such as The Mystery System and Disco Rockin Llamas put some wood on the fire, so hopefully they’ll be burning on into the fall and winter.

When they all worked together at the same company they set up their gear in an empty office and took every chance to play. “We’d just wait until everyone left and bust out some tunes,” Tim said. Sometimes they would even sneak in after hours to jam.

They’ve played together so long they have developed a sense of timing that makes their jams tight yet carefree. “If it wasn’t fun we wouldn’t do it,” Gerard said.

Look for the Acorn Rangers at local bars and parties and check out GboxJellyfish and Tom Kruz at DJ night on Saturday at the Night Cap.

Danny Miles

A Different Drummer

by Jaclyn Killins

Danny Miles

The Meds’ drummer Danny Miles is quiet and relaxed when he drums. His kit is modest and his actions subtle. His posture is impeccable and he looks out from his drums with a relaxed interest.

He didn’t always play this way. “I used to be the exact opposite. The better I’ve gotten the less I do.” It was drummer Shawn Doiron who kindly pointed out how much Danny was flailing and got him to stop.

Danny grew up in a family of drummers, his parents play, his siblings play and his uncle is jazz drummer Alan Dowling of The Jive Kings. It seemed natural for him to pick up the sticks, so when the band Stride needed a drummer two years ago they banked on this pedigree and convinced him to play. Stride wasn’t exactly Danny’s style but he learned a lot and improved his chops playing with them. “I wouldn’t be half as good if I didn’t play with those monstrous bassists,” Danny says of the likes of Blain Jenkins.

In The Meds, Danny has found his musical fit. He describes their music as pop rock but points out, “it has more balls than pop.” It’s the first band he’s ever played in where he is totally on board creatively. It helps he’s teamed up with his best friend’s big brother, singer guitarist Kyle Drake. “I’ve know him since I was a fetus,” he says. Danny has also spent nearly his entire music career with bassist Brendan Hansen who he works with at Fishbones. Last summer between working, playing music and living together Danny joked the two spent 23 hours a day together.

The Meds didn’t play a lot over the summer because of work but with school keeping them grounded they will have a lot of time to concentrate on gigging and getting their new CD out. Danny and Brendan will also join regular Fishbones performer Andy Hodgins in The Iain McCarville Band, a project that will cover the music of The Beatles and Pink Floyd to name a few.

Danny admits drumming is one of about 10 priorities in his life right now. He is on full scholarship at UPEI just finishing up his degree in Social Psychology. When he is not bartending at Fishbones his focus moves to his honours thesis on one-night stands and the hookup culture. People and relationships intrigue him so much it is hard to get him to talk about drumming when he gets talking about the intricacies of human mating rituals. Working since he was 14 at Fishbones has given him a lot of background information on this topic. “I’m 21 so I party,” he admits. “I have gone [out] and drank less on purpose just to watch people.”

Danny also sings and plays guitar. During a set break at a recent show he donned the guitar and belted out some of his own stuff. He admits to an inner battle with his own songwriting. “The stuff I write is the stuff I hate listening to, emo, so I try to make it groovy.” He also sings back up for most of the Meds songs.

Danny may talk down his drumming, saying it’s only a small part of his life, but he can’t hide his passion when he says, “I like to close my eyes and hit the pockets.”

New Royalty

Talking Bands

by Jaclyn KillinsNew Royalty

The waivers are signed and Charlottetown all-ages music mainstay New Royalty are about to step out of church basements and friend’s living rooms and into the bar scene with their danceable indie fun.

The bounty of a summer of non-stop practicing and recording is their first EP, Sleepover, recorded off the floor with John Matthews. After spending so much time together, 20 hours-a-week on top of full-time summer jobs, the band was ready to throttle one another but they pulled through and are excited to forge forward together.

The band is comprised of Tristan Gray on drums, Morgan O’Leary on keys, Isaac Berzins on rhythm guitar, Chris Francis on bass and Ben Schulman on guitar, with Lily Forsythe providing vocals. They formed a little over a year ago when a facebook group entitled lets make a band followed through with its proclamation.

Tristan is 5 years older than the other members and they don’t let him forget it.

“He’s our legal guardian,” Chris says.

“Grandpy, can we go to Frosty Treat later?” Isaac quips.

Every moment the 22-year-old drummer spends with the band is full of nostalgia. He’s been a part of the all-ages scene since he was in grade 8 and is obviously not in a hurry to leave.

The youthful nature of the band comes forth in the music. The songs change pace, going from poppy intros to ballads for bridges and back to fast, hand-clapping, lyric-yelling good times, keeping the listener guessing as to what comes next.

Ben says his math teacher, Island musician Ian Toms, compares their sound to the New Pornographers.

Despite the incessant put-downs, high-fives and otherwise silly randomness when together, the kids of New Royalty are a multi-talented and intelligent bunch. Grade 12 students Morgan and Ben played in jazz bands on Victoria Row this summer while Tristan donned the garb and the persona of one of the Fathers of Confederation. Lily, a grade 12 student, writes the lyrics to all the songs. Fresh out of high school, Chris is headed to UPEI to study liberal arts and Isaac is set to venture off with Katamivik.

The name New Royalty may be a reference to the twisted social class structure of celebrity, but it is fitting for a group of young musicians who stand poised to supplant the Island music scene in years to come.

Scott Doyle

A Different Drummer

by Jaclyn KillinsScott Doyle

Scott Doyle must be a cartoon. He maneuvers the drums as Mogley swings from tree to tree in the Jungle Book, all with the innocent humility of Franklin the Turtle and the manic energy of Road Runner.

Growing up in Montague meant there was always someone to play music with. More than bands, there were bevies of musicians constantly getting together to freak each other out in jam sessions.

Doyle’s parents supported his thunderous pastime because they realized how much he liked it. “They didn’t clamp down on the noise factor.” Twenty-two-year-old Doyle said.

In high school, Doyle picked up a reputation. In one battle of the bands he played drums for 3 out of the 7 bands. “I won,” he laughed. He was a band tramp, eager to play for whoever needed him.

Doyle is still a bit of a two-timer. He keeps the beat for funk rock outfit The Mystery System and jam band Disco Rockin Llamas. The Mystery System is influenced by electronic music like Daft Punk and New Deal whereas the Llamas look up to jam greats Phish and The Greatful Dead. Both bands share a common thread, a funk factor that gets people dancing. Doyle, with his off the beatin’ path groove is that thread.

He has always approached music from the perspective of the grove instead of trying to emulate the exact patters of a song. “My ears just always told me what to play,” he said.

This gives Doyle’s sound an unlimited freshness.

More than a performer, Doyle is an educator who teaches drum lessons at the Funkfactory drum shop in Charlottetown.

“The first time I taught a lesson I blew apart the three years of my own playing and how I learned them,” Doyle explained.

As a teacher he doesn’t preach instead he thinks back to the revelations he made while learning to play the drums and sets the conditions for his students to make their own revelations.

Doyle, who is in the middle of a degree in classical percussion at UPEI, works on drumming techniques constantly and has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, but don’t expect to be privy to them any time soon. He’s not a fan of showy drumming and prefers to focus on playing for the song.

“I’m blown away by drummers who don’t flash their skills,” he said. This restraint is something Doyle admires in one of his favorite bands, Radiohead.

Doyle is a self professed music geek who admits to liking everything from industrial noise to Gregorian chant.

Art Blakie’s “Moanin’” got Doyle into jazz, and he is forever indebted to him for this. “Jazz brings a different perspective to music because it is all reaction. When you bring this back to a rock song everything is so much clearer, you can really feel what the beat is supposed to be,” Doyle explained.

Peter Erskine, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis and especially Jojo Mayer are other jazz greats Doyle admires. In other genres, Doyle is a fan of funk masters James Brown and John Scofield, progressive rockers Yes and Rush, and legendary rock ’n’ rollers Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.

Elijah MacDougall

A Different Drummer
by Jaclyn KillinsElijah MacDougal

When Elijah MacDougall was 18 he used to sneak into bars. He wasn’t there to drink. He was there to take in the music. He would sit mesmerized by the musicians on stage, learning as he watched.

It wasn’t long after he became a part of that music. He played in the rock band AnnaPilla, providing the drums for six years. More recently he plays drums for Andrew Murray’s pop/singer-song-writer driven band. “I’m just kind of following him and taking his lead. I’ve been into rock music for a long time and wanted to get into pop,” MacDougall said.

When he started playing the drums he was limited and would concentrate on the basics, but once he was comfortable he started to experiment. “I learned how simple it was just to throw things in,” he said. Now MacDougall is playing gigs with the Island drummers he always admired.

He comes from a musical family. His father is into gospel music and plays the accordion and his little brother is a pianist with a full music scholarship at UPEI.

Like many other musicians on the Island, MacDougall is not only a part of a band but he is working on his own stuff. He opens for bands, performing solo on guitar from time to time. His own music is heavy and thoughtful, nostalgic without being too melancholic. “Basically you sing your diary to everyone,” he said.

MacDougall’s diary would include a lot more than just personal laments; he pays attention to global issues and politics. “I think it’s important for people to be aware.”

When MacDougall plays a bar, 95 percent of the people may not pay attention, but the five percent of people that listen will come up after and tell him how much they liked his stuff. “I think people can relate to it,” MacDougall said.

He writes about the way people handle themselves in difficult situations, with his own spirituality and beliefs coming through. A lot of people concentrate on writing catchy songs, but MacDougall isn’t interested in that, he wants to say something meaningful. “I want my stuff to be something people listen to by themselves at 2 am,” MacDougall said.

One of MacDougall’s favorite musicians is Matthew Good and if you were to liken MacDougall’s music to that of another musician it would be Good’s. They both share a consciousness to the world around them and deliver this with an affecting weight.

MacDougall’s advice to young musicians is to be confident with the way you are playing. “Don’t let anyone tell you there is a right way to play your instrument.”

He is a strong believer of the power of music to educate people. “If you are not school smart there is so much to learn with music.

Disco Rockin’ Llamas

Talking Bands

by Jaclyn KillinsDisco Rockin’ Llamas
 - Scott, Laura, Eric and Ashley

The Disco Rockin Llamas were in the middle of practice recently when a police officer showed up at the door. He stood in reluctant defense, shaking his head to eager excuses. He wasn’t there to enjoy the sounds of the Island’s newest jam band; he was there to safeguard the sleep of a five-year-old neighbor. It was obvious the band had worn out their welcome in the neighborhood and so they had to bend with the wind, curve and jostle and find another place to practice their jovial jams. Good thing improvisation is their forte.

The groovy jam/rock band consists of Ashley Gorman on guitar and vocals, Laura Oakie on keys, sax and vocals, Scott Doyle on drums and Eric Coffin on bass guitar. With a band of four talented musicians it is all about balance. There is no leader, they respect each other and everyone has a say. “It’s a mixture of strong opinions and compromise,” Laura said.

Ashley and Eric were in Stride, Scott Doyle plays in The Mystery System and Laura, who has been playing piano since age five, has played and sung in many bands.

During ECMA weekend they got a chance to do what they do best, play to a packed bar. It was near the end of the night and the music drew everyone in. “We’ve had people say it’s the most fun they’ve had at a show,” Laura said. “I’ve never experienced that before, where there’s actual joy on peoples faces.” Ashley added.

The happiness the four share when they play is clear. Their eyes meet and their heads bob, they smile like proud parents watching their child dance and spin. Laura’s curly hair and earrings bounce as her fingers work the keys, her strong voice translating her soul to sound. Scott leans his head back as he casually yet expertly hits the drums. Eric really gets into the music, his hand crawls the groove across his strings, his lips poof to every note. Ashley’s eyes close as he rocks out with cool rifts and a buoyant voice.

There are open extended sections in their songs, keeping things free and fun, and allowing listeners to lose themselves in the music. The longer they keep people dancing the better, they say.

As for the name, people either love it or they hate it, Ashely said.

“We wanted something that would speak to our attitude behind the band,” Scott said. The attitude he speaks of is a fun loving, anything goes, rollicking glee that gets people dancing.

The Llamas recorded a demo with Allister MacDonald in April. Confining the inventive energy onto a track was a challenge as they are primarily a live band, but all were content with the results.

Dan Currie and What Happened Tomorrow

Talking Bands
by Jaclyn Killins

Dan Currie and What Happened Tomorrow
 - Craig, Dan and Mike

As a kid, when most people were wearing jogging pants and cartoon tee-shirts, Dan Currie was rocking a leather jacket and jeans. His country-outlaw look, leather vests and cowboy shirts, tattoo sleeves and leather boots is the real deal, says bassist Craig MacPherson. Before he met Currie, MacPherson knew him as the kid with a rattail, a feisty little guy with a big voice who could play the guitar like a champ. “He’s still as seedy as ever,” MacPherson jokes.

Dan Currie and What Happened Tomorrow is a roots/blues/country band consisting of Currie on guitar and singing, MacPherson on bass and Mike MacDougal on drums. The three have played together for 10 years. They were all in Eyes for Telescopes and Tuesdays, MacPherson and Currie were in Double Ought Buckshot and MacDougal and Currie were in Strawberry. Over the years they’ve developed a musical telepathy, signals and cues that have become embedded in their unconscious. “I consider myself pretty lucky to have these guys as my back-up. They are my two favorite musicians to play with and my best friends to boot,” Currie says.

One thing has changed about Currie. He’s gone from, what he refers to as “the typical drunk junkie,” to a straight and serious musician, pulling it off without losing his edge. “I don’t think I know more but I can apply more of what I know,” Currie says of his new found focus. Songs that were once “weird psychedelic suicide notes,” are now more positive narratives, Currie says.

Even in his partying days Currie could still rock the guitar and belt out a song, his band mates say. There were a few times Currie felt like he couldn’t stand up, but putting on the guitar brought him back to life. In the middle of songs Currie’s world would slow down and foggy but then ‘bam!’, he would break into a guitar solo without missing a beat. “I could always play,” he says. His band mates agree.

Dan Currie and What Happened Tomorrow has a softer sound than other Currie bands. They play country music accessible to a wider audience, Currie says. “We could go play at a family show and then go to the bar and play.” Because they are such seasoned, connected musicians they can play off the vibe and pull back or let loose depending on the feel of the audience. “It’s one of those things where you can sit and watch us all night or you can move around,” MacDougal said.

Watch for their CD release this month.

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