Black Label Society finished up the Canadian Chapter of their tour with back to back shows this past weekend in Vancouver. I was lucky enough to not only attend both shows but be able to meet and interview the almighty Zakk Motherfucking Wylde! Stay tuned for my piece on that experience, which should be forthcoming later this week.
The point that I really want to get across today is that you never know what might happen at a concert or who you might run into. For last Saturday’s and Sunday’s show the bill read, “Black Label Society, Protest The Hero, Pop Evil, and Killinger.” The opening act, Killinger, turned out to be some of the coolest guys I’ve ever met in the music business.
Hailing from Edmonton, Killinger’s style is a little hard to put your finger on at first but after you listen to their hit single “We Are Here,” you can definitely tell their roots stem from KISS. Think old school arena rock with a 21st century spin. What amazed me about them was the stories that were behind every member of the band.
Bassist Justin Craig is not the original four stringer of the band but can no doubt play with the best of them. He can also do an excellent British accent. Lead guitarist Kevin Morin is a shredder by night, and quite astoundingly, a medical practitioner by day. That’s right folks. Not only is he the axe handler of a talented up and coming Canadian band but his Ph.D in medicine is something that comes in handy when the other members have fallen ill. Says the good doctor, “Rock and roll is great for your heart!” No one can discredit that.
Dave Williams handles the vocal duties. Unfortunately, he fell ill right before the Canadian leg of the BLS tour started. Killinger were in a jam so they called upon their good buddy from a Calgary band. James Nation was the man to step in and take the reigns. What will really knock your ass on the floor is that James was asked to tour so close to the tour dates, that he had only thirty hours to learn all the songs in the Kill catalog. Now that’s a bit of hard work to learn, perfect and perform an albums worth of songs in less than a day. Not to mention being on the same bill as BLS. He managed to pull it off as every night James brought the house down with his singing ability.
Last but certainly not least is drummer supreme, Chris Challice. Don’t let the Steven Tyler looks fool you, this guy packs a mean punch on the drum throne. One of my best memories of this band will always be the hospitality and respect that Chris showed me on both nights. He’s a class act and you can surely tell he’s here for the fans. I feel honored that these dudes took me in as one of their own and I’ve gained some pretty awesome friends along the way.
Alright, enough sappy shit, now it’s time for two hilarious Killinger tour stories!
Chris’ drumming ability is masterful but is his sense of humor is on par as well. After the second night at the Vogue Theater, I met up with the Kill crew out back by their tour bus. Drinks were at a premium and Chris was enlightening us with his comedic talents. In the music biz, everyone is constantly looking for something original. Something that has never been done. Challice no doubt concocted a plan for the next album that I honestly can’t recall ever happening.
“New album. First single. We play the intro riff of Cowboys From Hell and when that intro is done, my voice comes on and says FOOLED YOU!”
That my friends, is an original idea. It’s also another reason why Dime is shotgunning a beer as we speak.
Dr. K-Mo had a tale that dropped me to the floor, clutching my stomach, trying not to explode with laughter.
“We’re driving down the road in Baltimore, Maryland and a huge African American dude steps right in front of the bus, hands on his sides with a mean look on his mug. We get out and see what the problem is.”
“You’re four white guys touring the country and you have the audacity to drive around in a bus that says Kill Ni**er!!”
Apparently, Baltimore has the highest illiteracy rates in the states.
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