Orillia is the Ontario home town of Canada’s Bleeker Ridge. A place once quoted by the band’s singer, Taylor Perkins as “Somewhere you would go and watch a movie, leave and go break things!”
Perkins, his brother Cole: guitar, Dan Steinke: guitar and his brother Dustin: drums are collectively Bleeker Ridge and that collectively, makes them shit hot.
There is no other explanation. Not a realistic one anyway.
Taylor Perkins and Dan Steinke are present, if not altogether correct during this interview!
In the real world of mere mortals such as you and me, the Bleeker boys would be hanging out on campus and playing the frat house. When of course, they weren’t working a menial 6-11 shift at the local fast food outlet. In a world of rock stars and gorgeous birds with oversized mammarial protrudences, they hang out in bars with topless painted ladies and play kick ass live music for the masses. Last year alone they supported Buckcherry and Papa Roach on the Canadian leg of the Jaegermeister tour, proving that who you know is always a big help. A former A&R guy for Roadrunner now working for Jaegermeister, had the band atop his list in anticipation of such events!
Three of the four band members met at age thirteen. Singer Perkins was 14. That was nine years ago. That’s right; the average age of this band is 21.5! They have come a long way since then, playing local blues clubs and being driven by their parents. “They took us everywhere,” Perkins says, sounding more than proud when he offers this information.
Having already given it to Canada fast and hard and with an ever growing number of fans, they are mentally heading to the border quicker than you can say Small Town Dead (the band’s first CD with Roadrunner Records).
Bleeker Ridge started life off as teen fans of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, touting CD store bought Tees and sporting long hair, while playing what Perkins described as, “music that was a lot more bluesy, we just progressed to the style we play now.” The tee shirts and long hair are now long gone. In fact Perkins is almost sporting a pixie cut these days.
Fortunately there is more of the “now” style music coming soon, Steinke explains. “We have been writing again and we are writing currently for record nymber two. There is a lot more in the mix, but we can’t say what right now,” he teases.
So, as Bleeker Ridge fans play the waiting game for the second record, the band plays several dates in Ontario and Quebec in the early part of 2012. What about live shows for the rest of the year? “There are always lots of festivals in the summer,” Perkins enthuses, “we love festivals.”
That may be so, but they were on the bill for Boonstock in 2011 and they didn’t make it. What happened? Perkins once again is the one to offer a reply, “Dustin and me were just discussing that. We were pissed because there were some great bands on the bill and we were routed, but it just didn’t work out.” Maybe this year? “That would be great, but what we really want to do this year is play the States, make ourselves known there,” he adds.
When you listen to the music this band produces, you have to ask where the ideas for writing come from. You Would Have Liked It is a real tear jerker. “I been through some shit,” Perkins says, with a giggle. “I’m just kidding; I’ve had a sweet life. We really get our ideas for songs from watching other people and what happens in their relationships. The music for that song was written in about three minutes and I went home, but just before I got into bed I sat at the computer and wrote the lyrics. It is still one of my favorites.” Impressively, all the song lyrics on Small Town Dead sound as if they were written by older, far more experienced souls and the music that carries them is equally impressive. Sick Of You is as emotionally touching as the former song, but in a harder, more aggressive manner. Little wonder there, when you consider that it was co-penned by Tyler Connolly, singer with Theory of a Deadman.
Dave Bassett (Shinedown and Sevendust) is also responsible for lending his professional penmanship on In Our Hands, Pick Me Up and Still Standing. The core of the record though, remains Bleeker Ridge, through and through.
Not only do these guys get an A+ for their CD, but they really are seriously impressive live too. They give their all and the crowd loves them for it. “It really is all about the crowd,” Perkins explains. “If the crowd is really into it, then it motivates us more too. We, like anyone are a little rusty for the first three or four shows of every tour. The more we play the more comfortable we get.” Steinke definitely gives it 150% live; how does he not have a permanent case of Metallica neck? “It’s usually sore for the first three days into a tour, but it’s nothing that a few Advil and some Jack Daniels can’t fix,” he confesses.
All recording and live perfections considered you have to wonder whether any professional training helped to produce such high standards?
“We all had different lessons in the same music store (belly laughing) but they didn’t last long,” Steinke offers, still chuckling. Steinke shows no comparison to a conformist in any way shape or form, so it is understandable that he is not a classroom-type guy. But, what does he like to do, other than music? “I just came home from Costa Rica yesterday and I spent all week out there surfing. When I’m home I like to snowboard and skateboard too.”
He also proudly adorns himself in large amounts of body art. “There is still room for more (starts laughing loudly again) and I intend to get one that says ‘hang loose,’ above my, you know. I think it would be funny.” Girls, you had better start praying for a Steinke rise blue jeans!
So then, what gives for the highly animated man with the killer voice? What floats his boat? Something equally high energy? Perkins calmly announces “I play music and I drink a lot of coffee and tea. I hang out with friends and I really like to drink beer too. I’m a big drinker.” Well, that explains the animation and also gives reason for his not being quite as adventurous as his band mate, just a little more tipsy and possibly friendlier?
While the rest of Bleeker Ridge is virtually drowning in sponsorship deals, due to their success and obvious talent, Perkins sounds a little sad when he announces “I don’t have shit. I sit here with nothing.”
Perhaps a deal with Depends would come in useful after all the liquid he consumes!
Apparently love, is not all you need!