Sled Island: Dude going it alone
Being in the band that rules the Calgary indie-rock scene isn’t enough for Bob Quaschnick, the Dudes’ guitarist — he wants to prove he can go it alone, too.
Quaschnick, one of the creative forces behind the Dudes’ hard-driving, pounding sound that has become so familiar to Calgarians, is playing his first ever solo gig at the Sled Island Festival, and admits to being a little lost.
“I’ve never played a solo show before and I have no idea how to do it,” says the 33-year-old Calgary native. “It’s scary not having my Dudes, but it makes you a better musician. Hopefully it’ll make me better able to capture the crowd’s attention on my own — but I definitely needed to practice a lot.”
Sled Island Spotlight
Show: Thursday, June 25 @ Higher Ground, 10p.m.
For the Dudes’ website click here.
While the organizers of Sled Island would likely have jumped at the chance to get the full band to perform, Quaschnick says they made a conscious decision to skip the festival this year.
“We agreed to do this waterskiing festival (the Drenched H2O + Music Festival) before — and Sled Island is a wonderful thing, but we are very poor and the waterskiing festival is paying us a lot more. We’re not allowed to play any gigs within a certain amount of time of that show, so we’re skipping Sled.
“Besides, we played Sled Island last year, and we just had a gig last week, our CD release party, so why do we need another one?”
If Quaschnick sounds slightly condescending and aloof, it may be because the celebrity status he and his Dudes’ bandmates have achieved has gone to his head. However, he claims their success has grown far beyond the band’s Calgary home base.
“Being a celebrity is awesome — I actually got recognized in Newfoundland, if you can believe it — but it happens to me here all the time, and it’s really cool. It makes me feel like all the time and effort was worth it.”
Despite his accomplishments in the Dudes and their familiar sound, Quaschnick promises his solo material is nothing like the music Dudes fans have come to know and love.
“My solo stuff is all acoustic and sweet songs, affectionate songs about heartbreak, it’s nothing like the Dudes — well, I guess the guitar is kind of like the Dudes, but not really. I have lots of places to put in melodic guitar and harmonies with the Dudes, but this solo stuff is totally different.”
But even with the local radio play and media coverage that has anointed them as one of the top indie rock acts in Calgary, Quaschnick feels his band’s name may have prevented from getting the fame and fandom they deserve.
“With a name like the Dudes, I think we’ve been overlooked a lot in the past — people see a name like the Dudes and it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, man, dudes, cool …’ The immediate reaction is to dismiss us for the generic name.”
With his debut solo endeavour set for Thursday night at Higher Ground, Quaschnick will soon find out if the fans overlook him and his acoustic guitar, or if he really does need his Dudes.