It’s somewhere between work and vacation.
That’s the motto of Rich Dodson, guitarist and singer of Canadian icons The Stampeders who are bringing their classic, tie-dye rock anthems to Vernon April 7 and Kelowna April 8.
“It’s hard to describe being in The Stampeders as work. We’re very fortunate for that,” Dodson said. “That’s sort of what this band has always been.”
Originally known as The Rebounders, the group formed as a five-piece band in the late ’60s in Calgary before they relocated to Toronto and rebranded as The Stampeders. After the group was whittled down to it’s core trio, they rose to international fame for their platinum single, Sweet City Woman, for which they won Juno Awards in the categories of best group, best single, best producer and best composer.
Now that they’ve reached those heights, Dodson said, it’s time to just have fun.
“We wanted to do a little southern B.C. tour. It’s fun going through that spot again. It’s a little run we’d probably never really do,” Dodson said. “We’re full up on fame and just looking forward to more fun.”
The Stampeders split in 1977 after reaching wondrous heights. But, in 1992 at the Calgary Stampede, the trio brought The Stampeders back to life and have since been recognized by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) for their lifetime achievement, been inducted into the SOCAN Songwriters Hall of Fame on five occasions and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame for Sweet City Woman.
However, instead of doing the lengthy tours of old, The Stampeders now prefer to keep their road time light.
“Maybe 25 dates a year is all we do. It’s enough to keep it going not be done with it, to keep it fresh,” Dodson said. “The touring thing, I rather like. I never thought I would miss it when I left, but I did.”
Comprised of the original trio of Dodson with his signature double neck guitar, Ronnie King who tows the bass line while Kim Berly keeps the beat, The Stampeder’s 13 stop tour stretches from the Island to the Kootenays with stops at small theatres across the province.
“I’m looking forward to the tour, and at our age, this could be our last southern B.C. tour.” Dodson said. “It’s nice to be up front and close to the audience. The band has nothing to prove and we don’t take it too seriously.”
However, they don’t disregard the tunes.
“We still play too loud. It’s one, two, three rock n’ roll,” Dodson said, adding that they bring their own light and sound people on tour. “It’s fun to get together with the guys again. It can be a little tiring, these barn burners, but reconnecting with the fans afterwards is a big buzz.”
And, despite significant changes to the business since The Stampeders rose to fame in the ’70s, Dodson said connecting with fans is just as easy and important as ever.
“The internet is the big change. The internet has allowed us to reintroduce The Stampeders,” Dodson said.
Not only has the internet changed the world of music, but it has allowed Canada to become a front-runner in the business.
“Now we have such a strong industry here (in Canada) you can be a Blue Rodeo band and not have to worry about cracking the United States,” Dodson said. “We just seem to have a good situation up here for talent and developing talent. Maybe because it’s so cold in the winter we just spend a lot of time in the basement recording.”
While the industry may have evolved, Dodson said they’re still the same old Stampeders.
“Come check out the old guys when they’re still jumping around, and the clock is ticking,” Dodson laughed. “We’re just kids. We’re 70, but we’re just older kids.”
The Stampeders rock the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre April 7 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 and are available through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca. The Kelowna performance is slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Kelowna Community Theatre April 8. Tickets are $65 and are available through Select Your Tickets, 250-762-5050, www.theatre.kelowna.ca.