Kevin Honeyman might not have a Kimberley postal code these days, but he will always remain one of the brightest musical talents ever to emerge from the Bavarian City of the Rockies. His name will ring long into the annals of East Kootenay music history if only for co-fronting the legendary ska-funk-punk phenomenon The Honeymans, who (from 1997 through 2002) established themselves as one of North America’s hardest-touring underground rock bands and made blond dreadlocks cool for Ford Country. Even with that band’s sad dissolution, Honeyman’s unrelenting sonic creativity coalesced again in 2006 into the equally-titanic Elk Hunt (along with stalwart bassist-vocalist Brian Morris, drummer extraordinaire Colin “Utton Dutton” Righton, and wildman bagpiper Noah Wesche), combining equal parts heavy metal, punk rock, reggae skank, and Highland bagpiping (!) into yet another unique and thrilling rock band uncopied anywhere else in British Columbia – or all of Canada, for that matter. And Elk Hunt finds itself braying loud and strong once again this coming Saturday April 14th at the Kimberley Elks Club, to the joy of abused eardrums everywhere.
“I’m so stoked to reignite Elk Hunt,” says Honeyman. “I’m really looking forward to this show. Should be a great night of great music! Always so good to return to the old hometown and make noise for the old home crowd.”
Although he moved to Williams Lake several years back to nab a lucrative position in the northern mining industry, even being lost in the barrens does nothing to keep Kevin Honeyman from remaining Kevin Honeyman.
“That was one of the most important things I established as soon as I moved to Williams Lake…discovering the local scene and making music with people. I was a bit worried about it, since I had no idea what it’d be like, but there’s actually a huge arts community in the Cariboo! There’s a lot of really talented musicians. Not a lot of punk bands, mind you…more on the folky side of things, but it’s been great. I’ve been quite impressed with the scene up here. I’m very happy.”
And Honeyman’s musical happiness isn’t complete without gathering his old comrades together and setting the Kimberley night afire.
“I’m sure we’ll be burning bright for years to come,” quips Honeyman. “It’s an annual family reunion for us. Brian and Colin and Noah are always stoked to play. And every time we get together, even if it’s a year between shows, everything just clicks immediately back into place, tight and strong and punchy, song after song, as if we’d just played the night before. Everyone’s a good instrumentalist in the band, so rocking out is the easy part…it’s the scheduling that’s the headache!”
Also appearing at Elk Hunt’s reunion show this Saturday is the debut performance of Phaeton (featuring guitarist Kevin Thiessen, guitarist Daniel Airth, bassist Ferdy Belland, and that wascally-wabbit Colin Righton again on drums). An all-instrumental quartet combining the blistering rifferama of Technical Heavy Metal with the clever arrangement skills of Progressive Rock, Phaeton (named for the theoretical proto-planet which collided with Primordial Earth and formed the Moon) promise to heat up the night for Elk Hunt’s return.
“I mean, even when we were all living in Kimberley we still only played once or twice a year,” Honeyman explains, “but we’ve all been friends for eons, and the band itself has been a unit – currently on the backburner or no – for at least a decade now. And we still don’t have an album released! Yet. I have an entire album’s worth of Elk Hunt music on my home recording equipment that I’ll finish one day, before my computer crashes! All the main tracks are there – drums, bass, guitar, vocals – but we need to get Noah on there!”
The artistic muse is always alive in Kevin Honeyman’s bustling mind, like a gas oven’s pilot light, and he gives us a glimpse into his creative process.
“My songwriting methods come from different directions, depending on where I’m at and what I have available. My favorite way to write is to have some sort of recording device running in front of me. I’ll noodle for a bit until I come up with a catchy guitar riff or a cool bassline. Sometimes I’ll come up with beats if I’m behind a drum kit. Usually I’ll end up piecing together a rough arrangement of the song, and the lyrics come last. That’s been the general equation, most of the years I’ve done it. As of late, the lyrics have become a bit more free-flowing, trying to make them fit the music rather than making the music fit around the words. Even if the lyrics don’t end up making much sense, I just try to make them sound good!”
Elk Hunt (with guests Phaeton) light up the Kimberley Elks Hall (250 Howard St., Kimberley BC) this Saturday April 14th; doors 7:00pm, show 8:00pm. Don’t miss out!