Hailing from Moose Jaw, Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities are including Red Deer on their western Canada trek.
The guys play The Vat on April 27th.
“I always really liked music growing up, and I used to sing alot as well. My mom always sang, too, and she would say, ‘John, you have good rhythm with instruments,” recalls John Dale, who was born with two fingers on his right hand.
Initially, he felt he couldn’t take performing too far because of his hand, but perseverance would ultimately carve out a path. “I used to go to this camp, and at the time there was this kid there who was quite a bit younger than me.
“I was 16 or 17, and he was about 12. I thought, that little kid is playing that (guitar) – how hard could it be anyways?” he added with a laugh.
So off he went to the library to check out a few books on playing guitar. “I almost quit the first day because my left hand couldn’t stretch but I did stick with it.”
Those skills flourished, and by 2006 he was playing bass in his first band.
When the time came for the current band to start taking shape, it took some time with musicians coming and going to wind up with the ideal configuration today which includes ‘Cannonball’ Kelly Gower and Travis Geib. Word started spreading about these guys’ explosive and powerfully entertaining performances onstage.
Dale is also enjoying the art of collaboration with the guys, as in past years he was the primary songwriter.
These days, it’s more of a team effort with Geib in particular steadily bringing in riffs to which Dale typically layers with lyrics. “It’s nice to have another guy bringing another creative force.”
Over the years, the guys have been recording plenty, not to mention, keeping up a hectic pace on the road. A new release of already recorded material produced by Toronto’s Ian Blurton will be released later this year, and prior to this, their most recent project – an EP entitled Built to Rock ‘N Roll – was released in 2017.
Their last full-length disc, McMillan’s Monster, was unveiled in 2015.
As time has unfolded, word certainly kept spreading about what these guys have to offer.
Last year, the band won Regina’s 104.9 the Wolf’s Queen City Rocks Battle of the Bands. They’ve also been featured in Vice/Noisey, played some of Saskatchewan’s biggest music festivals as well as Toronto’s Indieweek.
Dale has also had a strong interest in paleontology.
“When I went to university, I majored in biology,” he explained. “But really, nothing else in school seemed even remotely interesting. I was playing guitar around that point as well, but it didn’t make any sense for me to go to school to become a musician when I knew I could do that on my own.”
He also thought he might like to be a professional wrestler at one point. But that inner call to create and perform music kept popping up.
“I think it’s come about organically because it was never a kind of thing where I wanted to be in a band,” he said.
“I was one of those guys who could recognize a song – but I didn’t know who it was,” he added with a laugh. “It wasn’t until later in high school when I started to really care about it, and realized how much I listened to it.
“I also wanted to make music that I liked. Most of the bands that I liked aren’t making music anymore, or they are dead – all these old-school rock and roll artists. And a lot of the new stuff on the radio I was finding depressing!”
Thus the uniqueness of the band, which, as mentioned, is committed to attacking the tunes ‘old-school’. The fans couldn’t be happier with that approach, which also couldn’t suit the band any better.
“There could be 15 guys with their backs to us and couldn’t give a damn, that’s the worst feeling in the world.
“But if there is one guy who is going nuts and saying things like, he hasn’t seen anything like this in years – well, that’s what we are playing for. Sometimes, in those really sad situations where nobody cares, you can close your eyes, play and listen to the music.
“Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. Being able to crank out some jams with your buddies – that’s what keeps you going. But when you do find some fans, and realize they like it as much as you do, that’s a cool feeling.
“It’s cool when it’s reciprocal like that.”