A few years ago, I was at a really low point in my life. I had just been dumped, I had lost my religion, and I was living at home with my parents at the age of twenty-four. For the first time in my life, I used alcohol to assuage my pain.
One night during this time, I was hanging out with a couple of high school buddies—Simon and Mike. The three of us had grown up playing in various garage bands. We played our first gigs at the community youth dances; performed together in the battles of the bands in our school’s cafeteria; recorded demos of our songs first on a little 4-track tape recording, then eventually with a cracked version of whatever audio software was available at the time.
Simon and I had gotten to know each other pretty well as we worked together at the local grocery store. Our friendship carried through college and into our young adult years and we had continued performing in various ensembles throughout that time. Mike and I, on the other hand, had not been particularly close through high school, and hadn’t stayed in touch beyond it.
We spent the night playing guitar, singing songs, drinking, making each other laugh, reminiscing about old times and sharing with each other what life had brought our way in the time since. As the night came to a close, we stood at the front door and talked about a new project the two of them were gearing up for. It was the rebirth of a band called Boss Rebel that Mike had started a few years prior. They had recorded a couple of albums and performed all over Southwestern Ontario, but eventually broke up due to internal conflict. I was six months into a sabbatical from playing music after burning out from a year of rehearsing and performing multiple times every week, but the idea of doing something with two old friends peeked my interest.
My time with Boss Rebel went on to be some of the best years of my musical life. I had always taken music incredibly seriously, dedicated in my devotion to developing both my craft and business, but Boss Rebel taught me that music was meant, first and foremost, to be fun.
In the two years we were together, we recorded a full-length album, shot and released two music videos (one for the title track “Heavybad” featuring yours truly in his favourite style of swimming attire, the other for “Name in Lights”), and played some of the craziest shows I’ve ever played; everything from a breast cancer fundraising show to an axe throwing competition and everything in between.
But aside from all of that, what Boss Rebel really did was save my life. It gave me something good to cling to when everything else in my life felt like it was falling from under my feet.
Getting ready to clean my apartment this afternoon, I did a double take as I opened Rdio and noticed a very familiar image staring back at me from my collection view: the album art for the only Boss Rebel album I was a part of. I have had no part in handling any of the business affairs of the band, so while I knew it had been available on iTunes since its release, I had no idea it had been added to Rdio’s collection as well.
Suffice to say, I’m pretty fuckin’ stoked!
If you’re into bands like Sublime, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, Ill Scarlett, Black Belt Jones, or Weezer, or if you just like fun, energetic party rock, Boss Rebel might be your kind of thing. If it is, definitely check out Heavybad on iTunes or Rdio.