Canadian rock n roll band The Sheepdogs are on a tour of Quebec. Friday, January 25th at MTELUS is the final night. Lead singer/ guitarist Ewan Currie took some time out to give me a call discussing the band’s current album, the rock n roll music trend, dogs and even vegemite.
Ron: Good morning, Ewan. So here are the Sheepdogs doing a tour of Quebec when its record low temperatures. I’m sure you didn’t plan it that way but what made you decide to tour Quebec in January?
Ewan: I knew it was going to be cold. I didn’t think it was going to be this cold. The idea formulated around our tour of Canada last February. We did a small show in Saint-Casimir and we were really struck by the reaction of the fans there. The audience predominately didn’t speak English yet they were singing along to the songs louder than any other crowd we’d played to on the tour. We’ve always known there was a real love for rock n roll in Quebec so we knew knew we had to dig a bit deeper and explore more of the population here.
Ron: You’re coming up on the last two shows of this tour. So far how have the audiences been?
Ewan: Oh it’s been fantastic. You know we played Quebec City before but we’ve played places like Drummondville which I’ve never been too before. It’s always exciting to play new places and see them pack it in. It’s been a really awesome man.
Ewan: They’re a great band! It’s been really good for us to be with a band who’s steeped in the old school rock n roll vibe like we are. It’s few and far between to find bands like that. We’re so excited to have a kick-ass rock n roll band open for us.
Ron: Here’s the thing I listen to the Sheepdogs music even your latest release Changing Colours and I’m instantly transported to the ’70s. Obviously, the Damn Truth has the same vibe draped in classic rock. We could certainly mention Greta Van Fleet. Why do you think that classic rock sound is making such a comeback lately?
Ewan: I don’t know. When I was in high school it was like The Strokes, The Vines, and The Hives were bringing rock n roll back. Then it was Kings of Leon and The Black Keys were bringing it back. I think it’s always there. Lately, it’s not the dominant force it used to be between the ’50s to the ’90s let’s say. Today it’s all rap and pop along with mainstream country music as well. It doesn’t mean that people still don’t want rock n roll anymore. There’s an appetite for it. I’ve seen it all over the world where we’ve gone. It’s kind of like mass produced whiskey. We’re trying to be a small craft rye whiskey special blend. In the end, as long as it’s rock n roll it’s good enough for me.
Ron : So who do you like for newer bands?
Ewan : That’s a good question. I’m such a stuck in the past guy. We made a Spotify playlist and posted it on our social media where everyone in the band picked some newer stuff because we’re always trying to hit people into the older stuff. I really like Andy Shauf from Regina. Then there are the Rival Sons who we are going out on the road with in Europe and the U.S.
Ron: It’s funny you mention that because that was my next question. From here you are going to Europe and then America opening for Rival Sons. Is it going to be a bit surreal from being a headliner here to an opener down there?
Ewan: It’s a different mind frame. We’re kind of licking our lips because it’s pretty easy especially when you fit in stylistically with the headliner. It’s kind of like we’re the appetizer and they’re the main course. It’s not as much pressure to carry as much of the weight of the show on your shoulders. It’s a pretty sweet spot to be an opener. Don’t get me wrong I love being a headliner because we get more money and you get to do a full set.
Ron: Your latest two albums Future Nostalgia and Changing Colours have these little snippet medleys. I found it very reminiscent of Abbey Road from The Beatles. I know The Beatles are your biggest influence. Is that where you got the idea from?
Ewan: Yeah. I’m a big Beatles fan and when I heard Abbey Road for the first time it just knocked me on my ass. The way to take all these little pieces and put them together to tell a story. It’s kind of epic. It really spoke to me. I’ve always wanted to do something like that in our music. Now that’s kind of become a regular feature on our albums.
Ron: Can we expect this to sort of be the trend of each new release? I really think that you should do this on every future album.
Ewan: Well we’ve done it on the last three which I produced. The only album we didn’t do it on was because our producer didn’t like the idea. As long as I have a say, we will definitely do it.
Ron: You were born in Australia. Have you guys played there? What was it like to be back?
Ewan: Yeah we’ve played there a few times. One time we were there for three days. The next time we went back and opened for John Fogerty all over the country. I’ve visited a few times without the band. It’s really a tremendous country, much like Canada.
Ron: So being from Australia, do you like vegemite?
Ewan: I do actually. I was living there for the first ten years of my life. If you get hooked on it when you’re young and you know you know how to put it on properly you’re hooked on it for life.
Ron: You got the band’s name from a sheepdog. So do you have any pets yourself?
Ewan: I do. I have an English Bulldog.
Ron: Oh cool. Is he on the road with you guys?
Ewan: I wish. No, he’s a bit too slobbery to be on the road with us. He’s back at home and he’s awesome. He’s a little bit easier to take care of than a big sheepdog. Although I would really like to get a sheepdog one day.
Ewan: It’s an old fashioned rock n roll show. It’s kind of like the Concert for Bangladesh or Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen. We’re old school. We care about the singing. Everyone in the band sings or has solos. We change instruments. We segue songs into one another. We’re putting on a show. It’s tight. It’s high energy and exciting. We consider ourselves entertainers. It’s a feel good time and guaranteed to move you.
Ron: One other thing about your Quebec tour is that you guys did a cover of Michel Pagliaro’s What the Hell I Got. Will you be playing it in Montreal for the final night and any chance you might get Pag himself to come and join you for it on stage?
Ewan: We’d love to. We’ve tried to get hold of him but he’s a hard man to reach. If you can get the word to him then, yeah let him know we’d love to have him come out and join us.
Ron: Maybe we’ll see an onstage collaboration with The Damn Truth?
Ewan: We’ve been wanting to so there’s a very good chance we’ll do something with them.
Ron: That would be awesome. Thanks so much for the call. I and the rest of Montreal look forward to the show this Friday.
Ewan: Thanks a lot, Ron.
Make sure to get your tickets as this show is sure to sell out. Let’s see if Michel Pagliaro will make it. https://thesheepdogs.com/#tour