Beers playing for love of music 

SSMB on the slow road and enjoying life

Who: She Stole My Beer

Where: Buffalo Bill’s

When: Friday, Nov. 14 & Saturday, Nov. 15

Tickets : $13-$18

Rock ’n’ roll is all about life in the fast lane.

But it can also be about life on the slow road. It’s the road the fast lane exits onto after a band realizes they can no longer indulge a single-minded pursuit of rock stardom. Bands on the slow road have given up the touring and the demos and the scrappy attempts at getting signed or working out their next recording contract, and simply play their music for the love of it whenever the opportunity happens to arise.

Most bands don’t take the exit. The music isn’t enough to fill the gaping hole when the momentum and the ambition are removed. It’s an old story and it happened to local rockers She Stole My Beer in 1996, the year they blinked the stars from their eyes and decided to turn from the pursuit of the rock ’n’ roll dream to the pursuit of real lives, real jobs, and families.

But two years later the seven-piece band reunited on the slow road, because they missed playing music. They’re not touring anymore, just taking the odd show whenever given a chance.

Stripped of industry-related pressures, both vocalist/guitar player Tom Taylor and percussionist Franco Diligenti confirm She Stole My Beer’s name goes on the marquee these days for one reason only.

"This is all about fun," says Diligenti. "There’s no other reason to play."

Thinking back on the band’s pre-1996 heyday Diligenti admits that for all the excitement of living the rock lifestyle, the demands took a toll on the music and the players.

"We were such slaves to the grind back in those days," he reflects. "We were a machine that was being pushed along."

"Now it’s just for fun," adds Taylor. "We’re lucky."

With Diligenti and keyboardist Jordan White in Whistler and the rest of the band – Taylor, drummers Dean Waisman, and Geoff Hicks, and guitarists Chad Chillbeck and David Hughes – in Vancouver, their sporadic West Coast shows are mini-reunions for the band members, but also their loyal fans. While Taylor says there are always young faces in the crowd, She Stole My Beer’s primary fan base has been around since their heyday in the early ’90s.

"We know so many people in Whistler that come to the shows and it’s always familiar faces," he says. "We kind of all grew up together playing and the friends we’ve had over the years have grown up with us, coming out to see the band."

Of course the main reason for the audience loyalty is the timeless appeal of SSMB’s percussion-heavy rock ’n’ roll punched up with country, blues and jam-band influences. Their legendary energy as a group is impressive considering that with seven band members, there are a lot of opinions and musical influences fighting that kind of cohesiveness. The diversity makes their music hard to classify chuckles Taylor, though he notes that lately they seem to be exploring their country roots more and more.

Country, rock, blues, ’60s psychedelica, whatever sticklers want to pin on She Stole My Beer, all their fans seem to care about is that they keep playing. Taylor says Bill’s-goers can expect a few new covers, but pretty much more of the same old straight-up Beer they’ve loved all along.

"I’m looking forward to playing more than anything," he adds as a toddler’s voice rises in the background.

Life in the fast lane may be over, but there’s plenty of rock ’n’ roll ahead on the slow road.

She Stole My Beer comes to Whistler for two shows, tonight and Saturday, at Buffalo Bill’s. Dustin Bentall, (son of Canadian legend Barney Bentall who just may show up to check out his son and be persuaded to join in for a number or two) joins them on Friday night, and Vancouver alt-cowgirl trio Daisy Duke opens on Saturday night. It’s a departure for SSMB who usually play without openers, but Taylor says both acts are good friends of the band and should fit into the family reunion vibe.

Tickets are $15 on Friday, and $18 on Saturday, discounted when purchased in advance. Call 604-932-6613 for more information.

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