The fantastic four 

The Chucky Danger band find their Prince Edward Island roots in the Big Apple

click to enlarge The Chucky Danger Band
  • The Chucky Danger Band

Who: Chucky Danger

When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $21, $19, $10

With at least half the population of Prince Edward Island wielding an instrument and every second night of the week there’s a kitchen party, the members of P.E.I.’s the Chucky Danger band grew up in an environment where people aren’t afraid to explore musical genres.

But not until the talented group stepped into a New York recording studio with Grammy-Award winner Danny Blume to produce their second album did these four islanders branch outside of their pop rock sound.

There in the Big Apple, the foursome invited traditional East Coast music stylings into Chucky Danger’s sound.

“Danny’s not your typical producer; he is very eclectic. He won two Grammies for world and jazz music,” said John MacPhee, Chucky Danger frontman. “He’s done a good job of getting us in touch with more of the traditional music coming out of the East Coast.”

Everything from mandolin to a 100-year-old pump organ joins the theatrical Chucky Danger show coming to Whistler on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at MY Millennium Place as part of the Real Canadian in Whistler Series.

The evening will include tracks from Chucky Danger’s first album, Colour , as well as their new self-titled album. All of their songs leap off their records into the theatre spotlight with this rock show, including a ridiculous kazoo duet, a four-man drum “solo” and a violin bowed guitar. The musicians are even known to switch up instruments right in the middle of a song.

“Whether we are playing in a nightclub or a theatre, we don’t just recreate our record live,” MacPhee said. “We add a lot of spontaneity to the show and we always keep the audience wondering what is going to happen next.”

Even though the Chucky Danger band isn’t afraid to have fun, songs such as Lonely Eyes and Marching Machine ground the show. The songs were inspired by MacPhee’s pilgrimages to Cambodia and Guatemala, where he participated in humanitarian work.

“I taught cooking classes to women about North American food in Cambodia,” he said. “Hopefully learning those skills would get them out of the sweatshops and into good paying jobs, and certainly safer and better working environments.”

Not in the company of many English-speaking people and with no friends to talk about what he was going through, MacPhee spent a lot of time alone writing out his thoughts.

“It was such a huge cultural difference coming from P.E.I.,” he said of his Cambodia experience. “It inspired me to be a lot more introspective. You go through a lot of emotions when you are put in that kind of environment.”

It wasn’t until he came home that MacPhee realized he penned an album and with the help of his brother, Rob MacPhee, and friends David Cyrus MacDonald and Colin Buchanan, Chucky Danger was born.

Now three years later, the powerhouse rock band of four guys in mop tops, suits and ties have performed 300 shows across Canada, including a spot on the Warped Tour.

“Their kind of magic was the true reason to go to Warped — the off-chance that you might discover something great,” wrote a Georgia Straight music critic.

Chucky Danger’s award-wining songwriting and live performances have drawn comparisons to The Police, Talking Heads and The Beatles.

“The Beatles is arguably the best pop rock band in the world to date, so it’s certainly a flattering comparison,” MacPhee said. “We are continuing to forge on with our own sound and doing our own thing. But if a comparison like that allows people to put (our music) in a box that they can associate us with, it’s a great box to be in.”

Tickets are $21 for adults, $19 for students and seniors, and $10 for children. Advance tickets are now available by calling 604-935-8410 or by visiting ticketmaster.ca.

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