The Rad Pack makes the most of winter 

From family après to Whistler Pride, the local band keeps busy when the snow flies

click to enlarge Radim Kopitz (right) performs alongside Conor Fitzpatrick at the Dubh Linn Gate. Photo submitted
  • Radim Kopitz (right) performs alongside Conor Fitzpatrick at the Dubh Linn Gate. Photo submitted

If it had been up to Marcus Ramsay, he would be in The McQuaidless Trio.

Instead, the band you've been able to see at the Family Après all winter, and, of course, at venues around Whistler, is The Rad Pack, featuring Ramsay on vocals and guitar, Radim Kopitz on fiddle, Art Barrientos on bass, and Andrew Crome on drums.

"I still refer to us as The McQuaidless Trio...until Kurt returns from music school," Ramsay says, with a laugh.

For the last two years, the group has essentially picked up where The McQuaid Trio left off. That's because its frontman Kurt McQuaid is in his second year of a two-year music school program in Nelson, B.C.

He's come back for summers packed with weddings and bar gigs, but when he returns to the Kootenays the remaining musicians transform into The Rad Pack.

"I'm pretty sure I've convinced him to come back. [But when people come back from Nelson] they come back with their crystals and they're talking about the positive energy there," Ramsay jokes.

In the meantime, The Rad Pack has been buckling down and playing the cold climes of Whistler as part of the Family Après at Whistler Olympic Plaza, which runs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. through the winter.

"It's actually a lot of fun, but it's a bit cold, I won't lie," Ramsay says. "The whole crew is friendly and welcoming. Sometimes they do maple taffy in the snow and there's always hot chocolate ... The kids are stoked, the parents are stoked because the kids are stoked. In their eyes, you're the best because you made the kids happy."

When the temperature dips really low, Kopitz shows up with fingerless gloves and they argue about who gets to play in front of the heater. "I'm the singer, so I like to play the lead singer card and say, 'I need the heater for my vocal cords,'" Ramsay adds.

While they perform the same array of fiddle-driven "good-time bar tunes" and classic rock that they do at indoor venues, they "keep it PG."

"It's a great time and they really seem to enjoy it," he adds.

With a large-ranging repertoire of cover songs from which to draw, it helps that the band's members have played together for multiple years in different variations.

"For me, Rad, and Drew, who are the core members of The Rad Pack, we've been playing together for five or six years now," Ramsay says. "Even if a song isn't in our brains when someone suggests it, usually after a couple strums we can figure it out."

When they're not busy with The Rad Pack, you can usually find band members playing with any number of local bands or solo musicians. Lately, they've worked often with solo musician (and 2019 Whistler Music Search runner-up for) Conor Fitzpatrick.

"It's really cool, it's a ski town, a party town," Ramsay says. "There's tons going on. Even if a gig doesn't last, a new one pops up."

Alongside the continued gig at après, the group is set to play at CABN, the official lounge set up in the Aava Hotel as part of the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival. The band will play the welcome party on Sunday, Jan. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m.

"We did it last year," Ramsay says. "It was a great time."

Entry to that event is with a festival pass. For more information on that visit whistlerpride.com/events-whistler-pride-and-ski-festival.

To keep up on The Rad Pack's other gigs visit facebook.com/The.Rad.Pack.Whistler.

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