Bad Wougar is/was a hard rocking band in Vancouver BC with four fine gentleman who practised diligently in a room called the “the Den” which I’ve visited several times – occasionally playing some drums, especially extended jams to “Cortez the killer”. The name “Bad Wougar” came from a campfire myth about a dangerous animal which was a mix of a wolf and a cougar.
On a trail walk one day, I recorded a myth about the creature for the bands use and amusement. They then invited me into the glorious brand-new Monarch Studio (which has an origin story to share another time) to record a few snippets from the riff for the songs. In all, my voice/words appear in two tracks on this final release which was distributed on CD with a paper gatefold cover (i have 2, Mac Kobayashi has 1).
For the record, released: February 28, 2014 (noting this was a high point in an otherwise tough tough year). As mentioned, the four members of the band (including a non-related Olson) were each fantastically kind, interesting fellas as well as quality musicians and it’s a privilege to know them.
So it goes, folks have other commitments and adventures in life so they don’t play anymore but I hope this CD/album is more widely distributed in future / Kind of band that would be big in Europe.
… every time I sling this album on the stereo I can’t but feel like I’ve been transported to a wood-panelled backwoods bar where the band are plying their gnarled rock ‘n’ roll trade in such a fashion that the venue’s customers are worried that the whole place will go up in flames, the sounds so incendiary….
There’s a grubby charm to this band and its self-described brand of hard charging rock ‘n’ roll. It’s garage rock by way of the forest and you can’t really ask for anything dirtier, earthier than that.
As the stoner-like riff of final track, ‘Spoke Too Soon’, rattles the fillings out of my teeth I’m left wondering if maybe what I just listened to was part of a crazed fever dream. Then I look up and see the album cover, the eyes of the Bad Wougar appearing to follow my every move…..
This spoken kick off made me realize I was in for a fun ride, just as if I was watching a movie–and I was not disappointed. …
The album itself has a delightfully punk element to it, often mixing with elements of classic and progressive rock. It could have been released in 1984, 1994, 2004, or 2014 and reflected the music of its time period.
Sometime in early 1988 (I think), (update: 1989) living in Orem Utah, recently dropped out of high school and floating along with classes at the community college, recovering from an epic car crash, my Grandpa rolled up in his old Chevy citation and suggested a road trip. Original thoughts for a few days but extended into much longer as we drifted down into Mexico.
With his “golden eagles” (or something to that effect), National Park pass, and affinity for small highways and no agendas plus his usual travelling style which included switching off driving responsibilities every two hours regardless of situation, choosing quirky / classic motels and diners on the fly, flirting with waitresses and continuous cigarette smoking and diary-keeping within the car, it was a most excellent journey.
I was studying photography at the time and took a heavy Japanese-made but Swiss-branded “Alpa” 35mm camera and black-and-white film, and a tripod and set up various shots along the way.
As usual, more evidence exists (including self-timer’d shots – often nekkid) and a photo essay of Petrified Forest) including a small spiral notebook chronicling where we stayed, various mileage and other ephemeral information about fuel efficiency, parks visited and what not, but for now, here are three of my favourite shots from the journey which I developed and processed myself in the dark room at the old ” Utah Technical College” Provo campus dark room.
The locations are unclear at this point but along the way, we visited every State / National Park/ Monuments anywhere near us, plus Tombstone Arizona, Four Corners, various places in Baja and mainland Mexico (in which I crossed the border with nothing but my old expired high school ID card or something… It’s all a bit hazy) I also recall buying a comically huge terra-cotta pot and huge woven basket in Mexico which was really a poor decision as we were taking turns resting in the back of the vehicle and well, space was at a premium.
Note: I wrote a story about a bit of the trip and specifically one morning on a First Nations “reserve” with a few observations while waiting for something to open (note to self: post that up sometime) and read some of it in a Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast too as well as a tribute to him in another.
The 2nd of a couple of VOM fanzines i did with Kamel / he was the ringleader, i was the “associate editor”.
This #2 had with Joey Ramone at the Commodore on the cover (bev. davies photo) and i was “upgraded” from contributor to associate editor from vol. 1 #bigtime
Vol. 2 was printed at my Mom’s real estate office on Scott rd. and ended up costing way too much to reproduce despite stealing paper from a nearby elementary school.
Along with Ramones at The Commodore, included reviews of Dead Kennedys at York Theatre, Hot Spot Dancers interview, The Dull and a big ad from Toxic Shock records which was the best part of the making the fanzine (records!) So much good music and lively scenes.
Note: (repeated elsewhere…) Kamel was a force of nature, a complete reckless maniac but just got things done and while i didn’t get “credit” so much, I learned a lot about hustling productions and rolling yer own media & used knowledge to get into loads of shows and help out bands.
One of a couple of VOM fanzines i did with Kamel / he was the ringleader, i was the ummm assistant.
This #1 includes (among interviews with bands Bill of Rights, Unknown Fibres, Shanghai Dog) a fake concert review of the “Ultimate Trendies” which was Kamel, me, Brad and Frank Baker doing a Sex Pistols air band at my church gymnasium (we didn’t win) + real reviews of actual great shows at York Theatre. #2 had with Joey Ramone at the Commodore on the cover.
Kamel was a force of nature, a complete reckless maniac but just got things done and while i didn’t get “credit” so much, I learned a lot about hustling productions and rolling yer own media & used knowledge to get into loads of shows and help out bands.
Me: Remember working on VOM fanzine in his basement bedroom while his dead grandmother laid “in state” upstairs and all the relatives came to visit. Also, riding buses to the York Theatre with him & Brad Rees many times.
VxOxMx vol 1 “masthead” – I “upgraded” from contributor to associate editor by volume two #bigtime
VxOxMx vol 2 was printed at my Mom’s real estate office on scott rd. Featuring Joey Ramone photo by Bev Davies
Dan Walters: Ha! My drawing on there…and the letraset I swiped from school. Shit, haven’t seen these in 34 years. Cheers
Me: Also Dan Walters Glad I could surprise and amuse you with those VOM artifacts after all the goodness you share out to the Internet. My time in the “scene” was obviously aborted with the move to Utah so your documentation helps me fill in the gaps that I missed out on.
PS worth noting that ending up in Utah with my punk concert experiences in Vancouver and a fake ID, made it a lot of fun. Saw & played in lots of bands, got backstage, “media” access blah blah blah
Kai Erichsen: I remember you Dave. And the photocopy fiasco at your mom’s work lol! Fuck we were all so broke but we made shit happen. Fun!
Dave Olson: Kai Erichsen i heard about that from her for yeeeeaaaarrsss – ha!
Kai Erichsen: Kamal stole the paper too… boxes of it.
Dan Walters: Kai- we broke into my old elementary school and ditched boxes of paper in the bushes, went back and got them after dark, lol.
Dave Olson: Kai Erichsen yeah we’d roll into Cedar Hills elementary school and just take it. i remember some “adult” trying to stop us one time and we just kept going – hanging with you and Kamel made me feel a lot tougher and taller!
This is really and artifact of an artifact – a screenshot of a now long deprecated and lost twitter to a former handle – regardless this was worlds colliding for brother Bob and i – as it goes, i had lent a hand getting this US Navy-related account rolling on Hootsuite and mentioned Bob’s service (think he was deployed in combat zone at the time) and they chimed-in to give a special thanks.
When i excitedly told then Lt. (now Commander) of the mention, he was confused and didn’t really get the significance (and really what is the significance, really?) but years later, it is a moment we can share fondly, maybe. Just glad he came away from war-zones safely.
Update: now archived thusly with date stamp and more context
@daveohoots Thanks for your comments and for your brother’s service!