The Stampeders, says their drummer, Vernon resident Kim Berly, are still playing more than 50 years after their debut for fun and profit.
And Berly makes it clear: it’s in that order – fun, profit.
“We’re still here and we enjoy the buzz we get from being on stage,” said Berly as he and bandmates Rich Dodson (lead guitar) and bass player Ronnie King get set to kick off an 11-date tour of B.C. June 18 in Trail. The tour will stop in Vernon, at the Performing Arts Centre Monday, June 20, and at Kelowna’s Community Theatre Tuesday, June 21.
“We have a very interactive show. There’s nothing better than hearing a theatre full of people laughing. We don’t just play our songs and leave. It’s wonderful.”
The predominant Canadian rock ‘n’ roll band of the 1970s, The Stampeders are bringing along all their classic hits: Wild Eyes, Carry Me, Oh My Lady, Devil You, Monday Morning Choo Choo, Minstrel Gypsy, Hit the Road Jack and, of course, the quintessential Canadian – and Hall of Fame – song, Sweet City Woman.
No ’70s group represented Canada’s musical identity to the world like The Stampeders. A quick look at Canada’s music scene from 1971 until 1976 confirms the group formed in Calgary before moving to Toronto was truly the country’s international musical ambassadors, touring more extensively in Canada and overseas than any other Canadian group during that time.
Formed in 1966, the legendary Canadian trio is coming off a month’s rest following a 25-gig tour of Ontario. It was their first live shows since the beginning of COVID.
“It was truly spiritual,” said Berly, originally from Dawson Creek. “People were so happy to be out. We were so happy to be playing live.”
During the pandemic, Berly took to social media weekly, creating videos of him playing not drums but guitar, and singing obscure Stampeders’ album cuts.
“It was great for me. It gave me a reason to keep playing and singing,” said Berly, conceding, though, that he’ll be on the skins for the tour. He sings lead on Stampeders’ classics like Minstrel Gypsy, Oh My Lady and Wild Eyes.
Asked if he had a favourite Stampeders song, Berly said he loves all of them.
“The songs are all our children,” he said. “Each one is special.”
The Stampeders took time apart from one another in 1977, reuniting in 1992 and have been together ever since. Berly said he, Dodson and King are lifelong friends.
“We are performing better than we were during our (1970s) run,” he said, adding with a laugh: “The two up front aren’t running around the stage as much.
“We’re still playing and singing very well.”
Reserved seating tickets for The Stampeders are $66.50 (tax and facility fees included, service charges may apply) and are available from Ticket Seller in Vernon (250-549-7469) and from all Select Your Ticket outlets for Kelowna (250-762-5050). Showtime is 7:30 p.m.