Heater History, Part VII: The Skal Sessions

Part VI here: http://www.heatergirl.com/archives/138 


If you’ve read any of the other parts of this series, you know that the Toronto open mic scene played a huge part in our band’s collective history. While Not My Dog is obviously the most prominent, there is another open mic that was integral to the formation of the band that I haven’t quite given its due yet. That’s the jam over at Skal Rock Bar.

I met the host of the Skal jam, Dave Hustler (his real name), at the Cadillac open mic and I actually started going to that jam around the same time I started going to NMD. Caddy mondays, Skal tuesdays, and NMD wednesdays was my standard open mic schedule for almost all of 2010. While Dave was away on work, he actually entrusted me with hosting the jam for just shy of two months and that was my first ever hosting gig in the city. I continued to go the jam nearly every week over the summer and made a lot of great friends over there.

In the winter of that year, I met a few of Darren’s friends at Skal, Alex and Andrew. They were a bassist/drummer duo who had previously had a band together but recently lost their lead singer and guitarist after he moved out of town. So when I started looking to assemble a band, it was pretty much an ideal situation for the three of us to join up together. After having the two of them back me up on a few of my own songs at the Skal jam, they invited me out to their rehearsal space to hammer them out properly.

In the first session we had together alone, we managed to work out five of my songs, get them recorded,  and immediately went to Skal and played all of them fairly well. Being old highschool friends with Andrew, Darren was eventually brought into the fold as a lead guitarist. I was convinced that this would be the permanent line up for my band.

But admittedly, after those first few sessions with Alex and Andrew, I dropped off the map for a month or so because of midterms. In the intervening time, they’d realized that while they liked my songs, they weren’t exactly the kind of thing they wanted to be playing. So they started jamming with a few other guys and went on to form the band that Heater Girl would share the bill with for our first show, Battleplan. If you give their stuff a listen, I have no doubt that you’ll be impressed but also see just how much of a departure it is from what I now do with HG. No feelings were hurt over the dissolution of that particular line up and we all ended up in better situations for it. I look forward to getting on another bill with those guys at some point.

Brief as it was, that time spent jamming with Alex and Andrew really helped me figure out how my initially acoustic songs would sound with a full band. In fact, there are certain arrangements in parts of the songs that I now play with Heater Girl that are informed directly by those recordings I did with them during our first session at their rehearsal space and we will definitely be acknowledging that fact on any releases we have of those songs. And more to the point, those jam sessions with Darren were the first times that he and I got the idea that we should be in a project together.


to be continued next week with Heater History, Part VIII: LexiContraBand and the Great Hall Meetings


wishing you contentment and cotton candy,


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