Burin Peninsula’s resident rock trio Skidderpup look to put their region on the map, making waves both internationally and at home in Newfoundland and Labrador
When you think of rock and roll in Newfoundland, Grand Bank may not be the hotspot that comes to mind. Burin Peninsula rock trio Skidderpup are looking to change that.
Currently booked in as part of the line-up for upcoming Summerfest, a major music festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and having played the 2018 Live At Heart festival, in Orebro, Sweden, Skidderpup are bringing their brand of rock to major international stages.
This trio – Chad Grandy (Guitar/vocals), Dave Noseworthy (bass/vocals), and Damon Greene (drums/vocals) are veterans of the Burin music scene. Back in the early 2000s, the three musicians were playing in various local bands, randomly uniting for one collaborative show.
“Damon and I had been playing together for about a year or two at this point with another band that had dissolved,” Grandy recalled.
“One night, we got together with Dave and the three of us planned an afternoon matinée at the local bar. We all agreed that we wanted the project to focus on vocal harmonies. We got together to work out some arrangements of our favourite acoustic covers.”
For over a decade, the band booked gigs on their home turf, creating setlists comprised of original music and crowd favourite cover tunes from bands like AC/DC, Ram Jam, Trooper, and more.
“We have had great support from the start,” Grandy shared.
“We were very lucky to develop a great following locally. They seem to really love both our take on cover tunes as well as our original material, often requesting originals, which is a great feeling!”
In 2004, Skidderpup released a CD demo of Christmas tunes. Three years later, in 2007, they released an album of original music, only sold in local stores in the area.
“We all decided to write three or four songs each, bring them to the group and then record them,” Greene explained.
“Other than guitar lead breaks and riffs, etc., the songs were pretty well completed individually before we started the recording process. For this album, however, Chad brought forward some songs he had already written along with some unfinished songs and ideas he had tucked away and together we made them work as a band.”
Grandy and Noseworthy cite family members as being major influences on their foray into music.
“My grandfather, George Grandy, was the face of rock n’ roll on the Burin Peninsula during the late 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s,” Grandy explained.
“He was packing dance halls in various towns all over the peninsula and was a regular performer on the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon doing month long stints. At the age of nine, my dad, Todd Grandy started playing drums with him and even played on his first record in 1972 at the age of 12. My grandfather taught me my first guitar chords when I was around 10 years old. This started my lifelong love for music.”
Noseworthy also hails from a musical family on both sides.
“From trumpet to flute to piano lessons, music was all around me constantly! My father Dave Noseworthy is an amazing musician and was also a member of the very popular Bell Island group, The Newfoundland Showband, in the ’70s with gold albums, Canadian tours, and TV appearances.”
‘t\The official invite’
Skidderpup may follow up on their family’s success with George Grandy & His Band and The Newfoundland Showband, following a chance encounter with Live at Heart Sweden promoter Peter Astedt, through fellow Burin musician Evan Murray.
Astedt was in Burin for Live At Heart Newfoundland, the new sister company of Live At Heart Sweden. During the October 2017 global music business conference, Skidderpup opened for Swedish band, The Magnettes.
“It was during the Magnettes show that Peter saw our performance,” Noseworthy said.
“He mentioned he was interested in us and maybe asking us to play the Live at Heart festival in Sweden. We were obviously very excited at the time just to meet him and the fact that he really liked us was exciting as well. The real excitement came with the official invite to Sweden we received in May. That’s when it became real.”
The band fundraised to cover costs for their trip, and achieved their goal through social media, the help of fans, and their community.
Skidderpup gave a special shout-out to “Mike, Paddy, Alison and the crew at Smuggler’s Cove Roadhouse Patio-Bar and Grill” who helped make their international debut a reality.
“Our experience in Sweden made us realize … that we are able to hold our own with bands on an international level,” Noseworthy said.
This wasn’t the only international gig that was offered to the band during the Live at Heart Newfoundland event.
“Following our first performance, Dave Silbaugh the talent booker from Summerfest, approached us with compliments about our musicianship, tone, original music and our performance. The following day, our friend and mentor Evan Murray informed us that we were being booked for Summerfest. It took a while for it to really sink in, to be honest. I mean we just got booked for the largest rock music festival in the world! We were beyond grateful for this lifetime opportunity and really want to make Newfoundland proud.
“It’s been a long time comin’ but we are so ready to rock the stage at Summerfest,” Greene added excitedly.
At the moment, the band is working on another full album, with two raw, unmastered singles – Chasing You and Runaway Train – currently available online through Spotify and Apple Music as a sneak peek of the upcoming album. Those tracks will be mastered in Los Angeles by Robert Hadley, one of the top mastering engineers in the world. A music video is also in the works.
“We hope to have the album finished by the end of June. This will be in CD format and possibly some very limited vinyl,” the band teased.
For those who weren’t in Sweden and won’t be attending Summerfest in Wisconsin, Skidderpup has a number of upcoming gigs, including two unconfirmed shows in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Within the province, look for the band on bills for the Grand Bank summer festival, the Garnish Bakeapple Festival, Parker’s Cove summer festival, and the Ride the Boot rally at Smugglers Cove Roadhouse in Burin. More shows are to be announced, as well as a CD release party.