Dr. Nick & The Rollercoasters
I first started playin' harmonica in my early teenage years, around 1969. Nothing serious, just jamming in the washroom back at Northern Secondary in Toronto. I remember how kool it sounded with all the echo bouncing off the tiles. Most of my friends were into Hendrix and the Beatles back in those days, and so was I. But then a fellow student told me on the bus going home one day to check out this kat called Little Walter, who had died a few years earlier. So into Sam the Record Man I went and out I left with a copy of "Boss Blues Harmonica" under my arm. That was a turning point in my life. What I heard on that two album set shook me up in a really good way, and I can still feel some trembling going on within me every time I give it a spin. That's what the power of the Blues is all about, I suppose. People don't choose the Blues, the Blues chooses them. Guess I'm just another happy prisoner of the Blues!
Around 1998 I put together the band The Rollercoasters. I chose that name because life is like a rollercoaster, with lots of ups and downs and sharp turns that can throw you off. Sort of like what the Blues is also telling us. The Rollercoasters is more a collective of some of Toronto's best Blues musicians than a fixed unit. Most often I have with me guitar ace Peter Schmidt along with veteran Blues drummer Bob Vespaziani and bassist James Rasmussen. But I also am fortunate to have had, and continue to have on my gigs so many of Toronto finest, such as Terry Wilkins, Chung Lu, Joe Burns, Chris Lamont, Tom Bona, Dan Dufour, Darran Poole, Aaron Griggs, Darren Gallen, and many others. Every ride of the Rollercoasters is always a little different, bringing a fresh dynamic and energy to the mix. But the underlying sound is always there, a distilled electric ensemble sound that is swingin', jumpin', shufflein,' but most importantly, groovin'!
Performances this month:
Sunday, February 19, 2017