Yukon Blonde gets back in the van


Pop rockers head out on the road for cross-Canada headlining tour

Yukon Blonde: James Younger, Brandon Scott, Jeffrey Innes, Rebecca Grey, and Graham Jones.

Yukon Blonde: James Younger, Brandon Scott, Jeffrey Innes, Rebecca Grey, and Graham Jones.

Photograph by: Handout, Handout

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Yukon Blonde

Feb. 5, 9:30 p.m.at Commodore Ballroom

Tickets: $20 plus fees, at Ticketmaster

The rock star life is over for Yukon Blonde — for now.

After joining Hey Rosetta on tour last year following the release of Yukon Blonde’s third full-length album On Blonde, the members of the Vancouver-based five-piece got to enjoy the perks of riding a tour bus across North America for the first time in their career.

Guitarist and vocalist Brandon Scott remembers the experience fondly.

“The Hey Rosetta tour was a bucket list thing for us,” Scott said in a recent interview with The Vancouver Sun. “We threw all the chips and said, ‘Screw it! If they’re doing a bus tour, we don’t want to follow in the van.’ It’s daunting doing that, especially in the winter. We figured we’d have the worst winter ever and it ended up being the mildest winter.

“(The bus) is called Ruby. It’s done a lot of tours. Apparently there’s 1.5 million kilometres on this puppy. It’s been going since ’90. It’s done tours with Big Wreck and Big Sugar. There was a bunch on there. We rented it off this company and they hired this new driver, Travis, and he was amazing. He moved up from semi (truck) driving into the bus world and this was his first ever bus tour and working with a band of any sort. I think he normally did canola runs in his semi across the Prairies. He’s from Winnipeg.

“His first jaunt was to meet us up in Vancouver and driving us down to L.A. He’d never been to the West Coast, never gone down to L.A., he hadn’t seen cities that big, you know, rolling in with this humongous bus thing — ‘Oh God, this is amazing!’ He was having the time of his life.”

As was the band. Ruby was admittedly a “good after party” pad. Thankfully, Scott didn’t find any “leftovers” from previous bands riding the bus.

“We had to go across the border a couple of times and it’s really intense,” Scott said with a laugh.

But it’s back to the van and doing it “the old fashioned way” for this stretch of Canadian touring.

The band continues to support On Blonde, a great pop rock album filled with snappy melodies and the band’s trademark multi-part harmonies.

The band was originally conceived in Kelowna as a harmony-heavy three-piece consisting of lead singer and main songwriter Jeff Innes, drummer Graham Jones, and Scott.

The band quickly required the help of a few hired guns — including multi-instrumentalist Matt Kelly, now a City and Colour regular — for touring purposes. The band’s second album Tiger Talk earned Yukon Blonde a Breakthrough Group of the Year nomination at the 2013 Juno Awards.

For On Blonde, the band became a five-piece that now includes James Younger (Sun Wizard) and Rebecca Gray (Chains of Love, Mode Moderne).

“I feel really good about (the lineup),” Scott said. “James Younger brought his amazing mind to the table and he’s a solid character. I hope he’s going to stick around for a while. (Laughs.) But it sounds like he’s in and he loves playing with us and we love having him around. It definitely shaped the way we wrote our record.

“And then having Rebecca — it’s amazing having a female dynamic in the band. We’re five singers now and it’s a beautiful thing.”

With each album, Yukon Blonde has been redefining its sound. The band’s 2009 self-titled debut had a strong Pacific Northwest mood with windy folk influences; 2011’s Tiger Talk was punchier with punkier, static undertones; while last year’s On Blonde veered into disco territory (cue single Saturday Night).

The next album, which Innes has already begun sketching at his new home on Galiano Island, may include everything from David Bowie to Talking Heads.

It’s all still speculation for the moment, but for a metamorphic band like Yukon Blonde, nothing is impossible.

“Tentatively we’ve booked some (studio) time in late April,” said Scott, who also recently released a solo album of his own, a countrified, folkified record entitled The Postcard Writer. “I just think it’ll be nice to get our creative minds going. I think it’ll be healthy to have some fun with it, even if none of it works.”

If it really works, maybe the band will buy a jet.



Yukon Blonde: James Younger, Brandon Scott, Jeffrey Innes, Rebecca Grey, and Graham Jones.

Yukon Blonde: James Younger, Brandon Scott, Jeffrey Innes, Rebecca Grey, and Graham Jones.

Photograph by: Handout, Handout

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