Saskatoon-based band The Pistolwhips are hitting the road in support of their latest disc On Your Side, with a Red Deer show slated for Aug. 18th at Bo’s Bar and Grill with The Capones.
The guys first joined forces in the fall of 2012. And over the past few months, they’ve seen 28 Canadian cities from Tofino, B.C. to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
They plan to continue their momentum with another western tour in August heading from Winnipeg to Vancouver with a stop headlining the Golden Sound Festival in Golden, B.C.
The quartet is comprised of frontman Rylan Schultz, guitarist Paul Kuzbik, bassist Zach Davies and drummer Tallus Scott. The Pistolwhips combine upbeat indie rock tunes with old school blues licks and a dose of psychedelia to create a sound that is dynamic and captivating. The guys released a four-song EP in late 2012 that was very well-received in their home province. After winning the RAWLCO 10K20 Award from Saskatoon rock station Rock 102FM, they set out to make their debut LP.
The Pistolwhips released On Your Side in July of 2014 which was recorded by Ryan Andersen (AC/DC, Sarah McLachlan) in Saskatoon. Once again, the CD was very well received and was named Best Album of 2014 by Planet S Readers in Saskatoon.
And just a couple of months following the CD’s release, they found themselves jetting off to London, England for a string of shows as part of an overall showcase of Saskatchewan artists. “It was at a time when the album was picking up some steam,” explained Davies. “We were there for 10 days – we did three showcases and literally three meetings a day.” There was also an enthusiastic response to their music.
“We had a lot of positive feedback at all of the shows – two were full-band rock shows and one was an acoustic performance – and all three of them went really well.”
Schultz agreed. “We definitely went there with the intention of making connections to go back,” he said. “Right now, we are taking time to work on our second album. So we’re going to take the next few months to really focus on that.” Once that’s a wrap, the guys are eager to plan a more extensive tour of the U.K. and Germany.
“The thing is that if you make it big in the U.K., that translates over to Canada as well. It’s a little harder to make it big in Canada and then bring that over to the U.K. So those are two positive things about keeping up our relationships with our contacts over there.”
For Davies, a passion for music was sparked early on. “My dad was a guitar player, so as early as I can remember, he used to put a pillow on my lap and a guitar on top of it and crank some Bob Marley or Zeppelin. So I started then.” Taking band classes throughout his school years followed, and he started playing bass in a band by the time he was 12.
“For me, I would say the Chili Peppers were a pretty big influence on my playing style,” he said, adding he also eventually played in a Chili Peppers tribute band. “I also listened to a lot of Blind Melon, a lot of Nirvana for sure when I was younger. Zeppelin, Allman Brothers – all kinds of stuff.”
Schultz also noted music was just a part of his growing up years. He was well on his way honing his guitar skills in his early teens. “I kept on teaching myself, and would play acoustic shows when I was 17 through about 19 years old. I also started playing in different bands, from rock to hip hop bands – everything under the sun.
“I grew up with a really eclectic range of music – I listened to lots of hip hop, also acoustic and folk music and some really heavy stuff, too. So definitely my range of influences is also pretty eclectic.”
The guys are excited about continuing to showcase their music here at home. Of course, being a musician isn’t all glamour and fun. It takes a steely commitment. There’s the lengthy stretches of travel, the business aspects to attend to, the marketing and the organizing. “But when we are on stage, that’s what we are doing it for – when the crowd is responding well and we’re having a good time on stage. That’s the pay-off – that’s what keeps me going.”
Schultz agreed. “Definitely seeing that crowd response – getting up and being able to play, do our craft and having people enjoy it. That’s the thing that keeps us going – having great shows like that. Plus, we are all lovers of music, so having those writing sessions – I love hanging out with the guys, having some drinks and writing new tunes. We only have the two recordings out so far, so we have a lot of potential – a lot of places we can go sonically and a lot of different things we can try out. There’s limitless potential as far as where the band can go.”
Meanwhile, the guys are certainly enjoying the ride.
“It’s just been kind of a natural progression. Every success has been built on the last one, and has propelled us to work harder and take it that much more seriously.”