Attending a concert featuring The Dudes is something that must be added to everyone’s bucket list. Let’s paint a picture together: It’s a night where you know you’re going to swing back a few beers and get a little wild. There are insanely attractive people mingling around a warm bar, everyone seeming to know one another. The room itself carries a slight anxious tone, almost intuitively preparing the crowd for what will be. As the lights darken, the Dudes pour onto the stage like lava, drenching everyone in their fiery rock and roll. The audience knowingly howls along every word, and all at once the bar feels like home. Strangers are your best friends, and you don’t even care if you lose your phone in the pit. These are The Dudes, and they know how to infect life into your veins.
Since 1996, the Calgarian boys have been breaking hearts then writing about it. They may have cycled through a few members in their four-piece band, but have always been carried by the illustrious and gritty Dan Vacon. With a voice that could melt the skin off a snake, and an affinity for rock and roll, Vacon has always driven the Dudes with an effortlessly positive attitude.
“I don’t set any goals ever,” Dan states. “It’s part of the secret to my happiness. I just want to do a good job. But if I blow it, I’m great at forgiving myself.”
Blowing it? Hardly even close. The rockers have been pumping out the cleverly devised rock songs, since the glorious “Do The Right Thing” from 2006’s Brain Heart Guitar album catapulted them forward. Their three albums are chock full of heart-bleeding lost love laments, coupled with all the melodies and seductive guitar chords you could ever want in a rock record.
“I just try and live an interesting life full of question marks and fun times,” Vacon says. “There’s so many things going on if you’re available to have them happen to you. Then I write about them.”
Vacon, alongside Brock Geiger, Bob Quaschnick, and the newest member Matthew Tyler Doherty, are currently living their second dream: having a great time.
“Dudes have been on a sort of time out for good times. Gathering experiences so we’ll have things to write about. We’ve locked up those experiences and we’re writing some pretty fun rock songs now. Lots of festivals and one-offs this summer. Lots of side project things,” Vacon shares. “Oh, and we’re all on the hunt for true love and glory.”
The side projects Vacon mentions involve his part in two other bands, the charming Dojo Workhorse, and the punky cousin, The Highkicks. He is so deeply in love with the city of Calgary and its music scene, it almost feels like he is the mayor.
Although they stay true to their rock ‘n’ roll roots, the Dudes are loaded with the depth and feeling you find in classic soul. It’s not just girls that give them butterflies, sometimes it’s about playing to their fans.
“It’s like live performing is my wife. We don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes it’s damn hard, but we’re in love goddammit! We’ve made a promise to each other and we’re keeping it.”
Hiatus from record making or not, you know they’re having a blast. What we’ve learned from being a fan of the Dudes is that they will keep their promises. What kind of a rock band can you say that about?
The Dudes headline The Imperial’s first anniversary on June 14th.
By Kristie Sparksman