Back in the ‘Wack Vol. 3: The Vacationers enjoy “doing a couple of Jeff Beck tunes”



By Steve Newton

(In the third of a series of stories on local bands, The Progress presents a profile of The Vacationers. Next: Loose Change.)

The Vacationers, specialists in hard driving rock and roll, are a Chilliwack group composed of Mike Evans on lead guitar and vocals, Rick Goshulak on bass and vocals, Burt Richardson on drums and a new member Angie Marquardson on vocals and percussion. The nucleus of the band was formed last summer when Evans and Richardson, both former members of the original Candlewood and musical partners for the last six years, recruited Goshulak to form a “power trio”. A month and a half ago Marquardson was added to take over some of the lead vocalist chores from Evans, and the present configuration was intact.

The group’s name was a joke that stuck, says Evans, because playing in a full-time touring band is seen by some people like being on a holiday. Evans points out that it’s just the opposite a lot of work. “We’re the only band out of Chilliwack that makes a living from steady playing alone”, he says.

The Vacationers play throughout B.C. and Alberta, and are currently readying themselves for some Vancouver Island dates. They travel around in a converted 66-passenger school bus, which they need to transport the two tons of equipment they carry. The group uses 12,000 watts of power for their lighting system, and 1,200 watts for their sound system, which is soon going to be doubled. To work the controls the group employs lighting and sound technican Sandy Keith, who has been with them for three years and who Evans states “is a very important part” of the band.

Most of The Vacationers’ bookings are done through the Vancouver-based Feldman and Associates, the same agent that finds gigs for the popular Canadian group Trooper. The Vacationers put on the occasional Evergreen Hall dance, but, according to Evans, “there’s always a few rowdies who wreck it for everybody else.”

Most of the halls in Chilliwack will not rent to the band because they fear property damage by patrons, says Evans. The band uses a lot of special effects in their music, including echo units, chorus, assemblies, distortion, reverb and flanging. “We use a lot of effects because almost every recording you hear these days has them” says Evans, who feels that for an authentic sound “you’ve got to use them”.

Future plans for The Vacationers include “going more original and recording” says Evans. The group has already recorded one original single, “Sweet Young Lady”, which was written by Evans and sung by Chilliwack musician Jeff Gordon. The tune was recorded at Beaver Mountain Studios in Yarrow and pressed into 1,000 copies, some of which can be heard in local jukeboxes.

“There’s a lot of good music in town, and lots of promising new ones coming up”, says Evans, who, at 26, has been playing in bands since the age of 14. The Vacationers enjoy “doing a couple of Jeff Beck tunes”, in which Evans uses the vibrato arm of his Strat to squeeze out a flurry of sound that is almost note for note with the original tracks put down by the British master. The band also enjoys doing rearrangements of popular older songs.

One thought on “Back in the ‘Wack Vol. 3: The Vacationers enjoy “doing a couple of Jeff Beck tunes”

  1. I just kind of happened upon this, and was happy to see my oldest brother, Sandy Keith’s name in the story. I remember The Vacationers vaguely as I’m 11 years younger than Sandy…I remember Dog Skin Suit also..and Durtt Sound.
    Thanks for the article 😊

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