The Gandharvas give special thanks to Teenage Head’s Frankie Venom


By Steve Newton

Many kids just out of their teens are still unsure of what path they’ll take career-wise, but Beau Dick isn’t one of them. The 20-year-old Hamilton native wants to make rock pay the rent, and he’s chasing that dream as the newest member of London, Ontario’s Gandharvas.

Last year Dick drove up to London to visit a friend who happened to live upstairs from Gandharvas vocalist Paul Jago, and word got around that the band was auditioning bassists. “I’d listened to the band for a while,” says Dick, calling from London, “so I knew the music a bit. I decided to try out, and it just went from there.”

Judging by the winning sound of their new CD, Sold for a Smile, Dick made a wise career move hooking up with the Gandharvas in time for their third album. Now he’s happily touring across Canada in a band that’s enjoying the benefits of major-label distribution via Universal Music, and when he’s not on the road he shares a residence with Jud Ruhl, one of the quintet’s two guitarists.

“This is the only band I’ve been in that feels like a family to me,” says Dick, formerly of the group Smoother. “We spent two months in Halifax [recording the CD], and every day we hung out—we pretty much had to, ’cause we were in hotels—and not once was I sick of any of them. Everybody just kinda gets along and respects each other and gives each other their space when they need it.”

Joining the Gandharvas at Halifax’s Idea of East recording facility was producer Laurence Currie, whose work on the latest Sloan album, One Chord to Another, had impressed the entire band. According to Dick, who also handled all the keyboards on Sold for a Smile, Currie’s editing skills came in particularly handy in the studio.

“We have a tendency to go on tangents,” he explains, “so the songs were a lot longer at first, but he kept us from wandering off. He kinda said, ‘I think you made your point there; let’s change it to another direction now.’ ”

The results of Currie’s instruction are 10 tracks of melodic guitar-rock that should please followers of such propulsive power-pop acts as Seattle’s Foo Fighters. Dick—who makes his local debut when the Gandharvas play the Starfish Room on Wednesday (September 24)—is a sizeable Foo fan himself.

“There’s a lot of bands that I really love, but I don’t necessarily love who they are,” he relates. “Foo Fighters are a band I respect, and [singer-guitarist] Dave Grohl has always been really cool, from what I’ve seen. He has always seemed to love the music and have a good head on his shoulders—not so much like the guys in Oasis, who think that they need an attitude.”

Aside from the ex-Nirvana man, there are other veteran members of the North American rock community that the youthful Dick looks up to. In Sold for a Smile’s liner notes there’s a special thanks to Frankie Venom, leader of venerable Canuck pop-punks Teenage Head.

“He’s from Hamilton too,” says Dick, “and he’s just one of those guys that’s always stuck around and been through everything that you can imagine. If you’re from Hamilton, his name is definitely one that you’re gonna run across.”

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