Simon Kaos is rocking like there’s no tomorrow–and there nearly wasn’t


By Steve Newton

“We were heading to Edmonton,” explains drummer C.C. Brooks, “and Andy and the crew were in the bus just outside Abbotsford when it rolled. Our soundman kicked the front window out and dragged everybody out, and then the whole thing burst into flames.”

“It was burning inside the cab as they got out,” adds bassist Rick Slavik, who was following behind the ill-fated bus in the band’s van. “Their clothes were all burnt and their hair was singed. And the cops said the only reason it didn’t blow up instantly is because there was no air in the gas tank. We’d just filled it up.”

The group lost nearly everything they had, over $50,000 worth of PA, musical equipment, clothes, road gear. And there was no insurance.

“I thought it was all over,” notes lead vocalist Darcy Deutsch.

But it wasn’t. Although the group’s future was temporarily put on hold, several Vancouver bands and businesses came to their rescue. Local rockers Legend put on a benefit jam to raise money for new equipment, and Axis Music, Richard’s Rare Guitars, Drums Only, and Long & McQuade all helped out in various ways.

Their support, along with that of the group’s agency, Feldman & Associates, put the band back on its feet. And today they’re rocking like there’s no tomorrow, instead of thinking like there might not be one.

“It just shows you that the Vancouver music scene is really happening,” points out guitarist Kenny Only, a native of Jacksonville, Florida.

Simon Kaos were at Frams Cabaret recently, keeping things hoppin’ with their high-energy combination of covers and original “semi-metal” tunes. They do nine originals a night and have those songs recorded live on tape that can be shopped to record companies.

Brooks feels that going into the studio and spending a lot of money on putting together demo tapes is unnecessary when a band can just as easily show their stuff through good live tapes.

“If they like the song, that’s what counts,” he posits, “and the production really is a waste of money.”

As well as tunes by Kansas, Rush, and Judas Priest, Simon Kaos cover Supertramp‘s “School” and “Bloody Well Right’, during which Andy Lorimer gets to showcase his estimable keyboard talents.

“It’s really hard to copy that band,” points out bassist Slavik. “It’s like the Stones–they’re so unique. And you almost feel like you don’t want to try to copy them, because you’ll  never be able to be like them.”

But Simon Kaos do a laudable job of performing the Supertramp tunes. And their set-topping medley of Quiet Riot numbers–“Slick Black Cadillac”, “Breathless”, “Metal Health”, and “Cum On Feel the Noize”–is equally impressive.

For a band whose average age is 21, the group appears to have a good future ahead of them.

“We try to pick songs that are in the band’s vein,” says Slavik of the cover material. “We’re not going to play Michael Jackson, because it’s not us. We can’t do it with any kind of seriousness and the people would see right through it.”

“And,” jokes C.C., “Darcy can’t dance like that anyway.”

To read dozens of my stories on Vancouver bands published over the last 40 years go here.

Leave a Reply