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CD Release Party -2001 Review

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On the Beat - September 2001
by Kerry Doole

JUGHEAD: Together since 1989, these cats have long been known as one of the best live bands to drink to. They're clearly aware of that reputation, reminding us on the sleeve to new CD Speedwobble that their music "goes great with beer, tequila and Caesars!" They reconfirmed that at an entertaining CD launch party at The Horseshoe. Jughead officially have nine members, but I could swear they crammed an extra body or two onstage. They call their music "motorgrass," as it's a rocked-up version of bluegrass and country, featuring mandolin, banjo, accordion, washboard, fiddle and lotsa guitars and vocals. Mixed in with group originals are traditional tunes and wacky covers of sings like OZZY's "Crazy Train" and RAMONES classic "I Wanna Be Sedated." Not sure if there's anything here to duplicate the gold-selling success of earlier single "The Hockey Song," but Speedwobble is tons of fun. Check out www.jughead.ca for more information.

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Toronto Star - Thursday, July 21, 1994


Jughead met the godfather of bluegrass and he bestowed his blessing.
The 10-member local combo opened for 82-year-legend Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys last week at The Saloon, and harpist/spokesman Dan Ouellette says it was a night for the band's history book. "It was like opening for god," he laughs. "When we were doing our soundcheck, he made a beeline for the band, sat down and asked us about our interests in music.

"Chris Quinn our banjo player was practising, and Bill asked him if he wanted to join him on stage later on. Chris has idolized him since he was 5 years old, so it was an amazing night."

Yet in their inimitable style, Jughead opened their set with a rip-roaring, foot-stompin' blue grassified cover of Motorhead's "Ace Of Spaces."
The band plays the Horseshoe as part of tonights CKLN-FM annual Queen Street Crawl (the first two bands on the bill are Bongo Gypsie and Project Nine), and you can expect to hear a mix of bluegrass standards, original songs and a handful of grassified rock classics.

"We recently worked out Jimi Hendrix's 'Fire' and our fiddler, Brian Morgan, does a kicking solo," Ouellette reports.
A similar mix of all-acoustic music is collected on Jughead's debut recording, Uncorked!, released earlier this year. The CD is already in its second pressing and etching a place on indie charts across the nation.

Such a large band might seem a little unruly to rope in for practices and gigs. Besides Ouellette, Morgan and Quinn, Jughead also includes Michael "lopez" Phillips (lead vocals, guitar, dobro), John Mets (spoons), Michael Smith (washboard), the twins Doug (accordion) and Andrew Queen *jug, kazoo, jaw harp), Nick Tjelios (mandolin) and Todd Gallant (gutbucket)l; everyone does backing vocals.

"You'd be surprised how smooth the thing runs," Ouellette says. "We kind of run the band like a hockey team. We've divided a lot of the tasks, because you've got a lot of resources with 10 people. And we travel light."

It comes as no surprise, then, that Jughead used to take it to the streets. In fact, busking led to another encounter with a musical icon.
"Stompin' Tom saw us busking down at Harbourfront about four years ago," Ouellette says. "He invited us to his concert at Massey Hall that night.

"We busked outside the hall, and then went in to watch the show. He even dedicated a song to us."
Like Stompin' Tom, Jughead also wrote a song called "Hockey Song" which started echoing in the arenas of NHL games, not to mention getting them press coverage and an oblique reference by David Letterman.
"I guess it was played at Madison Square Garden," Ouellette says. "Tony Randall was on the show, and Letterman was teasing him about knowing nothing about hocket, and sang a line from the song, 'hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey."
"I think we're cursed with this forever, it's not what we're hoping to ride on," says Ouellette of the song. "It's just a silly little song that we wrote.
"But it's on three compilations, including CONTACT: The All-Star Collection, which is close to gold. So we can't complain."

You might think all this celebrity attention would have gone to their jugheads. But Ouellette says the songs the band is writing for their next album are even less glitzy, if you can fathom that. "I think we're going to lean to an even more rootsy, live feel on the next album," he says.

In the meantime, Jughead is heading east for festivals in Halifax and the 10th Annual Festival By The Sea in St. John, N.B., next month.
And when they return? Says Ouellette; "We're getting some Jughead hockey sweaters made, and they should be ready by the time we're back


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Fall 1994
Steve Pritchard's Stuff - Jughead Uncorked

Uncorked is Jughead's first CD and from my point of view at least, it is a joy to listen to. From the time one picks up the disc and peers at the cover it's clear how much effort was put into the packaging, the liner notes and the musical concept of the disc.

In simple terms, Jughead is a good time Canadian oriented group consisting of ten musicians who take their acoustic roots music seriously to know that it can be dressed up. This dressing up has turned Uncorked into a musical theatre price. The CD jacket is made out to be a Canadian beer label (on Tap Records, if you like: disc # Suds 002). Brilliant idea, this!

Jughead refer to themselves as "the original Motorgrass band", in that they perform music from Motorhead to bluegrass. Of the fifteen tunes on the project about half are original with the remainder penned or originally performed by musicians who have influenced the direction of the band.

Although I enjoyed all tracks there are several which deserve special mention as they most clearly illustrate the diversity of the group. The CD opens with "Slewfoot", a comic bluegrass number which was popularized by Jim and Jesse McReynolds in the 1960s. Here, Christopher Quinn's banjo work shines. "I Know You Rider", is a second bluegrass tune. On this one the fiddle work is outstanding. Roy Acuff's "Wabash Cannonball" is given a unique treatment as they cleverly change the famed engineer from Daddy Claxton to Roy Acuff, thereby paying tribute to the so-called "king of country music".

The "Barn Song", my personal favourite of the original offerings, is a slice of Canadiana which smacks of Stompin' Tom. It has all the markings of becoming a Canadian classic, as does "The Hockey Song" which is one of the neatest Canadian talking blues efforts I've ever heard. "Bury Me in My Shades", by Shell Silverstein, is worthy of note as it is a rarely heard parody of the 50s Beat Generation. Here, Jughead favours the accordion.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed Uncorked, yet after several listenings found that I could not categorize it. It's not bluegrass, it's not skiffle, it's not folk, it's not celtic, it's not country, and it's certainly not rock - I guess it's just Jughead! Uncorked of course. Enjoy it. It's as Canadian as back bacon.

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Bill Monroe at the Saloon

Opening for Monroe was Toronto's own Jughead, who, by the way, fit perfectly into the evening's format. The crowd loved their energy and I suspect that Monroe liked the band too, as shown by the fact that he invited Jughead's banjo player, Christopher Quinn, to play banjo with the Bluegrass Boys. That turn of events, as far as I'm concerned, was the highlight of the night. Finally - a Canadian Bluegrass Boy!

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The Toronto Sun, Tuesday March 8, 1994

Saturday afternoon, Queen West is bursting with sunlight and street vendors.
Still, a bunkerful of folk seem happy denying the iffy new season in favor of Jughead. That being Jughead, the 10 rag-taggers renowned for their washboard-fuelled Ramones covers who converge every Saturday matinee this month in the perma-midnight of the Horseshoe.
The pre-set spread is a Roots ad with the lights turned off, once your eyes adjust, you see more plaids than a meeting of the clans.

A barstooled gent on Cape Breton mandolin competes with the jump-blues bouncing out of the speakers. Men in matching leather caps argue bottles versus draft.

On stage, 10 goateed and shaded men have quietly accumulated jury-like in a semi-circle. They're armed with washboards, tongs, banjos, harmonicas, jugs, washbasin-bass ... A judge-figure in a leather vest with a guitar steps up to the front-and-centre mike.
"All drink," he commands.

The jury members respectfully reach for their bottles from the drink holders built into their mike stands; the crowd follows suit.
Then the washboard starts scratching, the washbasin and jug plunking, and they're off on the traditional Donald Where's Your Trousers?
"For those of you who don't know," the judge says afterward, "Any song that mentions booze or women, we have an 'All Drink'. This one's called Jack Was Every Inch A Sailor. "All Drink."

First steady folk guitar, the toneless thump of the washbasin, the cartoon jug bass, each bearing a thread, all conspire to weave a mural of the hapless Jack's travails.

When, mid-song, the judge departs to fetch an off-stage smoke, the nine remaining Jugheads pass solos round the circle like a lukewarm potato.
By the next song the full jury is singing in rich harmony: G.S.T. How I love thee / You pay 15, you get back three.
All empty chairs are absorbed. All table space is covered with flowers, hatboxes and every parcel shape in between.

A lone twanger from up the road ventures in, scours the crowd, and explains covertly, "I came here to try to lure people over to my matinee."
But no one seems to notice. They're sipping when they're told to, foot-tapping, knee-thumping, head-nodding ...

Thus, spring gently seeps into The Horseshoe.


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The Hockey News June 10, 1994

Our game is underrated inspiration for some of music world's best
O Canada is officially Canada's national anthem. Unofficially, it's Hockey Night In Canada's theme song, the best hockey music ever.
While O Canada brings us to our feet, the HNIC Theme, as it's properly known, brings us to our TV sets. It signals the beginning of a weekly religious experience. Saturday night NHL hockey.

There's an added bonus: Because the theme has no lyrics, it embraces both of Canada's official languages. Or at least that's what songwriter Dolores Claman believes. The Vancouver native was a jingle writer in Toronto during the 1960s when she was asked to write a theme song for HNIC. Her instructions were to write music that combined the enthusiasm of a college fight song with the spirit of a TV adventure series theme.
Before the assignment, Claman had never attended a hockey game, but had seen a few on television. "I just closed my eyes and thought of hockey," she said.

The song was first played on HNIC in 1968 and remained a jingle until the early 1970s when it officially became the theme. By making it the theme, HNIC was able to stop paying performance royalties. Claman, who now lives in London, England, said she is seeking additional royalties.

The song is stirring, gladiatorial and widely admired. A Canadian jazz-funk band, The Shuffle Demons, recorded The HNIC Theme in 1988 and made it a regular part of their live performances.

"During our show we ask the audience to rise for the national anthem and we play the Hockey Night in Canada Theme," said alto sax player Richard Underhill. "People at our shows in Europe don't quite understand it."

While the HNIC Theme is the No. 1 English-language hockey song according to our Hockey News panel of experts, it is not without serious competition , much of it Canadian.

Few songs of note that make hockey their main focus, as opposed to songs adopted as hockey anthems, have been produced by non-Canadians.
Tom Cochrane and Red Rider's Big League, the tale of a Canadian teenager who earns a scholarship to an American school and then dies in a car accident, is one of the better songs (of any kind) released in recent years.

And The Tragically Hip's Fifty Mission Cap, a powerful rocker about the mysterious death of Toronto Maple Leaf Bill Barilko, is another classic.

Then there's Clear The Track, Here Comes Shack. Many Canadians remember that opening line from a song dedicated to Eddie Shack of the Maple Leafs, a 1966 novelty hit. Although it hasn't made any top 100 list of favourite oldies, it remains one of the greatest hockey songs ever. The song recorded by Douglas Rankine and the Secrets, reached No. 1 on one Toronto radio station's pop chart.

If there's any justice in the music world, Hockey Song by Jughead, not to be confused with The Hockey Song by Canadian icon Stompin' Tom Connors, will generate similar interest. It's a delightful ditty about a travelling Canadian who is continually asked by locals if he plays hockey.
His reply: "Do I play hockey? Well I play air hockey, ball hockey, barn hockey, bubble hockey, field hockey, floor hockey, ice hockey, kitchen hockey, road hockey, roller hockey, table hockey, twist hockey, and I play hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, all the time. Take shots."
It's brilliant. Canada's answer to American Pie.

The Hockey Song is not only a popular favourite played during stoppages in play, it's legendary rocker Neil Young's hockey song of choice.
Asked at a Maple Leaf-San Jose Shards' playoff game what his favourite hockey tune is, Young broke into song: "The good old hockey, the good old hockey game." You know, the one by that guy Hank SNow, or whatever his name is."Stompin' Tom Connors?
"Yeah, that's the one," Young said.
Asked when he might write a hockey song, Young replied, "Right after the Sharks win this game."
They didn't. The Sharks' loss was also the music world's.

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Impact October 1994

1. Holly Cole's thigh-high, fringed-heeled boots.
2. Watching Moe Berg and Holly Cole flee in horror from advancing VJs on national TV (and escape).
3. The Barenaked Ladies doing a song with Change of Heart while COH's Ian Blurton's T-shirt read "Barenaked Ladies Suck." "You spelled our name wrong," said Steve Page. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Change Of Pants!"
4. Jughead performing "The Hockey Song."
5. The fact that it raised $250,000 for AIDS charities.

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The Toronto Star Friday, May 7, 1993

Move over Stompin' Tom. And lend an ear to Jughead.
The Toronto-based band finagled an audition with Gardens promotions director Bob Stellick earlier this week and ended up playing the corridors during Game 2.

The grunge ensemble , featuring banjo, gut bucket, spoons, harmonica, guitar, fiddle and washboard (with thimbles) , performed their own little ditty, called "Hockey Song." One small sampling: "I play air hockey, ball hockey, barn hockey, bubble hockey, field hockey, floor hockey, ice hockey, kitchen hockey, road hockey, roller hockey, table hockey, twist hockey."

If you can't remember the verse, you'll have no trouble wit the refrain:
"Hockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockey ..."

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T.O. Music Notes

BAND: Jughead members: 10: Dan Ouellette (harmonica), Doug Queen (accordion), Andrew Queen (jug), Mike Smith (washboard), Lopez Phillips (dobro), Nick Tjelios, Michael Jursic (gutbucket), John Mets (spoons), Brian Morgan (fiddle), Christopher Quinn (banjo).
TYPE OF MUSIC: "Motorgrass."
WEIRDEST MOMENT ON THE JOB: "When our gutbucket player attempted to wrestle Warner Brothers rep Ken Green for a five-record deal backstage at the Blue Rodeo Massey Hall show."
UPCOMING: Friday, April 30, at Clinton's and every Saturday (matinee from 4 to 7 pm) at Sneaky Dee's.

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PERFORMER Volume 5 Issue 3

Best boozeup of the month was Jughead at Ultrasound. In eight-piece formation, about all that stage holds, the Jugs, with frequent ritual imbibing according to the command "All Drink", ignited a high speed hoedown from the get go and kept it that way with their own debauched salutes to the brew, "I Like Beer" and "Stumblin' Drunk". It's a criminal injustice that these guys don't have a major brewery sponsorship.

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Nightclub Notebook - August 1994 - Halifax, N.S.

One writer accurately described the group's sound as Motorhead hosting Hee Haw.
The group is Toronto-based Jughead, stopping tonight at the Double Deuce to wrap up a two-night stand.

The 10-piece group is a fixture on the Hogtown club scene and has brought its own particular brand of roots music, which it likes to call motorgrass, to a young hip audience.

Haligonian Michael Phillips is the lead singer. Before heading out west in '82 he was in Moonbuzz with some soon-to-be Hopping Penguins. He formed the Hard Rock Miners in Vancouver in 1986 and then moved back to Toronto in 1987.

Jughead, which proudly includes an actual jug in its neo-jug band instrumentation, was formed in 1989 and has been heard nationally on CBC Radio. The band's independent CD Uncorked! is its full-length debut release.

And yes, it includes the band's cover of Motorhead's head-banging classic Ace of Spades.
Be warned, the band has also been known to pepper shows with a version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax.

The Bullpen, Halifax's newest sports bar, ventures into the live music genre this week with a Saturday matinee and evening show featuring Cape Breton legend Sam Moon.

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Chart - May 1994

Jughead would be Bob and Doug MacKenzie's favourite band. I say this because they served back bacon at their CD release party and they sing songs about hockey and beer drinking. Jughead are a ten-member Canuck collaborative featuring a washboard player, a gutbucket bass accordion, banjo, spoons, mandolin, guitars, violin and, yes, a jug.

At their frequent Toronto gigs they treat the audience to "All drink" whenever they sing a song about women or trains, which actually accounts for a large percentage of the songs and therefore a large quantity of beer. They still manage to cover old bluegrass tunes adeptly and put the distinctive Jughead spin on such classics as Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" (not on this CD, alas).

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IMPACT - April 1994

With a lineup of 10, it's not always easy for wacky roots ensemble Jughead to cram onto Toronto club stages, but they've become one of the city's fave bands to drink to. As they stress, they've always been "unplugged," using such low-tech instruments as kazoo, washboard, spoons, harmonica, and, yes a jug. Their new indie CD, appropriately dubbed Uncorked!, features jauntily inebriated takes on blues, bluegrass ("Wabash Cannonball") and heavy metal (Motorhead's "Ace of Spaces"), as well as their original ode to puckdom, "Hockey Song".

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T.O. Music Notes

Rambunctious "motorgrass" combo Jughead has unleashed a new CD on an unsuspecting world. Uncorked, released independently, nicely sums up the band's twangy, acoustic country/bluegrass while showcasing the talents of its small army of players.

At last count, Jughead features founder and ex-Hard Rock Miner, singer/dobro player M Lopez Phillips, spoons player John Mets, washboard player Mike Smith, harpist Dan Ouellette, accordionist Doug Queen, multi-instrumentalist Andrew Queen, banjo player Christopher Quinn, Mike Jursic on gutbucket, Nick Tjelios on mandolin and Brian Morgan on fiddle.

The outfit hosts free Saturday matinees at the Horseshoe, do yourself a favour and check out this spirited bunch.