INTERVIEW: Arrive early to get a seat to the Fabulous Chairs show this Friday night

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
August 11th, 2010

Following the release of two albums with his former band Ross-Vegas Tim Bourchier is back with some new funk and soul flavor as “The Fabulous Chairs.” The band, who’s lineup varies from show to show is backed by Bourchier and Mike Johns and will be playing this Friday night at the Red Room and then again next week at an outdoor show in Trail’s Gyro Park. This week, I chatted with Tim and got the lowdown on being a cover band that also writes originals.

Well, to start off, where did the name The Fabulous Chairs come from?
Mike came up with it, actually. We were looking for name. It was and may still be just a temporary name. Who knows? George the sound man around here, was running an open mic night at the Arlington. George asked us our name and we were like, ‘I don’t know’ so they introduced us as the Fabulous Chairs.
We’ve been together just about a year now. This weekend it’ll be just Mike Johns and I. Possibly some of my relatives might be coming in to sing some backup/three part harmonies as well, but Mike and I are the core of the band.
For a band described as “Curtis Mayfield playing hackeysack with Ween in a back alley behind a blues bar with Bob Marley and Elvis Costello keeping score”, what kind of sound should people expect at your show?
We play lots of different types of music from Beatles to Neil Young, but we do it in a slightly different way. We try and do covers in our own style. We’re really influenced by reggae and ska and then sort of some country, older rocking country style stuff. We’re doing all sorts of sounds. This weekend we’ll have acoustic guitar and bass, whereas at the Trail show we’ll have a full band together. Basically we’re all about variety. Lots of soul and reggae-based music. Hopefully if my cousins are able to come we’ll have some nice three part harmonies as well.
So you’re a born and raised Rosslander, moved away, put out two CDs as Ross Vegas and now you’re back in town. How is Rossland as a place to be a musician, both creatively and professionally?
You know, I’m not sure yet. I’m from here originally, and I just moved back a year ago. One thing I’ve noticed in that time is that there are certainly more places to play now than before.
I’ll tell you a funny story about the Rossland music scene, actually. I met this guy that was at my neighbor’s house. He was playing guitar and sounded really good, kind of Johnny Cash/ Willy Nelson style. So I get to talking to him and he’s telling me he wrote songs for John Cash and Willy Nelson back in the day, and he knew Buddy Holly. He’s played with a lot of big names and he was originally from Rossland so he was telling me when I moved back that there were lots of good musicians here back in the day and it seems like there are lots of good musicians out there again right now so it looks promising.
Who else in the Rossland scene are you playing with these days?
I’ve play with Graham (Tracey) before and I’d really like to do something with him. A little while back I went to a house concert at Dandelion and the Ditchweeds’ house and had a great time with them too. They are a talented bunch I’d like to do some more tunes with them.
What’s dominating your personal playlist right now?
I always listen to Bob Marley. Lately, I like Wilco a lot. I just got a new CD of Eva Cassidy. She does covers. She does a great cover of “Fields of Gold” by Sting. She has a great voice, apparently was quite shy and a backup singer and never really put herself out front. She had just a beautiful voice.
You guys do a lot of cover songs as well, would you call yourselves a cover band?
We do a lot of covers. Mike and I also write some songs together. We’re still working on that side of things but we’ll be playing some of those tunes as well. We have some songs about and inspired by Rossland. You know the themes of the songs seems to change over the years though right. It used to be all about relationships, and still some of the songs are but now we see more growing older and life experiences working their way into songs.
What’s the trick to doing a good cover song?
I just play them, really. I don’t try to learn the songs note for note or anything and play it how the original artist plays it. For one I don’t know if I can [laughs]. But no, seriously, I like to try and do songs my own way. I enjoy playing covers but I also like playing originals. I like to see a cover band that really puts something new into the songs and does them in their own way.
I look for songs that when I listen to them they remind me of a certain time, place or person. It’s a connect the dots process I guess. I hear a song that resonates with me and then I play it in a way that hopefully connects to the listener as well.
The Fabulous Chairs will be playing this Friday, August the 13th, 8:30pm at The Red Room in Rossland and Thursday August 19th from 7:00-8:00pm in Gyro Park in Trail.

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