Interview with Hedley guitarist Dave Rosin

It takes a sunny outlook on life to risk holding an outdoor concert anywhere in the Lower Mainland after Labour Day, but local boys Hedley will be hitting the stage in Deer Lake Park on Saturday rain or shine (likely rain), which is kind of fitting given that the name of the radio-friendly rockers’ latest album is The Show Must Go On.

But guitarist Dave Rosin doesn’t expect a little precipitation to be a problem for the band’s mostly young fans. “Most people here have no problem putting on their rain jackets,” he said over the phone from his backyard in Vancouver. “It’s a great chance to get some layers on!”

On a personal note, Rosin says it is also a bit apt that the Vancouver-based band’s big hometown gig – their first (sort of) since the album was released last November – is on Sept. 11.

Pretty much everybody can remember where they were on that particular day nine years ago, and for Rosin, it also happened to coincide with his first day of a lousy new job he had to take after recently moving to the area.

“I was living in New West and playing in a cover band and working at Bootlegger,” he said with a laugh. “So things now are going pretty good in comparison.”

“Pretty good” is a bit of an understatement, as the 29-year-old has since come a long way from selling jeans to Metrotown mallrats. Case in point, yet another date now seared in most Canadians’ minds (this time in a good way) is Feb. 28, 2010, a day Rosin spent at the former GM Place hanging out backstage with the likes of Michael Bublé, Nickelback and Avril Lavigne and watching Canada win gold in hockey before later taking the stage to play the band’s hit single “Cha-Ching” as part of the Olympic closing ceremony.

“It was pretty awesome and we had a great time, but I’ve never had so much practice for such a short performance in my life,” he said. “It was literally 48 hours of waiting and waiting around, and then three minutes.”

While the inclusion of Hedley (not to mention Nickelback) in the extravagant send-off ceremony raised more than a few eyebrows, few can question the high-energy band – also made up of singer Jacob Hoggard, bassist Tommy Mac and drummer Chris Crippin – is a homegrown success story, and they are even named after a B.C. town. Some would argue White Rock might’ve made for a better namesake, but instead the band shares a handle with an old gold mining town in the Similkameen.

The story goes that Hoggard, a former Canadian Idol contestant and the band’s only original member, chose the name six years ago after stumbling across a news story saying the entire town of a few hundred souls was for sale for around $350,000. They considered changing it when new members came on board, but apparently fate had other plans for them.

“We were actually driving from the airport heading to a show in Toronto, and all of a sudden there was a car in front of us with the word ‘Hedley’ on the licence plate,” said Rosin. “Then later we were recording the songs for our first album, and the guy working behind the desk asked what the band’s name was. … After I told him, he said ‘check this out’ and he was wearing a Hedley, B.C. T-shirt. I’m like ‘guys, I don’t think we can change the name, it’s just meant to be.'”

With three platinum-selling albums behind them, the band could now probably easily afford the Crowsnest Highway pit stop, but Rosin said he doesn’t think the town is still on the market.

“I think the Canadian government actually stepped in and said ‘woah, woah, you’re not allowed to sell a town,'” he said. “But maybe we can build something right next to it and call it Hedley Vista or something?”

While he called the Olympic spotlight a career high point, Rosin said the band is looking forward to giving his hometown’s fans a more authentic show. “During the whole Olympic hubbub, we kinda just rolled through town, so we’re really excited to come back and do our own thing,” he said. “We’ve got three trucks worth of stuff, we have set changes, costume changes, so it’ll just be a good old-fashioned rock’n’roll show.”

(This story was first published Aug. 18, 2010. © Copyright (c) Burnaby Now)

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