As cover bands go, Dr. Strangelove has been at it longer than most, with corporate events, the casinos, private parties, birthday bashes and more on their busy calendar.
What began as a Doug & the Slugs side gig has become a 20-year adventure for the band, now led by the dynamic duo of singers Sarah Johns and Kelly Brock.
Strangelove was born 20 years ago at Vancouver's venerable Roxy cabaret, to which the band returns for an anniversary shindig next Thursday, Jan. 17.
At her home in Cloverdale, Brock recently shared stories of the long Strangelove journey, with Johns on speakerphone from her residence in Vancouver.
"Kelly and I met for the very first time when she auditioned for the band, about a year and a half after we started it," Johns said. "She was our girl."
That jam-y audition was at the Roxy, where Strangelove went on to play four nights a week for close to 13 years. The band left the bar in 2005 to focus on corporate and casino shows.
During their many nights at the Roxy, they rocked the stage with several high-profile musicians and athletes, including Tom Arnold, Jerry Springer, Ace Frehley of KISS, Pavel Bure and Mark Messier.
For such photo ops, Brock was smart enough to stash a disposable camera in her purse, in an age before camera-equipped cellphones.
Many of those images have been posted on the band's Facebook page as part of the band's entertaining countdown to its anniversary event at the Roxy, where they haven't played in seven years.
Alumni band members are coming to the party; the first set will be played by the current version of Dr. Strangelove (longtime cohorts Pete Barone on drums and Andre Kunkel on bass, with keyboardist Richard Sera and guitarist Kevin Coles).
"We're like a family," Brock said.
"Strangelove is about talent, of course," Johns added, "but it's really about personality fit. We really need to get along with someone to play with them."
The majority of band lineup changes happened during those first couple of years, after singer/guitarist Chris Trigg founded Strangelove with Johns (nee Richardson) sharing vocals with Tania Hancheroff and Saffron Henderson, who tag-teamed the gig of second female singer.
Over the years, the band has played covers of hundreds, perhaps thousands of songs.
"'Dancing Queen' is probably the one we have played most often," Johns said. "That and maybe 'Love Shack'."
Looking ahead, Brock and Johns will be back singing another song - "O Canada" - during Canucks' home games, now that the NHL lockout is over.
For Dr. Strangelove, other future gigs include Jan. 11 to 12 at River Rock Casino, Jan 18 to 19 at Starlight Casino and Feb. 1 to 2 at Vancouver FanClub, on Granville Street.
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