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The Shagbots love to practice as their barbershop quintet side project.
Paul Baker/the Gauntlet

Victims of Lunchbox's trick

Calgary rockers endure and enjoy the eccentricities of the musician's life

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The Shagbots have seen some shit, but they're a little too modest to brag about it. Starting off in a dingy basement in 2006, the 'Bots kicked things off with a bang, beating Kara Keith and Hot Little Rocket in the Fuel 90.9 Big Rockstar Competition, where they won $26,000 to record their as of yet untitled debut.

"We said, 'Hold your heads high if we do come in last,' " says Taylor McKee, guitarist and bass player. "We felt victory because we got a grand [for playing]. We just came in going, 'Okay, take the grand for playing, don't look like idiots and hold your heads up high if we come in last.' "

Other than winning contests, the Shagbots played 46 shows in 52 weeks and have some ridiculous stories from every single one. At one venue in Sylvan Lake, the band had to sign a contract because the venue's landlord was a hardcore Christian. The contract read that no preaching or swearing was to be done by the band, but after asking for gas money "for shits" to the audience, the contract was voided and the show cut short.

"[The venue managers] gave us $30 though, but it cost like $100 to get up there," says Joe Mosca. "They even cut our show short!"

Although they claim their favourite venue falls in between the Palomino and the Marquee Room, Davis De Souza swings towards the Palomino because they feed the performers.

But while there are strange venues, bands are even stranger. At a Halloween show in Medicine Hat, the Shagbots recall playing with a band called Angus Meatplow. While watching Angus' act and gorging on loads of free candy, their innocence was stolen by the lead guitarist, Lunchbox. De Souza explains the horror.

"Thing is, these guys are old," he recalls. "They have wives and kids. Their guitarist, Lunchbox, is bald, fat and is lead around by a chain around his neck on stage. Sometimes the rest of the band would say 'Lunchbox, do your trick, do your trick!' "

"We kept wondering what his trick was," McKee interjects.

De Souza laughs and continues.

"He'd take his breast out from his overalls and lick it," he says. "Then they'd tell him to do it again for the camera. We're sitting in the back of the venue, eating this candy and just horrified."

While there are other, just as horrifying and hilarious stories, De Souza holds back.

"None that we can put on paper," he says. "If my parents read it later, I can't be in a band anymore."

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