Any interest in music did not start until grade 10 at Bishop Carroll High School. I joined my brother (Beej) there – he had started one year earlier. His group of friends were arty/music types that were really into a group called THE BEATLES! It was pretty much like stepping off the curb and getting hit by a bus. This music – this group was amazing and they were speaking directly–AND ONLY– to ME. That first high school Christmas I received a record (vinyl) of The Beatles Live at The Hollywood Bowl. I wore out the record and the ink off the album jacket.
This opened up my world of music!!! Everyone seemed to be–OR wanted to be–in a band. I had discarded a guitar I had received a few years earlier as it required talent, interest and musical ability – none of which I possessed… so when it came time to form a band I assumed the drum chair – as Ringo had taught me everything I needed to know to play the only songs I wanted to play. Beej and a friend named Phil rounded out the trio that was known as Holt Reinhart & Wilson. We were certainly NOT the classic Canadian Power Rock Trio but we sure sounded good in our heads. The following year Rich came to Carroll and series of events were set in motion that were to shape our lives. The rest of high school saw a few band members come and go, several name changes and many concerts for friends.
The band that emerged from that period consisted of Beej, Rich, Bruce and Me (Dan).
The period of 1982–84 saw us practicing constantly, getting a manager and playing many shows… all which led up to us “hitting the road”. We were probably “ill-informed” that to “make it” we had to hit the bar circuit, playing cover tunes – paying our dues until we we basically earned our way to legitimacy.
This world was very foreign to us as we did not usually frequent bars except the more fringe type places where bands played there own music.
So off we went in a van with a trailer… eventually working our way up to a school bus. Rich and Bruce left to pursue career and family goals. Band members came and went. There were several name changes. We worked our way back and forth across Western Canada playing small towns that we had never heard of. The final version of the band included a powerful singer named Heidi. The band basically imploded in the winter of 1988 as financial pressures and the strain of being on the road forced us to confront the reality of getting on with life. Our final triumph was driving the bus from Cold Lake Alberta to Calgary on the coldest day in recent memory – with no heat.
We jumped into life. I married Heidi, had two wonderful children and settled into a career in construction. Music was pushed, not just to the backburner – but pretty much off the stove. Children thrived, mortgages were paid, marriages unfortunately ended and life went on. In 2000 I started my own business. Around this time I joined a party band (The ADHOC Band) and rekindled my love of playing drums and being in a band with like minded people that just loved to play music. In 2007 I purchased a large home in the country without really knowing why. I just felt compelled to do so. In 2010 I started to think about building a recording studio in the house – perhaps if I did so the old band could get together – and I spent a lot of time working on our music and not have to pay the huge rates that recording studios charge. I did not realize that the rates charged in “the old days” had vanished into the reality of home studios, pirated music and a severe reduction in the money pumped into all levels of the music industry.
I started the process of creating OCL Studios. I brought on a Studio Designer Chris Potter. I was adamant that I wanted to create something that did not exist in Calgary. A throwback to the time when bands would come into a large space. Real people playing real instruments AND they could stay in the house as they made music. Essentially creating a place where the community of music could converge. All the while the thought of Avenue Road (the original band) making a record consumed my thoughts. The studio developed into what it is today. Beej, Rich and I made a few attempts at recording – none of which were very successful – and life carried on.
In 2016 it was decided to get serious about making THE record. A good friend – Russell Broom was brought on to produce the record. It was difficult to NOT play the same songs the same way as we had 30 years ago but Russell dragged us right out of the ’80’s into the ’90’s. During the recording process he pushed us further into the 2000’s. It has been awesome, fulfilling and joyous to bring this music to life. We are probably the oldest “new” band ever. We look forward to sharing the music and the journey.
– Dan Owen