By Kate Butler @butler2
Here’s the fourth article in Kate Butler’s series Temporary Venues, exploring the Fredericton all-ages scene between 1997-2006. In this feature, Greg Webber and Zach Atkinson share some early memories of friendship and music.
Greg Webber and Zach Atkinson are long-time supporters of Fredericton music, each playing an integral role in the music scene for almost twenty years now.
It was Langley, BC’s punk rock band GOB who initially brought Webber and Atkinson together. “Zach and I first met at the ‘96 GOB show at the Odd Fellows Hall. Well, we first interacted with one another there outside of their van,” said Webber. “Our pal Mark Richardson was claiming an incident happened at the show and that’s how we kind of met. GOB played with Spine Driver and Room 101 that night.”
“I didn’t even get to see GOB play that night because they went on too late and my Mom wouldn’t let me stay out that late,” said Atkinson. “I only saw GOB once which was at The Capital like six months ago. Full circle.”
A strong community amongst the bands and a sense of belonging continued to bring Webber to shows again and again, and maybe girls had a little bit to do with it too.
“I kept going back to shows because I had a thing for punk rock girls,” said Webber. “But really, the first time I saw Strange Brew and realizing they were from Fredericton… I mean, I got that bands could be from here and be awesome, but when I first saw those guys just plug in amps and play, it wasn’t anything fancy. When we first saw people mosh and do proper pits and hardcore dancing, it was like the popular kids version of the football game. You saw people at the shows you felt comfortable with and had shit in common with.”
Shortly after meeting one another at the GOB show, Webber joined Atkinson’s band, Dionisus, which formed in high school and would go on to play over 100 shows including a cross-Canada tour. Although they share many great memories of playing together, Webber recalls one particular incident when the band ended up being surprise performers at a large punk show the band didn’t expect to be playing.
“It was during a Trigger Happy show,” he said. We weren’t on the poster and we weren’t supposed to play and sometime during the show a band couldn’t make it and all four of us in Dionisus were there anyways. The show was already phenomenal and we just played this set out of nowhere.”
“We were always that band that wasn’t punk but we played punk shows,” adds Atkinson. “If I look back on it now and opening for Trigger Happy, I can’t even comprehend it happening. It probably wouldn’t happen today.”
A commonality and a tight knit group allowed bands of the all-ages scene to count on one another whenever a need was there for gear, a drive, or support in what they were creating.
“We all supported each other back then,” said Webber. “And what I mean by supported is we shared gear and watched each other from the sides. The amount of times I have picked Matt Bowie’s microphone up and put it back in front of his face or gave him my guitar while I changed strings on his during a set. And they did the same for us, picking us up when our van broke down and if we needed anything.”
Webber along with Chris Jackson, Sean Campbell and Tanya Duffy created Pals of Other Performers. Pals would later evolve into Deleted Scene, a collective focused on music promotion. As Deleted Scene began to wind down, Atkinson and fellow local musician James Boyle stepped in to create NickofTime Music.
“We were all kind of helping [at shows] by postering, working the door and whatnot. When Tanya Duffy left to go to school, James and I didn’t know each other well but he had been working shows mostly doing sound and I was working the door,” said Atkinson. “We both decided we wanted to be doing what the folks of Deleted Scene had been doing.”
A sense of nostalgia remains and stories like those shared here on Grid City Magazine will no doubt be shared among the former all-ages members for years to come.
“It’s being part of something and people remembering a show or something you played at,” said Webber. “Those stories that mean nothing to anyone else but a certain group of people. It means a lot.”
You can catch Greg Webber and Zach Atkinson continuing to make music together in their band Kill Chicago along with Matt Bowie and Dillon Anthony.
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