Classic rock band to reunite in Moose Jaw

Headline stands in front of Moose Jaw’s Capitol Theatre in July 1978. (From left): Dave Sergent, Nelson Bennett, Dan O’Connell, Sandy Lawson and Graham Young. Photo courtesy Klaus Bohn

1970s band Headline to celebrate 40th anniversary with show at Chillers this summer

In 1977 in Moose Jaw, Graham Young and a group of friends officially started a classic rock band, Headline, and embarked on a Canadian tour.

Forty years later, the band, complete with all original members, will be playing a reunion concert at Chillers Brew Pub on Aug. 19.

“We were really the first ever classic rock band in Moose Jaw,” said Young.

Headline’s reunion show coincides with the same weekend that Young is organizing a Riverview Collegiate high school reunion for the class of 1976. While it is technically the school’s 41st reunion, it’s being billed as the 40th since it couldn’t be arranged in 2016. Headline had also played at the 1976 Riverview graduation.

“Dovetailing (Headline’s show) with the reunion seemed like a wise move,” said Young.

The band plays classic rock covers from groups like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and ZZ Top. The last time Headline played Moose Jaw was to a sold-out crowd at Chillers on Aug. 24, 2012, which marked 34 years to the day since the band had last played in the Friendly City before that in 1978 at the Moose Jaw Union Centre.

The band is comprised of seven current members, five of whom graduated high school in Moose Jaw – guitarist Young (Riverview), drummer Nelson Bennett (Riverview), keyboardist Ross Folkerson (Central), singer Dan O’Connell (Central) and guitarist Alexander “Sandy” Lawson (Central). Base player Dave Sergent and singer Keith Dyck attended high school elsewhere.

When asked why they decided to first start the band in the late ‘70s, Young said he wasn’t particularly sure.

“There was just something cool about rock ‘n’ roll and guitars and a lot of people had that same kind of interest back at that time. I think one of the nice things was when we got started and got a little momentum going back then, there were lots of places for us to play,” said Young. “It was commonplace if you wanted to have a dance in high school in the ‘70s in Moose Jaw, you typically had a live band.”

The band played many small town halls in the southern parts of Saskatchewan, playing as many as 60 shows in one year.

“We’d be having to get seven, eight guys in a bus and then travel 200 miles to go and play some place at 10 o’clock at night … and drive back,” recalled Young.

“Inevitably the bus would break down in the middle of winter and there were all kinds of episodes we’d have. Buses were probably the bane of our existence. It was a tough time, but we had a lot of fun doing it and obviously all of us still have a passion for the music to get back together 40 years after the fact and play again.”

The band used to practise out of a basement of a house on Monk Avenue, two doors down from the Wenarchuk family who owned John’s Music.

For more on this, see the July 5, 2017 print or online edition of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald.