Louie Timoteo and the Syndicate homecoming a gift with gravity
Doug Elliott is kind of mad.
The man who went on to become the bass player for major league Canadian 90s band Odds (“The” Odds is acceptable, but wrong) was disappointed to hear his bandmates from way back in the day planned a reunion show this weekend in Jasper this weekend, which he considers his hometown despite relocating to Vancouver in 1982, without inviting him.
Those bandmates are fellow Jasper natives Jim Mannella and Louie Timoteo, who Elliott remembers as older guys he met while in about Grade 10.
“You can tell those guys I’m pissed off that they didn’t ask me!” he laughed. “What a bunch of jerks. Who’s the bass player, do you know?”
It’s Louie’s son, Nicholas, with Edmonton’s Dan Luchin on the drums to round out the band.
“That’s cool then, I’m down with that.”
Originally, Mannella threw together the show at the Legion on Aug. 5 as a thank-you to the employees who helped split the General Store so Gravity Gear could be relocated.
“I thought it was going to be six months before we got a functional retail space,” he said. “I was amazed at how fast they did it, and how hard they worked so I wanted to do something special for them.”
After 9 p.m. the party will open up to the public. There’s no cover.
He and Timoteo have been playing together at West Edmonton Music Society jam nights since Mannella retired from the railroad in November. Timoteo likewise is retired from a career on the rails; Luchin is the house drummer for those West Ed jam nights, so it started rolling from there.
Elliott’s connection reaches back to their first stint as rock and roll stars in Jasper in the late 1970s and early 80s, well before he achieved fame with such 90s Odds hits as Eat My Brain, Someone Who’s Cool and Make You Mad.
They played their first gig at the Elks hall across from the swimming pool, the power trio blowing away the laid back “hippies” in the crowd with their driving rock covers.
“I met Jim after seeing him and I was like ‘who is this cool dude with the long hair,’ he had this big, cool head of hair. So we’d go listen to music, (singing) Spaceship Superstaa-aar, you know, Prism, Queen, I think Jim knew Tie Your Mother Down, he figured out some cool guitar thing, and I thought ‘that is so cool.’”
He said Bryn Thomas, then principal at Jasper Elementary School, let them practice on the stage there on Friday nights. The janitor would lock the door behind them.
“We were kind of an instrumental power trio,” Elliott said. “We started practicing at the Elks Hall – is that little hall still there across from the swimming pool? – the guy said ‘you can practice here for free if you do some gigs.’ So there would be these hippie guys having their coffee, and we would come out and start rocking out, like really loud, original, instrumental rock music. I remember I was going just ‘wow, we have to believe in ourselves, we have to do this’ and they were just not at all into us.”
Elliott won’t be there on Aug. 5 but the rock and country standards will be, according to Timoteo.
“The first time Jim posted one of our songs on Facebook it got quite a reaction, so he said ‘why don’t we put something together,’” Timoteo said. “With all the very, very good musicians I worked with over the years, I can say Jimmy and the drummer Dan are really solid performers. It’s about the band being back together after a 20-year hiatus.”
Timoteo said even when he was gigging professionally in the 80s he would get nervous before a show, and the upcoming gig is no different.
“I play an awful lot at the local jam night and it feels really cool,” he said. “In one way I’m really excited, but in another I’m quite acquiescent, to be honest. A little nervous to be coming back to your hometown and seeing friends you possibly haven’t seen in 40 years.”
Timoteo still has relatives here and will be coming up early to visit with them, and to treat the Friday night jam at the Legion as a sound check for Saturday’s show. That may be worth checking out, too.
“Louie used to play a song by Melissa Etheridge, Bring Me Some Water,” Mannella said. “He sang it, I think, better than Melissa. He’s got a good range, can play higher pitched vocals, and do rockier stuff too. It was a pleasure to get back together with him.”