Weyburn musician recharges at home after tour ends

It will be a long break for the rock band, Dead Levee, but the band members are thankful for the perfect timing of their most recent tour.

Front man and lead vocalist Dane Von Hagen relaxed at his Weyburn home along bandmate bassist Tayler Morgan, and talked of some of the band’s recent experiences and plans for the coming year in an interview on Friday.

article continues below

The band just wrapped up a 40-day cross-country tour four days before all of the cancellations began occurring due to the coronavirus.

Von Hagen said all appearance dates have now been cancelled until at least June, which will give the band time to work on their own material and polish their songs.

With restrictions now in place for any public gatherings or concerts, they are turning to technology to help them out, as they performed an acoustic concert on their Facebook page on Thursday evening with plans to do more in the coming weeks.

Last summer, the band did some performances and spent time out in Vancouver, and on Jan. 25, they started their 40-day tour. They started out from Regina and headed east through such centres as Winnipeg, Kenora and Barrie, made it to the East Coast in Halifax, Fredericton and Charlottetown before heading back west again.

They finished in Brandon on March 8, and four days later the cancellations and restrictions started to come down.

“The roads for the most part were pretty good,” said Dane, noting that the exception was twice driving through snowstorms in the Montreal area.

“Basically we got the response we were looking for,” he added of the audiences they played for. “It seems that rock-and-roll is alive and well out there.”

“The crowd responses were always really good,” added Tayler, noting in Charlottetown they had a packed house to play to. “It was awesome.”

The band’s van is a 1989 Ford Econoline, painted up with their band’s logo and 60s-style decorations, and it made through 10,000 kilometres by the end of the tour.

One feature of their tour was to premiere two new singles, said Dane. The first is called “Tension”, “which is a hard-hitting high-energy rock-and-roll song,” he said.

The second single is “Eyes on the Road”, which he described as “a straight-forward roots rock-and-roll song.”

“We all come from cover band origins, like ‘Private Drive’,” said Dane, noting their goal is to now be writing and performing original material, with cover songs mixed in from their musical influences and heroes, like Led Zeppelin.

Other bands they look up to include Glorious Sons and The Trews. In addition, they have had a mentoring relationship with Leon Harrison, lead singer for the rock band, The Lazys, and other musicians they have met along the way. One example is a percussionist named Enrico, who once played drums for Aretha Franklin and is now in an Oshawa-based group, Professors of Funk, who they opened for in that area.

“That was really cool, because he was a part of the R&B scene,” said Tayler.

One opportunity the band members had was to work at a music festival which featured groups like The Trews and The Lazys, and they were able to see how the bands worked behind the scenes and how a large production is put together.

The acoustic performance they did on Facebook was the first time they did something like this, with over 700 signing on to watch it.

Tayler admitted they didn’t know what kind of response they would get, and hoped they didn’t just get seven people watching.

For the coming weeks and months, they hope to be doing more Facebook concerts, and are working on building up their portfolio of original music.

“We’ve been working really hard at building up a vault of songs,” said Dane, noting they have about 20 songs they have been working on.

He noted sometimes they try out some of their newer songs in a concert, and when they get a good positive response, they keep it mind to continue honing and perfecting it for any future recordings they might do.

“We are a touring band. We love being on the road, and our plan is to continue doing that,” said Dane.

Band members include Dane Von Hagen, frontman; Tayler Morgan, bass guitar; Rylan Klapatiuk, lead guitar; Rylan Dusyk, rhythm guitar; Preston Laschuk, drums.

To see the music video of their single, Tension, go to https://youtu.be/UIpvdMTAdEE

Their contacts on social media are as follows: on Instagram @deadlevee, and on Facebook @Dead Levee