It’s got rock, roller derby, Ukeladies, and what is so far the only Seinfeld-themed Ramones cover band on Haida Gwaii.
But punks in the Dub Jackson Band do get asked about the night they chose to stage a roller-derby rock show in Queen Charlotte: Guy Fawkes.
“Yeah, nobody gets it,” says bassist Alan Moore.
“We get lots of questions, like what’s the deal?”
To get Guy Fawkes — a night when British people light big bonfires across the country — you have to step back to a cellar under the House of Lords on Nov. 5, 1605.
That’s when a guy named Guy Fawkes — aka Guido Fawkes, aka John Johnson — got caught with a long match, 36 barrels of gunpowder, and a plan to blow up the king and parliament.
The reasons why Fawkes planned, as he put it, “to blow you Scotch beggars back to you native mountains,” are a bit complicated, and actually not much fun.
It’s the total opposite with the story behind Haida Gwaii’s favourite swing-punks.
To get the Dub Jackson Band, you have to step back a few years to the attic in Blair Weinberg’s house.
That’s where Weinberg (aka Dub Jackson) started playing explosive punk songs by the likes of Rancid, Misfits, and The Clash with current Dub Jackson bandmates Alan and Pete Moore.
Together, they were Attic Rats.
“We never played a show — we literally played in my attic,” said Weinberg, even though their drummer was Will Kidman, now of The Constantines.
“I still use his snare,” he said.
Before Attic Rats, Alan and Pete played in another band, Air Kanada, which did classic-rock covers, played shows, even had a few originals.
Air Kanada also landed a pretty great practice space in the old Queen Charlotte Teen Centre, before it burned down.
Alan and Pete still remember the first speech they got about it from Kris Olsen, who ran the centre then.
“This is the goose that lays golden eggs,” he told them. “Do not mess with it!”
“We practiced multiple summers, pretty much with unlimited daytime access,” said Alan.
“It got us out of our parents’ houses.”
Pete got his first kicks with Air Kanada — he was playing community dances at 16 — but said they sounded a lot like other, older bands on island.
Even if they never played outside Blair’s attic, Attic Rats was eye-opening.
“All of a sudden I was playing music that I’d listened to but never played in a band before,” said Pete. “It was so much more fun.”
Meanwhile, Weinberg had started Dub Jackson as a solo act. It was more of a folk-ska thing, he said, with him playing original songs on acoustic guitar.
The first year Dub Jackson got booked for the Edge of the World Music Festival, Weinberg got a supremely early Sunday morning time slot — the warm-up was a trio of seniors doing Tai Chi.
“I played a lot of shows around town like that,” said Weinberg, from Hospital Days to the Haida Gwaii Coffeehouse.
Thanks in large part to prodding by drummer Greg Williams, Dub Jackson slowly grew to a full band.
“It’s a lot of work to have a whole band play original songs,” said Weinberg, noting that with a cover song, every part is arranged already.
Alan and Greg had to come up with new bass lines and drumbeats, intros and outros, while Pete figured out matching melodies on keyboard.
“I don’t even play keyboard, man!” he said.
But what really put the swing in Dub Jackson’s sound was trumpet player Cam Bell, followed by saxophonist Jeremy John Calhoun.
“Cam brought so much to the band with his horn parts — it really evolves the sound,” said Weinberg.
Last summer, thanks largely to the wizardry of another drummer, Evan Amies-Golonski (Dub Jackson Band is now on drummer number five), they soundproofed Weinberg’s living room and recorded their first record, Summer, then stormed the mainland on a tour with fellow Haida Gwaii punks Jason Camp & The Posers.
Not only has their sound grown, but so has their song list.
“We have very serious songs about the environment, and politics… and zombies and pirates and robots,” said Weinberg.
One crowd favourite is ‘Zombies,’ an undead love song with the chorus,“Well I know our lives will never be the same / But I’ll love ya till the day you eat my brain.”
Other songs take on the oil industry and climate change, even the politics of Transistria, a tiny self-proclaimed republic bordering Ukraine and Moldova.
Altogether, Dub Jackson has about 20 songs so far, enough for a second EP.
“We can play a family-friendly show or a punk-rock show, and it’s still all our songs,” said Weinberg.
New side-projects keep cropping up, too.
At the Guy Fawkes show, Alan, Pete and Blair will debut The Ramoops — a Ramones cover band with a Seinfeld theme that plays sitcom-length sets of 22 minutes each.
“They’re both New York,” said Alan, trying to explain the concept.
“Thematically they seem to work very well together, seeing as how we’re on the complete opposite side of the continent and it makes very little sense to have any Seinfield- or Ramones-themed anything.”
Besides Dub Jackson and The Ramoops, the Guy Fawkes show will feature the Masset Roller Girls, the Ukeladies, Jason Camp & The Posers, and Faceless, a local metal and alt-rock band.
“We don’t want to box ourselves in and only play punk music,” said Weinberg.
“We want to showcase all the talent that’s here.”
It took some planning, given Prince Rupert’s Wheelhouse Brewery will be serving craft beer at the event, but Dub Jackson Band made sure the Nov. 5 show will be all-ages.
“I think it goes with the punk DIY ethic, and a legacy from the other bands we’ve been a part of,” said Alan. “It’s all about just having fun, using music as positive outlet, and sharing it with people.”
“You can play any kind of music you want,” he said.
“There will be a spot for you in this community.”
The Guy Fawkes Yourself rock and roller derby extravaganza starts 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Queen Charlotte Community Hall. For details, check out the event page on Facebook.