So, let me start off with a quick synopsis of The Meister and Mr. Ted Nugent. Some may call it “classic rock” but for me The Nuge has always been considered “dock rock”. Why? Well, because when I was somewhere around 16-20 and was up at a friend’s cottage in Northern Ontario on weekends sitting with a beer (probably a horrible Molson Golden smuggled from the fridge behind his father’s back) on the dock at almost any hour of the day, we always had the rock station (also the only station we could pull in) on as our soundtrack to the hijinx of youthful exuberance. Ted Nugent was a staple on these airwaves with songs like “Stranglehold” and “Cat Scratch Fever” among others. Even before these times while even younger I had scored that elusive gem at a local garage sale when I spent a quarter of my hard earned paper route earnings on the Cat Scratch Fever eight-track cartridge (yes I actually had a device to play that bulky, clunky thing on as well). I remember the giggle fits with friends as we marveled in disbelief at just what ole Ted was saying on “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”. From there we moved into the concert scene where The Damn Yankees featuring Ted Nugent were a definite favorite among our group. In 2014, I finally saw the Ted Nugent band live at the Sweden Rock Festival. Basically as long as music has been in my life, there’s been Ted, but even still I would not have called myself a fan per say. Fast forward to April 2015 and the Monsters Of Rock Cruise. I was up on the pool deck (Lita Ford was due to play here next, but she had not made the boat) in her place Derek St. Holmes would be filling in. Who? Ahhh, yes, the original Ted Nugent vocalist. Well, I’m up here drinking with some friends so I might as well stick it out for some classic tunes of my youth. Wow! Holy fucking impress me right off! This guy was awesome! Singing excellently with a voice in top shape and his guitar skills were no slouch either! The surprise show of the cruise for me, I came away from Derek St. Holmes‘ set craving more Ted Nugent. Check out Brian Ronald‘s Derek St. Holmes photo gallery from the cruise here: Derek St. Holmes MORC 2015 (14 photos by Brian Ronald)
I then found out that Derek St. Holmes would be stopping at my local rock haunt in Toronto, The Rockpile, on May 22, 2015. Probably not something that I would have originally attended, was now something I was determined to attend based on that pool deck performance. Missing the opening act of the evening I was there in time to see Hand Over Fist lay down a set that included some original material and covers as well. They had kind of a sleazy sound I thought, sleaze rock is something that usually does appeal to me and I learned that this was also their first gig in several years. I made a note to find out more about this band.
Derek St. Holmes took the stage at about 11pm, ripping straight away in “Stranglehold”. What an opening song! With Derek St. Holmes on stage were guitarist Michael Hund and bassist Dylan Hund (father and son, I believe) as well as drummer Dale Harrison (The Headstones). To the best of my knowledge these guys have been with St. Holmes for only tonight and the night before in Buffalo, basically hired guns I guess. On the ship St. Holmes had a selection of superstars with him on the pool deck as you can see in Brian‘s photos. Certainly they were all pretty tight considering rehearsal time was probably not in the cards too much before this pair of shows. Derek St. Holmes continued the Ted Nugent barrage with “Cat Scratch Fever”, “Just What The Doctor Ordered” and “Hey Baby”, which I caught on video next. He then announced that we were “going into something that I wrote” before delivering “Standing In The Rain” and then on to “something new, don’t fall asleep” with “Catch My Fall”. Another Derek St. Holmes original, “Hot For You” took us to the Big Joe Williams song made more famous by Ted Nugent, “Baby Please Don’t Go”, another that I took video for. Derek St. Holmes and band seemed to be ignoring the order of play displayed on the setlist taped to the stage floor and were jumping around everywhere. Clearly they were having fun on stage and St. Holmes‘ charisma shone through as there were smiles and shared laughs between the players on several occasions. St. Holmes joked that he hadn’t done this next one for…“at least three days”, “I’ve only done it once”, laughed Michael Hund. It did not detract from “Snakeskin Cowboys” in any way and it came off excellently, for my ears at least. We were also served “Stormtroopin'” among others as well as some Chuck Berry with a little Led Zeppelin snippet included to wrap things up. Derek St. Holmes also mentioned that he was currently working once again with Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) on another Whitford/St. Holmes album after more than 30 years!
Another wicked show from Derek St. Holmes. Directly over to the merchandise table after the set is where I was bound, coming away with The Derek St. Holmes Band self-titled CD in my hand. It was only $10 bucks even, should have bought two at that price! Folks if this guy plays your town, be sure to get out and support him. He is a fabulous guitarist and his voice still shines, thanks Derek for making Toronto a stop in your travels!