Raising a Rukus

By Vernice Shostal

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Victoria’s “Golden Oldies” Rockers began in 1977 with two musicians, Bob Dalziel and his friend, Rod Arundell, who, seven years earlier, had met “over a few beers at the Old Century Inn.” In addition to sharing beers, they shared a love for '50s rock 'n' roll music. Rod bragged about the way he could imitate the licks of Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley’s guitarist, and Bob boasted about his ability to imitate the King himself. But it was mostly talk until 1977, when their hero died. Shocked by the brevity of life, the duo decided to quit delaying their own desire to become musicians and started jamming on a regular basis.

For two years, they played at parties and did some live shows, but their enthusiasm waned and they quit playing in public. A year later, meeting other musicians, they got a new start when they took on a bass player and later a drummer. Their first real gig was videotaping seven songs for *Daybreak*, a local CHEK-TV show, where the name Rock House Ruckus became the current Rukus.

Disbanding again in 1983, they rejoined in 1988 when a friend enticed them to help him celebrate his 40th birthday. A love for authentic rock 'n' roll has kept the band jamming ever since.

"It is gratifying to know that in a small way we are helping to keep the original rock 'n' roll alive," says Bob.

Keyboard player Marty Adams joined Rukus in 2001. Victoria Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame drummer Barry Casson joined in 2003. In 2007, Steve Hansen, who had been with the band for a while, rejoined original band member Bob Dalziel and Dave Kissinger, who replaced Rod Arundell in the early '90s.

The Rukus band members come from various walks of life to speak the universal language of music. “Everybody sings and everybody plays,” says Bob, who was born in Victoria and worked for the city since 1974. Both the youngest and oldest member of the group, he and his wife of 30 years, Brenda, have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Retired from the cablevision industry, lead guitar Dave Kissinger, also born in Victoria, taught himself to play by the age of 12. With several friends, he began playing at school dances and later joined a band called R.P.M. and the Regents.

He has an extensive musical background with Victoria band Phoenix, playing Eagles, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Police, Chicago, CCR and Van Morrison tunes. In 2008, he was inducted into the Victoria Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

"We play songs I grew up hearing and playing,” says Dave. “It's always magic when a band puts a song together and it just 'works.'"

Barry Casson has been playing drums since he was 16. He played with local bands before joining “Bob and the Strangers,” a group that went to England in 1966 and played in major venues all over the British Isles. Back in Victoria, Barry taught drums and learned photography, later becoming a newspaper photographer with the *Times Colonist*, TV news cameraman with CHEK TV and director producer of over 60 films and videos. Past president of Victoria Motion Picture School, he wrote his first book on filmmaking and gives presentations to high schools, colleges and business groups.

Raised in Nanaimo, bass guitar and vocalist Steve Hansen came to Victoria in 1970. Influenced mainly by the Beatles, Steve began playing in bands in the 1960s. After a few years of accordion, he switched to guitar and then bass. Steve played with “Whiskey Tree,” one of the first bands based out of Nanaimo. They did the coffeehouse circuit up and down the island. Steve played with several bands in the '70s and '80s. He took time off to concentrate on family before getting back to music to play with Rukus. A cooking school graduate as well as a journeyman electrician, Steve is the only member who joined the band twice.

Born in London, England, keyboardist and vocalist Marty Adams played with several bands in the '60s, until he started teaching in 1968 and his focus turned to choral directing and musical theatre. In the mid '80s, Marty joined “Doc & The Doowops,” which he calls the highlight of his musical career.

"I played keyboards for 11 years with Doc & The Doowops, Victoria's premier rock 'n' roll show band and performed with them for the Opening Ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in 1994."

The energetic Rukus musicians, mostly in their 60s, with 200 years of combined stage experience, performed at the opening for Buddy Knox’s 60th birthday party bash. Competing with 15 other bands in 1999, they won the “Battle of the Bands” competition and set the attendance record for the Government House “Music On The Lawn” outdoor concert series in 2006. They have played on shows with Tommy Sands, Bobby Curtola, The Coasters, Susan Jacks, Randy Bachman and Buddy Knox. This summer, the band will be raising a ruckus at Butchart gardens, Rutledge Park, the Saanich Fair and more. They entertain at private and retirement parties, special anniversaries and reunions. From Elvis to the Beatles and everything in between, the band plays tunes the way their fans remember them.

"You're never too old or too young to rock 'n' roll," says Bob.

For more information about Rukus, visit www.rukus.ca



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Showing 1 to 10 of 10 comments.

I'm looking for an article in Senior Living at the Senior's Expo in March of 2010 in which I performed - I saw if before but cannot find it now and would like to be able to print the article off. Can you help me?

Posted by Victor O'Brien | February 17, 2011 Report Violation

I've had the pleasure of working with these boys while I was living in Victoria and must say the first time I seen them live I felt like I had gone back to the 50's...and I was born in 1969. Great bunch of guys and musicians. My hats off to Rukus!

Posted by Adrien Aucoin | August 9, 2010 Report Violation

Not just a terrific band, and loads of fun, but they were wonderful help in my recent sock hop food bank benefit project. Everyone had such an amazing time, we're going to book them for the 2nd annual next year! They more than deserve their continuing success and adoring fans...

Posted by maggie | August 9, 2010 Report Violation

So many things could be said but to begin at the beginning so long ago. I have known Bob Dalziel since I was 4 and he was 3, so we go back some 58 years. I also went to school in Esquimalt with Brenda back in the day.
Our paths in life seperated at about 18 and I went on my life journey a long way north of Victoria. We had a lot of very different experiences, some good some not so good just like everyone else. Life.
Moving back to Victoria and listening to Bob and Rukus was very cool it was seeing Bob really doing what he had always loved, besides baseball and Brenda that is. Rukus is a great band ! We love hearing all "Our" songs again and the boys from the hood are playin' 'em it don't get any better than that Rock On Rukus! Hang on to 17 as long as you can!
All our Love Lester n' Shirley

Posted by Lester n' Shirley Brown | July 27, 2010 Report Violation

Great to get a detailed article about the lovely RUKUS BAND!! I am a Rock 'N Roll fan and of course and Elvis fan! I was walking down a street visiting in Victoria, BC about 5 years ago, when Bob Dalziel saw my Elvis picture on my jacket and said, I am a singer and do Elvis. Great, then I got to see the Rukus Band in Victoria, BC when there and I lived in White Rock, BC and came over often to see the band and enjoyed dancing with them. Now I am in the Gold Coast, Australia and came back to see the Rukus Band again - they are great and love the music, and selected songs and of course, Elvis never left the building. My very best to the entire band and Bob Dalziel. Glad you do a wonderful job and that the public and private people lovely you so much. See you again. Like Barb Dobie - we know each other too - Long live Rock 'N Roll RUKUS.

Chears - Penny Metcalfe

Posted by Penny Metcalfe | July 24, 2010 Report Violation

I saw a stack of Senior Living magazines at the Cook St. Seniors Centre a week ago. And on the cover, jumping up at me, was my favourite band, RUKUS! What a fabulous photo and article. You are all a true inspiration to all Boomers that life just keeps getting better and better.

Although i have only known the boys since 2003, i am one of their most ardent fans. They are a great band to dance to, and also to just sit back and enjoy. i am constantly trolling the www.rukus.ca website to look for their next gigs. I just love that every time they play, they give it their all and it feels like the first time.

For any music history buffs out there, two of the band members have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Posted by Diane Barry | July 23, 2010 Report Violation

Best band ever! We love them, been to many of their gigs and danced ourselves crazy! When Jim 'Elvis' Smith became a Hall of Fame Inductee in 2006, by The Royal City Music Project, as the "Most Influential Musician 1956-1959, Rukus was there to back him up, when Jim passed away in September 2009, Rukus was there again, hosting his celebration of life "... remembering jim smith"; which really made this difficult time for friends and family a wonderful send off. Rukus was always Jim's favourite band, and if he were alive today, he would himself being adding a comment here, he loves you guys, and the family thank you for your love and support. This is one talented bunch of guys and we are all so fortunate that they have such a dedicated commitment and are abundantly talented. And — you guys are so sexy, too sexy for your pants Bobby! (you know what we are talking about)
in gratitude, lots of love lulu and paisley

Posted by Lulu and Paisley | July 23, 2010 Report Violation

The article about Rukus was fantastic! I have known founding member and singer Bob Dalziel since the sixties and shared his love of Elvis and all things rockabilly. I was around when he and Rod first got things rollin' and have been to many of their dances since then. I am a singer in a similar band Skunk Hollow in Campbell River and we are inspired by Rukus carrying the torch for rock'n'roll all those years and into the future as we also hope to do. Although I thought I knew everything about Rukus, the article provided lots of detail that I didn't know about this band who have been a mainstay on the Victoria and Island scene for so many years. All I can say is there isn't a better band around for you to put on your dancing shoes for and have a fun night out on the town. Keep it rockin', Rukus!

Posted by Rich Hagensen | July 22, 2010 Report Violation

These guys are unreal . When my wife and I first moved to the island some 22 yrs ago we fell in love with them.They play the best of the happy days music and have the right attitude about rock and roll and rockabilly music.Not to mention they sound good ,and are all very talented.
I have been a collector of that era and a car builder of that era that they represent on stage.And when it comes to their talent showing what it was all about ,they live it and show it .Just doesn't get any better.
If Elvis was still alive and heard them I'm sure they would be his favorit band.Thank you ,thank you very much!
Jack Darling

Posted by Jack darling | July 21, 2010 Report Violation

It was so wonderful to see an article about Rukus!!! They've been a favourite of ours ever since way back at the beginning..............I remember they played just after Elvis died in '77 we had an Elvis Celebration with his fans. We also had the band again play at our 25th Anniversary Party around our pool in Duncan in 1993 and everyone loved them! Since that time we've seen them play many times and we're so happy for them that they are still continuing to play for all to enjoy!..........They're all great guys who play such fantastic music which they make sound SO good!!!! Long live Rock and Roll and Rukus!!!

Posted by Barbara Dobie | July 19, 2010 Report Violation

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