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
JULY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
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