Bushwhacker bound for the Big Smoke

Geoff Woods isn’t your typical classical music buff. The 19-year-old has a pierced lip and long hair that tumbles past his shoulders. He wears jeans, a leather jacket and a black T-shirt that bears a picture of a ghoul.

Geoff Woods isn’t your typical classical music buff.

The 19-year-old has a pierced lip and long hair that tumbles past his shoulders. He wears jeans, a leather jacket and a black T-shirt that bears a picture of a ghoul.

He is, in short, a metalhead. So it may be a surprise that his band, Bushwhacker, names Ludwig van Beethoven and Gustav Holst, among their influences.

Or maybe not.

Music critics like Robert Walser have noted similarities between the virtuosic performances of 18th-century European composers and modern metalheads.

Some metal guitarists, such as Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoades, have made this connection explicit.

Woods admires Beethoven’s tunes. But he doesn’t listen to them before a show.

Instead, he throws on Lady Gaga, cranks up his truck stereo and rolls down the windows.

Metalheads are constantly trying to out-do each other with tough-guy, macho posturing. After a while, it becomes pompous and predictable.

And what better way to deflate those pretensions, Woods reasoned, than to blare Lady Gaga’s music, which critic Simon Reynolds memorably described as “ruthlessly catchy naughties pop glazed with Auto-Tune and undergirded with R&B-ish beats?”

He’s found it’s an excellent way to throw fellow metalheads off balance.

Tonight is your last chance to hear Bushwhacker – at least in Whitehorse for 2011. After having played the Frostbite, Sunstroke and the Atlin music festivals, the band is now preparing for a tour of Western Canada.

They have no idea when they’ll be back. Following the tour, the band plans to move to Vancouver and try to make it big.

Woods and Cavan Egan sing and play guitar. Sean Komaromi is on drums. Keenan Dennehy plays bass.

They’re all born-and-raised Yukoners. Metal began to appeal around high school. Listening to it produced the same excitement as watching a horror movie.

They formed their band in high school, under the name Minotaur.

Thrash-metal bands like Slayer and Metallica proved to be early influences. Later, Bushwhacker’s members began to absorb influences from progressive and psychedelic rock groups like Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Jethro Tull.

“Now we’re trying to blend our sound to have more depth,” said Woods. The goal, he said, is to take the audience “somewhere in a trance to meditate, and then scare them all over again.”

Bushwhacker’s played the occasional cover of a Black Sabbath song, but they’ve avoided the trap of starting as a cover band.

“If anyone’s going to say we suck, it’s when we do a cover,” said Woods. “People tend to be more judgmental.”

Bushwhacker recorded their first independently produced album earlier this year. It’s recorded by Jim Holland, has six tracks and runs 45 minutes.

They recently bought a 1980 GMC van in Vancouver for the tour. It’s been converted into a motorhome, with vintage decor inside: wood panelling, red seating and brown carpeting.

Unfortunately, the vendor proved to be a “total shyster,” said Woods. First the van broke down in Prince George. Then the engine seized outside Watson Lake.

Moving to Vancouver is a big jump for the band. None of them have dayjobs lined up. Most the members currently live with their parents.

“I’d rather do this and fail miserably than live with a what-if for the rest of my life,” said Woods. “It’s just taking that leap of faith.”

Tonight’s show starts at 10 p.m. at Foxy’s Cabaret. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Living in Thought opens. Death in Venice will play a final act.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read