Not an easy journey for local rocker Steve Keys 0
By Steven Sukkau
Local rockers Steve Keys and the Space Trannys are finding success in Southern Manitoba with their upcoming release of their second album 2 Boogie Nights.
However, frontman Steve Wall said it hasn't been easy for rock 'n roll musicians in the area.
"We've been getting our name out around Winkler, but even with all that, the big problem is there's very little opportunity to consistently play or be a band in this area," Wall said.
"There's very few venues, and there's really not any other band like us in the area that we could even work together with to get bigger crowds."
Wall says other bands - rock as well as bluegrass and country - go over well in the area.
"And a lot of that stuff's great, but we're playing rock 'n roll and writing our own songs," Wall said.
"Sometimes it feels like we may be doing a lot better if we were a Beatles tribute band. But with that said, I'd rather be doing okay and writing and playing my own songs than doing extremely well playing someone else's."
Acoustic singer/songwriter Wall formed the rock quartet in 2010 with former high school band mates Andy Elias and Brent Klassen, together with Zac Boschmann.
With influences of post-acoustic Bob Dylan and Elliot Smith, as well as the proto-punk of The Modern Lovers and The Stooges, Wall says they've discovered a sound straight from the 60's and 70's for their first album Jammin' On Toast.
Since then, the band has found a eager following from airtime on local radio stations as well as appearances at The Back 40 Festival and The 60's show.
"Really, just getting paid to play somewhere has felt really good and feels like an accomplishment," Wall said.
"And I really think every show's been a success. Every time we play I think we get better and better, and the crowds are always responsive and the number of people that show up does seem to be slowly growing."
However, he said their biggest success is they still have a great time being a band and playing music, without the personal conflict.
"Bands break up all the time for one reason or another (but he and his bandmates are) very committed to practicing and putting in the time to get better and better," Wall said. "And there's been very few fights."
Their latest album, 2 Boogie Nights, comes out August 10 and tracks range from country to punk and everything in between.
"I'm really proud of it, it's got a lot of heart," Wall said.
"We didn't try to create any new type of genre or anything like that, but I think it's a lot different from anything else that's ever come out of Winkler before, and I hope people take notice."
You can get the new album on iTunes, or purchase the CD at Janzen Brothers music store in the Southland Mall, Gamer's Disco or at Jonny's Java after August 10. You can also contact the band on Facebook for more information about upcoming concerts.