Rock group Chilliwack chilling out in Sidney

Chilliwack’s lead singer Bill Henderson. - Barrie Kempenfest
Chilliwack’s lead singer Bill Henderson.
— image credit: Barrie Kempenfest

Canadian rock band, Chilliwack will be hitting the stage for an extra show in Sidney, with some of the group’s new songs as well as greatest hits.

The group’s latest album is There and Back, which came out a decade ago. So why not make another album?

Lead singer and guitarist for the group, and the only original member left, Bill Henderson said they have a few new songs, but not enough for an album.

“As far as recording goes, (we’re) totally taking it easy,” he said with a laugh. “It’s all about live performance for me at this point.”

He said the thing about making records is that you are second guessing your audience as they aren’t in front of you.

“I learned how to do that and I learned how to do it pretty well, but I don’t enjoy the process that much anymore, and so I prefer just the fun part, which is playing for people,” he said.

Some of the group’s newer songs are Take Back this Land, Patent on the Wind and The Solar High.

Their newest song, The Solar High, is about Salt Spring High School.

Henderson, who currently resides on Salt Spring Island, said the song is about the community and people working to get funding together for a vast solar array on the roof of the school to power it.

“It’s a really cool thing and I wrote this song for that occasion, and that’s one of the things I like writing songs for right now, not for the marketplace, but for stuff that’s going on,” he said.

Patent on the Wind is a song about the story of Percy Schmizer.

“It’s all about life patenting and GMO crops and the companies and the way they’re handling people and all that kind of stuff,” he said, adding that it was a protest song.

Henderson first knew he wanted to be involved in the music industry at about 15 years old. That realization, he said, came from two things. One of them was that he was reasonably good at it.

“The other was that it was the only thing I was any good at …when I was a teenager — teenagers are very vulnerable — and I felt like I wasn’t any good at anything…”

He said getting into music, he could feel some pride in himself and it was a way to express himself, as he felt he had been unable to.

“Music kind of saved my life. It was something I could do that felt great, so I devoted all my time to it. I didn’t have much in the way of friends.”

By the time he got to Grade 12, he was supporting himself with a weekend gig and living in a rooming house in Edmonton and would often spend a lot of his time studying chords if he wasn’t in school.

“I was fascinated by chords and how the whole harmony system works in music, how that all happens.”

He got into folk music and jazz and then got into classical when he attended university.

While in university, Henderson discovered The Beatles, and jumped into rock.

The rest was history.

Chilliwack is made up of himself, his brother Ed, Jerry Adolphe and their newest member, Gord Maxwell.

Henderson said they rarely rehearse anymore and don’t charge ahead with new songs, a new image and new recordings, and are taking a bit of a step back

Chilliwack will be playing to two sold out shows April 1 and 2, but have added a third show for those still interested in watching them perform on March 31.

For tickets call 250-656-0275.

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