One Bad Son: Vancouver-based Rock Band Takes No Shortcuts On the Road To Success

By Kyle Poluyko

One Bad Son emerged onto the Saskatoon music scene in 2004. The cohesively collaborative brotherhood of singer Shane Volk, drummer Kurt Dahl, guitarist Adam Hicks, and bassist Adam Grant have established a true to form rock band while carving out their own niche. With independent releases of This Aggression Will Not Stand in 2006 and Orange City in 2007, One Bad Son has spent the past eight years tempering and seasoning their sound while cementing a precise and reliable work philosophy.

“The days of letting everyone around you take care of everything are gone,” said Dahl while discussing the band’s do-it-yourself style of achievement. Dahl is confident and perceptive about the band and today’s music industry, and his graciousness and enthusiasm radiate in discussion about both. “If we put on a great live show fans come from that. Good things come from that.” Good things, indeed. Following the cultivation of a large fan base in Saskatoon with consistently sold-out shows, the band broke the barriers of comfort in 2011 and relocated to Vancouver. After several months of regular gigs and tireless self-promotion, the band nourished a new throng of fans and earned a record deal with 604 Records, under which their latest, self-titled album was released. “There’s been no “total” change in our material from the first two (albums),” Dahl said of new album, adding that “there has been a huge jump – a leap – in terms of writing.”

The aspiration to produce a genuine rock sound, Dahl asserts, is a concerted effort on the part of the band. “After eight years together we complement each other. No one individual stands out as one does in many acts you see today. All four of us are integral to the sound.” Their propensity for staging an intense, high-energy show was on prominent display at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium January 14, when One Bad Son commanded the crowd on a stop with US rock band Buckcherry. Along with their reverberant rock sound, the audience was treated to riffs in tracks like “Rustbucket” that is reminiscent of 70s hard rock, as well a groove-influenced and somewhat darkly intense “London Kills.” According to Dahl, the band’s future consists primarily of touring: “What did Bob Dylan say about touring? The road is the best place to write.”