Unquestionably, Doug and the Slugs are one of the most distinctive and entertaining Canadian bands of the last 40 years. Their upbeat musical style, musicianship and offbeat stage antics have made them a staple of the Canadian music scene for decades. Formed in Vancouver in the fall of 1977, the band originally consisted of Doug Bennett, John Burton (guitar), Drew Neville (keyboards), Dennis Henderson (bass) and Lawrence McGillveray (drums).
They began by promoting their own shows and soon developed an avid underground following with their infamous ‘theme nights’, where the audience was invited to show up in costume, as secret agents or Carmen Miranda/Ricky Ricardos and watch the band do the same. After a year, their notoriety was great enough that local clubs started to take a chance on them.
In the fall of 1978 there were significant personnel changes within the band. Doug and John remained – they were joined by Simon Kendall, Richard Baker, Steve Bosley and John ‘Wally Watson’. Within a few months the Slugs were the hottest attraction in the Vancouver area. They were playing Monday through Saturday at the most popular live music venues in the city that were lined up every night.
This phenomenon did not go unnoticed by Sam Feldman; in the fall of 1979 Doug and the Slugs and Feldman signed a management deal. Local music impresario Peter McCullough offered to finance the single ‘Too Bad’. The song was released in November 1979 and became an overnight national hit, reaching #1 in many major markets across the country. On the strength of the single, it did not take Feldman long to secure a record deal with RCA and the Slugs’ first album, ‘Cognac and Bologna’, was released in the fall of 1980. The album had other significant radio hits in ‘Chinatown Calculation’ and ‘Drifting Away’.
The rest is history – The Slugs toured relentlessly and went on to produce 6 more albums (3 of them certified Gold) and proved to be a ‘national treasure’. The band also had international releases in the US, Europe and Australia. They had underground success and critical acclaim in America, and helped launch the video era with Slug videos among the first getting heavy rotation on MTV, due to their film-like quality and humour.
Tragically, on October 16, 2004, Canada lost one of its greatest entertainers and songwriters when Doug Bennett passed away in a Calgary hospital.
Indeed, the Slugs wondered if they could ever continue without Doug. For several years they did not even consider the idea, until Bernie Aubin suggested they call Ted Okos, a journeyman rocker for many years with the band ‘Nick Danger’. Ted and the original slugs, John Burton, Simon Kendall, Steve Bosley, Wally Watson and Richard Baker, hit it off immediately. Ted’s high energy delivery and warm, but slightly irreverent stage antics, and his keen understanding of the essence of the songs, made him the obvious choice for a rebirth of ‘Doug and the Slugs.’
NOW THEY ARE BACK!!!
Don’t miss the chance to see and hear The Slugs relive their glory when they visit your town!