The Story of The Slug
In the beginning…
Vancouver and music were growing a scene.
Vancouver had the weather, economy, lots of clubs, liquor laws that supported live music, and a vibrancy that belied its small city size.
Recording studios were establishing strong roots that attracted professional musicians, engineers and producers — and still do to this day. The clubs — Rohans, The Savoy, Sky’s on Broadway, the Arts Club, Town Pump, Gary Taylor’s Rock Room, the Spinning Wheel, The Cave, the Body Shop, to name a few — catered to audience thirsts, and the thirsts were for live and original music. Talent from across Canada and the west US coast migrated into Vancouver to take advantage of the growing opportunities this city afforded the Music Industry.
And Vancouver had gems galore in its own backyard — Ferron, Chilliwack, Trooper, The Hometown Band, Six Cylinder, Valdy, Triumph, Powder Blues, Shari Ulrich, Pointed Sticks, DOA — well-known musicians and songwriters who are in the top echelons of the Canadian Music Scene.
Two guys. A songwriter out of Toronto looking for a player to accompany his songs. A guitar player, born and raised in Vancouver, several bands and gigs under his belt. Common friends introduce them. Doug Bennett and John Burton performed in coffee joints, small clubs and restaurants. They decided in the fall it was time to find a rhythm section, expand their repertoire, begin recording their tunes, and aim for the wealth of gigs available in all those clubs. John called on some buddies he played with in other bands, and so another Vancouver gem of a band begins its long and fruitful journey into the Canadian Music Scene.
Dennis Henderson (bass), Drew Neville (keys), Ted Laturnus (drums) came together with Doug and John for Halloween 1977 to play Summer 78 — Doug Bennett, Drew Neville, Dennis Henderson, Ted Laturnus, John Burton a rockin’ illegal basement party — and everyone had so much fun, Doug and John jumped on the adventure and the Theme Dance was conceived. They’d make the best parties in town and promote their own shows!
As hard as it is for you to believe, in the beginning, Doug was a very shy guy. He suffered great stage fright — until he mastered the fine art of bolstering his own natural abilities of quick and witty repartee. Behind that shy exterior was a burgeoning comedian.
Theme Dances such as “Cool Jerk”, “Secret Agent”, “Frankie Avalon”, “Kiss” — all were sell-outs. The Legion on Commercial Drive, The Japanese Hall on Cordova, The Oddfellows Hall on Gravely, and The City Space Warehouse on Powell Street were the venues where they attracted people in crowds. These were advertised by word-of-mouth and Doug’s “delightfully silly handbills” which the guys plastered all over the city. They were gaining a following of hundreds who adored the parties these boys knew how to throw. They followed them into the clubs.
Every few months they threw a Theme Dance. They started playing gigs in clubs up at Whistler and in Vancouver. They were becoming a “cult.” And though the band was becoming more successful and gaining fans, musical differences and other opportunities caused a parting of ways in the fall of 1978.
Doug and John then gathered together the Slugs that would take Doug and the Slugs on to national and international success.