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This weekend at Whistler Olympic Plaza

Tom Cochrane performs for the second installment of the Whistler Presents concert series


From now until the end of summer, the RMOW will host the Whistler Presents Concert Series. This weekend, Tom Cochrane and Colin James will headline shows on Friday and Saturday night. Since Cochrane was not available for an interview, here's a little biographical information along with some tasty tidbits on the openers.

Tom Cochrane with Red Rider: Friday, Aug. 12.

Born: May 14, 1953, Lynn Lake, Manitoba

Target audience: People who like their rock straight, no ice, no frills; people who came of age in the 1980s and were scared of New Wave and hair metal.

Most recent album: No Stranger , released 2006. It was the first Cochrane had recorded for Universal Music. It earned him a Juno Award nomination for Canadian Adult Alternative Album of the Year.

Best known for: The 1991 hit "Life is a Highway"; his time as frontman for Red Rider and the hit "Lunatic Fringe."

Betcha didn't know: Cochrane's songs have appeared on 17 official releases since 1974. His album Mad Mad World , which spawned "Life is a Highway," was inspired by a trip he took with his family to West Africa, where he helped raise awareness and money for World Vision. "Life is a Highway" was his only Top 40 hit in the U.S. Before joining Red Rider in 1978, Cochrane moved to Los Angeles and took a job writing the theme music to the film My Pleasure is My Business , a biopic about former call girl Xaviera Hollander.

He was awarded the Order of Canada on 2008 for his charity work and contribution to the arts. In January 2005, Cochrane, his wife Kathleene and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson spearheaded the televised benefit concert for tsunami relief in Asia, which included heavyweight Canadian musicians Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip and Rush. It raised over $4 million.

The Hairfarmers: Friday, Aug. 12 (opening for Tom Cochrane)

Origin: Whistler, winter 1999

Target audience: People who love, love, love classic rock; people who like classic rock.

Best known for : Nailing covers of Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, The Beatles, The Stones and so on, like, all the freakin' time; being voted "Whistler's Favourite Band," every year since 2004.

Betcha didn't know: "Grateful Greg" was an avid dashboard drummer. "Guitar Doug" planned to be a lawyer but a trip to Whistler effectively slaughtered that idea. Their set list is around 3,000 songs long. Grateful Greg also plays the part of Robert Plant in Whole Lotta Led. The Hairfarmers are available for corporate events, festivals, private parties...your wish (and dollar) is their command.

Gonch Messiah: Saturday, Aug. 13 (opening for Colin James)

Origins: North Vancouver, 1988

Target audience: People who don't mind letting the funk fly; anyone looking for a Canadian band to bridge the space between the Isley Brothers and Fishbone.

Best known for: being Vancouver's premier funk band throughout the 1990s; their unabashed funkiness.

Betcha didn't know: There is virtually nothing about this band available on the Internet. Other than a MySpace page, a digital history of the band is non-existent. They're a bloody mystery! The band is fronted by Greg Hanberry and sounds a whole lot like Incubus' Brandon Boyd. Band members have played/play in other Vancouver acts The Hermits, Ten Suns and Stolen Moments. They were a staple at the Town Pump in Vancouver's Gastown.