A&E » Arts

Whistler’s favourite farmers

Behind the scenes with the Hairfarmers



Topping the Favourite Musician/Band category in Pique Newsmagazine’s Best of Whistler poll again in 2007 were the Hairfarmers — Guitar Doug Craig and Grateful Greg Reamsbottom.

But the duo’s domination of the category isn’t just in their No. 1 ranking. Greg’s other band, Whole Lotta Led, finished second in the voting and Doug, as a solo performer, finished third.

Everyone knows the Hairfarmers on stage, but who are these guys off stage? Pique’s Nicole Fitzgerald found out.

Pique: Where did the Hairfarmers name come from?

Doug: We were coming back from a gig in Greg’s old Ramcharger. I used to wear this huge, huge wooly sweater, it was trapping a lot of hair in its fibres. We decided right there that was the perfect name.

Greg: That’s the way it happened… not sure who said it first, but we knew right then that was what we’d call ourselves.

Pique: How did the two of you meet?

Doug: Playing a mountaineer’s wedding in Birken, at Birkenhead Lake. The band I used to play with was the Wild Dogs of Wedgemont — booked from 7 to 12 a.m. — and Greg’s band (Greg and Greg, which is Grateful Greg nd G Willy) was 12-7 a.m. They don’t make weddings like that anymore.

Greg: Amazing night… way too much fun… jammed till the sun came up.

Pique: Who does what in putting a show together?

Doug: We both do pretty much 50 per cent of the work each, starting with bookings online, on the phone or in person. Then I bring sound gear and guitars. We decide on music collectively and share musical tastes. We get unloaded and on to the stage and source power. We both do the layout and sound check — I turn dials to rought it in and Greg goes into the audience to have a listen to the front of house.

We have a ritual that helps us get in the mood to play. We check each other's voice and condition to make sure we can play in concert pitch or change keys, there is an automatic sense when things are going right — venue, people etc...

We never use set lists so I'll start riffing or Greg will be singing a tune already. Lights are the last thing — sometimes on, most times no fancy lighting.

Greg: It's definitely a shared effort. We've played so many shows together that we both know what needs to be done. There's no hard set of rules... we both handle the management of the band, bookings, pricing, scheduling etc., and we always talk things over before making the big decisions like tour arrangements etc... I think we're a good team.

Add a comment