Canadian Indie Music · featured artist: HEMI 69
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Thorold, Ontario, Canada
member since: Mar 7, 2005



Back in 2000, Tim Oliver had a guitar and some lyrics, but no band. Paul Devine was a keyboardist / songwriter with some modest 4-track recording equipment in a spare room in his apartment. They were brought together by Paul’s friend (and Tim’s sister) Jill and they decided to work together on a song-writing project. Tim brought a strong grunge influence (Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam) while Paul brought an old-school rock influence (Pink and Purple with a touch of Blues). When these two styles collided the sound of HEMI 69 crawled out of the wreckage.

At this point there were still no plans to put together a band. Every weekend Tim would make the trip from Flamborough to St. Catharines where they would experiment, write and record. Rehearsal time was severely limited, largely in difference to Paul’s neighbours who, for the most part, tended to “put up with the noise”.

After about two years of this they decided to bring in other musicians to try the new songs out as an actual live band would them, as opposed to the numerous overdubs. Brian Gannon was brought in on rhythm guitar and Arron Heidebrecht on drums. Naturally, they also began jamming out some cover songs, just for fun. They soon realized that within the originals and covers they had a fairly respectable set list. The decision was made – they would form a band.

As Paul, Tim and Brian are all Mopar muscle car enthusiasts they named the new band Hemi 69, in homage to the ultimate street machine.

Hemi 69 hit the bar circuit around the Niagara region, did a couple of gigs in Toronto and were generally well received.

But there were still adjustments to be made. Arron was replaced by Rob Maguire and Taysia Chambers took up bass duties. Due to an insurmountable difference in styles, Rob Maguire was eventually replaced by the band’s current drummer – Steve Grant. Taysia left to form her own band and Hemi 69 is now looking for a new bassist while Paul temporarily fills that position with keyboards.

Because the members all have day jobs with conflicting schedules, along with their band responsibilities they have little time left to deal with business and marketing aspects of Hemi 69. That is where I come in to play.

As Tim Oliver’s “day job boss” at Subway Sandwiches in Thorold, I was always kept informed of the bands progress, this tweaked my interest and I decided to go to my first ever Hemi 69 gig.

Their sound is unique, with a style that appeals to a wide range of rock tastes, in both their originals and covers. Both Paul and Tim do turns on lead vocals and with their contrasting styles, their range is expanded even further.

How could I turn down such an opportunity? I offered to come on board as manager / agent as the band is heading into the studio to begin work on their first album.

The band is now based in Thorold, so if you happen to live in the Confederation Heights area and your window begins to rattle as the ground starts to rumble, that ain’t no tuner – its HEMI 69!