When Dan Hare screams out the lyrics to AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie, it’s tricky to picture him sitting quietly, pondering religion.
But he’s equally comfortable in both worlds.
Hare is the catalyst behind March Hare Allstar Band, a self-described Vancouver dance party cover band who performed at Sturgis North.
A skilled lead vocalist and guitarist with an extensive and varied musical repertoire, Hare’s interests are just as varied. He holds three university degrees – in English and philosophy from Simon Fraser University, and a masters of divinity in theology and counselling from Trinity Western University. He’s even written a book, “Regrets, they’ve had a few,” featuring practical wisdom from more than 300 interviews he did with people between the ages of 65 and 100.
“I’ve done lots of stuff – I’ve done work in the prisons, been a volunteer chaplain, informal help with people. Music is my main-stay… Again, I think it’s the whole package. If you care about your life and what you’ve done, you’re taking your talent and sharing it with the world.”
March Hare, made up of Hare on vocals and guitar, Kimberly Baskerville on vocals, guitar and percussion, Andy Smyth on keyboard, bass, strings, horns, back-up vocals and more, and Ian Paxton on drums and vocals, has been together for seven-and-a-half years.
They do what many other bands aren’t able to – make a living from playing music.
Before their gig in Salmon Arm they were the house band at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Their itinerary is as varied as their music. One week it will be original songs, the next a festival, and the next a corporate gig. Although they perform mostly cover tunes, they have produced two CDs of original music as well as a solo CD from Hare.
With regards to promoting their own music, Hare says “without an identifiable hit song, it’s difficult to attract people. We do the bulk of our gigs as a show band.”
But not just any show band. While their performances are tight and polished, it’s obvious they’re not just going through the moves. They’re having fun.
“You have to work hard, you have to care,” says Hare. “The best compliment we ever get is, ‘you guys love what you’re doing and it’s totally obvious.’”
Even the sparse crowds under rainy skies at Sturgis didn’t lessen their enthusiasm.
“We respect our audience, whether it’s 10 or 10,000; we’ve played for 50,000 and five.”
One of the keys to success for the band is the singers, says Hare.
“We have three genuine lead singers who can front a band,” he explains, adding advice for people who ask him how to have a more successful band.
“The simple answer? Have better singers.”
For Hare, his favourite covers are Boston, Credence Clearwater Revival and Bob Seiger. For Paxton, it’s Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney. For Baskerville, she favours Madonna and Lady Gaga.
The Sturgis North event wasn’t Baskerville’s first visit to Salmon Arm.
“In 1993 I played in your theatre for the Legends of Rock and Roll,” she says.
Now she spends her time performing, writing songs with Hare and maintaining related websites.
“This is our dream, I love it,” she says of March Hare.
She was not bothered, either, by the sparse audiences.
“Whenever you’re performing your original tunes, it’s awesome. It’s been a bit quiet, but it’s the first time (for the event), so no one knew what to expect.”
March Hare’s website can be found at: www.marchhare.bc.ca.