Here is a post from the iconic music industry insider and blogger Bob Lefsetz after he caught one of our shows at Merlin's in March of 2019.
The only people who know how to party harder than Canadians are Australians.
Greetings from Whistler, Canada. Where your money goes far and the hills are long. And from the moment I got here, Andy has told me I need to see the Hair Farmers.
You know we insiders, we can go hear live music every night of the week. Name talent. Do we really want to see a cover band?
But I did. And it was the best music experience I've had in quite a while.
It's been warm here. But you can still ski to the bottom. Freezing level is 1900 meters, i.e. two-thirds of the way up the hill. The glacier is still winter, but the rest of the mountain is spring.
The glacier... The Horstman t-bar has been closed all year because the glacier is shrinking and moving. They couldn't open it if the footings hadn't moved anyway, the top is now too steep. Climate change... Either you believe in it or you don't. But we see evidence of it everywhere. Did you read about the record temperatures in Alaska? It was 70!
And Canada is a foreign country, but it's kinda like the U.S., so it's disorienting. You feel like you're home and then they order Kohanee beer. Huh? I remember when it was cool to drink Olympia, the other water beer besides Coors. But Olympia and its white cans with yellow accents disappeared, kinda like Fudgetown cookies and everything else you used to love.
And Canadians have no airs. You feel it. No one's boasting. Sure, there's money in Whistler, but you just don't see it the way you do in Aspen or Vail.
And it's international. Not only visitors, but locals. Hard to imagine the racism we have in the U.S. existing in Canada. Supposedly Toronto has more ethnicities than any other city in the world. And Asian and South Asian people are de rigueur. If you're racist, Canada is not the place for you.
And Andy and I spent the day skiing with Marcel and his family. Marcel is 77. But he's a ski instructor and can beat just about anybody down the mountain.
And he loves music! He was testifying about J Lo at the Grammys, how he recorded the performance to watch over and over again. I don't think J Lo can sing, but it turned out Marcel was enamored of the dancers! He's a fan of Lady Gaga. They showed me video of him dancing at her show in Vancouver that he went to for his 75th. He pops, he locks, but he doesn't moonwalk since "Leaving Neverland."
But I didn't know all this when we were skiing. At light speed.
We hiked up to the glacier, it's eerie.
But the best run of the day was Springboard, under the new gondola, it was long with a consistent pitch and the snow was like Cream of Wheat, it was delectable.
And then Marcel said we had to get down to Merlin's, to get a seat, to see the Hair Farmers!
So we raced down, and it being Canada, they sell cans of beer at the entrance. And we couldn't get a seat anyway, because everybody was there to see the Hair Farmers!
Now what you get is a bearded husky guy with a high voice playing conga drums and a bearded lanky guy strumming a Takamine who does the harmonies, but it sounded like a full band.
And when we got there, they were playing "Crazy On You." You know, the Heart song.
And every song I knew by heart, and seemingly everybody else did too.
They led us in a singalong of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away." And Canadians are not shy, everybody was standing, with their arms in the air, testifying.
And then Marcel got up on stage and started popping and locking and posing and...he was the only one up there, and everybody was paying attention, and he LOVED IT!
He ended up singling out young women in the audience to dance with. He'd stride up to their stool, dance in front of them, and they'd get up and join him.
And they're playing "Night Moves." And "Tiny Dancer." And the only song they played from the last thirty years was "Shallow." Oh, that's right, they played a version of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever...," but it seemed more parody than truth.
And then they said they were gonna play "Highway To Hell," but they didn't. But they did play "Heartbreaker."
And they had the name that tune section of the program. Someone called "Back In Black" in one chord.
And I'm standing there thinking this is the last music all of us knew, before the world fractured. Classic rock is all that's classic, other than Motown. They played the riff of "Day Tripper" and everybody knew it.
And they even went a bit deeper, playing a non-bar track, "Sultans of Swing." And you're standing there, singing along with every line, and you feel part of the group, which is rare in this splintered internet world.
And then to the background of "Iko Iko," they had a limbo contest. I haven't seen that since the sixties. And this really tall girl almost won, I don't know how she did it.
And all nationalities participated and nothing was famous but the songs. The Hair Farmers were having more fun performing them than those who wrote them.
They did an amped-up version of Weezer's cover of Toto's "Africa."
And of course they played "Don't Stop Believin'"... And I'm thinking "The Sopranos" ended in 2009, can you believe it?
But the music remains.
And people are grooving in ski boots. Old and young. No one was boasting about their billions, there was no pecking order, you were either inside or you weren't, the music was leveling the room, it was the great equalizer.
And it's so strange. What happened to today's music? The youth like it, the media tells us it matters, but classic rock still rules.
And then, as if we were in Fenway Park, the duo went into "Sweet Caroline."
And we're all standing, with our arms in the air, singing along with the chorus and I'm wondering, are they gonna do the refrain?
And then, on cue, a great segment of the assembled multitude sang with all their might, for emphasis...
SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD!!
And it was.
Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/
Here's a link to a Vogue article about Whistler that The Hairfarmers are mentioned in:
"For a true local experience, head directly to Dusty’s Backside in Creekside Base or Merlin’s at the bottom of Blackcomb. Better yet, time your visit to the former on Friday or the latter on Saturday to watch hometown heroes The Hairfarmers play. Buy your tablemates a round or two of beers and, with any luck, you’ll end up with a personal ski guide by morning. Canadians are friendly."
Here's a link to a Martha Stewart Weddings feature for a wedding The Hairfarmers played:
Link to a People magazine article about a celebrity wedding The Hairfarmers played at:
Dec 30th 2012
Check out this article from the Whistler News about the killer apres we played at the GLC on Dec 30th 2012.
If you ever need info on accom in Whistler go here: www.resortquestwhistler.com/
Dec 27th 2012
The Hairfarmers sweep both "Best Band" and "Best Live Act" categories in the Pique News Magazine's "Best of Whistler" readers survey.
This should come as no surprise. The Hairfarmers have been voted Whistler's favourite band for years running and they continued their stronghold on the title in 2012. "Our fans love to have fun," says Doug "Guitar Doug" Craig, one half of the beloved duo. "They are interesting people and we are truly blessed for having such a diverse crowd."
The hardworking pair can be spotted gigging around town regularly, sharing their take on a variety of covers and offering up some of their rockin' originals too. "I'm very proud to be in this band and, mostly, being a part of this amazing place. Whistler is great town."
Best Live Act
Live music is at the heart of a great night out. It sets the mood, rouses listeners to their feet and provides the soundtrack for a party.
The Hairfarmers swept the Best Live Musician category for their epic and frequent performances. But the real secret behind their win: loving their job.
"You have to love playing live, the music, the performing, the people — all of it— and that will come through in your performance," says Greg "Grateful Greg" Reamsbottom. "(Our fans) continued support really means a lot, and we'll keep playing our butts off for them until we drop. We couldn't do it without you!"
Pique News Magazine Sept 13th 2012
The Hairfarmers find new inspiration...at Burning Man
Whistler's favourite duo talk Burners, bar brawls and "Brown-Eyed Girl"
It took longer than it probably should have, but that's often how it happens with trips to Burning Man. But, as they say, it's better late than never.
That's right, Whistler: The Hairfarmers are Burners — finally and officially.
Greg "Grateful Greg" Reamsbottom and Doug "Guitar Doug" Craig, the newly converted, are sitting at the Dusty's patio having just returned home from their first trip to Burning Man. They were hired to play for three nights at a private camp and, whilst being "attacked by the wind," they played. They played with bandanas over their faces to filter out the playa dust. The dust would pool in their guitar frets every time they'd strike a chord, clouds of dust would pillow out like plumes of baby powder. They had Martians in a chorus line dancing side to side.
It was, as Craig says, like something out of Frank Zappa's most fertile imaginative moment.
"At one point, Greg was actually spitting dust out of his harmonica. You could see the notes. And every time we hit a big note, a tuft of playa dust would come flying out of the monitor. It was surreal," he says.
"It was almost like a farce," Reamsbottom adds.
Says Craig: "It was like a cartoon."
Adds Reamsbottom: "It's like, 'there's no way this is happening. It's too stupid.' But it was so stupid it was beautiful."
That pretty much sums up The Hairfarmers' 13-year career, as well. Theirs has been one absurdity after another: They've inspired barroom brawls and widespread outbreaks of public nudity in the same night. In the early 2000s, there would be lines around Merlin's hoping to catch them on their now-legendary Payday Fridays. Once, in Creston, the attorney-general flew via helicopter to shut their gig down.
These are the same Hairfarmers that have been voted Whistler's favourite band for the past 12 years. It's something of a rockstar reality for a pair of dudes that play other people's songs for a living — an irony that Grateful Greg and Guitar Doug are well aware of.
"Being an après ski band, it's not serious business at all," Reamsbottom says. "People are there in Whistler in general to have a good time, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel for them. You just have to spin it a little faster. And they get funny. They'll join the band in a lot of ways."
The Burning Man gig was just one of several hired out-of-town gigs this year. They've been hired for a whole lot of these recently. They've been flown to Sydney, Hong Kong and London. They've played all over the U.S. and Canada, completely unsolicited.
"That's one of the great things about being in one of the go-to bands in Whistler is the whole world comes here," Reamsbottom says. "It puts you in front of an audience that very few musicians would get otherwise. It's the bubble. It's the Whistler bubble and, love it or hate it, a lot of people come here. If they have the time of their life, they want to take it to where they are."
He adds, "They want to recapture what they experienced when they were here, in that bar, sculling pints, eating nachos, powder stuck in their nose — not the bad kind, the kind from the ski hill — and they're like, 'Hey, you know, why can't we have that much fun at home?' So they bring us to their home."
"It's a surrogate," Craig says. "We're actually bringing that vibe to them, as a temporary measure."
And what, exactly, are the corner stones of that vibe? As Craig says, there "are four songs — four wheels to this insane caravan:", "Brown Eyed Girl," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Margaritaville," and "Sweet Caroline." Throw in some Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and other hippie stoner jams and that's what the Hairfarmers have been selling.
"You might sound like the album and have the perfect cadence, but unless you feel it and love the song, you haven't got a hope in hell for that audience to believe in you," Craig says.
Reamsbottom adds, "Maybe that's why we've been Whistler's favourite band for so many years, it's because we actually love the music that we play. We love playing music."
They met in 1998, while playing in separate bands. Craig's Whistler-based Wild Dogs of Wedgemont and Reamsbottom's Vancouver-based Greg and Greg were hired to "play a wedding in the bush." Neither band knew that the other was hired to play, which Reamsbottom says could have been a disaster in the making.
"It's almost like sticking two dogs who haven't been neutered in a room," he says. "You get two bands at the same gig, and you don't know the other one is coming, it's like" — mocks two dogs barking at each other — "but they knew that we would get together, and they knew that we would jam all night long."
And they did. They stayed in touch afterward, with Craig inviting Reamsbottom to play a St. Paddy's Day show at the Dubh Linn Gate. The following year, Reamsbottom met a Whistler girl at a festival in Oregon and he decided to sell his trucking business in the city and follow her up there. As soon as he landed, he called Doug up, looking to play.
By the middle of the 1999/2000 winter season, they had a line of people around Merlin's wanting to come see them play.
"They were un-believable!" Craig says of those early shows. "I really thought that the place would get burnt to the ground or the cops would shut us down and we would not be able to play as a band."
"It wasn't the beer prices, it wasn't the particular genre of people, but it was the mix of energy that winter that really put us in everybody's minds," Reamsbottom says.
But as silly/crazy/wild as those early Payday Friday gigs went, none were quite as surreal as their Friday night at Burning Man. Expect to find a freshly inspired Hairfamer or two playing 'round town in the coming weeks.
Aug 26th, 2012
As posted on Gonzo Live: Squamish Live...a review by Dottie Bright
After two jam-packed days of running between the main stages catching the big acts, on Sunday I chose to chill out and catch a well-loved local band, named the Hairfarmers. They have been voted as Whistler's best band for the last decade.
Guitar Doug and Grateful Greg have spent over 13 years performing together and close to 300 shows a year. I caught their show at the beer gardens and beheld their impressive catalogue of around 3,000 songs, covering anything from country, to rock, to bluegrass, to reggae and pretty much any request a fan could toss out there.
Without a stage full of gear and flashy clothes, they impressed with organic sounds, great vocals, smooth guitar and killer congas. Their friendly smiles and interaction with fans kept everyone dancing despite a small dust storm brewing all around.
Playing between acts appearing on the big stages is not easy and timing is key. They finished an impressive version of Led Zeppelin's Ramble On, which bled into Kathleen Kennedy's take to the main stage. Fans continued to dance and insisted they turn it up and of course they happily obliged. I want these guys for my next bash!
Mountain Life Magazine Jan. 2010
Aprés wouldn't be Aprés without them
By Todd Lawson
More words have been written about the Hairfarmers than any other band in the history of this town. But there's a reason for that. Basically, without the Hairfarmers, legendary dancing-in-your-ski-boots, hot-chicks-peeling-their-tops-off aprés sessions wouldn't be so legendary. And for a ski-town like Whistler, there's nothing quite like a crazy aprés session at the end of an epic day on the mountain with your friends. Grateful Greg and Guitar Doug first played together at a wedding on Birkenhead Lake in the summer of 1999, and have been providing Whistler with full-on, feelgood parties ever since.
“It's been a long, strange trip that's gone by really fast,” says the ridiculously talented Grateful Greg. “We make a living helping people behave like maniacs...it's crazy!”
As far as mountain folk are concerned, the Hairfarmers talk the talk and walk the walk as true locals. They both ski like fiends in the winter, and bomb around in their Harleys come summertime.
“The common denominator is the mountains,” says the equally ridiculously-talented Guitar Doug. “We're lucky man. We get caught in this wicked vortex of positive energy when everyone comes off the mountain. We're recipients of all that. It's a pretty damn good feeling.”
The bearded buddies know thousands of tunes off the top of their heads, and have been known to play anything from Annie Lennox to The Doors at the request of their fans, lovingly referred to as the 'Farmhands.'
“We've evolved with our audience,” says Guitar Doug. “They've definitely gotten crazier over the years, and we're not gaining any sanity.” Grateful Greg concurs. “Most people come here to have a good time, so we're always playing to happy people, which makes our job a lot easier.”
Their audience consists of a mixed bag of revellers from all over the world, who usually end up forgetting their skis in the rack outside because they're too wasted to remember that they're still in ski boots. And then there are the loyal locals, who keep coming back show after show, year after year.
“The locals make such a wicked atmosphere to play in,” says Greg. “It wouldn't be half as good without them. Our regular fans are the bomb. All hail the Farmhands.”
During the Olympics, The Hairfarmers will be playing two shows a day, everyday. To get down and shake it like you should, head to Merlin's and the GLC to catch the bearded boys in action. Just remember your skis outside.