Break out your platform shoes, bell-bottom courduroys, puka shell necklaces and get ready to take a musical trip back in time.
That’s because a group of local musicians who cut their performing teeth as pre-teens in Richmond more than four decades ago will be offering their fans a blast from the past this Saturday night.
The band Thor is reuniting for a gig at the South Arm Community Hall.
Made up mostly of performers who picked up instruments and jammed for the first time as 12-year-olds, Thor was a popular group at local school dances in the mid 1970s to early 1980s.
“Pretty much if you were in high school or even elementary school during that time you would have likely heard us play,” said bass player Brad Kilburn who teamed with fellow James Whiteside elementary school pals Jimmy Coletsis (guitar) and Martin Tanaka (drums) to form the core of Thor.
Joining them were Johnny Fatiaki (guitar), Korianna Tylor (keyboards) and Steve Braithwaite (vocals).
“We were typical kids in Grade 7 who were just getting into music with what was on the radio. We just decided to start a rock band on our own. We had no idea how to play,” Kilburn said, adding they taught themselves and eventually became good enough to not only play school dances across the community, but also had their mix of blues-weighted rock covers and original material featured at a couple of Richmond Salmon Festival events.
As for the band’s name?
“Jimmy came up with it. I think his older brother helped him a little bit,” Kilburn said. “It’s typical for a 13-year-old, I suppose. We were playing louder rock type music, and Thor is the god of thunder. That kinda set the tone.”
The band stayed together through their school years and parted ways once they graduated and sought schooling, careers and started families. But all continued to play music.
“Jimmy and Johnny continued on, and Martin and I played in a band for short bit of time,” said Kilburn who also went on to play with Vancouver performer Barney Bentall.
Coletsis ventured further afield, playing in blues clubs in Japan and then in London, England where Braithwaite also sang for a number of bands.
The decision to get back together came recently when Fatiaki learned two of Thor’s U.K.-based members were coming back to town for a visit.
“The first thing Johnny said was, ‘We gotta get a hall. And we gotta play together because we spent so much time together growing up,’” Kilburn said.
The expectation was the gig would be for a handful of family and friends.
But once the date was posted on the “You grew up in Richmond, BC if you remember...” Facebook page, interest and ticket enquires took off.
“We kinda figured at first we’d get family and friends to show up, and maybe people who used to see us way back when,” Kilburn said. “But then we started getting a whole pile of responses from people.”
The result now is that the show is expected to be close to a sell-out at the 200-person capacity hall thanks to strong advance sales held last Saturday at the Buck and Ear in Steveston.
Another pre-sale is set for Thursday night at the Pumphouse Pub, at Blundell and No. 2 roads, from 7-10 p.m. And if any tickets remain, they will also be available at the door at the South Arm Community Hall, 9020 Williams Rd. Cost is $10.
So, what are the fans going to hear?
Think of some Fog Hat, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and maybe even a few of their own songs.
“We’re trying to remember a couple of originals to play,” Kilburn said, adding he had actually stopped playing for about 30 years until he was coaxed from retirement after his wife bought him a new bass and Fatiaki encouraged him to take part in Sunday night jam sessions at the Pumphouse Pub.
“I think I’m back up to speed now,” he said. “It’s going to be a neat thing because we’ve always been friends. We just never had the opportunity to get back together. And now we have, it’s one of those special type of events because we had been separated by the miles.”
If you can’t make it, visit www.richmond-news.com to see the video after the show.