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Q&A: Rags to Radio

Rags to Radio is a four-man band hailing from Abbotsford, BC, including Keely brothers Layton and Zack on guitar and keys/trombone respectively, as well as Josh Erickson on bass and Jake Holmes on drums. The Keely brothers do double duty on vocals, and Layton Keely is a graduate of UFV’s own theatre diploma program. They play a fast-paced, high-energy crossover between swing jazz and indie rock, which has been described as “bee-boppin, sock-hoppin, no-stopping,” “jive-tastic” and as having a “spunky vibe.”

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By Dessa Bayrock (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: November 23, 2011

Rags to Radio is a four-man band hailing from Abbotsford, BC, including Keely brothers Layton and Zack on guitar and keys/trombone respectively, as well as Josh Erickson on bass and Jake Holmes on drums. The Keely brothers do double duty on vocals, and Layton Keely is a graduate of UFV’s own theatre diploma program. They play a fast-paced, high-energy crossover between swing jazz and indie rock, which has been described as “bee-boppin, sock-hoppin, no-stopping,” “jive-tastic” and as having a “spunky vibe.” You can catch them at the Colbalt in Vancouver this Thursday, November 26, at 8:00 p.m. sharp. 

How did you meet?

Layton: Josh and I met at school. We were in the same class from grades 8 to 12, played lots of music together in different bands, and then a while after high school we started playing music again. Then Zack joined – first just playing trombone, and as time went on, he added more and more instruments. Jake joined a year and a half ago and we have never been so happy!

If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?

Layton: If we could jam with anyone it would definitely be Regis Philbin.

What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Layton: The entire Space Jam Soundtrack!

If you could be any Space Jam character, what would you be?

Josh: Swackhammer.

Jake: Fog Leghorn (the “I say I..I say” chicken).

Zack: Monster Bupkis (the purple Guy on the Monstars).

Layton: Wayne Knight

What would you say is the biggest influence on you as a band?

Layton: Well, first and foremost, the biggest influence for the band is our stomachs. Seriously, we eat a lot… way too much… it may develop into a problem… maybe it already has!

So what’s the best meal you’ve ever had on tour?

Layton: Hands down, at Tubby Dog in Calgary. It’s a hotdog that makes ridiculous hotdogs like their poutine hotdog, or nacho hotdog, or a ham, cheese, egg, hot pepper, bacon, and chilli hotdog. We actually captured this moment of deliciousness on our tour blog which you can find at www.ragstoradioband.com or our YouTube channel.

Any crazy concert stories?

Layton: We once played three shows in sixteen hours… and we once fought off over 100,000 Persian soldiers trying to invade while we played a 300 song set.

Can I assume the fighting-off-Persians thing is from Assassin’s Creed…?

Layton: Not Assassin’s Creed… it’s from 300. Not sure why I referenced it.

How about the three shows in sixteen hours?

Layton: We were playing with a band called 100 Monkeys in Vancouver and after playing a sold out show at Venue, we all decided to play a second show at a bar just down the road on Granville street called Forum just for fun. Then the next morning we got up and went back out to Vancouver to play a third shoulder-to-shoulder show at Neptoon records. It was great times.

What five words would you use to describe you as a band?

Layton: Tarantella. Sweaty. Clap-Clap-Clap. Rumpus. Michael J. Fox.

What’s next for the band?

Layton: We’re actually almost finished writing for a full length album which we will be recording very soon. And we’ll be touring Canada this summer – touring relentlessly! More music, eating, and maybe a book of haikus?

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