Shooting Guns

Saskatoon’s Sordid Punk History Part 2: Before they were Shooting Guns

Before Shooting Guns members played in numerous other local bands, including a Dungeons & Dragons-themed punk rock duo

Editor’s Note – This story was originally published in Planet S Magazine, August 2012.

With years of experience under their collective belts, the members of Shooting Guns have come into fruition from a collection of past bands — a list that reads like a Saskatoon punk rock high school yearbook.

Guitarist Chris Laramee’s past projects include Blood Music, the Anderson Council, Slow Thrills, Parades Against Parades, Watercolour Movement and Skeletons. All of those occurred in a period where he describes himself as “an enemy to progressive musicianship but beloved by equipment repair specialists across Saskatoon.”


Parades Against Parades - Photo courtesy of Ryan Jackson/
Parades Against Parades – Photo courtesy of Ryan Jackson/

In addition to Shooting Guns, Laramee also plays with Foggy Notions, Golden Smoke and Wasted Cathedral. Maybe he’ll break another guitar again soon?

Bassist Jay Loos similarly put in time with several local groups, including AKA Fishmonger, DJ Loser and Wasabi Lobotomy, while guitarist Keith Doepker was a member of mid ‘90s group Feedbag, as well as on his own as a DJ.

“[Feedbag] opened for Mystery Machine and DOA at the Airliner Hall on Avenue C,” recalls Doepker. “On the other half of the venue was a redneck wedding party. By about halfway through DOA, half of the middle-aged rednecks were on our side drunk-jigging and trying to pick up young girls.

“Also [it was] the first gig where I nearly pissed my pants. I was so nervous.”

Fishmonger - Photo courtesy of Saskatoon Punks from back in the 90's
Fishmonger – Photo courtesy of Saskatoon Punks from back in the 90’s

Shooting Guns members Steve Reed and Jim Ginther have long been partners in crime, playing together in The Kobolds (a punk duo who wrote songs strictly about Dungeons & Dragons), The Co-Ops (featuring a young-ish Shakey Wilson), Awkward Silence and Carbon Dating Service, who were active from 2004 until 2009. The latter, one of the most active of the members’ previous groups, was something of a local legend — and logistical nightmare, says Reed.

“We were heading back to the tour bus late at night in Ottawa through the emergency exit in the back,” says Reed, “and a rental cop saw all of us climbing in through the back and thought that we were breaking into the bus. As soon as we drove off, a police car zipped past us and did a sliding handbrake turn to block off the road in front of us, and another cruiser boxed us in from the rear — guns drawn, they weren’t taking any chances.

“Once they got on board and saw the mess — 13 people living on a bus for a month isn’t a pretty picture — the first thing the officer said was ‘Holy &*$% boys,’ as he was making sense of the situation. Once they realized that not only was the bus legally ours, but that we were just a bunch of prairie kids in the big city (we definitely played that up), they let us drive off.”

Carbon Dating Service - Photo courtesy of Flickr user “Scott Woods-Fehr” – Creative Commons.
Carbon Dating Service – Photo courtesy of Flickr user “Scott Woods-Fehr” – Creative Commons.

Reed also played in The Doukhobots and Maybe Smith, while Ginther has handled drum duties with Jeans Boots and The Moas.

Shooting Guns have come further career-wise than any of the members’ previous projects, but Reed says there have been plenty of lessons learned along the way.

“I know there’s a lot of inherited fan base from previous projects, and we’ve certainly built on established working relationships with venues, grant programs and media,” he says. “It’s also helpful to know from first-hand experience what to expect logistically in terms of the pitfalls of recording, pressing and touring.”

“I think your past bands give you a lot of what you don’t want,” says Doepker. “You try and avoid those things that sucked in the past. Also the DJ/production thing made me realize I wanted to play with other people, and be social with this band.”

Shooting Guns will be releasing their latest album Brotherhood of the Ram this Saturday, Nov. 9 at Amigos, which includes openers Krang and Chron Goblin. Come early. Bring Money.