People on the river are happy to give: Abbotsford bands join forces in fundraiser to replace stolen gear

Music, Off The Vine

Call your dads!

The songs of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Creedence Clearwater Revival will come back to life at the Abbotsford Rugby Club on March 24, starring Harma White, Blessed, and Loans.
Blessed frontman Drew Riekman jokes that the bands seem ripped straight from “a kid in grade eight’s jean vest,” but that’s all part of the fun in this show meant to help a fellow musician recover from a devastating loss.

On a cold October night in Saskatoon, Cheap High played what was undoubtedly their best show yet. At least that’s how the night started.

“As far as sound, crowd, the reaction from people after the set, it was probably the best show we ever played,” bassist Derek Goyer says. “But it ended the worst show.”

The Abbotsford band was on a short run of shows with comrades Blessed to celebrate the release of their debut LP just a week earlier. After the set, Goyer decided to move his bass and amplifier to his car rather than leave it with the rest of the gear stashed by the back door of Amigo’s. But when his brother and Cheap High guitarist Justin Goyer returned to the car at the end of the night, it was clear something was wrong.

“Everything I brought on tour was basically gone,” says Goyer.

His battle-worn white and gold Fender American P-Bass and Fender Super Bassman 300-watt amp head were missing along with his backpack, jacket, and a cooler full of food for the tour. More than anything, Goyer says he felt the loss really personally.

“[The bass] had all these road scars from the shows we played and basement shows with our old band,” he says. “It was all me; I bought it mint condition.”

According to Nic Mendonca, Goyer’s bandmate in Cheap High who helped organize the fundraiser, it will cost nearly $5,000 to replace the meticulously cared for and customized gear.

“He modded out his bass, he put in different pick-ups, he changed the tuning heads, he painted it, put in a different pickguard,” Mendonca says. “Of course it happens to the guy who springs for the best. That was his mindset: get the best and I’ll have it for years. If it breaks, I’ll fix it.”

Goyer is a dedicated member of the Abbotsford music scene, so much so that he has a You Say Party tattoo above his knee. According to Riekman, “it just made sense” to put something together to help him.

The organizers hope that other than raising as much money as they can to help replace Goyer’s stolen gear, shows like this can strengthen the community of musicians in the Fraser Valley.

“It’s so easy to feel apathetic about everything in the world right now,” Riekman says, “but effecting positive change at a local level is so helpful for everybody.”

“People in the community shouldn’t be afraid to reach out for help.”

Loans and Cheap High drummer Nic Mendonca says to expect a laid back show with lots of room for fun. “We just want to have some drinks and get money together for the guy. It’s less about anyone ripping a killer set and more about having a laugh and hanging out with everyone.”

As for Goyer, he’s financed a new Fender P-Bass, but it’s hard to conceive of replacing the lost gear, even with the much-appreciated support of the local music community.

“It’s going to take a while to build up everything,” he says. “I won’t even buy the same amp again. I just won’t be able to afford it.”

The theft has waged a personal toll as well.

“It was harder to deal with than I thought. It takes a lot out of you,” Goyer says. “Now that it’s months later, I’m getting over it, but I still think about it all the time.”

Harma White (as Led Zeppelin), Blessed (as Black Sabbath), and Loans (as Creedence Clearwater Revival) play the Abbotsford Rugby Club March 24. Admission is a minimum $5 donation to Derek Goyer’s gear replacement fund.