How Massive is your Ferguson?

By Darby Sawchuk

Two hutterites and a basketball player wearing a bike helmet walk into a bar… Actually, if you’re a local music fan, you’ve probably heard this one. You’ll know it’s the one about local hard-rock/metal trio Massive Ferguson.

Comprised of Pickles (the bass player in the helmet), Harry Hofer on drums and brother Henry Hofer on guitar, Massive Ferguson has had its moments of playing up their schtick. Now, they’re more willing to let that element of their performance act as mere icing on the cake.

"In the beginning, [the hutterite gag] was a big part of it, but now we have the ability to exist outside of that. It’s just sort of an extra thing," says Pickles.

"It sort of just came with the name," adds Harry Hofer.

In their first year and a half of existence, Massive Ferguson stuck to the basement and honed their skills as well as their stage act. For the past three years, however, they made a name for themselves as real musicians in the local scene.

"I think people are taking us more seriously in the last year or two," comments Henry Hofer. "We’re putting out CDs, we’re trying to get shows, we’re doing all the stuff that bands do. There’s a lot of bands that take themselves way more seriously than we do and don’t do a lot. They’re really slack in every department. We just like to keep all the bases covered and make it an interesting live show, make interesting recordings… and make our presence known."

They contributed songs to Catch and Release Records’ compilation I Chase the Butterflies and the Butterflies Chase Me and also released their first full-length CD, Tractivore, last May. Also, Massive Ferguson has the ambitious hope to release a double album this summer.

"Even though we have a schtick, we’re very serious about our music and our songs," states Pickles.

But the act still provides Massive Ferguson with some good-natured laughs.

"The old bass player from the Mants was telling me that he used to deliver grain back and forth to the colony and there was a kid there who got him to smuggle in Megadeth tapes all the time. So I guess we’re not too far off the mark [with our heavy music]," emphasizes Henry Hofer with a smile.

"We are specifically the reason why the Megadeth had found its way into the Hutterite population," narrates Pickles. "They would see us playing and they would say ‘If our people can make that music, we want to hear some more of that.’ So we threw out some names."

"And it spread like wildfire," continues Henry.

"On the prairie…," finishes a deadpan Pickles.

Aspiring to draw us prairie dwellers out of the dance clubs and into the rock shows, the band intends to press on with their music. Whereas many local bands throw in the towel when they have a good thing going, Massive Ferguson, instead, send out CDs and get radio airplay wherever they can. While they may appreciate some attention from a label, they are not striving to be a really big thing.

"We’re just striving to have really big things," jokes Henry Hofer.

Massive Ferguson play at the Night Gallery Sat., Jan. 15 with Catch and Release label-mates Pris and Bionic iv.

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