Rockets and Dinosaurs

By Victoria Nguyen

In the notorious online Urban Dictionary, the word “rad” has over sixty user-created definitions. This is quite fitting for the quirky band Rockets and Dinosaurs, as they too would describe themselves as a mash-up of many different characteristics.

R.A.D. are a four-piece Calgary-based pop-rock group comprised of guitarists Jordan Potekal and Cam Bahan, bassist Gavin Howard, and drummer Fraser Stott, with all members contributing to vocals.

They tried out a whole wardrobe full of names before settling on “Rockets and Dinosaurs” — ostensibly because of the “rad” acronym, and subliminally because of the free publicity anytime the word is used in everyday conversation.  

Just as eighties slang ebbs and flows in its popularity, in recent years the Calgary music scene has seen many local groups come and go. R.A.D., however, say they are here to stay. According to them, what most sets them apart from others is their fun-loving attitude.

“While our music has evolved from a simple punk style to using more complex blues-inspired lead lines . . . at the end of the day, it’s still party, let’s-get-drunk music,” Fraser admits. He’s not fazed by this and simply acknowledges it as a defining characteristic of their music.

“That’s what people like about us . . . we just have fun with it,” says Cam of R.A.D.’s style.

When it comes to being musicians, however, R.A.D. puts all silliness aside. While all members currently work other jobs, Jordan, Cam, Gavin and Fraser would love to factor the band into their future careers.

“We don’t take ourselves seriously, but when it comes to being musicians, we do . . . We’re never happy with where we are,” explains Cam. In that respect, their ambitions for future growth are as big as any creature from the Jurassic period could ever be.

To celebrate their first release together, titled The High Five EP, R.A.D. will be hosting a joint CD release show at SAIT’s The Gateway on June 11 with fellow local band Elevator Music.

For them, it has been a surreal experience. Reflecting back on their first performance together, the band notes that there was virtually no one in the audience. Now, hardly over a year since that first show, they are in the middle of planning a nation-wide tour for the summer and are looking to release their first LP in the fall.  

“We really want this . . . and we’re going to do whatever it takes to get it,” Fraser expresses.

When asked which dinosaur would most aptly describe the personality of the band as a whole, after some lively banter and debate about whether turtles and sharks could be considered dinosaurs, their final decision was that they could not be defined by merely one prehistoric creature.

In the end, they just think dinosaurs are pretty rad — and they hope you’ll think R.A.D. is too.

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