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Wes Dakus launched a bespoke clothing firm, with a partner, producing smart suits designed for his group.
Wes Dakus launched a bespoke clothing firm, with a partner, producing smart suits designed for his group.


Musician Wes Dakus was Edmonton’s answer to Elvis Add to ...

By then, Mr. Dakus had already begun moving from performance to management. He formed an agency, Spane International, and booked shows on the well-trodden trail his own Rebels had followed across the Prairies, introducing to Western Canada such acts as Hamilton’s Crowbar and Ottawa’s Five Man Electrical Band.

The agency was sold after five years, and Mr. Dakus opened Sundown Recorders, an Edmonton studio in which he handled commercial work, television soundtracks and an array of musicians, including Mr. Curtola, Gary Fjellgaard, Hoyt Axton, Redwood, Fosterchild and One Horse Blue, among others.

Seventy-seven master tapes from the studio have since been donated to the provincial archives.

“I have no faith in waking up and having everything fall into my lap,” Mr. Dakus told Billboard magazine at the time. “Everybody who’s done anything has worked darn hard for it.”

Mr. Dakus also operated independent record companies, such as the Vera Cruz label. Another, Molten Records, was co-owned with Randy Bachman, who at the time was with the Guess Who. In Vinyl Tap Stories, a 2011 memoir, Mr. Bachman describes inheriting some sound and recording equipment salvaged by Mr. Dakus after the famed Clovis studio closed its doors.

Mr. Dakus, who moved to British Columbia in 1995, continued to write songs in semi-retirement. He died in Vancouver of a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour, leaving his wife, the former Caryl Swityk, as well as a sister and four brothers. A celebration of his life will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Polish Hall in Edmonton.

Wes Dakus and the Rebels served as inspiration to several generations of Canadian musicians, including the Toronto instrumental trio Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, known for their song Having an Average Weekend, used by the Kids in the Hall comedy troupe as a theme song for their TV show.

In recent years, the Rebels’ original twangy rock tunes have been re-released on compact disc and as digital downloads by Super Oldies, a Minnesota-based label owned by Mr. Nagy, a Canadian-born musician. Those obscure, mostly forgotten songs earned rave reviews from critics.



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