When Blue Rodeo released its aptly named album Outskirts in 1987, Bon Jovi was living on a prayer, Whitney Houston wanted to dance with somebody, Madonna was opening her heart and the Beastie Boys were fighting for their right to party.
Canadian country rock, it can be safely said, was not exactly de rigueur.
Still, over the next 25 years Blue Rodeo sold millions of albums, raked in a wagonload of Junos, packed venues from coast to coast and last year was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Now setting out on a 25-city anniversary jaunt that spans from Whitehorse to St. John’s, and revisits a quarter-century of music, the band still looks forward to hitting the road.
“You have to get yourself in good shape to play at night, so you eat well and you exercise and you go to bed. Then you come off the road and think, ‘Hey, I can do whatever I want,’” says frontman Jim Cuddy with a laugh. “And two months later you’re thinking, ‘I’m so tired of doing anything I want. I can’t drink any more. I can’t eat so much. I need some sleep. I’ve got to get back on the road.’ ”
Of course, after 25 years in the biz, the band members have barrels of stories they could tell – but Mr. Cuddy especially remembers a moment from a few years ago when country legend Kris Kristofferson played alongside the band in Toronto.
“For the encore we did Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. It was a big concert, about 10,000 people, and it’s a yearly event, so there was a lot of love in the shed,” recounts Mr. Cuddy. “And in the middle of the encore, Kris leaned over to me and said, ‘You know, Jim, sometimes the good guys win.’”
Blue Rodeo plays the Orpheum in Vancouver Saturday and Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria Sunday (ticketmaster.ca).