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Randy Bachman (Photo courtesy of Missing Piece Group)
Randy Bachman (Photo courtesy of Missing Piece Group)

Bachman to bring BTO to Fallsview

by jmaloni
Tue, May 21st 2024 04:00 pm

Preview by Joshua Maloni

GM/Managing Editor

When Randy Bachman returns to Fallsview Casino next month, he’ll do so with the band name he made famous more than 50 years ago.

“A lot of things happened in COVID,” he explained in a recent phone interview. “I'm the oldest of four boys, four Bachman boys. My three brothers passed away in COVID.

“We were a family band when we started. It was me and my brothers, Tim, Robbie, Gary. We were all in the band or managing the band. It was a family thing. And I got my buddy, Fred Turner, and we became Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

“I lost them. I got back the rights to use BTO. Robbie was my younger brother. Ten years younger than me. When my dad passed away, my dad said to me, ‘Let Robbie use the name BTO. You are Randy Bachman. Use your name and go, and you can both earn a living. Let your younger brother earn a living.

“So, I let my brother, Robbie, have that, and when he passed away I got it back.”

The pandemic was a rollercoaster for Bachman, with the lowest of lows in losing his brothers and battling his own health scare, and then the highest of highs in finding newfound popularity and touring opportunities.

“Fans started to connect with fans, and with my Facebook and with my TikTok and Instagram and everything. …” Bachman said. “Everything went online. And suddenly, the world is communicating with an iPhone or a laptop, and everybody's communicating with me, with Fred Turner, with Burton Cummings. They have access to you now through your website – and you have to have it, because your record labels don't exist anymore. So, a whole new paradigm comes in of connecting; and all these fans kept saying, ‘We want BTO. We want you to come back. We hear your songs in movies; we hear this in commercials or through video games. We want to see you play.’

“And then agents start to call; promoters start to call, saying, ‘Oh, we're having a classic rock festival, and we want to have Bob Seger and the Doobie Brothers and BTO. Will you come?’ Of course I'll come; that's my job. I've been playing since I was 5 years old.”

Randy Bachman and the new Bachman-Turner Overdrive. (Photo courtesy of Missing Piece Group)


Bachman said the appeal of hitting the stage, now in his seventh decade as a performer, is “To go and be with 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 or 15,000 people, and all be united for 60 or 90 minutes, singing songs – it's like going to the Super Bowl. It's the Rose Bowl. It's the Stanley Cup. It's like everybody is there cheering on a favorite team. Their favorite team happens to be the band on stage, and the songs they’re performing. And I'm so lucky and blessed that I've got these songs that I've written.”

BTO’s biggest hits include “Taking Care of Business,” “Let it Ride” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” Prior to his time in BTO, Bachman played with Burton Cummings in The Guess Who, helping craft songs including “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Sugar Tonight” and “American Woman.”

Bachman said, “To go back now and have three generations come to a gig, and I see somebody in their 60s and then their son or their daughters who are in their 30s, and then their kids and grandkids who are teenagers, and they all know the songs. It's really an amazing thing.”

Bachman said he is particularly excited about this version of BTO – which includes Mick Dalla-Vee, Brent Knudsen, Marc LaFrance, and Bachman’s son, Tal (who penned the 1999 hit song “She’s So High”). The father and son duo found favor with a YouTube series and recently toured together.

“Marc LaFrance, my drummer, is from Winnipeg. He’s from St. Boniface. So, he was back in Winnipeg in that era when I was with Burton Cummings and Neil Young and Fred Turner,” Bachman said. “We were all aspiring. He was an aspiring guy. He was in a band called Crowcuss. He was in a whole bunch of other bands. I've just known him for forever, since we were like 16-17 years of age.

Tal Bachman (Photo courtesy of Missing Piece Group)


“And my son, Tal, even though he didn't want to be following in my shoes, kept getting opportunities where I would call him and say – he’d be in college – and say, ‘Hey, Tal, what are you doing?’ ‘Well, I have final exams next week.’ ‘When are they done?’ ‘Well, they're done on Friday.’ ‘Great. Can you come on the road; my drummer broke his leg?’ He’d say, ‘OK, I'll be there, Dad.’ He’d come. My drummer did break a rule. Rode a motorcycle, fell down, broken leg. Couldn't play kick drum. So, Tal comes out and he’s my drummer. Then he drums on two albums.

“Then I call him and say, ‘Look, I fell down and banged my left elbow; my whole left arm is numb.’ You hit a funny bone and your arm goes numb. But when you smash it, it’s numb for like weeks. ‘Can you come out and play guitar for me, and when I can't play my solo, play my solo.’ ‘I'll be there, Dad.’

“When COVID came in, we were shut down and we started to do YouTubes, because there was nothing else to do. We did this thing called ‘Friday Night Trainwreck’ – it was 6 o'clock on YouTube every Friday – and tried to stump each other. He would bring six songs that I had never played before, that he grew up with, which might be Queen and Van Halen. I grew up with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, that kind of thing. And I would bring five or six songs. And even though he's heard them, and I've heard his songs, we've never tried to play them. We played them on YouTube and people loved it that we were actually there making mistakes.”

“Out of that,” Bachman continued, “people started requesting, and then Tal just evolved into being in the band when other guys were too ill to travel or, like I said, had passed away. Tal’s just kind of been there. So, it's kind of like, if you remember the old days, you’d see a truck driver alongside saying, ‘Smith and Sons Plumbers.’ You know, the father and the son is like such a natural thing. So, now I have Tal in my band. He plays piano; he plays guitar; he plays drums; he plays bass; he sings; he writes. It's incredible to have him in the band.

“I've got these guys like Marc LaFrance or Mick Dalla-Vee, who I've been playing with as my own band. We just evolved into being BTO. It was a natural evolution, where I didn't sit down and say, ‘I need to audition people.’ They were just there. I've known them for decades and decades. We’ve played together. We don't even have to rehearse. We never have to practice anymore, because it's so much us.”



“We are back,” Bachman said. “The BTO gear is back. Fans are saying, ‘We're driving 300 miles, 600 miles, to hear “Shotgun Rider”; to hear “Rock Is My Life.” Will you do those songs? They weren't hits, but they were our favorite album cuts.’ And these people are going back to the album days, in the early ’70s, when you had a hit record maybe on Top 40. But you had four or five cuts on an album that they played regularly on album-oriented rock radio. And so, people are sending us requests, that they've never heard the songs ever on stage. Some of them we've never played on stage, and we are doing them. So, it is a lot of fun.”

Randy Bachman and BTO perform at 8:30 p.m. June 13 on the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino. For tickets, visit https://www.ticketmaster.ca or click HERE.

BTO performs June 13 at the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino. (Publicity photo)

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