It’s hard to believe that one of Canada’s edgiest blues duos stemmed from a chance meeting while recording the jingle for a Jamaican pizza restaurant commercial. But that is indeed how Matthew Rogers and Shawn Hall first found each other. But it would be years later that the two would form the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, who will be playing at Kicking Horse Culture’s Summer Kicks.
“I was living in Montreal digging into finger style blues playing and called up Shawn one day chatting about blues and we agreed it made perfect sense that when I returned to live in Vancouver that we should start a blues duo,” said Rogers. “We were good friends and having a duo avoided all kinds of band politics and rehearsal scheduling. It was a really natural beginning.”
Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer play blues for a new generation, “blues that gets you in the gut.”
They’ve been influenced by the old masters like Robert Johnson, John Hurt and Sonny and Terry, and also some of the newer bands who are taking blues to new places like the Black Keys and the White Stripes.
The band’s creation, the name has undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows.
“We were thinking of names and I came across Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee.’ He referred to the blues harmonica as a harpoon (I took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana). I hadn’t heard that name for it before. That lead to Shawn being called the harpoonist,” said Rogers.
“It also occurred to me that the axe is a reference to the guitar, hence I became the axe murderer.”
The duo will be performing their high energy concert on Wednesday August 8 in the Spirit Square at 7 p.m.
“If we aren’t sweating after the first or second tune, we aren’t doing our job,” said Rogers. To hear a sample of their music, go to www.harpoonistaxemurderer.com.