Blues rockers’ band name communicates band members’ common desires
Blues rockers Jason W. Legge and Hilary Chan bonded over a mutual love of beer and women, back in 2007.
Under the amber hue of the Horseshoe Tavern’s light, the two Lawrence Park residents mused recently about
how they became the Skirt Chasers one late evening in a St. Catharine’s pub called Patrick Sheehan’s.
The two were communications students at Brock University at the time, and they begged the owners of the Niagara Region pub to let them perform.
Part of the band’s intrigue is its name, Legge says now.
“Our name now, the Skirt Chasers, is kind of a punch line onto itself,” he said, then added: “And also accurate.”
“So we were standing at the bar,” Chan chimes in, “and Jason said, ‘We need to pick a band name’, and I said, ‘Gays Like You’, and Jason said, ‘No’. Then I said, ‘The Skirt Chasers’, and Jason said, ‘I love it’.
“Fast forward three months more, and we meet up at Rancho Relaxo (in Toronto) and I’m like steaming, and drunk off whiskey, and Jason said, ‘Good news! We’ve got an opening slot at the Speaking Tongues show. Do you want to drum for me?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah — I better learn to drum’.”
Legge attended high school with drummer Pete Ross of the now-disbanded blues duo Speaking Tongues.
“He had a cancellation for one of his earlier gigs and he was like, ‘Jason, do you want to play?’”
Two weeks later, guitarist Chan pounded out the know-how of drumming à la The Who’s Keith Moon.
“I’ve made a joke before, that she learned to play the drums by breaking chairs or throwing barrels like Donkey Kong,” Legge said. “It’s just very over-the-head style of play, where her whole arm will come up in a big sweeping motion, where Pete is a little more fine.”
Six years later, the duo is going strong, playing every month in Toronto’s rich music scene, and it’s allowed them to grow as artists.
“In our first show, we had five original songs,” Chan notes.
“Now there’s a little bit more into what songs we play,” adds Legge.
Much like rockers the White Stripes, the Skirt Chasers don’t write up set lists.
“If we’re playing a one-hour show, we’ll rehearse two hours of content and then just kind of go on what the last band was lacking,” Legge said.
The two agree they’ve become a lot showier, and the one aspect of their relationship that stands out is their size difference.
“I see a lot of people distracted by the fact that Hilary is a five-foot-tall Chinese girl, and I’m this big dude,”
Legge said. “We always make it a point to stop in front of the stage, not to take a bow or introduce ourselves, [but] it’s just, are you ready to do this, and to let people notice the kind of cartoon show that’s about to go on.”
But people should not be fooled by Chan’s height. She’s been known to decimate many a drum kit.
Says Legge: “That’s my favourite part. I remember when we were playing at the Silver Dollar Room, and we were borrowing someone’s drums. I said, ‘Is it okay if Hilary uses your drums?’ and the guy, who was a big dude, looks over at Hilary and says, ‘Her? Yeah, no problem.’ Next thing you know, the stands are [messed] up!”