Scattered musicians reunite former band for old time’s sake

Rubber Soul reunites for Queen's show

As soon as Lindsay Martell and Joel Spillette heard the players in their college jazz program, they knew they could create a band that would be instantly successful.

Martell and Spillette were long-time fixtures in the entertainment industry and moved from Alberta to attend Malaspina University-College’s (now Vancouver Island University) jazz program.

“These kids were so good,” Spillette said.

They played college dances and the fans they garnered followed as they moved from the university to the Queen’s.

“We just moved the party with us,” Spillette said.

The band, which would eventually be named Rubber Soul, featured horn players and played a mix of rock, funk and soul.

“None of us could play jazz to save our lives,” Spillette said.

He got his start in Banff in the ’80s, performing with Muskrat Alley  before becoming director of Canadian Rockies Theatre Company, which performed at the Calgary Winter Olympics.

Using his and Martell’s contacts, Rubber Soul headed out on tour, supporting the likes of James Cotton, Jr. Wells, the Shuffle Demons and more.

Touring and the band lasted for more than 15 years, with players coming and going, depending on availability and current projects.

But those touring days made for some enduring stories, including the one Spillette shares about dining with Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a prolific and legendary writer known for his extraordinary outlook on life.

Spillette said he was exactly like his writing – witty, engaging and funny. When he asked if the author would see the band playing later that night, Vonnegut snickered and said, “No.”

But like all good things, Rubber Soul eventually came to an end. Martell went on to form Wunderbread, before moving to Poland to further his career.

Other players joined the cruise ship circuit or went on to other bands. Drummer Phil Wipper plays with three-time Juno Award nominated The Kerplunks, as well as bar band staple Johnny Inappropriate. Todd Sacerty toured the world with David Gogo and is currently playing bass in Big River, the Johnny Cash tribute band.

With Martell visiting from Poland, Spillette, Wipper and Sacerty join Colin Perry and Brock Miller for a reunion show at the Queen’s Sept. 30.

The show starts at 9:30 p.m. Please call 250-754-6751.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com