Journal: News & Comment

Monday, October 18, 2004
# 1:22:00 PM:

Doug Bennett dies

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Back in 1992, an incarnation of my current band (then called the Love Bugs) opened a show for Doug and the Slugs in the Student Union Building ballroom at the University of B.C., where I went to school. (I just now, more than a decade on, noticed that the night featured the Slugs and the Bugs. Hmm.)

Anyway, the Slugs were, and remained, a fun party band that concentrated on giving the audience a good time. We learned from them that fun for the audience is ultimately what's important, and we've ridden that philosophy to some success in the cover-band market, playing weddings, Christmas parties, annual meetings, and the occasional festival and such.

Doug Bennett of Doug and the Slugs died over the weekend. His bandmates had taken him to an Alberta hospital after he fell ill while they were driving between shows. He was only 52 years old, and left his wife and three teenage kids. His band had been together for 27 years.

The last time I heard Doug speak (rather than sing) was during an interview on CBC radio in June 2003, where he talked about his career, much of it in the festival, club, small-arena, and bar circuit after the Slugs had faded from the radio limelight in the early 1990s. He recognized the nature of the music business, and was content to be playing those kinds of shows, where people would recognize the band but still needed to be entertained, rather than wowed by celebrity. It was a good interview to hear as I packed up my clothes from just such a performance: two nights at the Graffiti Days classic car festival in Cache Creek, B.C.—Doug was talking about what I too was living that day.

He was a funny man, and a wry songwriter and singer. I only met him once, after our show in 1992, the same year Doug and the Slugs released their last studio album. Many people will miss him.


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