By Heather Lowe
Mike Wale wanders over to me in his all-white chef jacket while I’m perched on a rocky, wooden bar stool at The Merchant Ale House. It’s a weekday around 4pm, the beautiful weather has inspired me to order a tall vodka lemonade and I have no regrets about my choice. There is a Niagara IceDogs game tonight and the pub is quickly filling up with thirsty hockey fans. Wale informs me that he’s just finished his shift in the Merch’s kitchen and he’s going to change before we chat.
The beginnings of The Rogue Collective are an incestuous “who’s who” of the St. Catharines music scene and the band’s history seems to be perfectly captured by their name.
“The five of us simply wanted the opportunity to play more and rehearse more” said Wale of forming The Rogue Collective a little over a year ago. “The Merch was definitely a catalyst for this band, especially with Miles and I working together in the kitchen. We really wanted to do a music project together and the timing was right.”
Prior to playing keys and singing for The Rogue Collective, Wale was bassist and singer of King And Academy. It was with K&A that he originally began jamming with rhythm guitarist Tim Udell and lead guitarist Eric Hutt, both of whom are now part of the Collective.
St. Catharines’ music lovers will also recognize Hutt as the vivacious drummer from downtown punk band, The Lucky Ones. The Rogue drummer, Ryan Patterson, is a childhood friend of Wale and had recently parted from his band, By Design, when Rogue Collective came together. Miles Coverdale, bassist, rounds out the band nicely and hails from local folk band, The Regards, and is a founding member of Suitcase In Point Theatre Company.
However, the lineup doesn’t stop there.
“The Rogue Collective is definitely more than just the five of us” Wale insists as he reflects on the help and support they’ve received from the community. “We are so lucky to have the help of fundamental people like Robbie Knuckles, Steve Stumble, Andrew Arkell, Edwin Conroy Jr., Deanna Jones, Annie Wilson, and truthfully there are so many more.”
As Wale happily relays the band’s extreme gratitude and their excitement for the future, I suddenly realize that the Rogue Collective is so much more than another local band to catch on any given Saturday night, it’s the product of a genuinely supportive, generous and loving arts community. Wale smiles and his eyes are full of pride, “we are all so happy.”
The Rogue Collective will release their much-anticipated EP at The Merchant Ale House on Saturday June 18th with Edwin Conroy Jr. opening the evening.
“It’s going to be a loud, high energy and super tight show,” promises Wale. The guys draw on inspirations from ska, reggae, funk, jazz and hip hop to create The Rogue Collective’s unique and uplifting sound.
Producer and recording engineer Alejandro Del Pino was on hand to capture the five original tracks, four of which can be heard on Episode 11 of The Sound STC podcast.
On June 18 you can get a copy of The Rogue Collective’s first EP through streaming or download at www.theroguecollectiveofficial.com or you can grab the physical copy at the release party.