Mother Flag and Country was the Akaitcho Hall (residential school) hostel band for 1971 and '72.
Each year, a group of students would be allowed to use the Akaitcho Hall equipment in exchange for doing all the dances for the students at the hall.
Was the moto of Akaitcho Hall, Yellowknife, NWT. It means "That they may all be one." With Inuit, Filipino, French Canadian, English and Scottish band members, we all became Mother Flag and Country.
We did not just play at Akaitcho, Sir John or St. Patrick School. We played The Elks Hall, Con. Mines, Giant Mines, The Hoist Room, The Gold Range (Strange Range) and The Yellowknife Inn. Though, we missed The Explorer (Exploiter) by a couple of years, we did fly to Fort Smith to do their Grad. Ours worst gig was in Fort Providence (the 300 km cold, bumpy drive was hard on my 6L6s, and I remember who shut off the furnace, Lakandula).
I often suggest eating together for team building (the band did that), but the best team building is playing music together.
Dan Pronovost and Chris Morgan were in the 1971 band. I remember Chris impressed me with his Teac reel-to-reel tape-deck and Sennheiser headphones.
I got the nickname "Scotty" that year. The other two members were Gerard Menard, our bass player (his brother had a pickup, I'm not sure which was more important). Finally, Alan Hyatt was our drummer, but would rather have been the singer. I jammed with Alan for hours, playing guitar (maybe I wanted to play lead).
In 1972, Joe Otokiak joined us to replace Chris on lead guitar. I did not know until recently that his cousin is Mabel Oyakyoak. Mabel writes to me every Christmas with northern adventures that make me feel truly Canadian.
Lakandula Baban (keyboards) and I were room mates, and we branched off our rock band work to do a lounge gig at the Elks club.
Even in small ponds there is competition. When Pat Burk left the band and hostel, and Rene Deshurley did not like singing in-front of crowds, I got to sing "La-la-la-la Lola."
As a cover band, I would not say that our music made Mother Flag and Country special, but the fact that band members, with such varied backgrounds, made music for 2 years is definitely notable!
Their business plan was to sell a $200.00 PA system to a 16-year-old student for $25 down and $25 a month, with employment status: "Singer in a Rock'n'Roll Band." This was the best ROI I have ever had. This PA system was the basis of a million dollar company!
Payback for using the hostel equipment was doing dances for students. Here we are set up and ready to play a dance in the Pink Panther.
We were asked to play music for Pep Rallies at Sir John. Rocking out for your fellow students was great! Bud Weaver helped us unload the equipment and was the only person who could lift the biggest speaker boxes, alone - he was also a great math 20 tutor - thanks Bud.
We did dances all over Yellowknife. We played The Elks Hall, Con. Mines, Giant Mines, The Hoist Room, Akaitcho Hall, Sir John Franklin, St. Patrick School and The Gold Range, but one of the nicest spots was the Yellowknife Inn. (Ad from the News of the North)
Sometimes over holidays, band members would go home. I stayed this Christmas and got to play lead. Ken Bechtel (supervisor) told me he liked the band's new blues sound.
During a break, we sat with some of the members of Randy Demmon's (music teacher) band. One of the band members said our band had promise, but need a new singer. My 17 year-old (who just payed off his PA) reply was:
We had business cards and letterhead made (at the school), thank you Sir John. Did I mention I hated the nickname "Scotty?"