Rich Hagensen is a musician, record label owner and author from Campbell River, B.C. on Canada’s west coast.
Read his story below
“How’d yuh get started?” For some reason, back in the stoner sixties days, me and the guys used to think that line was the funniest greeting anybody could say. Dunno – probably cause it was the starting line in George Carlin’s hilarious ‘Class Clown’ monologue??? Right now, though, that seems an appropriate way of introducing my life story thus far – especially as it relates to my music and writing career.
I was born in the early morning hours of Christmas Day, 1945 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Campbell River: a small village on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Mom told me that it was a most peaceful birth with myself emerging from her womb to a candle lit world to the tune of ‘Ava Maria’ sung by hospital nuns and nurses…at least that’s how the story goes.
Either way, I guess you could say there was music around me from day one. Dad, Mom and my aunts later told me I was always bursting into songs like ‘I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now’ and ‘Four Leaf Clover’ whenever there were family or visitors gathered in our living room. We moved early on from northern Vancouver Island to Winfield – a small town north of Kelowna in British Columbia’s semi-arid Interior. Dad ditched his job as a tree faller in the Coast logging industry to buy a large orchard overlooking Okanagan Lake. I have memories of dipping (but never learning to swim) in the warm waters of the lake with my younger sister Doris and cousin Wendi…piling pieces of wood in the backyard woodpile…walking with my Dad through rows of apple trees as he pruned and irrigated them…drinking ice cold spring water which bubbled up from the watercress and grasses surrounding the orchard trees…skiing to school on red metal skis…good memories!!!
There was one strange incident which I can still see clearly before me as if it just happened. In the fall of 1951, the nighttime temperatures were becoming unseasonably cold. One such night, Dad and Mom bundled us up in the ’36 Dodge and we drove out to the Okanagan Centre orchard to check on the trees. It was a clear moonlit night as we parked the car at the edge of the orchard and my Dad left us in the car to go out into the orchard to light smudge pots of charcoal below each tree in order to prevent the early frost from damaging the trees. I was wide awake and staring out the front seat passenger window when all of a sudden, I noticed about ten “people” climbing the picking ladder propped up against a nearby tree. I remember tugging at the car door handle while frantically yelling at Mom “Let me out of the car…I want to stop those people from stealing our fruit.” She said she didn’t see anyone out there and wouldn’t let me leave the car. I remember seeing the “people” eventually all climb out of the tree and walk away single file down the row between the trees until they disappeared from sight. I also remember asking my Dad when he returned to the car if he had seen those “people” and he laughed and said he hadn’t. Years later, I surmised that my “vision” had been a portend of things to come as within weeks, the north Okanagan experienced record cold temperatures which killed most of our orchard trees…and resulted in us relocating to northern Vancouver Island where Dad went back to falling. It also made gave me my first thoughts and realization that, in our lives, there may be other forces around us at play that we are usually not aware of.
My earliest memories include a trip with my Mom up into my grandfather Ole Nygaard’s attic in their log homestead in Bella Coola where there were stacks of 78 rpm records he had bought in the 1930s and 1940s from the Cardena steamship that delivered the mail and supplies to Bella Coola. Mom tells me there were lots of Jimmie Rogers records in there and other western swing and pop of the day and that my Aunt Helen was cleaning house and threw them all in the Bella Coola River years later when she and her family lived in that home.
Musically, from Grade 1 onwards, I seemed to be front and centre in school pageants and Sunday School church choirs singing Christmas carols, hymns, etc. When our family went on Sunday drives, I recall my sister Doris and I in the back seat singing a lot of 1930s to 1950s songs taught to us by our parents. At home, we played on harmonicas, tin whistles, combs, kazoos, and in the summertime, Mom and Dad carved us willow flutes to play on. Later, I joined a flutophone (now called recorder) orchestra where we played old songs and learned some elementary reading of music. To this day, I only have a rudimentary understanding of sheet music and I have learned all musical instruments and written all my songs by “ear”.
About Grade 4, I started to take an interest in writing stories and poems. My first longer story was called ‘The Lonely Cactus’ and I handwrote it in the first issues of ‘Saturday Fun’. This was a family magazine in which I handwrote stories, poems, puzzles and drew cartoons and I put out around 30 issues from elementary school into junior high school. I also kept a daily diary from 1957 to 1965 with the usual day to day doings mixed in with some jokes and strange drawings. In school, I did exceptionally well and especially enjoyed the creative writing aspect of English Literature classes.
Back to music…I started to listen to rock’n’roll music especially on Red Robinson’s shows on Vancouver, B.C.’s CKWX and later CFUN. I had an old 1940s wooden table radio in my room and although the reception was dicey, I would sit with my ear close to the tiny speaker emitting Gene Vincent, Bill Haley and gang and, at night, the scary radio dramas. In high school, I remember being blown away in one music class where the teacher spent a half hour playing Elvis Presley’s ‘King Creole’ LP to illustrate the day’s lesson on blues and jazz music. After that, I couldn’t get enough of rock’n’roll music although I had to make do at home with listening to my parents’ country and western and pop music 78s. My Dad especially liked the crooners of the 1940s and 1950s with lots of Bing Crosby and Eddy Arnold in his record collection. However, there were some cool 78’s by harmony vocal groups like The Inkspots and The Platters and I was also moved by some Hank Williams’ 78s that a logging partner of my Dad’s lent us one time. However, the one country western record that really held my interest was an old Bluebird 78 by Billy Boyd And His Cowboy Ramblers ‘On The Texas Plains/Ridin’ On A Humpbacked Mule’ – I loved the swing rhythm and fun lyrical content of these simple western songs. As an aside, this was the only record that my Mom had salvaged from my grandfather’s large collection in Bella Coola. My Dad must have liked Bob Wills and western swing music too as he would often sing ‘Roly Poly’ and ‘My Little Buckaroo’ to me at bedtime when I was a child.
Finally, in 1962, my folks got a radio/record player console with ‘33’ and ‘45’ speeds on the turntable as well as 78 rpm. My first 45 record was Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ and I remember playing that song and flipside ‘Rock-A-Hula Baby’ over and over till the RCA Victor disc was totally worn out. The same year, on Father’s Day, our family borrowed a friend of mine’s tape recorder and each of us sang our favorite old time tunes. I managed to do a couple of “new” ones – one an improvised “Jungle Drums” chanting and beating on a cardboard box and the other – a version of Elvis’ ‘It’s Now Or Never’ where I attempted to sing not only Elvis part (badly) but also the Jordanaires background chorus (even worse)! I still have that tape and it brings back a memory of the lots of laughs we used to have as a family in those days. All the rest of their lives, my folks helped me out through the rough times and always supported my musical directions.
Around 1957, our family had started to rockhound on weekends picking up jasper and agates from the local beaches. We acquired a rock saw, grinders and polishers and my Dad and I learned how to make jewelry, bookends, etc. We began to hike up to Hill 60 near Lake Cowichan where we chiseled rhodonite chunks out of the manganese mine there and packed it on packboards three miles down the mountain. We also made some summer trips to various rockslides near Kamloops and Empire Valley collecting agates, jasper, amethyst and petrified wood. The big trip I remember is travelling in 1961 to Bella Coola where we hiked with my cousin Roger up into the nearby Rainbow Mountains and brought back opalized wood, jasper and obsidian.
Our family also fished for salmon in the Georgia Straits near our Campbell River home. In those days, a fishing trip always ended with a fresh salmon in the frying pan for lunch and a marathon canning session in our kitchen. Although I couldn’t swim and always was a bit scared of the water, I did enjoy the boat trips out into the “saltchuck” and the seaview of the snow capped mountains and deep green forests surrounding our town. Every spring, Mom took us for walks in the woods nearby to admire the beauty of the flowers and vegetation coming alive at that time of year. In the summertime, we picked huckleberries, blackberries and black caps in the neighborhood and in clearcuts outside of town. All this sparked my awareness of the natural world and inspired me in later years to begin writing poems, songs and short stories about the world around us.
During that 1961 holiday trip to Bella Coola, my rock’n’roll musician’s career was ignited in my cousins’ Bella Coola home. A second cousin Gary had left his drums at their home as he, my cousin Carol on piano and my Uncle Melvin on fiddle had been jamming there. I got on the drums and started to play the snare solo and along with Carol. It all seemed to come together naturally and the rest of our stay, I rarely left the drum stool. When the family group played at the old community hall (as The Piltdowners – named after an instrumental ‘Piltdown Rides Again’ [a variation of ‘The Lone Ranger’ theme] by The Piltdown Men which Carol played on piano), I got to sit in on drums for a couple of numbers. Between that and teaching all the kids in Bella Coola how to do the twist that night, I was off on my musical journey.
Returning to Campbell River, I quickly became best friends with a kid who had just moved up the Island from Vancouver: Brian Ewart. Brian had me over to his house and played me hundreds of tunes from his instrumental and vocal 45 and LP collection. The Wailers….The Ventures….Johnny And The Hurricanes….The Fireballs….Duane Eddy and the Rebels….Jerry Lee Lewis….Buddy Holly….Fats Domino….the list goes on and on but I was bit real hard by the musical bug and immediately started collecting records. Best of all, Brian had a rudimentary set of drums – with a huge Salvation Army type of bass drum – and we both spent hours in his basement pounding away to Sandy Nelson and Gene Krupa records.
In 1963, Brian and I and many of our classmates moved down to Victoria after high school graduation to attend the University of Victoria. In our spare time, we haunted the department stores 45 and LP discount bins and met other record collectors from the city. Guys like Gary Madden and Eric Stade – who are still collectors and of course lifelong friends – were also heavily into rockabilly, rock’n’roll and instrumental records and soon, we heard Canadian, American and English records that we had only dreamed of finding. We began to peruse record catalogues and Cashbox magazines and order records from U.S. companies. This led to a couple of road trips in the 1960s to California where we acquired huge stashes of records. On the first trip, we camped along the way and near Los Angeles right on Malibu Beach; ate at Taco Bell, McDonalds, and survived otherwise on cheese and bologna sandwiches with all spare cash going towards records. On that trip, we met Bob Hite from Canned Heat who turned us on to the blues 78s in his collection and alerted us to all the cool Los Angeles stores where stacks of records were in the back rooms awaiting our discovery. I still have the record store receipt for Coral CRL 57080 Johnny Burnette & The Rock’N’Roll Trio LP. We had seen it in the racks of a L.A. shop on the first trip….left it behind….came back a couple of years later and it was still there! The ironic thing was, that same afternoon after we bought that album, we found three more mint copies in a sidewalk rack outside a Hollywood record store.
Other memories of L.A. were wandering through Watts just after the riots and naively wondering why the black kids were giving us the finger as we walked through their neighborhoods en route to record stores….visiting some of the large record companies like Dot, Imperial/Liberty and Original Sound and being disappointed that they didn’t have any of the older more collectible 45s in stock….running into a dude parked outside Dot Records who had been a deejay in the U.S. South, had a trunk full of 45s and cool band photos (we scooped some of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jack Scott and The Revels) and who was looking for work at Motown Records….on our second trip, camping every night along on the road above Malibu far enough back in the sagebrush to evade the police’s flashlights searching for us and finding a note every morning from them telling us to move on….body surfing in the warm waters of Malibu and Huntington Beach….going through stacks of 45s in the loft of Park Avenue Records as we watched the record pressing plant in operation down below….being allowed in the back room of Saturn Records (we told them “Bob Hite sent us”) and finding rare instrumental singles among the records piled six feet high throughout the room!
A few times, we cruised over the border to Tijuana where we did the Ugly Canadian thing of getting too drunk and being obnoxious with everyone. On one occasion, I decided to go into several barrooms, snap photos of the ‘b’ girls in action and leave without buying a drink. Just as I was stashing the camera in the car in preparation for a night of serious drinking, a cop tapped me on the shoulder and demanded I turn over the film to him or take a trip to the Tijuana jail…needless to say, I complied.
The last trip, we not only brought back records but one kilo of marijuana stashed in the glove compartment of our 1958 Ford. The year was 1967 and, in an Orange County apartment we had rented, we got “turned on” for the first time after a L.A. buddy of ours arranged to buy us some Mexican grass. One thing led to another and we soon were cruising Winchell’s Donut Houses less and smoking marijuana more while we listened to our latest 45 finds. Upon returning to Canada with the grass, we proceeded to “turn on” for the first time most of the guys in the Fort Camp dormitories at University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Back home, with money running low, I thought about selling the remainder but my Mom discovered it first and, to my dismay, flushed it down the toilet.
Speaking of marijuana, that herb wasn’t just a source of laughs and body relaxation. It was one factor in expanding my awareness of the way the world worked: “freeing up my mind” to see the injustices and at the same time, savoring the significance of the moment and appreciating the raw beauty of nature.
When I was young, I would often tail along with my Dad on his Saturday visits to logger friends and overhear passionate discussions of union and other political issues. My Dad had been involved with union organizing in the early days of logging and his credo of life that he passed on to us was to “help out the underdog”. My sister and I were never allowed to own toy guns or weapons. Our parents philosophically disapproved of violence as a means of solving problems even though my Dad had a bad temper at times resulting in physical and emotional discipline for when I was disobedient at home. Perhaps because of that and fear of failure, I was quite shy at times, developed a sometimes too strong work ethic in school and lacked the confidence sometimes in larger social gatherings. Later booze and drugs gave me a sense of relaxation and social acceptance but they also created problems in my life so they aren’t a central factor in my life anymore.
But, I digress. In high school, our home room teacher gave out black and white ‘Ban The Bomb’ peace symbol buttons and encouraged us to learn more about the burgeoning peace and protest movements. I was a member of the Scholarship Club and listened with interest to speakers from the community – especially to famous author Roderick Haig Brown who in his home study spoke about environmentalism. At the same time, Roderick Haig Brown’s wife Anne who ran the school library and turned me on to contemporary novels like ‘Catcher In The Rye’. When I moved away from home and went on to the University of Victoria at age seventeen, I listened to noon hour speakers like early LSD proponent Richard Alpert who spoke about the growing free speech movement at Berkeley. Also, I walked in peace marches in Campbell River and at the nearby Comox Air Force base as well as in student protests and sit ins in Victoria. I was also lucky to catch Uvic lunchtime free concerts by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Charlie Mingus and The Rooftop Singers – introducing me to the world of blues, jazz and folk music which I had never heard played live.
At the same time, my drinking alcohol started to affect my university studies. I was partying every weekend and hanging with a new set of friends who partied hard to the tune of rock’n’roll records surrounded by women who also like to party hard. After three years at Uvic, I dropped out. I grew long hair and a beard and became a hippie for a few years…took lots of different drugs and continued to drink excessively at times…worked in the local pulp and paper mill and as an airlines ticket agent, car washer, tree planter and roofer…liked various aspects of those jobs and met many lifelong friends during those years…became involved in many relationships with women including two (failed) engagements…and all along, expanded my musical interests.
In Campbell River, I continued to practice on the Sears blue metal flake drums that my parents had bought me. Sandy Nelson and Link Wray blared out of the hi-fi in my bedroom and I tried to master all those beats as well as continuing to have drum battles with my friend Brian at his home. At my home, Mom bought an upright piano and taught me a few chords which I still play today in a rough boogie woogie style.
In the summer, I took the drums out onto the front lawn and practiced there. A band across the street heard me and approached me to join them as their drummer had just quit. I bought his drums and was in my first band: The F.B.I. Quickly, there was a name change to The Blue Knights as too many people in the audience had said that F.B.I. stood for Fucking Big Idiots! My cousin Roger painted a psychedelic Blue Knights name on the drum head and we played Legions, parties, weddings and anywhere we could. Our set list was an even mix of Ventures, Shadows and Fireballs type instrumentals and vocals of rock’n’roll hits from Elvis to The Young Rascals with some country western thrown into the mix. The rhythm guitarist sang country but didn’t really want to sing rock’n’roll so I volunteered and quickly learned to sing and drum at the same time. We were together for 2 years and, during that time, managed to down many cases of beer. All the other guys were married so I was the one in the band who hooked up with the available women in the audience.
I should interject here to say that our town was no different than any Canadian or American town in the mid sixties. Bands were sprouting up daily influenced equally by the late 1950’s rock’n’roll Elvis Presley/Gene Vincent/Buddy Holly sound…garage rock combos such as Paul Revere And The Raiders…and the English Invasion bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Although I loved the new mod/garage sounds, I leaned more towards the older rockabilly styles of Elvis and primitive instrumental rockers. Every town had its Elvis wannabe and I was one of them in the early days trying to keep alive the spirit of early rock’n’roll.
After the Blue Knights broke up, I turned 23 and joined forces with a hot lead Fender Jazzmaster guitarist Gordon Schultz who with his brother Wayne on rhythm Stratocaster Fender guitar, had a local band going called The Creations. I remembered Gordon from the early sixties riding around in a car with ‘Rebel Rouser’ painted on the side door – named after his band at the time The Rebel Rousers. Gordon was a master of The Ventures and other instrumentalists as well as Elvis styled rock’n’roll and country and western pickin’. When that band’s singer left the band, I was in! By then, I had abandoned the drums and picked up an old Epiphone Gibson acoustic guitar learning enough chords to accompany myself while singing. I also began to learn blues harmonica on my own augmented with some lessons in later years by my good friend Steve Quinn.
I became the lead singer and, with Gordon and several changes in musicians, we went on to have six years of fun playing at parties, nightclubs, community halls and logging camps around the north Island. With a name change to Small Craft Warning, the music changed to include more blues, country rock, garage, psychedelic and rock styles. As I have done in every band that I’ve been in, I introduced the band to obscure rockin’ songs and instrumentals from records in my collection and we learned some of them as well as the hits of the day. I have several reel to reel tapes from our live dates but unfortunately, due to a lack of finances and a dearth of local studios, we never did any professional recording.
I started to write more and more songs veering stylistically from country to rockabilly to garage/psych styles and we included several of my originals in Small Craft Warning’s set lists. The physical and social world around me inspired many of these songs – which sometimes seem to spontaneously erupt onto the page out of the atmosphere.
In most people’s lives, there comes a time to leave youth behind and settle down as they say. My last road trip as a single guy was with my good buddies Bob Dalziel and Gary Bradshaw in 1970 and it was a memorable one: to see Elvis Presley “live” in Las Vegas at the International Hotel. We had a blast drinking and gambling till we were broke and camping on the desert but luckily we had bought the Elvis tickets ($15. admission including a steak dinner) ahead of time. Elvis was in good voice and shape that night and we were blown away by seeing him and his fantastic band in the flesh!
My “settling down” time started in the early 1970s when I married my first wife Karen and we conceived a beautiful baby girl Angela in 1972. Our relationship wasn’t meant to last however and ended in divorce three years later. Just as Karen and I separated, I met another woman Mary Ann with a small child Tami and we lived together for two years – getting married in 1976. We moved to Victoria where I went back to university and eventually graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Social Work degree.
I then went on to work as a community social worker in the small coastal town of Powell River and later, in Vancouver for twenty years. In 1988, Mary Ann and I were divorced and, shortly after that, I met and moved in with my lifetime partner Joanne and her two children. Work wise, I loved the aspect of helping people solve their problems and trying to help alleviate poverty and barriers to healthy living…but I rebelled against the government bureaucracy that often seemed to work at odds with those goals. Early on in my social work career, I became a B. C. Government Employees Union shop steward and through that union advocacy found myself becoming more and more a social activist. After early retirement in 2002, Joanne and I moved back to Campbell River where we bought a house; got back into gardening, and became actively involved in the Council of Canadians and other social action groups.
A lifelong interest in the outdoors and hiking led me to walk short and long distances in the forests with my family and friends over the years. In the 1990s and in 2002, I walked 50 mile seven day hikes on the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island three times – with my working buddies; my partner Joanne and boys Harry and Hyacinth, and my grandson Christopher. Multiple long hikes to the Stein Valley in B.C.’s interior and to Cape Scott on northern Vancouver Island with friends and family were also a real pleasure. Being able to enjoy the rugged landscape along these trails and camp out and sleep under the stars (and pouring rain) has always helped us all to achieve a healthy balance in our lives…and inspired me to write folk songs about the fragile environment on this planet and how to save it from destruction.
During all that time, I was in rock’n’roll bands playing on weekends or sometimes, six nights a week – not easy when you are holding down a day job and raising children. The bands were: in Victoria: Honky Tonk Heroes (1977 to 1979)…in Powell River: Blue River (1980 to 1982)…in Vancouver: High Steppin’ Boogie Band (1982 to 1983); The Bopsters (1984); The Surfdusters (1989 to 2002); Midnite Wailers (1986 to 2002); Rockin Daddys (1998-2012)…and, back in Campbell River, Skunk Hollow (2003 to 2011) and Rebels Til We Die (2011- ).
The Surfdusters was a band playing mostly original rock and surf instrumentals with whom I recorded three CDs and many vinyl releases. We also played in Vancouver nightclubs like The Commodore Ballroom and The Railway Club; opened for instrumental heroes Dick Dale and The Ventures, and toured to play venues in Oregon and California. As well, we were the only Canadian band to get our original surf instrumental ‘Save The Waves’ on the Rhino Records ‘Cowabunga! The Surf Box’ set along with classics by sixties to nineties surf/instro bands. The Surfdusters also lucked out and placed eleven of our band originals on the world wide famous cartoon ‘Spongebob Squarepants’. Check out The Surfdusters latest CD ‘Save The Waves’ and more at our website: www.surfdusters.com for more details.
In 1991, I started an independent record label Fireball Records with the first release being a limited edition cassette of 1950s and 1960s instrumentals by Edmonton’s Wes Dakus And The Rebels and The Nomads to accompany my discography ‘Strictly Instrumental The Canadian Scene’. Ten more Fireball Records releases followed in cassette, 7” vinyl and compact disc formats. While the majority were by my band The Surfdusters, others included a compilation of current Canadian instrumental bands’ originals and a CD by my Vancouver rockabilly band Rockin Daddys.
I recently spent almost two years in Vancouver recording and mixing mostly original songs which I released in 2012 on two CDs: Rich Hagensen and the Wailin’ Daddys’ ‘Callin’ All Cats’ and Rich Hagensen And The Crew’s ‘Shakin’ Up This Town’. These are also on my record label Fireball Records – for more information, see www.fireballrecordscanada.com .
Over the years, my interest in instrumentals became fanatical! After years of research, I self published a discography of North American instrumental singles ‘Strictly Instrumental’ in 1985…a discography of Canadian instrumental releases entitled ‘Strictly Instrumental – The Canadian Scene’ in 1992… fourteen issues of an instrumental fanzine ‘Livewire’ from 1993 to 1997…and a ‘Livewire’ column which I still write for a UK instrumental fanzine ‘New Gandy Dancer’. Originally, the instrumentals noted in my discographies were released on 7” singles and 12” long play albums – all out of print now. Some have been reissued on vinyl and compact disc formats in limited numbers. As well, in the 1980s and 1990s, two waves of new bands released surf and rock instrumentals and some of the older bands from the 1960s reformed to appreciative audiences young and old.
Currently, I have almost completed a revised edition of ‘Strictly Instrumental’ – a discography of Canadian and American instrumental singles – set for publication in 2015. I hope my discographies can make a contribution to not only documenting these instrumental music recordings but also help to spur an interest in instrumentals especially by a younger generation.
In the last two years, Joanne who sings and plays keyboards and myself have been playing at various venues as a duo and singing country and folk/protest songs. Most of the newest original songs I have co-written with Joanne and others are protest songs which we have performed at environmental, health care, Occupy Campbell River, Council of Canadians and union rallies and variety shows. As well, for the last 5 years, every week with a couple of friends I play acoustic guitar and sing at acute care homes for seniors – enjoying getting back to the roots of my music and playing without amplifiers and PA systems.
I have to end this short? life history with a huge thanks to some people without whom I couldn’t have done all this music and writing. First, to my Mom (Thelma), Dad (Dick) – R.I.P. Dad and Mom – and sister (Doris) who all inspired and supported me in one way or another during my life’s ups and downs and artistic career. Next, the love of my life Joanne who has been there for and with me through thick and thin and encouraged me to be the best I can in my musical and writing endeavors. Raising children was sometimes challenging but the rewards of sharing in the daily ups and downs of family life is a joy beyond belief. I have been lucky to have loving daughters Angela and Tami and sons Harry and Hyacinth who sometimes suffered by my absences in the music world but continue to be “shining lights” in my life!
My musical partners/friends from all my bands have all been fantastic to play and create music with but there are five men who influenced me the most and helped me to be a better singer, guitarist and writer. In the beginning, Gordon Schultz brought alive the instrumental and rock’n’roll vocal music I loved on record and was the best guy you could ever be with at festivals, night clubs and home jam sessions – I miss you dearly, Gord! Original Surfdusters guitarist Ralph Johnston is one of the best in the world – at surf, industrial surf or old time blues and primitive country – and his sense of humor and writing styles in all mediums continue to inspire me! Another Surfduster and lover of all things garage, punk and surf – Grant Shankaruk – is a great artist, deejay and musician and our friendship and travels together have been memorable. My cousin Dale Nygaard is the brother I never had and we always have a blast singing and playing guitar together and tramping the backwoods looking for gemstones. Last, but not least, rockabilly and blues picker supreme Mark Weldon (aka Mark Twang) is the man who has stuck with me through three bands and always been there as a friend, guitar man and creator of fantastic graphics – a billion thanks from the Hagman!
Rich Hagensen, December, 2012