Brothers Ian and Colin Steeksma have reunited musically with a little Dutch Courage.
The brothers toured with Long John Baldry and opened for Trooper, the Commodores, Wednesday and Blondie between 1972 and 1979 with their former band, Twitch. They stopped touring in the 80s and recorded under the name Blind Date.
Younger brother Colin said they decided to resume making music together just last year, now that they’ve both settled in the 100 Mile House area.
They call themselves Dutch Courage, which typically refers to the confidence gained from drinking alcohol, because their family name is Dutch and because, “After 30 years, it’s taking a lot of courage for us to get back up on stage again.”
The brothers admit they were nervous for their first performance, an acoustic gig at a local legion, but say the crowd completely embraced them. “We couldn’t believe it,” said Ian. “It was so awesome.”
The brothers’ music career began nearly 50 years ago, in 1969, when Ian started Twitch with three other guys. Colin joined in ‘72.
According to Colin, Ian was “the mastermind behind most of the stuff we did.”
The band wore silver makeup, used “huge props” and made every performance into a real show.
“We were incredibly high energy, we would do 50 to 55 songs a night … divided into four sets,” a combination of cover songs and originals, said Ian.
The band delighted in playing songs from bands Canadians would not have typically heard of, like The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Slade.
Of their more polite memories from the road, Ian and Colin recalled Brian Smith (Smitty) from Trooper sitting on the floor of their hotel room, tilting his head back onto the bed and asking that they put makeup on him.
The brothers also told a surreal story of playing a gig in LA and seeing ‘Ramones’ spray painted on the scuzzy brick wall of their dressing room. The legendary punk band had been there the week prior.
When opening for Wednesday at an arena in Nanaimo, they said their lighting manager overloaded some of their props – garbage cans with smoke pots in them. The cans exploded so loudly, spiralling off into the crowd somewhere, that the members of Wednesday begged them to share their secret. The band obliged in exchange for fog machine tips.
After the band split, the brothers went their separate ways to record projects with other people.
Now the duo is getting a second chance to experience making music together.
“When you’re on the road, you know, for months at a time, you kind of get tired of each other,” Ian laughed. “So it’s kind of good to just rediscover ourselves and our families together.”
Dutch Courage plays songs from a wide variety of artists, including The Beatles, Tom Petty, AC/DC, Sheryl Crow and One Direction. They are currently working on a Beach Boys medley.
“We both have really good vocal ranges,” said Ian, so the band can perform songs that other people might not even attempt.
You can catch them at 5 p.m. at the Forest Grove Legion on June 15, at 7 p.m. at the Interlakes Music @ the Lakes l on August 4, at 1 p.m. at the South Cariboo Summer Festival on August 12, and at noon at the Garlic Festival on August 26.