It was many years ago when Adam from Punchbuggy suggested I should listen to a band from Victoria, BC called BUM. He promptly handed me a cassette and that tape existed on heavy rotation in The Stand GT van through many tours, over many years. I remember listening now-classics like ‘Your Disciple’, ‘Wedding Day’ and ‘Debbiespeak’ over and over again and pining for the day I could find out more about this mystery band from way out on the west coast.
Fast forward to Summer 2013
When The Steve Adamyk Band were tracking their latest record last summer at Yogi’s Meatlocker, Steve was kind enough to invite me over to sing on a track I’ve known intimately for almost 20 (!?) years now. I was psyched to hear he was planning to cover a BUM song, something I knew he and the boys would totally do justice to. ‘A Promise Is A Promise’ is certainly a staple of any BUM jam, whether it’s taken from the masterful ‘Wanna Smash Sensation’ LP, the Lance Rock 7” or the exciting live-in-Spain record ‘Shake Town’.
My coveted ‘A Promise Is A Promise’ 7″ on Lance Rock Records
Spain Sure Got It
The Shake Town LP version is stunning and it documented how Spain was all over our local heros, celebrating what few of us already knew back home. I can still remember Grant Lawrence exclaiming to me, “Just wait until you hear the Spanish crowd singing on the chorus of A Promise!”. When I finally got a hold of the LP, I couldn’t believe it.
Just watch this live clip synched to Promise…it still gives me chills to watch a band in their prime, getting a taste of what should have been a regular reaction to BUM here in North America:
It’s well documented that the band just didn’t catch fire here in Canada and the US, despite releasing single after killer single. Spain was their stronghold and for some reason was one of the few countries to get it.
(Check out a pretty good Facebook discussion I started on the topic. I especially like Grant’s point about American record labels)
Covers Including ‘I Said Sometimes!’
A Promise Is A Promise was covered by the great Japanese punk rock outfit, Teengenerate on a killer split 7″ with BUM from the mid-90s. This one was also on Canada’s Lance Rock and came out in ’94. I would imagine this 2×7″ package is pretty rare now too:
Lisa Marr of Cub also covered Promise in a slow, gorgeous and haunting way for the Magic Teeth compilation called ‘I Said Sometimes’. That tribute record consisted of 26 (!) covers in total from bands that spanned the globe.
The Stand GT’s contribution to the comp was another great track from Wanna Smash, “I Hardly Breathe”. (True story: At the time Kurt Bloch from Seattle legends The Fastbacks actually said: ‘We were gonna do that one!’. I think it’s great he chose ‘Your Disciple’ as an alternative as most would agree that number was hand-made for his guitar wizardry!)
Here’s The Stand GT, cold ones in hand, hardly taking a breath while belting out ‘I Hardly Breathe’:
One of our shows with BUM at the infamous 3B Tavern in Bellingham, Washington
The Stand GT toured a lot in those days and it wasn’t long before we crossed paths with our distant Canuck cousins. We played a few West Coast shows with BUM, most notably with Nardwuar’s Evaporators, Teengenerate and The Fastbacks. My favourite show was probably the first one with BUM though, at the legendary Crocodile Cafe in Seattle…that was the bill with the Fastbacks.
Yeah, it was awesome.
BUM live at the Crocodile in Seattle
Chris catches air in Seattle at the Croc. I can’t remember if Rob Nesbitt and I shared jeans for this show.
A Promise Is A Promise 2014
It’s awesome that Steve Adamyk has taken up the torch and done such a great job of such an iconic track. It was a huge treat for me to sing on this with Steve and be a part of yet another amazing, power pop record from the mighty Steve Adamyk Band.
I think the orange ones are long gone now, but you can still order the 7″ from La-ti-da Records out in Van City.
Support a great ‘local’ indie, and buy some records from them here.
So what’s your favourite BUM track? If you have a fave BUM memory, tell us about it in the comment section below!
Oh! And finally… in case you need to hear it again (you KNOW you do!), here is the original version by BUM from the killer CLASSIC LP, Wanna Smash Sensation: