Big John Bates
|Big John Bates|
Brandy Bones & Big John Bates
|Also known as||BATES|
|Genres||rock'n'roll, gothic, punk blues, garage rock|
|Labels||Rookie Records, Alternative Tentacles, Glitterhouse Records, Frontman Records|
|Associated acts||Annihilator; Sloan (band); The Real McKenzies|
|Members||Big John Bates
Big John Bates is a Canadian guitarist, singer and songwriter from Vancouver, British Columbia. He is known for a sound rooted in rock'n'roll, southern gothic and garage blues. His musical career began as the original singer, co-writer and founding member of Annihilator, the "highest-selling thrash metal band from Canada". Big John Bates currently performs with Montanan upright bassist Brandy Bones sharing lead vocals and JT Massacre on percussion and tympani.
Bates was born in Toronto and raised in Ottawa, Canada, although originally adopted from a Halifax family. He began playing guitar at age 14 and began learning chords from friends in the 1000 Islands where his father worked summers as a boat captain (Live105, Halifax; interviewer: Floyd). John first began performing in Ottawa with Annihilator as lyricist and singer but did not begin working professionally until moving to British Columbia. In addition to performing as Big John Bates he works as a Music Supervisor for Look to the Sky Productions and operates the Canadian record company Frontman Records in Vancouver.
Big John Bates
In 2010 Big John Bates began writing and recording southern gothic rock with Brandy Bones, JT Massacre and engineer/producer Todd Simko (Pure) at Faceplant Studios in Vancouver. The Scarecrow Close single was released on Rookie Records and was also available at Hot Topic across the USA. Further recording was done at a tour layover in Nashville in 2011 at (Legendary Shack Shakers)' Mark Robertson's studio with San Francisco's Orian Case on drums. Bates completed the album in early 2012 at Todd Simko's home studio with Vancouver drummer Timothy Hagberg. The tracks were mixed and mastered in Denver by Robert Ferbrache (Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Wovenhand, 16 Horsepower).
These sessions were split with six songs and two videos released in North America as Headless Fowl in April 2012 and the remainder released in Europe as "Battered Bones" on Rookie Records (Germany) in Sept 2012. After hearing "Headless Fowl" Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra exclaimed "Headless Fowl is extremely cool!" and included it in his Alternative Tentacles catalog. The release was accompanied by a March/April 2012 headlining tour of the US and Canada with Murder By Death (band). "Battered Bones" was supported by a Fall 2012 headlining tour through the EU and North America. These dates included the Halifax Pop Explosion (2012) where their performance earned the festival's highest rating among bands such as Black Lips, Elliott Brood, Wintersleep and Deer Tick.
In 2013 Bates compiled 13 tracks from the sessions and released them digitally as "The Headless Fowl LP" on Frontman Records. The release entered the Top 10 on LOUD college charts across Canada.
Bates also re-entered the studio in 2013 with engineer Christopher Ray (Hora Morior) and mixer David Carswell (New Pornographers, Teagan and Sara). They completed three tracks for single "Black Timber Bitter Root". The band is currently shooting a video to accompany the band on tour in Europe in April/May 2014 and their single "Taste the Barrel" is in the Canadian TV show Arctic Air (Season 3, Episode 103).
Big John Bates & the Voodoo Dollz
Citing influences such as Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the Cramps, Reverend Horton Heat, early Alice Cooper, the pioneers of swing music and the new burlesque revolution, the group Big John Bates & the Voodoo Dollz was formed in 2000. They were the first touring band to incorporate burlesque performers and performed 1000+ shows to over 100,000 people throughout Europe and North America. They supported such notable artists as the Fuzztones, the Blasters, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Solomon Burke, Koko Taylor, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Boss Hoss and Andre Williams (Dynamite Magazine).
Each of their four albums (and live DVDs) had different drummers but upright bassist sCare-oline remained with the group until mid-2009 when she left to and was replaced by Brandy Bones on the final tours and second DVD. sCare-oline also incorporated traditional and gothic bellydance early in the group's career, dancing while the songs "Whiplash" and "Salome's Last Dance" were played with guitar and percussion.
Documentaries in North America on the A&E Network and Discovery Network interviewed John about the influences of both film-maker Russ Meyer and authors Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane on the lyrical content and neo-burlesque styles. Bates' version of "Tainted Love" from their Mystiki album (2003) was also selected for the soundtrack of the French film ""Un singe sur le clos". The Big John Bates logo and image was also featured on Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) (Season 3, Episode 14 – The Pleasure Planet). While on tour the group was signed to perform at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and were shortlisted to play at President Obama's first Democratic nomination after a show in Wyoming.
Annihilator / Bates Motel
John Bates was the original singer, co-writer and a founding member of Annihilator. Guitarist Jeff Waters has stated in interviews that the band would likely not have formed without Bates' involvement. Beginning with Alison Hell and Never, Neverland on Roadrunner Records and continuing intermittently until Criteria for a Black Widow, John and Jeff created many of Annihilator's most well-known songs and titles.
Due to artistic differences John left with original bassist Dave Scott after writing the first two albums and formed the short-lived Ligeia while John was attending Algonquin Business College. Shortly afterward leaving school John founded the deathrock band Bates Motel on vocals & guitar. They released four cassette-EPs before re-locating from Ottawa to Vancouver. Bates recorded one FACTOR-funded album (Tales of Ordinary Madness - Tomcat Records) recorded at Watersound Studios and produced by Jeff Waters which was very well reviewed. A second album on Spinner Records was scrapped with two songs released as the first Big John Bates 7" single. John also played guitar with Vancouver's Bif Naked for a short time.
- Big John Bates (vocal, guitars, banjo, dobro) - Gretsch Guitars
- Brandy Bones (vocal, upright bass, cello, violin) - Höfner Strings
- JT Massacre (drums, percussion, tympani, samples)
Big John Bates:
2014: Black Timber Bitter Root (Frontman Records/Rookie Records 7")
2013: The Headless Fowl LP (Frontman Records Digital LP)
2012: Battered Bones (Frontman Records / Rookie Records LP)
2012: Headless Fowl EP (Frontman Records / Alternative Tentacles EP)
2010: Scarecrow Close (Rookie Records 7")
Big John Bates & the Voodoo Dollz:
2010: Clockwork Blues (Frontman Records DVD)
2009: Bangtown (Rookie Records/Stag-o-Lee Records/Devil's Ruin Records)
2007: Live at the Voodoo Ball (Devil Sauce Recordings DVD)
2006: Take Your Medicine (Wolverine Records)
2003: Mystiki (Devil Sauce Recordings)
2001: Flamethrower (El Toro Records - re-release of Voodoo Bar-B-Q)
1999: Vibro-Psychotic (Nearly Nude Music 7")
1996: Tales of Ordinary Madness (Tomcat Records/Nearly Nude Records)
1988-1992: Various Cassettes (Self-released)
1999: Criteria for a Black Widow (Roadrunner Records)
1997: Remains (CMC International)
1996: Refresh the Demon (Music For Nations)
1994: King of the Kill (Hypnotic)
1990: Never, Neverland (Roadrunner Records)
1989: Alison Hell (Roadrunner Records)