Henderson, Chilliwack still going strong after 40 years

Bill Henderson has a very simple reason as to why, after more than 40 years, he is still heading out on the road with his band Chilliwack.

"I just love it, it's that simple," said Henderson. "I love to play music, especially if there is an audience there and they want to hear the music, it's a lot of fun. It's my life, it makes me feel good."

The Vancouver native and his bandmates will be in Estevan Saturday night for a show at the Orpheum Theatre. Henderson said the current incarnation of Chilliwack, which has been together for 14 years, does 20 to 25 shows a year. That limited schedule and the band's familiarity with one another has helped them hone their act into a high energy live show.

"The idea is you just go out and rock like crazy," Henderson said. "We make sure everybody has a great time. That is all it is really about."

Although the current band has been together for 14 years, Chilliwack has undergone a pile of lineup changes over the years. However, the one contstant has been Henderson, the band's lead singer and guitarist.

After his initial band the Collectors broke up in 1969, Henderson and three ex-members of the Collectors got together to form Chilliwack. After releasing their self-titled debut album in 1970, the band went on to pump out nine studio albums, one greatest hits collection and two live albums over the next 33 years. Their most recent release was There and Back, a live production that came out in 2003.

Along the way the band produced a number of hits such as My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone), Whatcha Gonna Do, Don't it Make You Feel Good, Fly at Night and Communication Breakdown.

It's those hits and more that make up the bulk of Chilliwack's live show, noted Henderson.

"It's all the hits and some other ones that are really important to the band that aren't as necessarily well known. We go all the way back to a song that was from the Collectors that was done in 1968," Henderson said.

"They're the best songs from a large catalogue. They are pretty good songs and they stand the test of time pretty well."

Playing those songs is a collection of accomplished musicians with decades of experience on both the stage and in the studio.

Henderson said drummer Jerry Adolphe, who has been with Chilliwack since 1985, brings a little something different to each show which helps keep their act fresh. He has also won a number of awards for his playing over the years.

Bassist Doug Edwards had been an acquaintance of Henderson's since the 1960s but it wasn't until he joined Chilliwack that the two actually played together in a band. Henderson said Edwards is also a great guitar player but plays bass for Chilliwack and does an excellent job of providing the band's groove.

Rounding out the band is Henderson's brother Ed who plays guitar and also supplies the background vocals which are a crucial part of many different Chilliwack tunes. Ed is also a noted guitar player and is familiar with many different styles including Flamenco, South American and rock.

Henderson said he is looking forward to Saturday's show and the chance to play in a small, intimate venue where the band can connect with the crowd.

"There is (a similar theatre) out in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia and I remember playing there one time and after a couple of songs, my guitar goes a little out of tune so I'm tuning it up and I say something like 'we tune because we care' and someone yells out from the audience 'it didn't used to bother you before.'

"It's that kind of intimate relationship where people can yell stuff back and forth with you that is pretty fun."

Saturday's show is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Orpheum Theatre or Henders Drugs.

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