Paul McLellan January 1, 2024
"I got my first drumset at the age of eleven and was playing the bars of Calgary
in my first paying band at the age of Fifteen. The band was called McGraw, we learned seventeen songs with the majority of them being Led Zeppelin material. One night my parents came to watch me play at the Majestic bar and unfortunately I got thrown out on the break when a manager discovered I was under age. Our group didn’t own a PA system so we would partner up with other bands that owned systems, rent a hall and throw dances. Spunk was the name of one of these groups and Mike Reno was the lead singer. I never got tired listening to that band. I’m still a huge Loverboy fan.
I played around Calgary in a variety of bands through my college years and once I graduated I joined the country band Showdown. I didn’t like country music but I wanted to play full time and they were looking for a drummer. The music grew on me and I enjoyed being on the road.
One afternoon in some small town in northern Alberta, we went to watch a band across the street and that was the first time we heard The Rodeo Song. We taped the band playing it and over the next few days memorized the lyrics. That weekend we were playing a dance for The University of Alberta Agriculture students and during a break rehearsed the Rodeo Song to try it out on the audience. They went absolutely crazy over it and we had to play it a few more times that night.
At that time we were in the middle of recording an album and decided to put The Rodeo Song on it. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. We started off by just selling the album off the stage at gigs and when I hit the 10,000 sales number, RCA took over and picked up the distributing rights for the album. Eventually the album sold in several countries around the world and hit triple platinum success in Canada. It was nominated for a Juno award in 1982. It blew my mind have fast a band can go from playing B and C rooms to instant success almost overnight booking A rooms in major cities across Canada all due to the success of one song. Gay Delorme was the genius that wrote the Rodeo Song and he is the reason we got a piece of the action. I left the band in the middle of all this success and came to Victoria to be with my family as my father was dying from a terminal illness.
I worked a series of day jobs through this time and played drums in a couple of groups around Victoria. Eventually I went back to University to get my teaching degree and graduated in 1990 with my B of Ed and became a teacher. I have played drums with a variety of local bands including Doc and the Doo Wops, 3rd Ave, Tokyo, The Waybacks, The Maxx, and Rukus.
I am currently retired from my teacher career and playing drums with the Soul Shakers and also with my wife Lisa and friends in our 80’s tribute band Freeze Frame."