“Blood and swill, whiskey and knives, Big John Bates “one of Vancouver’s most notorious musicians” (Globe & Mail) knows how to set the mood for trouble. The music is “backwoods punk with a sinister edge” but there is more, so much more, going on in the crazy collective conscious that is Big John Bates. Both sing, and both couldn’t be more different. Big John Bates’ raspy growl more or less spits in your face while Bones’ muddy contralto drowns her subject matter in woe. Both are righteous accompaniments to the music while JT Massacre keep things riotous on percussion.” – The Equal Ground
In 2011, Bates & Bones hit Jello Biafra’s (Dead Kennedys) radar and, while BJB was touring North America with Kickstarter darlings Murder By Death, Alternative Tentacles began supporting the 2012 EP “Headless Fowl”. Bates quickly followed that with the LP “Battered Bones” on Germany’s Rookie Records, which also brought them to Quentin Tarantino’s attention while he was scouting music for Django Unchained.
They also released two western-themed YouTube videos (Amerkin & Taste the Barrel) with Hora Morior and followed up with Break the Ghost – a live video culled from their 2012 World Tour. Big John Bates is one of a few groups able to successfully mix Americana music with true rock’n’roll attitude and charisma.
Bates records with cello, violin, accordion, acoustic, electric, slide and dobro guitars and is known for enigmatic and energetic live performances, often employing power tools while playing offstage and in the audience. This band has a thousand live shows under their belt and shows it, every second is pure performance.
Other artists Bates has performed with include Murder By Death, the Blasters, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, the Supersuckers, the Belrays, th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, Dex Romweber and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Bates has been a featured act at festivals worldwide including Ink & Iron Festival (US), Ribs & Blues (NE), Big Time Out (CA), 3 x Shambhala (CA), Stemwede (DE), Halifax Pop Explosion, (CA), Canadian Music Week (CA), Sjock Festival (BE). Bates has also been featured on Battlestar Galactica, A&E; Discovery Channel; Bizarre Magazine; Tattooage Magazine among dozens of others while their songs have been in scores of movies and TV shows from Germany, France, Canada and the USA.