Damn Pigeon is a versatile guitar-rock band from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. First formed in 1991, the band gigged fairly regularly until early 1996, playing a blend of original songs and covers.
In addition to headlining some good-sized events - such as the first two Iron Horse Festivals and Midsummer Meltdowns, Damn Pigeon scored several opening slots in front of more established bands such as Helix, Harrem Scarrem, Coney Hatch, The Kings, and Killer Dwarfs. These shows, as well as gigs at local clubs in the London and St. Thomas area helped to build a strong local following and garner some good press reviews.
In early 1996 - after more songwriting, home-studio sessions yielding a DAT recording of three of the original songs and a couple of lineup changes - the project petered out. The realities of career and the responsibilities of raising young children had to take priority. The band broke up amicably, with a vague promise of getting back together sometime in the future to record the original songs.
In 2009, the time arrived to get Damn Pigeon off the ground again. Joe Edmiston had built himself a nice home studio - and the kids were older now. The stars aligned and lead vocalist Steve Phillips, bassist Steve Proud, guitarist/vocalist/producer/recording engineer Joe Edmiston, drummer Rob Beecroft, and guitarist Steve Proctor got together to 'finally finish the record'.
Shortly after reuniting, scheduling conflicts led to the departure of Rob Beecroft. He was replaced by veteran drummer Bill Higgs.
Pre-production work and rehearsals for the recording sessions were underway when Steve Phillips received everyone's dread diagnosis - cancer. Totally gobsmacked, everyone tried to remain optimistic. Steve's prognosis looked fairly good, but the frightening news cast a dark pall over the project. It was agreed by all that Steve needed to focus his energy solely on getting well. The band would continue to rehearse, sans vocals, and Steve would join in whenever he felt up to it.
Following surgery and debilitating treatments, to the great relief of his family, friends and band-mates - after a check-up it appeared as if Phillips was cancer-free. There was much rejoicing! DP played it's first live show in January 2010 at Rock Star Studios in London, and everyone looked forward to starting the recording sessions for the album.
Alas - this cheery holiday from fear was not to last. After some additional symptoms, Steve was checked again. The cancer had spread to other areas of his body. His diagnosis was now terminal.
Amidst the fears and tears, Phillips and the band decided that they needed to record the album come hell or high water. He started treatment to slow the advance of the disease, and the recording sessions for the 'Dismal Reviews' album began on Good Friday, 2010. Bed tracks for seven of the songs were made that day.
Work on the album progressed through the spring and summer, and Phillips sang his parts between treatments, when he was feeling well enough. His condition continued to deteriorate as the summer wore on, and the project became a race against time. The only goal now was to get the record done and released before he passed away. The album was mixed and sent out to Seigfried Meier for mastering in late summer. As it turned out, 'Dismal Reviews' was released on iTunes a week before - and the CDs arrived from the manufacturer the day before Steve died - on the 30th of September, 2010.
Laid low by the death of their friend and band-mate, the guys took some time off to grieve, rest and reflect. Little could be done to promote 'Dismal Reviews', because without a singer the band could not perform live. Before Phillips passed away, it had been decided by all that the band would continue - with Phillips even joking at one point that "We should call this band 'Damn Phoenix' - because it's always rising up from the ashes..." In January 2011, the band posted an ad looking for a new front-man.
After three months and several auditions - a resolution to the situation. In April 2011, Damn Pigeon announced Doug Weir as the band's new lead vocalist. Weir is a consummate professional who brings substantial experience to the table, through his tenure as the lead vocalist for both Syre and The 13th Hour. Doug is an excellent singer, a very creative song-writing collaborator, a clear and concise communicator, and a rascally raconteur of great road stories.
Damn Pigeon played it's first live show with Weir on the 1st of October 2011, exactly a year and a day after Steve Phillips' passing - fittingly enough at a cancer fund-raiser called 'Scream For A Cure', held yearly in his honour. The all-day event featured 16 bands, drew a crowd of 600+, and raised some $17,500 for the cause.
A few successful live shows followed over the winter and spring, but the band stayed focused on writing new songs for the next album.
Unfortunate creative differences lead to the departure of Bill Higgs in late July 2012 - but the remaining band members continued to write and record.
In September of 2012 Dave Wyles became a member of the flock, adding a ton of talent and experience to the mix. He is perhaps best known for his long tenure with Bobnoxious, but his resume includes work with many bands - among them Requiem, Gravity Pharm, Maelstrom and 5150.
After scheduling difficulties arose, Dave graciously recommended Jason Latimer, and Damn Pigeon have begun rehearsing and writing with him.
The band will use the next little while to get to know each other better and they've been writing and recording new songs for the next album. Stay tuned!
Damn Pigeon is: Joe Edmiston - Guitars and Vocals, Doug Weir - Guitars and Lead Vocals, Steve Proctor - Guitars, Steve Proud - Bass Guitars, Jason Latimer - Drums