By the time his current tour with Hannah Georgas winds down later this month, drummer Luke Renshaw will have played 37 shows in 55 days alongside the Vancouver singer-songwriter.
Being on the road appears to suit the 32-yearold Renshaw. The soft-spoken Qualicum Beach product, who has made Victoria his home for the past decade, recently wrapped an eight-year stint with Juno-nominated local rockers Jets Overhead, a run that included world tours and high-profile gigs at some of the biggest festivals in North America.
Despite the group's success, Renshaw said he was ready for a stylistic switch following his split from Jets Overhead. "I had done eight years and wanted to do some other things," Ren-shaw said Tuesday from Lethbridge, Alta., where he was performing with Georgas. "It was nothing personal. I wish all of them the best."
Renshaw's father bought him a drum set at the age of nine, and by the time he turned 16, he was playing pretty much full-time, mostly in the Qualicum area. "There was a little community centre that everyone would play every Friday night, and I'd always end up in playing drums in at least two bands," he said.
His experience shows. According to drum instructor Murray Creed, Renshaw "plays for the song."
"He's not a flashy guy, but he makes the song sound good," said Creed, who spent a couple of months working with Renshaw while he recovered from a serious hand injury.
"There's a lot to be said about drummers who don't have a lot of flash."
Renshaw moved to Victoria in 2001, a few years after graduating from Kwa-likum Secondary School. He caught on almost immediately with the group Grace Nocturnal, and later singer-songwriter Leeroy Stagger.
In 2004, he synched up with Jets Overhead, with whom he earned a Juno Award nomination in 2007 for new group of the year.
Among the group's notable achievements was a performance at Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit in California, during which members of the group sang Comes a Time alongside Young, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, and Chris Martin of Coldplay, among others.
Renshaw is making new memories these days.
Through his relationship with Ted Gowans, his former bandmate in the local group Lion Thief, Renshaw got hooked up with Georgas, a former Victoria resident now based in Vancouver. Shortly before he played his first gig with Georgas back in September, on a tour that brings her to town on Thursday to open for Mother Mother, he was teaching drum students at Larsen School of Music.
He may wind up back at Larsen one day, which would suit Renshaw just fine. Until then, he's doing his rock 'n' roll duty.
Herewith, a Renshaw primer.
Where did you grow up?
I was raised in Qualicum Beach, pretty much out in the woods. I loved it. I miss it, but it's sort of a retirement community now.
At which point did you know the town was not for you?
Toward the end of high school, I figured that if I wanted to pursue music more seriously, I'd have to make the move to a bigger city.
When did you arrive in Victoria?
I moved to Vancouver
first, but headed to Victoria after that in 2001.
What brought you here?
My parents had moved here at that time, but I also knew there was a pretty decent music scene.
What is your favourite thing about Victoria?
I like the English nature of Victoria. It's a part of my heritage I hold very dear, because I've spent quite a bit of time there.
Esthetically, it doesn't really get any better in Canada. I've seen all of Canada, and it's the most beautiful city.
What is your greatest accomplishment as a person?
Getting to the point where I've got myself now, which is making a living.
And as a professional?
a) Going to Neil Young's house; b) meeting Neil Young; c) having dinner with Neil Young; and d) performing a song on stage with Neil Young [as part of the 2009 Bridge School Benefit Concert in Mountain View, California]. That is something I'll never forget.
The first cassette I bought was Jimi Hendrix, Smash Hits. That's how I learned to play drums. The first CD I bought myself, when I was 14, was The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream. It's still one of my favourite albums of all time.
The Beatles, Abbey Road; Radiohead, OK Computer; and Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV. It's got to be a three-way tie.
My uncle, who was also a metal drummer, played in a band called Zodiac Mind-warp and the Love Reaction. He's always been my hero, and he took me to see the Sex Pistols' reunion tour [of 1996] when I was 16. It totally blew my mind. It became pretty clear after that that I wanted to play shows.
Radiohead, UBC Thunderbird Stadium, 2008.
If you had one motto, or rule to abide by, what would it be?
Keep it simple and don't take yourself too seriously. It was one of the Stones - either Charlie Watts or Keith Richards - who said, "It's what you don't play that makes you a good player." I took those words to heart at a pretty early age.
Luke Renshaw plays four times on Vancouver Island this week, tonight in Victoria, Saturday in Duncan, Sunday in Nanaimo and Monday in Campbell River.
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