Jr. Gone Wild
Previously Performed in: 2015, 1992
Their existence was short: a mere dozen years. But like a glacier scraping over Alberta’s musical scenery rearranging punk, pop and pre-alt country, Jr. Gone Wild churned a wide, wild path and left a mighty impact on Alberta’s musical landscape. And like a glacier picks up and drops boulders and debris on its cross country travels, so did Wild pick up and lose members with stunning regularity during their uncountable blurry tours across the Great White North, eventual tallying up nearly 30 alumni, each of whom left their mark on the band’s country-punk sound.
Formed in Edmonton in 1983, the band’s one constant has been singer/songwriter Mike McDonald. Their then-novel practice of touring in a van on the young Trans-Canada Highway worked to build Jr. Gone Wild’s legend — McDonald speaks of days of drinking, fighting, being robbed, being sick, and being cold, all while playing in absolute dives night after night. That touring helped to create songs that range from period pieces that nail the experience of coming of age in the ‘80s to subtle heartbreakers capturing fragments of the eternal human condition. The band’s penchant for pedal steel, fiddle, and country-smoked moments set them apart from other bar bands of the day and elevated the songs from simple pop choruses and tongue-in-cheek perspectives into something much more meaningful and enduring.
By the time they broke up in 1995, Jr. Gone Wild practically owned the Canadian campus airwaves, but they were never able to truly capitalize, missing the alt-country craze by mere moments. In 2013, McDonald and three of the longest standing core members reunited to perform for audiences made up of a layer cake of generations, proving that instead of being ahead of their time, Jr. Gone Wild are timeless.