Like a glacier scraping over Alberta’s musical scenery rearranging punk, pop and pre-alt country, Jr. Gone Wild churned a wide, wild path. They picked up and lost members with stunning regularity during their uncountable blurry tours, eventually 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 cold, all while playing in dives. That touring helped to create songs that range from period pieces that nail 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 meaningful and enduring.
By the time they broke up in 1995, Jr. Gone Wild just missed the alt-country craze In 2013, McDonald and three of the longest standing core members reunited proving that instead of being ahead of their time, Jr. Gone Wild are timeless.
Biography by Mary-Lynn Wardle