INTERVIEW: Bleeker Ridge

A small town can be your worst nightmare. Not because everyone you know is practically your neighbour, but because boredom drives people to fulfill dares, like skinny-dipping in a teacher’s swimming pool or hooking up with your best friend’s fling at a random house party. For BLEEKER RIDGE, it’s a different story. As guitarist Dan Steinke explained before a gig at Tattoo Rock Parlour in Toronto, the small town lifestyle has pushed the group to break out from feeling trapped by doing something different. In this case, that’s produce an alternative rock sound that mingles with a fistful of genres and demands to be heard.

Youth is often characterized as having a rebellious nature. With that attitude, is it important to be close to your family?

Absolutely. If it wasn’t for all the family associated with this band, we wouldn’t have gotten to the place we’re at now. Our parents have been super supportive, my dad especially, as he would drive us there and back for shows and pick us up whenever we needed him. Family is important in any situation.
Do you think the ties you have with them help fuel your passion for music?

Definitely, but it’s been fueled not only by our parents, but even our grandparents, aunts and uncles, everyone. There’s always been music playing in my house and my brother and I grew up on that.
Does the name Bleeker Ridge represent those close bonds?

It does and it doesn’t. When you’re first starting out as a band, you look for a cool name. The other boys lived on Bleeker Street and we lived on Ridge Avenue in Orillia so we just kind of put the two names together. It was a pretty easy fit and it stuck.

Small Town Dead represents the unanimous outlook that there’s never anything to do in a small town. What separates you from other groups coming from small communities?

It’s a general idea and it’s not just about our town per se. It’s about every small town and I think the general purpose is just to get out and do something else. Even in a city like Toronto, there’s two million people but you sometimes feel a little bit trapped and you just want to get out and do something different.
Has that lifestyle influenced the meanings behind your songs?

Absolutely. If it wasn’t for coming from a small town, we wouldn’t have sat down and wrote those songs for the record. When there’s nothing to do on a Saturday night, you just sit in your garage and play music all the time.
What about the way you guys write tracks?

It’s kind of always been the same as we’ve always written together as a group. If one of us is working on the lyrics, one of us is working on something else. It’s not just one or two of us doing all of the work, all four of us sit down and do it together.
Does “You Would Have Liked It” touch on anything personal?

That one’s a bit unique in itself. We we’re working on that song when our producer came up for pre-production. We we’re listening to a variety of music that we liked at the time and that song was one of those that just “fell out”. Like when we first started working on it, Taylor started with the line “you would have liked it” and we just built off that. It’s a bit of a personal song but on so many different levels as it means something different to everyone.

Bob Marlette finally gave in after seeing you guys mature over the years. What was it like having him as a producer?

It was single-handedly the best experience of my life. He’s the most genuine person I think I’ve ever met. Just to work with him everyday, you know, wake up and go to his house, you feel like part of the family. You sit there, you write songs and he’s just a good guy all around when it comes to lending advice. He’s great to work with and he’s a genius.
Marlette’s worked with acts like Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne and you’ve been mentioned in the same breath with artists such as Nickelback and even Every Time I Die. Where does Bleeker Ridge fit?

It’s a list that’s going to keep building, I guess. Bob worked on all these Black Sabbath records and with Tony Iommi and all these people, even Tracy Chapman, so there’s a wide range of bands. I think for us, we’ll fit into a slot that just fits.
Are you trying to reinvent Canadian alternative rock?

We’re just writing what we want to write and doing what we want. That was the general idea of this whole record. Roadrunner saw something in us and they let us build on it. The experience so far has been perfect.
With dates just starting, your manager and label are ready to put you in a van and not let you out; are you nervous or excited?

Oh, we’re excited about it! We were on the road with Airbourne for a month and a half and a bit with Buckcherry and when we came home, we were only excited to be back for about an hour. Not long after, we just wanted to be back on the road (laughs). I’d say we’re all pretty excited to get out there again!

[Are you a fan of Bleeker Ridge? Drop a comment and let us know your thoughts]



  • JD says:

    not bad. they’re not lame and music’s kinda catchy

  • pimpjuice says:

    beautiful group and amazing sound.

  • Kristina says:

    I bought “Small Town Dead” the day it came out and I can’t stop listening to it! Super talented guys, amazing music, one of my new favorite bands! 😀

  • Anonymous says:

    this is the worst band ever.
    shitty, generic alternative rock- there is not a shred of originality to be found.
    and if it wasnt for the unwavering support of the small town they hate so much, they would not be popular at all.
    this whole record is an oxymoron.

  • GingerGirl89 says:

    I found out about the band in high school, and have loved them ever since. keep on rocking it guys!

  • Lateasha Stagg says:

    amazing band. the whole record is definitely not a oxymoron. They have worked very hard to be where they are today and I am so proud of them. They will continue to grow and they will get what they deserve for all the hard work that they have done. Keep rocking boys, your amazing !!

  • Greg says:

    they do sound generic, but they’re young and it’s pretty good music for their age. good interview too… props to the new writer!

  • Mike says:

    It is a bit generic but for their first album with a big label it has to be, to please the radio etc… If you would hear their album before this one you would be shocked how good it was, I personally like it better than this one, its more heavy metal and unique, and original. If you research their first album, listen to “The Rain” and “Fuck you”. Enough said. Plus they are 19years old and have been playing since they were 12.

  • Victoria Hammond says:

    I’m so lucky because Dan is my best friend and we went to highschool together. I looked forward to going to school every day because I knew he would be there and we hung out all the time. I never looked forward to school until we became so close I was always happy. I have Autism and my biggest streangth is music so having your best friend also be the lead guitarist in your favourite band ever is one in a million. he was there when I wanted to give up and he encouraged me to keep going just like his band’s music does for me. I hope that one day we can go on tour and perform together. That’s my biggest wish 🙂

  • jeff says:

    These guy’s are extremley talented and mature far beyond their years. The lyric’s are incredible.
    amazing live show as well

  • eastlandgrl says:

    interesting, thanks

  • Nicole says:

    saw them last night at the Three Days Grace concert in Toronto with My Darkest Days – my friend and I loved them.

  • bernard says:

    this band is the biggest piece of garbage….wannabe nickelback! And nickelback sucks donkey nuts already

  • Anonymous says:

    This band is really lame. For most people, solid production on an album will build the illusion that the music is good. But for people who really know what today’s music has come to, they realize that despite production value, the music is still shit. Being from Orillia myself, I can understand the hype that these guys are the first thing since Gordon Lightfoot to accomplish anything big musically. But it still doesn’t excuse this generic bullshit album which basically rips off any of the “modern alt. rock” bands such as Nickelback, Three Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman, Default, Finger Eleven, and so on (unfortunately all of which are Canadian). Anyway…. I don’t buy into the hype. I know that most musicians who commit to popular song format that had access to professional production quality could accomplish just the same. Instead, I wish there would be focus on truly great Orillia bands such as Like Animals and Starved at the Root.

  • dazmeen says:

    thats to much to read … ^

  • Audrey says:

    Whoever that ”Anonymus” person is … shut up , they’re awesome 🙂

  • Britney says:

    My daughter recently passed away at 17 days old…..and when I listened to that song “you would have liked it” it made me think of her…’s a very beautiful and touching song

  • Krystal says:

    I believe everyone has a right to his/her opinion, everyone likes different kinds of music…. Just cause this particular band is not what you like to listen to does not mean anyone should knock someone down for doing what they love….. I personally think this band is good, of course they are still just starting out so they are only showing some of their potential…. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table in a few years!

  • Josh says:

    Like animals and starved at the root? Ahahaha good luck with that buddy. Bleeker Ridge has talent whether you want to believe it or not buddy. They will go far and I’m sure you will always be jealous.

  • Alex says:

    What were those band names again “anonymous”??? Where do these great orillia bands play?

  • Anonymous says:

    Wholly Crap do they rock!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *