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"Music Award winners"

Welland's Guv'Nor Generals, Serena Pruyn win again at Niagara Music Awards

Posted By JOHN LAW/Sun Media
Posted 9 days ago

NIAGARA FALLS — Punkers mingled with hillbillies. Rappers chummed with rockers. And before the night was over, they all saluted Niagara’s Polka King.

Niagara musicians partied well into the night for the second annual Niagara Music Awards yesterday, capped by a Special Achievement Award for St. Catharines music giant Walter Ostanek.

Even with the Order of Canada, three Grammy Awards and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, Ostanek admitted he’s still humbled by local recognition of his 52-year career.

“I don’t take any of this lightly,” he said. “I’m going to put (this one) on my mantel piece with one of the Grammys.”

Relishing his role as the elder statesman of Niagara’s music scene, he offered some advice for the potential next polka king: “Don’t give up … and try to have a day job, so you make enough money to pay your bills!”

Ostanek’s award was one of the emotional highlights of the show, once again held at the Niagara Centre for the Performing Arts. Twenty-seven awards were handed out, recognizing everything from bar bands to world music.

Niagara’s musicians were eager to celebrate their own.

“When I started writing music, I tried to meet everyone around here, and there was no one around,” said St. Catharines rapper Femapco, who won Hip Hop Group of the Year. “Now, people are everywhere.

“People are proud of where they live. There’s some element of creating a scene where you live.”

Repeat winners from last year included Welland rockers The Guv’Nor Generals.

“Our whole lives, we just wanted to be rock and rollers,” said Guv’Nor Generals singer/guitarist Charles Horse. “It’s nice to see (the awards) recognize the fact that’s what we’re doing.”
- Osprey media

"Gettin' Dirty in the Rose City"

The Guv'nor Generals: Gettin' Dirty in the Rose City

There’s an old adage regarding work ethics that goes to the effect that every individual has a choice: they can work hard, or they can work smart. Everyone knows someone who will proclaim that they’ve happily made the transition at one point: “I looked at the situation and decided to start working smart instead of working hard.” Does that mean that the two ethical theories are mutually exclusive? Welland’s own Guv’nor Generals prove that they are not. After each member having paid his dues in successions of bands, they came up with a theory that would help keep their audience hungry for the next performance and, so far according to Frank Roy and Charles Horse, the strategy has really paid off. “We’ve been really selective about our shows - I think that’s the difference,” explains singer Horse. “You get these young bands that get out there and they’re hungry, hungry, hungry. Don’t get me wrong – we’re hungry too but I think, being a little older, we’re learning the business of it more as well.
“These younger kids are dead set on making sure they’re playing every weekend somewhere and abusing the area they’re in. We like to play every weekend, but we really concentrate on selected shows for the Guv’nors – whether it be the Bovine, The Horseshoe or the El Mocombo in Toronto, or here in Welland or in London or wherever – and it’s been paying off because those shows have all been packed.”
“If you can find a band on every weekend somewhere local just chipping away at it, it takes the mystery out of it too. Like, everybody wants to know the band and be buddies with the band, but if it seems like you’re everywhere, it can wear out locally.“ continues bassist Roy. “As much as possible, we try to make it less like a run–of–the–mill show and more like an event.
“We’ve learned over the years how to be strategic about drawing the crowds in and making it feel like an imperative – and it’s working.”
The Guv’nor Generals started – as small-town bands tend to do – very organically. With years of building band experience under each individual member’s belt, the paths of the players crossed occasionally as they’d run into each other around their hometown of Welland but, as those bands dissolved, the members began looking for another outlet and so the Guv’nor Generals were born. “We’d all been playing in different bands for years,” recalls Horse. “Actually, the other guitar player in the band, Kevin [guitarist Kevin Patrino –ed], and I played together in several different bands for years; in high school and things like that. By the same token, Frank and Damien [drummer Damien Smith] have been playing together for about twenty years as well.

Being from small towns, it just sort of came together,” continues the singer. “Kevin and I had been out searching for other bandmates because we’d been working on original material and Frank saw us out playing live one night and asked us what was going on with the group. We told him that we needed a bass player and he volunteered right away. After that, we just sort of tooled Damien into the picture and away we went.”
The band began working and writing together almost immediately and, just less than a year and a half ago, had a large enough songbook that they could reasonably walk into a studio – so that’s exactly what they did. Dividing their time between playing shows, studio work and day jobs, the band chipped away with producer Ron Gill at his own Up All Night Studios on the banks of the Welland River at what would become Rose City Limits – the Guv’nor Generals’ first long–player.
In spite of the individual band members’ pedigrees in metal, hard rock and rock & soul (former projects include stints with Niagara barroom favourites The Smoothies, Stanz Werdz and Bucketmouth among others), with Rose City Limits, The Guv’nor Generals have arrived in the finest tradition of The Replacements and The Tragically Hip as gloriously unaffected and gifted rock songwriters whose gift is the ability, like The ‘Mats and The Hip, to turn the ordinary into something celebratory and extraordinary. Songs including “Quittin’ Time”, “Gotcha Runnin’”, “The Mess I’m In” and “Cigarettes ‘n’ Wine” all make the most of the simple pleasures and problems that anyone can relate to but no one ever talks about which makes these songs poetic; there’s nothing manufactured or fashionable about them, they’re just songs that every writer wishes they wrote because everyone can relate to them and everyone finds themselves singing along by the second chorus. According to Roy and Horse, there was no special purpose in mind while they were writing the songs – they weren’t trying to rock out some grand statement – but by the time the process was finished they found that the band had something special on its hands that they’re confident could make a lasting impression on a large scale with just the right shot . “I think the music speaks to a larger demographic than a lot of bands,” says Roy bluntly. “Rock is rock; you mentioned before The Hip and The Replacements, we’ve heard those two before and those were both middle of the road rock n’ roll bands and I think that‘s pretty good company to be in.”

And while both members hold that to be true and go to great pains to say that they hope they might be able to eventually put Welland on the musical map, they know that they‘ll have to hit the road to do that which means that the release show may be one of the last local appearances for the band for a while. “We’re releasing here, but our goal is to get out there.,” says Horse as he begins to lay out the Guv’nor Generals’ hopes and plans for the immediate future. “We’d like to do the release and then get on the road right away, but we’ve been playing music in bands long enough for us to know that, in order to get on the road and have it be worthwhile, some things need to be in place first.
“We’re smart enough to know that you need some radio support, and things like that,” continues Roy. “If you’re going to go to Ottawa, for example, it’d be very helpful if someone has heard of you in Ottawa before you go. If we were 20, yeah – we could jump in a van with a case of beer, drink it on the way down, get there, play and not really care if we get paid or whether it was good or bad; it was an experience. But we’ve got the experience doing that already.
“We’ve already played a thousand shows and drank a thousand beers and partied till dawn a million times, now this music matters to us because we have a lot of priorities in our lives and, like the rest of them, we want to do it right and make it a success. We’ve had a couple of offers from agents and things like that who have been shopping us around the country. We want to get out on the road – we want to get out in an opening slot with the right group –and start playing the shows and moving the discs. We truly believe that it’s all going to fall together – just like everything has already.
Nothing about this band is pre–fabricated, nobody from the outside writes songs for us, we’re all founding members,” finishes Horse. “If you watch those old interviews with bands like Aerosmith where they say how it all just came together, that’s how we feel. It’s happening now and we haven’t tried to push or force anything, everything’s just rolling the way we want it to. We’re proud of this town. No matter what happens to this band – no matter where we go, whether we’re playing on big stages opening up for other bands or touring on our own, you can quote me on this: the Guv’nor Generals are from Welland, Ontario. That’s where we’re from and that’s not going to change. It’s sad to say – and I won’t mention any names – but there are bands from this area that didn’t have the pride to say that they were from Welland. They’d say they were from St. Catharines or from Niagara, but we don’t roll that way. We tilt our hats to bands like Attack In Black who are honest about where they’re from.The fans are liking us, they’re into the music, we’re real – Hey! – we’re Canada’s own Guv’nor Generals man.” P [BILL ADAMS]


**Official album release on May 10th 2008**..a 9 track disc of pure rock from the deep South of the North...

****NEW**** check out Live concert video as well as Video Bio's on THE GUV'NOR GENERALS AT..



JUST AWARDED * 2009 ROCK GROUP OF THE YEAR * for the second year in a row.

* Cover of May2008 issue PULSE magazine*

winners @ the 2008 NMA's



Here's the deal-The Guv'nor Generals are a straight-up dirty rock band that hail from an historic seaway and industrial town in Southern Ontario known for its blue collar roots and lift bridges. World-renowned for its canals and situated in the heart of the Niagara Region, Welland is where they call home.

The band formed in early 2006 and has been rocking select Ontario venues and festivals ever since. Winning the Rock category in Toronto's Independent Music Festival in the Fall of that same year, and recently picking up the "Rock Group of the Year" award at the 2008 NMA's the band has propelled their live show to a level where the fans embrace their dirty-rock sound along with their kick-ass attitude.

The Guvs feed off of the crowd and enjoy interaction with the fans; fans who've been dubbed 'Soldiers of The Guv'nor Generals Army'. Simply, they rock, and rock out hard. It's about the show, the night, the fans, and of course the Hell Yeahs!

With their debut album release in May of (2008), members Charles Horse, Greg Zack, Kevin Patrino and Damien Smith believe their journey will take them far beyond the