Labor Day weekend is shaping up to be a busy one in Merritt and it all starts Friday night with the local Doug James Band performing at Spirit Square.
Founded by its namesake, Doug James, the local group has been active for about fifteen years, around the same time James arrived in Merritt.
“I’ve been in and out of music for many years,” he said. “I used to visit the Say So cultural club downtown. I met a few guys, we jammed and soon we formed a band together.
Although it may seem quite simple, the name of the group has a more significant origin.
“I had a band with my brother when I was twelve,” the 40-year-old rock singer said. “It was called Doug and James after me and my brother, James. That’s how the band’s current name came about.
The title ‘Doug James Band’ has been used in many bands. even before James moved to Merritt. Before becoming a resident of Nicola Valley, James played in a Lower Mainland band of the same name in the late seventies.
The first version of the Merritt band didn’t last long, but the current one has been together for about eight years, playing both in and out of town, in places like Kelowna, Kamloops and Osoyoos.
The band plays classic rock, with influences from acts like Lover Boy and Ozzy Osbourne.
“When I first saw the Beatles as a kid, I fell in love with rock music,” James recalls. “After watching them, I thought I wanted to do this too.”
The band loves playing locally, playing sets at events such as Music in the Park and Merritt Crown.
“The Doug James Band are local guys and I really wanted to promote local artists as much as possible.” said volunteer organizer Ellen Miller. “Doug James is my neighbor and I’ve attended several of their functions.”
The band is scheduled to play Spirit Square on Friday, September 2, from 7-9 p.m. James said their set will feature around 35 songs, all of which are covers of classic rock songs like Van Halen, Bad Company and many more. .
“I really like the opportunity to play Merritt for community events,” he said. “It’s a chance for us to put in our best performance.”