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Group will bring Halloween-themed show to After Dark series

The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum (EAGM) will be celebrating Halloween while bringing in some great music for the first show in the After Dark concert series for the 2015-16 season.
two fingers and the deformities oct 2015
Moose Jaw-based band Johnny Two Fingers and the Deformities will perform through the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum's After Dark concert series. Photo submitted.

The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum (EAGM) will be celebrating Halloween while bringing in some great music for the first show in the After Dark concert series for the 2015-16 season.

Johnny Two Fingers and the Deformities will be performing on Friday night, starting at 8 p.m. The Moose Jaw-based trio will play a lot of rock and roll music, infused with elements of blues, punk, metal and classic country.

In keeping with the time of year, there will be a Halloween feel, according to John Dale, who fronts the band and plays under the name Johnny Two Fingers.

Other members of the group are drummer Kelly Gower, who performs under the moniker Cannonball Kelly, and bassist Steve Leidal. 

“I’ve been playing with the drummer, Kelly … for about seven years,” Dale told the Mercury. “He’s been sort of the steady guy. And I’ve gone through lots of different people. At one point, in the early stages, there was a trumpet in the band.”

Dale and Gower formed the band back in 2011. Leidal joined them earlier this year; he had been with Dale in a previous band. 

“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to play with my friends,” said Dale. “That’s important. Musicianship is important, too. But being able to get along with them (is key).”

Dale has been able to overcome a lot to enjoy his success in the music scene. He was born with just two fingers on his right hand, making it difficult for him to play guitar.

“I played bass in my first band for five or so years, but I … really like playing guitar,” said Dale. “I was very fortunate in that I was with some friends who wanted to help me out, and had some visions.”

A co-worker named Dan McMillan, who inspired the name of their latest album, McMillan’s Monster, helped Dale out. McMillan had a dream about a special guitar pick he wanted to make for Dale, and set out to make it, using a milk jug and Velcro straps.

It was “like a hook that hung between my two fingers,” he said, but it was also cumbersome. Dale adapted it so he could play. 

About 18 months ago, while he was in Regina, Dale spoke to someone about the specially-made pick. 

After some adaptations were made, Dale has been able to have a consistent and reliable tool since January. 

“I’ve hardly changed it since then, and to be able to be that consistent, it’s really changed everything,” said Dale. “I can be more comfortable and confident in playing, and be more capable without having to look at my hands. I know where the pick’s going to be, and I don’t have to second-guess myself.” 

Dale always knew that he had the musical ability to front a band, but he could never play like he does now. 

Dale traces his love of music to when he was young and watching cartoons. He would sing ith the theme songs when riding on the bus. And his mother told him he had good rhythm when he played the hand drums on the dashboard of the car.

“I always thought I was going to be a paleontologist or a comic book artist, or something like that,” said Dale. “But I was at Camp Easter Seal – I used to go to that as a boy – and I would have been 16 (years old) at this time, and near the end of my tenure there, they brought in this band, who had a young boy in it, and he was 12 or 13 (years old), and he was damn good.”

When Dale heard the young musician play, he was hooked, and he knew he wanted to have a musical career.

The concert will begin at 8 p.m.

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