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N.B. band records live album to continue family tradition of charity

Grand Theft Bus performs at the Container Village in Saint John, N.B. (Source: Grand Theft Bus) Grand Theft Bus performs at the Container Village in Saint John, N.B. (Source: Grand Theft Bus)
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Some bands are used to swapping out members on a regular basis – occasionally to the point where no original members remain after a few decades – but for the last 24 years, Grand Theft Bus has remained relatively consistent and unchanged.

“We formed the band in 2000 and there have been no lineup changes since then, really,” said bassist and singer Graeme Walker. “We often laugh because the most junior member has been with the band for 15 years.”

The New Brunswick-based band is a major legacy for Walker and his brother Tim, but for them there is an even more important legacy they hope to honour with a special album this month.

Walker’s mother was one of the founders of the Friars Family ‘Celebrate’ Fund, a charity organization that sought to help the unfortunate in Saint John, N.B. The group hosted an annual fundraising concert at the Imperial Theatre for years to support neighbourhoods struggling with generational poverty.

“Mom passed away two years ago and our aunt passed away as well,” Walker said. “(2023) was the last year for that concert and we had an idea to contribute (to the fund).”

Walker and his band are keeping the ideal of the fundraising concert alive with a live album recording at the Area 506 Container Village in Saint John on July 12. The event aims to recapture the musical and charitable spirit of the concert.

“Every dollar made goes back into the fund,” he said. “Every dollar from every album sold. It’ll be a vinyl exclusive, at least for the moment.”

Grand Theft Bus is pictured. (Source: Grand Theft Bus)

Grand Theft Bus recorded they’re first live album at the Folly Fest near Gagetown, N.B., in 2019. Walker said they’ve released studio albums in the past, but he feels live records really display the true energy of the group.

“It’s the idea of capturing that one moment, there’s no redos or retakes,” he said. “It’s about documenting people in that one space. It’s that’s risk-reward thing.

“Knock on wood, it’ll be a seamless project.”

Walker said performing in the Container Village adds some excitement to the live album.

“It’s a neat environment to spend time in,” he said. “Saint John is an exciting place right now.”

Walker said the band is also working on another studio album and as soon as they can “take a breather,” they hope to return to it.

Walker noted the live album is the band’s way of driving traffic to the Friars Family ‘Celebrate’ Fund and continuing its legacy.

“We saw it as a nice marriage of our family world and our band world,” he said. “The final Friars show was in November and it’s up to us to continue that legacy.”

The concert starts at 8 p.m. on July 12. Tickets are available here.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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