Local band's equipment stolen

Someone flew the coop with music gear belonging to Flying Machine.

The local alt-rock group has been earning a wave of new fans lately, but they were set back this week by the theft of some important band stuff. A break-in at the band's rehearsal space caused them the loss of an orange bass amp, some P.A. cables, a six-channel mixing board and an entire drum kit (minus the stool and sticks, which band members found odd).

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The caper had the hallmarks of a rush job, small getaway vehicle and/or thieves who didn't have much knowledge about such gear.

They got in by forcing open a rear door at a detached garage the band had been using for jams and rehearsals. It was located at a home in the vicinity of Eighth Avenue and Gillett Street. The theft was discovered on Sunday, but the break-in could have occurred several days earlier before it was noticed.

"It's still a pretty special jam space and we'll feel comfortable about practicing there again, but for sure your privacy feels violated," said Michael Duncan, who said his bass amp was like an extension of his instrument. He can buy a new one, but he can't buy the compatibility of sound.

Likewise, Damian Meehan's vintage snare drum was a special addition to the drum assembly that was stolen. It had the sound and feel that fit his playing style and the band's vibe. Stores don't sell that off the shelf.

"I don't think it will set back our plans. We're still going to keep on moving forward," said Duncan. "We can maybe borrow or rent what we need for the short-term. We will reevaluate once we're all past New Year's day."

It's a busy time of year for everyone, so there wasn't much gigging and rehearsing scheduled for Flying Machine over the holiday season, but they have two important concerts fast approaching.

The first is Jan. 10 at Sonar where they open for The Statistics and the second is Jan. 30 when they're on the Coldsnap Music Festival schedule.

"We are part of the regional band night at the Legion," said Duncan. "We've been trying to get into Coldsnap for a couple of years now. It's going to be a blast. We have to figure out a way to make sure we are ready for that."

The other band members are Dan Johnson on guitar and vocals, and Warren Neuvonen on fiddle/violin. They had a different bandmate until recently, keyboardist Steven Cote, but there was an amicable parting of their ways. Cote is still involved with the band as the graphic designer of their latest release, the five-song EP Of Dogs & Days.

That package was launched in November at a sold-out gig at The Legion with Amy Blanding opening the night.

"It was a huge success," said Duncan. "To know people you didn't even know were walking out the door with music you've made, that was a real highlight, that's an incredible feeling. We're getting our EPKs (electronic press kit) ready for summer festivals and other performance opportunities. We will still work that out, but the loss of the gear definitely doesn't help us."

Of Dogs & Days is the second EP the band has released, following their self-titled debut EP released in spring of 2016.

They have opened for Drum & Bell Tower; appeared at the MOM Festival in Fort St. James with acts like Wax Mannequin, Madeline Tasquin, Joey Only and many others; Jimmy Pattison was briefly a member of the band (it is unknown if the B.C. business tycoon was exactly aware of this, but there is some photographic evidence); Johnson was even the silver medalist in the 2015 Limelight Quest competition.

Another recent highlight for Flying Machine was releasing their first video for the leadoff single Shirtsleeves To Shirtsleeves. It is now collecting views on YouTube and the band's Facebook page (Flying Machine PG).

If anyone has any inklings about their stolen gear, message the band on that Facebook page and/or contact the RCMP.

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