Saturday, May 18, 2024

Trophy Dad become Victoria’s favourite rock band and film documentary at Phillips Backyard

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Trophy Dad is a Victoria-based rock band with an undeniably fun energy, sound and backstory.

The band has been grinding for nearly a decade now, and during the pandemic, decided to shoot a documentary about their journey and how they have been trying to claw their way to the forefront of people’s minds. 

On Sunday, July 9th, they were finally able to check playing Phillips’ storied Backyard off their bucket list — a goal the band had set for themselves since they formed. 

The show acted as the perfect conclusion to their documentary and to a sordid chapter of the band’s life. 

The birth of Trophy Dad

It began in 2014 when the members of the local rock outfit One Night Stand had to shuffle their members around. The guitarist had to quit the band and One Night Stand’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Nevil Meyer, was suddenly hyper aware of his less-than-ideal singing ability. 

“Our really good guitar player left,” explained Meyer. “It was kind of me and him and Reggie who were the stars of the show with our energy.”

“He was so good, he made up for me being not a good vocalist, so once he left it became more evident that I wasn’t good at singing.” 

His bandmates made the decision to demote Meyer from singer and guitarist to just guitarist.

“The thing is, at the time I was probably a worse guitar player than I was a singer and I wasn’t a good singer,” Meyer joked. 

Months were spent transitioning the band and trying to get a tight dynamic back so they could begin to pursue more shows and record some of their music. A new singer was brought in, but Meyer says that no one in the band was having fun anymore.

In a quest to have fun playing music again, Meyer and keyboardist Reggie Bast thought it would be funny if they started a joke band that did covers of their real band, One Night Stand.

The idea was that they’d play two or three of One Night Stand’s songs and they would use all of Meyer’s songs which had been rejected by his bandmates. 

And thus, Trophy Dad was born with Meyer back on vocals and guitar while Bast held things down on the drums. 

The death of One Night Stand

“We started playing these shows and people were going and loving it,” Meyer told Victoria Buzz. “Then we were playing One Night Stand shows, which was our good band, and people weren’t really enjoying our shows anymore.”

Meyer says that while this was all good fun and he enjoyed both bands for different reasons, it began to become apparent to him that he needed to focus on what made music fun to him and ‘pick a lane’. 

Local rock legend Jesse Roper came to several One Night Stand and Trophy Dad shows and began to put the bug in Meyer’s ear that he needed to end things with One Night Stand and focus on what was important to him — having fun playing music. 

“Roper told me, ‘you need to break up your good band and pursue Trophy Dad, that’s what’s going to get you somewhere,’” Meyer said.

“Jesse for like a year would be like, ‘break up your band,’” he laughed. 

In 2016, One Night Stand played their last show along with one of Roper’s side projects and Meyer got to sing one of his ‘good band’s’ songs that night. 

“I started singing and when I sang, the room felt different — it was electric, it was a real movie moment,” Meyer explained. 

“Everyone went nuts, then when I stopped singing, everyone just didn’t care again.”

Roper was waiting for Meyer backstage and had a heart to heart with Meyer, telling him one last time what he needed to do.

From then on, One Night Stand was done and Meyer became laser-focussed on making a name for himself through Trophy Dad. 

Climbing the ladder of Victoria’s music scene

After One Night Stand was done, he and his band struggled to climb the rungs on the metaphorical ladder that is the Victoria music.

“You know, you’re trying to cut your teeth and make a name for yourself,” Meyer said. “It’s just so hard in Victoria because there’s so many different levels to playing in this music scene.”

“There’s an underground scene that’s really cool and then you have these bar shows that you go to you just try so hard to get people to notice you.”

After years of grinding, Trophy Dad finally achieved one of their goals, which was to become The Zone @ 91-3’s Band of the Month. This milestone got their music on the radio and a few really fun, well promoted shows, but following that, Meyer felt as if they had fallen off the radar again. 

“It was hard to get people to answer the phone, you just kind of have to guerrilla warfare yourself out there to just take anything and everything,” Meyer said.

“We were playing in between periods at the Victoria Grizzlies games, we were playing funny charity shows and acoustic shows, anything we could take, house parties we tried, we’d take anything.”

Meyer was in the ears’ of every promoter in Victoria, assuring them Trophy Dad could fill a room and sell tickets, but still no shows were being offered to them.

a ray of hope came to him when he saw a show featuring one of his favourite bands, The Dudes, was coming to town with no opener and he pounced on the opportunity.

After being left ‘on read’ by the promoter, Meyer heard back weeks later with a simple, “You still want it? I’ll give you $150 and five drink tickets,” to which he replied “I would have done it for free.” 

“After we played The Dudes show, a couple weeks later we were opening for The Trews, and that was pretty cool because they had opened for Robert Plant and that was the first show I ever saw back in 2004,” Meyer told Victoria Buzz. 

“It was kind of a full circle moment.”

Being a band in a pandemic

After these successes for Trophy Dad, COVID-19 hit and Meyer felt as if the floor had been torn out from underneath him. 

The band felt like they were back to square-one and Meyer’s disdain for playing music began to fester while he was working in a Red Cross vaccination clinic. 

In 2021, when things opened up and restriction loosened slightly, some smaller scale festivals started to be announced, but Meyer didn’t receive a single call back from the promoters booking them. 

“I was like, ‘well this is cool, except for, I’m not on any of them,’” he laughed. 

“I remember when I saw the [September 2021] Phillips show get announced and I was just devastated, cause since 2014, I’ve been saying I want to play that stage.”

Following that, the final nail in the coffin of Meyer’s love for music was when the All Ways Home festival was announced with several of his peers, friends and colleagues playing, while he was left behind. 

“It ruined me,” Meyer said. “I’ve always been really positive, I’ve never really given up on anything.”

After a couple heart to hearts with trusted friends and new acquaintances, Meyer came to realize that he loves music, not just playing big shows. Although he felt let down, he wouldn’t let his passion die. 

Filming a documentary

The day he decided he wouldn’t give up on his dream was the same day he got a phone call from a promoter asking him if he would like to open All Ways Home.

When Trophy Dad found out they got the festival, Meyer enlisted his friend Ian Locke, a local filmmaker, and they began working on a documentary which would show Trophy Dad’s journey remobilizing the band following the pandemic and their path to All Ways Home’s big stage.

“It was supposed to be a 20 minute YouTube video and it’s become an actual thing now,” Meyer explained.

“We thought it’d be cool to show a local band on their way to playing the biggest show of their career.”

After All Ways Home, the pandemic surged again with the delta variant and after a while, Locke and Meyer decided they wanted to keep the documentary project going.

They didn’t care if it didn’t have a traditionally climactic ending, they just wanted it to get the message across that playing music is supposed to be fun and to never give up on a dream.

“It’s going to end on a positive note if you play music because you love it and that’s kind of the whole point,” said Meyer. 

“If you work hard, good things are just going to happen, that’s the message we wanted to convey.”

Meyer says that to him, the whole point of it was to show the resilience of the human spirit.

While they were happy with the message and the direction the documentary took, they didn’t anticipate another opportunity would come knocking at their door. 

Trophy Dad got the call that the promoters of the Phillips Backyard Festival Series wanted them to play the Tilt installment on July 9th. 

They leaped at the opportunity to play the festival and decided this would be the perfect triumphant ending their documentary needed. 

“I hate asking Ian to keep filming, I hate it,” laughed Meyer. “When we got Tilt, I wasn’t going to say anything, but thankfully Ian was like, ‘well, we got to film Tilt.’”

Trophy Dad played the festival last weekend and had the time of their lives on the stage they’ve been dreaming of playing since the band’s inception. 

Now, the dust has settled, the documentary is moving into the edit phase and Meyer says they are excited to show Victoria what Trophy Dad has up their sleeves next. 

However, this Thursday, July 13th, Trophy Dad has one last scene to shoot for their documentary at a free show they are playing at the Government House for the Music on the Lawn series. 

“Just for fun, we’re gonna bring the cameras and film one last scene there,” Meyer said. 

The documentary will be submitted to festivals and ideally it’ll make it to a streaming service at some point, says Meyer. 

Regardless of this, Meyer says that Trophy Dad will definitely host a screening of it locally once it is through post-production. 

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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