Punk rock veteran Chuck Ragan will be playing an intimate show at the Rusty Edge next Tuesday evening.
Ragan is mostly known for his work in the punk rock genre, playing with the band Hot Water Music until 2006. Now, he performs a more “stripped down” style of music, playing most of his shows acoustically, with just him and a guitar.
“No band, I’m playing stripped down, totally solo. That’s kind of the program that I take a lot of the time and play a lot of places where I haven’t been too often,” Ragan told The Free Press. “I play simple songs. I grew up playing a lot of rock and roll and punk rock, but also I grew up playing a lot of folk music and I grew up around a lot of Cajun music and around a lot of Americana style music and some of that kind of bleeds out. Most of the time, when I’m playing by myself, it’s just me and a Martin [guitar] and some harmonicas.”
The show in Fernie is thanks in part to Instagram, which connected Ragan with some locals who invited him up to play. As a fly fishing enthusiast, Ragan says he is sure he will fall in love with Fernie.
“It sounds like that area and what everybody is into up there is just right up our alley. In fact, at dinner tonight, my wife and I were sitting down and trying to figure out how we are going, when we are going back to Fernie and I haven’t even been up there yet,” he said. “I’m just so into getting up there, riding, chasing some trout, meeting some people and playing some songs. It sounds like my kind of place.”
In addition to his music career, Ragan is also a fly fishing guide in his hometown of Grass Valley in Northern California. One of the outfit he guides for is called Cast Hope, which has initiatives focusing on exposing underprivileged children to the world of fly fishing. To enhance his next tour, he is bringing his gear for both fly fishing and snowboarding and is planning much of the tour around fishing destinations.
“I’m in my truck rolling, so it’s a little tough to make all of the drives because I’m playing late and then I got a lot of fishing plans pretty much every day in the mornings,” said Ragan. “It’s late nights and early, early drives so I just got to keep a handle on everything and hope for some clear roads. I would love to fish the Elk. That’s one place that I really hope to go to.”
The tour has stops in Idaho and Montana, along with the stretch in Canada to play Fernie and Rossland before a detour to Chicago. Embarking on a solo tour allows Ragan the freedom to spend some time and get to know some of the places he might not have had the privilege to if he was touring with a band.
“The way I see it is I have this opportunity. For years I’ve spent so much time staring out of a tour bus window, watching these places just pass by and then we would get into these towns and people would sleep in or we would end up finding ourselves in some terrible strip mall or something, doing laundry,” said Ragan. “If you put in a little bit more energy and appreciate where you are a little bit more, you can really get a true sense of these places we visit playing shows.”
From what Ragan says, he is excited to play in Fernie. “I’m stoked to meet people, I’m stoked to see this place, and just super fired up to come up and fire it up for all of these folks, whoever cares enough to come out and check it out,” he said. “I’ve got a feeling I’m going to fall in love with that place up there. I’m sure it won’t be the last time visit.”
Ragan will be playing at the Rusty Edge at 9 p.m. on Mar. 29, performing after Joe Vickers – the frontman for punk band, Audio/Rocketery performs at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at Clamhammer Press and the Rusty Edge.