Hey Buster has found their groove in an unexpected place

By Andrea Cranfield –

It’s often said that music can soothe the savage beast. It’s a proverb that may be difficult to prove but we do know that music has the power to entertain, inspire, and even educate. It’s something that the members of Hey Buster, know all about. The band began with a group of friends who happened to be fathers.

“We got together and discovered we could all sing and we were writing and singing songs for our own kids to entertain them, and it sort of expanded from there,” says band member Sherwood Lumsden.

Hey Buster members Sherwood Lumsden, Stephen Skoutajan, Tom Stewart, and Matt Young along with Kate Young and Sophia Skoutajan. Hey Buster is very much a family affair. Young’s daughter Kate is featured in the last song on their latest CD, <em>So Long, So Long Goodbye.</em> Skoutajan’s daughter Sophia was a dancer in the Mayfair show, and her mother Elizabeth was the choreographer for the dancers. Lumsden’s son Thomas did the illustrations on the CD and Stewart 's son, Johnny, does sound at shows. Photo by Andrea Cranfield.
Hey Buster members Sherwood Lumsden, Stephen Skoutajan, Tom Stewart, and Matt Young along with Kate Young and Sophia Skoutajan. Hey Buster is very much a family affair. Young’s daughter Kate is featured in the last song on their latest CD, So Long, So Long Goodbye. Skoutajan’s daughter Sophia was a dancer in the Mayfair show, and her mother Elizabeth was the choreographer for the dancers. Lumsden’s son Thomas did the illustrations on the CD and Stewart ‘s son, Johnny, does sound at shows. Photo by Andrea Cranfield.

They decided to form a band and Hey Buster was born. That was back in 2010.

Matt Young, Geoff Paisley and Lumsden began to perform at birthday parties. They also played several shows at the Elmdale Tavern, performing in front of parents and their children.

“It ended up working out really well because the parents could sit back and drink and the kids danced around in the front,” laughs Lumsden.

Things were going so well for the band that they decided to make a CD.

Lumsden believes what distinguishes Hey Buster from other children’s bands is that they write their own songs, which are largely based on real life experiences.  (Parents will certainly relate to titles such as  “Bellybutton Does Nothing” and “Mom Eat Your Broccoli.”)

The three original members were songwriters before they had children and their kids only helped to propel their songwriting abilities forward by providing a plethora of inspirational material.

Stephen Skoutajan, Dave Kerr and Tom Stewart (a.k.a. Slo’ Tom) later joined the band with Stewart writing songs as well.

The first CD, Bing Bang Bong, came out in 2010 and the second, called Yeti Likes Spaghetti, came out in 2013. The band’s latest CD, I Like My Bike, was released on March 29 with a live performance at the Mayfair Theatre. Lumsden says it was their biggest show ever. It also marked a change in the band’s material.

“The first two were definitely about the life of being a father, a parent, and changing diapers. There’s a song called “Pee Dance” and “Poo Poo Poo” and “Boogers” on the first one, so it’s definitely about domestic life.” I Like my Bike is more about civic life and touches upon community, the environment and sustainability. The shift came about organically.

Skoutajan, the drummer for Hey Buster, who also happens to be Lumsden’s son’s teacher at school, would invite Lumsden to play songs for the students about the environment for Earth Day and Earth Hour.

“Then Tom and I wrote a couple more songs that were related to some green themes like walking, taking the bus, and they were suitable for Stephen’s class and Stephen’s curriculum. Then he got us a couple more shows and after that and it just sort of evolved into a concept CD. It really evolved just from the interest of the guys in the band and from the community we live in,” says Lumsden.

The band’s next live show is on June 7 in Chesterville, which is about an hour outside of Ottawa. Lumsden says the band always tries to encourage audience participation at their live shows.  (It might help to know that Hey Buster songs are written with kids from grades three to eight in mind.)

CDs are available at iTunes, Compact Music and The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe. Residents living in Kitchissippi ward can also benefit from hand delivery.

“I’ll drive it over and drop it in your mailbox. Absolutely. I’ve done that lots of times,” says Lumsden.

For more information about Hey Buster, check out their website at  heybuster.ca.

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