24 hour Cardlock - The long Story

Fueled as much by fan demand and fiscal expediancies as diesel fuel and methamphetamines, the on-again, off-again, 24 year history of 24 Hour Cardlock reads like an episode of Movin' On based loosely on the New Testament.

Early Days

Formed in 1984 by Dougie "Kenneth" Worth and Orest "Steamy" Pileschuk, 24 Hour Cardlock was as much an excuse to slack off work as it was about playing music.  The "band" was originally made up of Kenneth and Steamy, both 19 at the time, and their Finning co-workers Danny Wilkes and Ryan "Coke" Snatynchuk.

"Kenneth there had this thing for this chick in HR.  She kind of liked him too.  She was in charge of organizing the Christmas party, and Kenneth managed to convince her that we had a band and we could play at the party and save the company a bunch of money and build morale and all. So anyway, he managed to get a couple hours off every Friday afternoon to practice.

"I had lent Kenneth twenty bucks a couple weeks earlier, and when I asked him for it, he didn't have it, but he said that I could join the band and get out of work a couple hours a week for a couple months instead"

 - "Steamy" Pileschuk, Canadian Country Music Review interview, June, 1989

Kenneth and Steamy originally played as a duo for a couple of weeks, but soon realized their limiations:  Kenneth could play rhythm guitar, and Steamy could keep a beat on drums "as long as I could start the song, and nothing changed too much".  Neither could sing while playing their instrument.

Kenneth put up a sign in the lunchroom for other band members.  At the next rehearsal they were joined by Danny Wilkes on upright bass and Ryan "Coke" Snatynchuk on guitar.   Both men sang.  And they sang only country songs, mostly about trucks.

"It was really weird.  We went to the corner of the warehouse to rehearse and these two old guys were just standing there waiting for us. We said hi, and they didn't say anything, just kinda waited for us to get ready.  Then Coke just started playing and singing this tune - I think it was "Freightliner Fever".  Yeah, it was, because Danny did these incredibly low "Fever" vocals.  Me and Kenneth didn't know the tune, and we were trying to learn it, and they just ignored us and played it right through and then started another tune.  It was like we weren't even there or something.  They just went on like that, and right at the end of the two hours, right on 5, they just picked up their shit and walked.

"That was the first time I had ever worked with Union musicians"

- "Steamy" Pileschuk, Canadian Country Music Review interview, June, 1989

By the Christmas party, Kenneth and Steamy had learned the songs.  The party was a huge success--too large a success, as it turned out.  Kenneth ended up in the broom closet with the woman from HR in between the first and second sets.  He also ended up in the freight elevator with a woman from Finning's accounting department between the second and third sets, and went home with a woman from radiator core repair.

At that point, I knew that I wanted to be a musician.  Or at least, in a band.  Or at least do something so that I could get laid a lot."

- "Kenneth" Worth, Alberta Pro Music Annual, 1988

Unfortunately, not everyone was as enthusiastic about Kenneth's newfound success.  Kenneth's next paycheque was for a mere $69.69.  When Kenneth confronted the accounting department with the error, he was sent to HR, where he was handed a pink slip and fired on the spot.  On the way home, the engine of his car overheated and seized.  His radiator had been filled with cow droppings.

Kenneth took his firing as a sign that he was meant to pursue a career in music, so he immediately applied for and got a job at the Husky Car/Truck Stop.  It was from this job that the band's name was coined.

"I dunno, it was a cold day and I was pumping gas and looking at the sign and I just started thinking about 24 Hour Cardlock, and it seemed like one of those things that you see everywhere and yet no-one knows what it is and I thought that was kind of mysterious and you know, knowing the unknowable kind of thing, and like, that sounded like a good way for a band to be.  I dunno, I used to think of a lot of things like that, and my ears would like, ring, and then in no time my shift would be over.  I think the gas just gets in your clothes and you end up breathing it a lot."

- Kenneth Worth, Alberta Pro Music Annual, 1988

Somehow, he also managed to get the band a gig at a local hall party.    The rest of the bill consisted of punk bands, but despite this, Cardlock was a hit.   

Getting Big by Thinking Small

From that point on, the band went from strength to strength.  At their third gig, they were approached by Greg Danyluk, a local management representative for Toronto's Ironic Name Management Group.  INMG had originally opened in Edmonton to support  their Western Canada marketing campaign for St. Hubert's Barbecue, and were locked into a further 11 1/2 months of their office lease after the campaign fizzled.  They redirected their efforts to the music industry, first attempting to find "the next Goddo," then concentrating on managing instrument endorsement deals for The Spoons.  It was at this point that Danyluk began developing his revolutionary "Micro-management" theory.

"Simply put, I realized that the biggest problem with management was that the expected duration was simply too long. Concentrating on long-term contracts, artist development, or audience targeting isn't realistic.  There's no point in attempting to control the market's response to the product, because the window of opportunity is small, and the duration of marketability so short.  Every management and marketing effort should focus on gaining maximal exposure and return in the shortest possible time, and regardless of actual success, immediately leverage the mindshare gained into the next marketing push.  The beauty of it is that the theory can be applied to any short-term marketing opportunity, be it the few hours Bryan Adams will spend in Canada this year, or McDonald's latest attempt to market a pork product.  In fact, those two would feed into each other very nicely, particularly if there was a follow-up or cross-promotion with an animated movie.

"I should give Bruce a call..."

- Prof. Gregory Danyluk, Department of Economics, Royal University of Muskoka

...to be continued...