A local boy band will be taking the city by storm this February.
© Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg
Constant Reminder looks out at the 600-seat E.A. Rawlinson Centre they will be playing at on Feb. 21.
Constant Reminder, a band from James Smith Reserve, will be playing at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Feb. 21. They are the first band in the new Spotlight on Local Talent series.
The band is made up of the four Constant brothers -- the oldest, Seth, playing guitar, followed by second child Cole, who sings lead vocals, third brother Ethan on the bass and the youngest Rene on the drums.
“They put out their fourth album and it is all original music,” the boys’ father Luther said.
The boys started playing music at a young age after Luther decided he wanted something they could all do together.
“I was the chief of James Smith,” Luther said. “In my travels I had little reminders of my people, my family and my home, all the time, constantly.”
He thought music would be a good pastime to share with his children
“It was something to do together for the very short time we had together -- I was on the road most of the time,” Luther said. “They are self taught. Every time I came home, they were playing better and better.”
Instead of just listening to one genre of music, Luther said they listened to everything from rock and blues to classical.
“They taught themselves and got it stage ready,” he said.
Luther wanted to give his children an experience he never had as a child since his parents wouldn’t help encourage his own musical aspirations.
“I learned from all the (stuff) I went through for so many years … 17 years ago I quit drinking and dedicated my life to these kids,” Luther said. “I broke that cycle, changed it so it won’t apply to them, so they won’t have to go through all this.
“Time is all we have, even with our uncles and aunts so we won’t be sorry when the time comes,” he added. “They will have lasting memories of everything I could give them. Every day I get up happy to see these guys. I am living with a rock ‘n roll band here.”
The family is so dedicated to the boys’ music career they now have a music room in place of a living room.
“Our living room isn’t really a living room anymore -- it is just (instruments),” Luther said. “There is no living room in that house anymore as of five years ago. We don’t have a TV, couch or anything. It is just a music room.”
The band isn’t just unique because it is made up of four teenaged brothers -- Luther said they also have a philosophy.
“They are pretty much the only band with a philosophy because Constant Reminder is about our home, our loved ones, our kids -- family first,” Luther said. “We are trying to get people to think about their home first, not the so-called happy areas. My sons go around talking to towns, schools, reserves talking against drugs and alcohol.
“These guys work hard at what they do,” he added. “They would see the impact now and see what CR is all about -- it is bigger and broader than rock and roll. It is about influencing.”
The boys are excited to play at the Rawlinson Centre this month.
“It is a thrill to be on that stage,” Cole said. “My brothers and I always wanted to be on that stage too. To actually have our own concert at the E.A. Rawlinson, it is wonderful. It is amazing.”
Although this is their first concert of its size, the boys have also performed at some large events, including Telemiracle last year.
“Last year they donated their time and money towards Kinsmen Telemiracle,” Luther said. “Out of their pockets, they gave them $100 each. They played the late night stage.”
Those at Telemiracle were “blown away” by how well the boys played, Luther said.
“It was lots of hard work though -- They played for sometimes four to eight hours at a time (practicing),” Luther said.
In addition, the boys have also put money from tickets and merchandise sales toward putting Seth through school.
“The oldest one is going to SIAST right now and his brothers paid his tuition to attend that school through music gigs, merchandise, CD sales and T-shirt sales,” Luther said. “Education first and then music or vice versa, whatever meets the need first.”
The youngest boy, Rene, made music history when he was only 11 years old when he was nominated for a Saskatchewan Country Music Association All Star Drum award.
“At 11, it is crazy,” Luther laughed. “I just told him that everybody has a heartbeat and you play that heartbeat.”
He said anyone who comes out to their shows realizes how much the boys love to perform.
“You will realize how energetic they are and see the love they have for music,” Luther said.
Since they have all original music on their albums, Cole said they work together to come up with material.
“As a group, we sit there and when the time comes we have the feeling of inspiration,” Cole said. “We usually come up with a riff and then someone fills the spot, the drums come in and then we try to change the drums to the right settings.
“After, when the composition is done, I try to get my vocals right to match them and see if they sound good, then write the lyrics,” he added.
Although sometimes they tackle hard issues like suicide with their song “Don’t Give Up,” many of their songs have a more sappy direction.
“Most of our songs are about girls (or) women,” Cole smiled.
Even when writing music, they don’t stick to one genre.
“I think (we do all different) styles,” Cole said. “We have one that is like today’s hits coming out, kind of hip hop and then there is another song coming out that has a hard rock feeling.”
Luther said they have been influenced by many bands -- even ones from as far back as the 1920s -- but one of his favourite comparisons the boys get is to The Beatles.
“I got a chance to get seven tickets for Paul McCarthy so I took them to go watch,” Luther said. “It was an emotional event for us because we sure love The Beatles.”
An artist at the Rawlinson told him that the excitement and awe that comes after watching a Constant Reminder show must be similar to what it was like when people first watched the Beatles.
“The people were just uplifted and these guys were just playing and loving it (at that show),” Luther said.
Even though the boys may dream about being rock stars, Luther said they aren’t in it to make money.
“If we hit it big time -- don’t discourage your fans, they look up to you,” Luther said. “If fame does come along -- and it is already happening -- we are going to continue helping and not overlook anybody. That is how we began and that is how we started. We can’t forget.”
He doesn’t want his boys to forget where they came from or how they made it. Since they started the band, the Constants have had a lot of help from local people.
Luther said they had help buying a van to haul all the equipment as well as personal donation to help get a good quality sound system.
“We got $25,000 donated as a personal donation from an uncle that passed away and left money to his wife,” Luther said. “His wife saw that he was changing from jamming with the boys away from the alcohol. She loved it so she donated money for a brand new sound system.”
The band presents a positive image and wants to continue on that path in the future.
“We are slowly having an impact,” Luther said. “We are kind of living the best of both worlds and we are trying to help all of us. We are not an Indian band, we are not an Aboriginal band -- we are for everybody.”
The Constants have run into some racism in the past, but have learned to move past it.
“We ran into racism and things like that, but we have to keep going,” Luther said.
After one hard evening in Nipawin, where the boys faced a lot of negativity, they were discouraged, but Luther gave them a pep talk.
“We need to work harder, we need to open people’s eyes and get them going,” he told the boys. “Everybody is born as a good person and it is all what they are taught so we need to open their eyes and make them not stereotypical.
“It lifted them up and they worked harder after that incident,” he explained. “They just kept on going. People are a little crusty but once you are done they have open arms after that. Now they understand us and have a better perspective on what we are about.”
Luther said Constant Reminder is the most important thing in his life because it is about family.
“Family is the most important and putting your kids first,” Luther said.
Tickets for the show are $12.63 for students and $20 for adults and are available at the Rawlinson box office.
For more information on the band, visit their website at www.constantreminder.ca, their Facebook page or listen to them on YouTube under Constant Reminder Band