The people of Chromag love to jam. Our band is called the Rotor Bolts and we are pretty awesome. We don't play out; the only way to see a show is to invite yourself to the Jam Room.
By jam, I mean make music. Start with a simple beat and let everyone layer in and find their place, sometimes resulting in a mother groove. During an evening session, the seven of us myself, Ian Ritz, Cookie, Sean Dinwoodie, D'Arcy Burke, Will Westwood, Clark Lewis and a rotating roster of guests—each play every instrument in the room, making a point to switch from one to another. We'll go for five hours, of which 20 minutes or so is usually mind-blowing. As for the rest, well, at least we're having a good time.
All of us come from musical backgrounds or have some sort of music-focused past life. Ian was a vinyl DJ back in the day, and we also have Cookie, our warehouse manager, professional musician and regular Rotor Bolt drop-in. Somehow, he loves what we have going on. The whole thing began in the early 2000s. We would meet at one of three people's houses, bringing our instruments and an open schedule, and then spend the rest of the night waking up the neighbours. But soon our three hosts started having kids, and since we still wanted to jam—really loud—we had to figure out something new.
Chromag's original building had a back room which we rented to Shawn Cruickshanks, the Sea-to-Sky Corridor's suspension wizard and owner of Fluid Function. When Shawn decided to relocate his shop to Squamish, we decided to dub his former spot the "Jam Room." With a space devoted to storing and playing our growing instrument collection, we began jamming more often.
Over the years, the room saw various upgrades and improvements, including better PA systems, soundproofing and an ever-expanding hoard of instruments. We now have two drum kits, two bass guitars, two electric guitars, two keyboards, two drum machines, two turntables, two microphones, a trumpet, a clarinet, a flute, various percussion instruments, a jaw harp, and iPhone music programs galore.
When we moved to our current location in November 2017, we reserved part of the upstairs ware-house for our Jam Room, where the music continues. We may even have a recording to share by the year 2025, and our ultimate goal is to get a gig on a cruise ship, so we can really bond with our audience.
Until then, the Rotor Bolts remain awesome, capable of pumping out 20 minutes of auditory glory. The Jam Room has become a sacred place where spiritual magic happens, as much our church as the woods are. But wherever we play, it's a time to connect and create. It's a surreal moment when you come up with a groove out of nothing, and a good jam night will stick with you for weeks.
This article originally appeared in Craft MTB Magazine.
Cover photo by AJ Barlas.