Yukon Blonde began making music out of boredom

Yukon Blonde hails from Peachland, a lake town in British Columbia that has seen recent development. (Courtesy Olivia Jaffe)

Yukon Blonde hails from Peachland, a lake town in British Columbia that has seen recent development. (Courtesy Olivia Jaffe)

Yukon Blonde anchor Jeff Innes sometimes looks back wistfully on his youth in the isolated British Columbia hamlet of Peachland, just outside of Kelowna. Other times, he feels conflicted, as on the Human League-bubbly “Confused,” which opens the band’s latest fifth effort, “On Blonde.” He sings, “When you get home you just lay in your bed/ Nobody seems to want you/ The conversation’s in your head.” Likewise, in the New Wave-ish “You Broke the Law,” he witnesses his neighbor steal a farmer’s gasoline, just to light it up out of sheer ennui.

Things were truly that dull there.

Other kids in larger Canadian cities would go clubbing on weekends, says Innes, who brings Yukon Blonde to San Francisco next week.

“But for us, it was pretty boring. On an average Saturday night, you’d just sit by the lake and drink,” he says. “And that’s pretty much why we all play music. There was such a lack of things to do in Kelowna that we just ended up playing music to keep ourselves occupied. Quite a few other bands came from Kelowna, too, probably for that very reason – there’s just nothing to do there.”

Yet Innes is definitely a product of his Peachland environment, which was renowned for its cherries, not peaches.

“In the summer we’d get a lot of backpackers from Quebec who would come all the way across the country to pick fruit,” he says. “So I would hang out at these fruit pickers’ trailers and RVs, and I heard some amazing music there, some really cool ’70s prog stuff that I never would have heard otherwise, like The Soft Machine. I got into some really cool bands, just through those fruit pickers.”

When the singer started booking Kelowna concerts – first with Alphababy in 2005, then as Yukon Blonde three years later – there were no proper venues. So they rented town halls, lodges and churches.

“We’d scrape together 500 bucks and throw a show for all our friends, and no alcohol was sold there – everybody brought their own booze,” he says. “So when we started actually touring, we didn’t understand how to play proper shows. We didn’t know that there was such a thing as a bar, that had a stage and P.A. already set up.”

Innes now resides in more cosmopolitan Vancouver, and his musical tastes have expanded accordingly. “On Blonde” was influenced by power pop, plus early Prince albums and post-punk outfit The Nerves.

He rarely returns home. “Kelowna is quite beautiful, geographically. But the development has gotten so bad there, it’s now like the largest strip mall in Canada. And there’s even less to do.”

IF YOU GO
Chappo, with Yukon Blonde
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. July 14
Tickets: $12
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.com
AlphabyBritish ColumbiaConfusedJeff InnesOnBlondePeachlandYou Broke the LawYukon Blonde

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A San Francisco Unified School District program that gave would-be teachers extra training in the classroom has lost a key partner. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/2019 S.F. Examiner)</ins>
USF ends partnership with SFUSD in teacher residency program

District launched training effort to improve low retention rates for new hires

The Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown Community Development Center joined San Francisco city leaders and community partners in a “Campaign for Solidarity” at Civic Center Plaza on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021. (CraigLee/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
City launches ‘Campaign for Solidarity’ to combat racial violence

Mayor London Breed, the city’s Human Rights Commission and community leaders launched… Continue reading

It’s time to break the code of silence and end the stigmatism against infertility, which is fairly common. <ins>(Shuttterstock)</ins>
Struggles with infertility are common

We all can support friends, ask legislators to mandate appropriate insurance

Foxes, aka Louisa Rose Allen, says she taken back control of her music in recent years. <ins>(Courtesy Hollie Fernando)</ins>
Foxes back with ‘Friends in the Corner’

Pop star doing a lot ‘behind the scenes’ since 2016

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Most Read