STILL TIME FOR DANA K & THE REMEDY,
When Dana Komer was young she had a Mickey Mouse record player.
“I was three years old and I had a wooden tambourine. My mom had made a costume out of these shiny blues curtains and that was my Patsy Gallant dress. I used to dance around my Mickey Mouse player a lot,” says Komer. “My dad was very into music and so I grew listening to Buddy Holly and Elvis — all of those greats. I am pretty sure I destroyed his records.”
But Komer did not start singing publicly until her early 20s, and now she has been at it for 20 years. Her latest project is Dana K & The Remedy — a Waterloo-based funk ’n’ blues, rockin’ soul group, who are releasing their first album, “Still Time.”
She’s also the lead singer of classic rock full-tilt boogie cover band Zed, and multigenre cover band Jacked.
“Jacked owns a little piece of my heart because my uncle is in that band. He was in Zed some time ago way back when the band first started. I was not the singer of Zed,” says Komer. “I ended up subbing in for a guy who was away. I was allowed to join their guys night only because I was family — so they could keep practicing.
“Then when he came back a couple months later I got a phone call saying that they had voted and decided I could stay. That was before we ever came out of the basement. I discovered a kind of magic there.”
In 2008, Komer sang with indie band Calliope’s Radio. The band put out one album called “Sleep Long and Smile.” Dana K & The Remedy is Komer’s first original project since that band. The members include Howard Brown (Grooveyard) on guitar, Jimmy Rupnow (The Exceptional Gentlemen) on keys, Jason Hein (Bob Seger tribute band Kathmandu) on bass, and Steve Brackett (Alyssa Morrissey) on drums.
She says the idea for Dana K & The Remedy began when she and Brown were performing at a charity event in Elmira. Brown was there with Grooveyard.
“Howard had this vision for a blues band that he always wanted to put together. He had approached me at that event and said hey do you think there is any interest in doing something with the blues. I said of course! I grew up listening to rock and roll and blues I had loved going to the blues festival so I jumped at the chance to do it,” she says.
“We had recruited a few other local musicians to put together this concept. Howie had been playing in Grooveyard with Jimmy Rupnow who is our keys player as well. Then we found Steve and Jason a few months later. They had also been playing music locally for decades. We had all been writing songs and playing in various bands,” says Komer.
As they continued to play, the band began to dabble in different music genres from Motown and reggae to country and blues.
“That led to the idea that maybe we should try to write something,” says Komer. “We did not really expect to become an original band,” she notes.
“Though we have all been at this for a very long time we still have the attitude that there is still time for this. It is not too late to put yourself out there. And so that is where the concept of ‘Still Time’ came from,” she says.
Komer wrote most of the songs, with the exception of “Back of the Train,” written by Steve Brackett who also produced the album at his Kitchener studios.
Every song has its own musical stamp be it rock and funk, country honky-tonk, blues, roots reggae or a simple acoustic backdrop. Komer’s sound is wide ranging — sometimes Adele and Terra Lightfoot, sometimes Sass Jordan or Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde.
“For me, some of the songs tell stories and some of the songs say things that maybe should have been said or could have been said. It happened in that moment. But it doesn’t mean that it is not too late to repair this. There’s still time to dream, still time to say I am sorry and still time to have an adventure.”
Dana K and The Remedy are at Descendants Saturday Oct 21.