When two childhood friends discover some instruments in an old shed and start jamming to pass time until the surf hits, you end up with Hockey Dad, the Australian band consisting of 23-year-old Zach Stephenson and 21-year-old Billy Fleming.
Although Fleming and Stephenson have known each other since they were five, and have been playing together for years, the band is relatively new, having formed only four years ago.
“We started writing and playing music because there were no waves (to ride) at that point in time,” said drummer Fleming.
Despite sounding like an appeal to a Canadian audience, the band’s name actually comes from watching a popular TV show and reflects the vibrant energy of their music.
“We were having a few beers and watching The Simpsons one night. ‘Hockey Dad’ is a fighting video game between two hockey dads that Bart and Milhouse play,” said Fleming. “We thought it was hilarious.”
With Fleming’s shoulder-length bright blond hair and the duo’s renowned passion for the waves it’s hard not to pigeonhole the band as surf pop or surf rock.
“We tend to be labeled as surf rock because of who we are and where we grew up,” said Fleming.
The reality is, though, that a lot of different music has influenced them.
“I grew up with my older siblings blasting ’90s punk rock out of their rooms,” said Fleming. “Zach grew up with his dad’s stash of classic Australian rock. Between the two of us, we’ve always listened to such diverse stuff and it’s constantly changing, so it’s hard to tell what exactly influences us.”
Currently, Fleming has the passionate ballads of Australian pop singer Delta Goodrem on repeat.
Although the band is relatively new they have quickly gained a strong following in both Australia and North America. The band made their U.S. debut in 2016, and have been hitting the touring circuit hard. Once their North American tour wraps up, they’ll head home to drop their new album.
“We’ll head home for Christmas, put out our new album, and continue touring planet Earth,” said Fleming. “No sleep ‘til Mars.”
The pair is looking forward to visiting Whistler so they can chase the snow on their other boards. Hockey Dad performs at the GLC on Friday, Oct. 27.
“[We’re excited about] the genuine pow,” said Fleming. “We have snow in Australia but it’s basically the product of stomping on an ice block out of a freezer.”
The duo hope to have the same energetic performance as their previous visit to Whistler this past April.
“We’re hoping it’s going to be just as wild as last time,” said Fleming, though not committing to a teaser of what the audience will see in this weekend’s performance.
“You’re going to have to come and see for yourself,” he said.
Hockey Dad’s performance starts at 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. For more info visit whistlerblackcomb.com/the-village/dining/glc.