Morinville resident and Gord Bamford drummer Chad Melchert is up for CCMA Hall of Fame this year. – submitted photo
by Stephen Dafoe
The Canadian Country Music Association announced the nominees for the 2019 CCMA Awards earlier this summer and Morinville residents Chad Melchert is among the nominees.
Melchert, who is both the drummer for Gord Bamford and a session drummer, is up for Drummer of the Year. The drummer has won Best Drummer at the CCMAs four times in the past. A win this year will put him out of the running for future awards but right into the CCMA Hall of Fame. He has been nominated for the Best Drummer honour nine times.
“I’ve been eligible for the Hall of Fame for at least the last two years because I won four, and once you win five you are retired,” Melchert said. “It’d be nice to get into the Hall of Fame. It’s not make or break for me, but it’s nice to get into that Hall of Fame and leave it for some younger guys to win.”
Melchert is up against Ben Bradley, Flavio Cirillo, Rich DaSilva, and
Rob Wells for Drummer of the Year.
“It’s interesting because it’s cyclical in a sense. Younger musicians start to enter the scene. Years ago, it was me my first time in. You always see the newer bands of the day. The hot ones drummers tend to get nominated in. It’s definitely a fresh crop of guys. They’re all great players and great guys. There’s respect amongst all of us.”
Gord Bamford, the artist Melchart drums with, is up for several awards: Apple Music Fan’s Choice, Single of the Year for Dive Bar, Songwriter of the year with Bart Butler and Brice Long for the song Down. Additionally, Bamford’s management company, Cache Entertainment, is up for a CCMA for Management Company of the Year.
“It’s a big opportunity for him again this year,” Melchert said. “We’re kind of on a new album coming out here shortly. The first single Hashtag Redneck will be released here shortly, and then we’re kind of swinging for the fences on a whole new album.”
Working on a new album is something Melchert truly loves. Although he enjoys playing live, being a session musician is why he got into music. Recording in the studio has remained his passion.
“That’s the payoff. That’s where all the skills you’ve acquired and all the musical sensibilities – you can really flex those muscles in the studio and be creative,” Melchert said. “More than anything, that’s what I love about it the most.”
Melchert recently had the opportunity, recording drums for ten tracks on Bamford’s new album, recorded at MCC Studios in Calgary.
“Big honour and he flew in some really heavy players from Nashville to play on it, so it was a lot of fun hanging in the room with the guys that do it every day down there. Being able to hang with them was awesome.”
Touring with the Music of Queen
When Gord Bamford’s new album is released, Melchert will be back on the road touring. However, for 22 weeks starting this fall, he will trade playing country for rock and musical theatre.
Melchert has been selected as the drummer for We Will Rock You, a travelling show that performs the music of Queen and is named off the arena rock single from their 1977 album News of the World.
“That one [opportunity] kind of came out of the blue a month and a half ago,” he explained. “I got a phone call to see if I was interested at all in doing the Queen musical We Will Rock You. It’s really quite a big deal. It’s a big North American tour.”
The 22-week tour will span Canada and most of the US. There are three Edmonton stops between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
“[I’m] getting to play some of the places I’ve never played before like New York City at Madison Square Gardens, and in LA,” he said. “It just covers a lot of places that I haven’t been able to tour over the years. It’s a pretty exciting experience.”
Melchert said bot Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitar legend Brian May are involved in the production.
“It was those two guys out of Queen and a musical writer that put this together,” he said. “For me as a drummer, you just have got to get in his [Taylor] head. The whole idea is to get the sounds, play like him, and replicate what he brings to the drums, which is very unique and I wouldn’t say different from what I do every day, but it will need some adjustments as a player and n mindset.”
Melchert said he is excited by both the opportunity and the challenge. “I’m looking forward to the whole musical theatre experience. I’ve never done anything like it.”
Once back from the We Will Rock You tour Feb. 22, Melchert will resume activities with Gord Bamford. “We’ll pretty much be heading into rehearsals, and then the tour of next year.”
We Will Rock You will play in Edmonton Jan 30 and 31 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets are available online at http://www.queenonline.com/wwry/na_tour.