by Sheldon Birnie
“It’s been a bunk summer for venues and shows, this summer,” said Brandon Ackerman over a couple beers and smokes in Wolseley recently. “But this fall is looking promising.”
Ackerman makes up half of Eat Em Up Records, and we are discussing upcoming projects the label has coming down the pipe. “I’ve been a fan of Eat Em Up Records since it’s inception in the early 2000s,” Ackerman told Stylus.
Rounded out by Jan Quakenbush, founder of Eat Em Up Records, the two have some big plans for the little label. “We’re stepping it up, putting things out faster. Really pushing to put out vinyl,” Ackerman said.
Founded by Quakenbush in 2004 to release the Squareheads first album, Persona Non Grata, Eat Em Up was initially just a label to slap on his various projects’ releases.
“We tried to shop it around to some labels, and we didn’t really get any response,” explained Quakenbush. “So we figured we’d put it out ourselves. Anthony Bueno’s uncle snuck into one of our shows one time under the pretext of being from ‘Eat Em Up Records,’ so we just picked it up from there.”
Apart from the Squareheads releases, Quakenbush explains that Eat Em Up released a couple “novelty rap” albums in the early years, and more recently released the self-titled Nervous Lugers and Rock Lake albums.
“I’m working on the Lazy Horse album right now,” says Quakenbush. “Another Rock Lake one coming down the pipe. I’m starting to produce now, so it’s getting easier to crank these things out…”
“Quagmire release is coming up in the next couple months,” adds Ackerman. “That’ll be on Eat Em Up.”
“Kyle Dubois, who’s the singer and guitarist for Lazy Horse, he’s got an album he recorded of country songs that he recorded with his family,” says Quakenbush of another upcoming release. “It’s a great album, we’ve always wanted to put that out.”
The Lazy Horse album will be released on Halloween at the Windsor, with the High Thunderers and the Accosters opening the night, while Quagmire’s release will be later in the year. Memorial Fund’s EP will also be released by Eat Em Up, which was Anthony Bueno (founding member of Squareheads)’s final project before he passed away earlier this year. A partnership with the Windsor is also something Eat Em Up has been working on.
“We’re working with Wayne Townes who owns the Windsor now, formerly of the Royal Albert Arms for 17 years,” says Ackerman. “[Our] favourite guy to run a dive bar. He does it right, really takes care of the people who live there and stay there as well as treating bands fairly. He knows what he likes and he knows what works. He’s the easiest person to work with by far of any venue in the city. He’s given us the opportunity to book a rock n roll draft night every Thursday. There’ll be two bands and rock n roll DJs every Thursday.”
A weekly rock n roll night is certainly something beer drinkers and rock n rollers in Winnipeg can look forward to. Apart from showcasing the label’s own bands, Eat Em Up is also working to bring quality rock acts into the city again.
“We’re bringing in Mark Sultan [aka BBQ, ex-Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, Mind Controls] on his world tour,” says Ackerman, “making a stop in Winnipeg at the Windsor with Rock Lake and the Electrics.”
With a regular night to curate and a number of projects on the horizon, Quakenbush and Ackerman certainly have their work cut out for them as they expand Eat Em Up Records. Luckily, they’ve got a little help from their pals.
“Eat Em Up itself is really a collective of a lot of us,” Ackerman explained. “Jan and I are spearheading everything right now, but we incorporate the work of a lot of our friends. There’s kind of a place for all of us in it.”
Check out Eat Em Up Records’ Lazy Horse CD Release at the Windsor Wednesday, October 31, Mark Sultan (aka BBQ) on Thursday, November 22nd, and regular rock n roll draft nights every Thursday.