Livin’ on a prairie

Local band opens for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock

Light, cameras, action: Winnipeg pop/rock quintet Enjoy Your Pumas got to hang with Bon Jovi and Kid Rock in Regina. No big deal. Courtesy Enjoy Your Pumas

Local indie darlings Enjoy Your Pumas are some lucky cats. The band has never gone on tour, but they opened for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock in Regina this past July.

“It was fantastic and phenomenal, and I’m sure it’s something that none of us will ever forget,” drummer Luke Janzen said.

The band won an online competition through, a subsidiary of MTV. Local bands in eight North American cities competed for the chance to open for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock. Janzen heard about the contest on the radio and entered the band.

“I read the fine print for some reason, and it turns out their definition of local is within 500 miles, so I ended up signing us up for both the Regina and the Winnipeg competitions,” he explained.

When the competition closed Enjoy Your Pumas placed in the top 20 in Winnipeg and the top 30 in Regina. A panel of judges, industry professionals and a few members of Bon Jovi chose the Pumas as winners.

Enjoy Your Pumas formed back in 2007 with vocalist Rosie Blais, guitarist Josh Benoit, pianist/guitarist Ian Jeffrey and drummer Rob Stansel as original members. Jeffrey and Stansel left the band and were replaced by Janzen, and more recently guitarist Zach Allard.

The band’s first release, an EP titled Ink, was recorded just two months after the band formed. Fans can expect the next Pumas release, the 13-track album Commonalities, to be in stores before the new year.

It was fantastic and phenomenal, and I’m sure it’s something that none of us will ever forget.

Enjoy Your Pumas drummer Luke Janzen on opening for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock

“I think this album’s got a lot more focus,” Benoit said. “There was a sort of natural progression but there was also a couple of songs we reworked with the album in mind, whereas Ink was just the songs we had finished.”

“We’ve kind of had a chance to test out our songs before we put them on the album. We didn’t have that opportunity for Ink,” Blais added.

Although all of the Pumas save for Blais will be headed back to school in the fall, you will still be able to see them around town in the next couple of weeks.

The Pumas will be playing O-Week at the University of Winnipeg on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and they will also be playing The Big Show on the Scotiabank Stage at The Forks on Sunday, Sept. 12 along with Ash Koley, J.P. Hoe, Magnum K.I., The All Night, Desiree Dion, and DJ Mama Cutsworth.

“We’ve got a lot on our plate right now, but we’re just trying to get all our ducks in a row and just trying to make things happen the best that we can,” Janzen said.

Published in Volume 65, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2010)

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