Palliser/Back in the Saddle
Beautiful Joe was formed around 1993. Jane Hawley quit Junior Gone Wild in 1991 and formed Jane Hawley and the Pistons with Tim Leacock and Ross Watson. I had known Ross and Tim since they were part of seminal Calgary rock and roll band The Burners. Tim and Ross were a few years older than me (still are) and would let me hop up on stage and play Rolling Stones tunes at the Old Scotch. I was being managed by Musicworks (now Indelible Music Inc.) at the same time as Jann Arden,who was quickly making a name for herself. Neil MacGonigill wanted a band to follow up on Jann’s success and conceived of Beautiful Joe as a backup band for me, Jane and Tim Leacock. He named the band after a once famous book called Beautiful Joe, written by a Canadian about a dog who overcame abuse and mistreatment. I had gotten to know Jane after stints as a bassist for the Pistons at Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife (The Blue Shadows were also there) and at North by Northwest in Portland Oregon (where we took part in a ceremony called The Portland Purge).
Beautiful Joe played a lot at a bar called Java Sharks, and a bit at Kaos. During Stampede for a few years we rented the Crystal ballroom at the Palliser Hotel, which was a revival of a tradition stared by k.d. lang and the Reclines. Joining us were country rockers the Simpson Brothers and hard nosed street poet, Ralph Boyd Johnson. The third year we did it, Billy Cowsill did a cameo appearance. I had been introduced to Russell DeCarle and Keith Glass of Prairie Oyster (who I idolized) and they were with us in the hospitality suite until late in the morning.