Andrew “A.J.” Chabidon

Photo by Doug Budzak Jr

Meet A.J. – drums

“I don’t want to play the guitar … I want to play the drums.”
This is what A.J. told his Mom some thirty years ago the night before he was to begin his first guitar lesson. Hardly the words that any sane parent wishes to hear, but with a little persistence, patience and coercion he brought the kit that was collecting dust from the garage and put it in the basement. It belonged to someone his dad had known and he had bought it for fifty bucks sans cymbals and pedals. A.J. was good to go.

After graduating – for his parent’s sake – there was no looking back.

“To immerse yourself into every style of music is the best training you can possibly obtain as a musician” says A.J. “I was in a hair metal band one week, a polka band the next and playing Saturday afternoon matinees in a country band with some crusty old buggers, learning and living the blues at the same time!”

In the eighties, as long as you were impartial and wanted to play, the gigs were there because in those days all the clubs ran “live music” at least six days a week. That was how you learned your chops and developed your calluses!

His ability to play any style led to numerous touring and recording projects including Mark Reeves, Kenny Shields, and Tommy Chong. He relocated to Vancouver to join multiple CMA and Juno winners Farmer’s Daughter. While in that band he was awarded two consecutive MACA Drummer of the Year titles.

Fast forward to spring of 2007 and back living in Winnipeg, A.J. received a call from George Belanger of Harlequin.

“I had done a few tours and various fill-in gigs with them since the mid-nineties when their drummer wasn’t able to tour so I just figured it was a call for another one-off gig or possibly a tee time, as George and I enjoy golfing almost as much as we love music.”

George was actually looking for a drummer to tour and play on Harlequin’s next release, 2009’s ON-Q.

The return of Gary Golden to the band has A.J. all fired up. “There is a new dynamic to the group and we are able to reach new musical goals and keep challenging ourselves. It’s exciting to be a part of it, and we have a hell of a lot of fun….”

In addition to Harlequin, Chabidon continues to play with various local artists and operates as an independent remedial massage therapist. “It’s an interesting contrast; massage therapy treats the body but music treats the soul.”

“We bring it every night we get on stage! Old school – ‘All meat no filler!’”

AJ resides in Winnipeg and has recently become an endorsee of Pearl Drums Canada and is looking for a Calaway sponsorship too!