High energy rockabilly: SIX GUN ROMEO!

Posted by Dee-Ann On April - 12 - 20134,220 views

SIX GUN ROMEO are a 5 piece band based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The line up consists of Craig Wardle (drums) Mike Moy (guitar) Dave ‘shaky’ Shaw (lead) Tom O’Riordan (bass) and John Dykstra (vocals).


How and when did you start.
We started out as 4 piece instrumental surf band (called Los Caminos – Craig, Mike, Dave & Tom – we are still going!!). After playing a bunch of local gigs and touring BC & Alberta, we got sick of people asking when we would get a singer. So we did!!! After many unsuccessful auditions, John (who was a friend of the band) arrived for a few beers with mates one Friday night, as the band practiced in the background. He started singing to one of our songs. SIX GUN ROMEO was complete.

six gun romeo (2)
Describe your music style.

We are a high energy rockabilly, rock and rock band (with generally more emphasis on the rock than the billy!). One person did describe us as “Like watching Elvis on crack”. 
How did your love for this music start, which age, which artist.
I grew up in England (only coming to Canada 8 years ago),  and like most people, listened to the music their parents played. My Dad was heavily into the Beatles, but had quite a varied collection of music, including Led Zeppelin, Status Quo & Queen.
My love for music didn’t really start until my mid teens. I hated the electronic 1980’s, and so got into the rock bands in the early 90’s. Bon Jovi and REM were early favourites of mine.
six gun romeo (1)Who did influence you?
Definitely NOT my primary school music teacher. Besides being one of only 2 kids in class to fail the audition to get a cello or violin (the other was my brother!!!), she made me mime when I tried singing in the choir. Travel inspired me to play drums. I love travelling, and after a round the world trip, I returned to England, started teaching (my day job) and decided at the age of 24 I was going to learn to play drums. I had never done anything musical in my life, all I had done was play sports. So I was initially inspired by my drum teacher – James – who was younger than me, but played in a great rock band. Then drummers from my favourite bands began to shape my style – Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins (Foos) , Dominic Howard (Muse).

Do you write your own songs, and do you write together?

All SIX GUN ROMEO songs are written by the band. John writes all the lyrics, and myself (Craig), Mike, Tom & Dave write all our own music. Of our current 60 song set list, we only play 3 cover songs. The rest are all original. We do write collaboratively, and all 5 of us really enjoy the writing process. Usually one of the band will play a beat, riff or idea and then we build from there. We generally have a rule that if we have to try too hard to make it work – it’s not working. For us, writing is all about feel, and we believe the best ideas just flow.

Where do you get your inspiration? Real life, or total fantasy

Song titles come from Tom’s fantasy! He is renowned for coming up with crazy names. Other inspirations come from music we are listening to and a lot of our songs are written either when we are on the road (on tour) or from stories or events that happen to us while we are on the road.

Tell us about your latest CD

The latest CD – Welcome To The Show – is going to be a difficult CD to top in the future. Since our last CD “Hoodshaker” released in 2010, we have spent the last 2 years writing and honing around 20 songs. We had the difficult task of picking 12 from that 20. We decided on an exciting blend of blues, straight up rockabilly to good old fashioned rock and roll.

What are your do’s and don’ts on stage?


– Always have a pint by my side – drummers need re-hydrating you know!

– Keep a watch handy to keep an eye on the set length

– have effective communication with my bandmates – they can’t read my mind I have noticed, so I have to use other forms of communication!

– play with a smile – I always have fun on stage


– lose concentration

Clothes, performance? What’s important, musical quality or stage fun?

Appearance is important, as it is the first impression that you give a crowd. We have ‘band uniforms’ for the 4 musicians (we all wear the same coloured shirt) and John (lead singer) gets to dress up fancy. We are a band that does have a lot of fun on stage, and that is contagious – people notice and then they start having fun. However – in my opinion there is NO substitute for musical quality. At the end of the day, looks and fun will only get you so far and then people will see through the mist – you have to have firm musical ability and then execute that on stage.

Do you like other styles than rockandroll?

I like most styles of music. My iPod has everything and anything on it. I am constantly looking for the newest  music and musicians from around the world. I guess I have many different moods(!!!) and therefore need quite the repertoire available to me. I am a huge rock music fan.

 Is there an artist you would like to work with in future?

Dave Grohl.

 Where would you like to play, festival/ country/ event/ …

As we are a rockabilly band I would love to play in Viva Las Vegas. Otherwise, I would love to play some shows in England, as I have never played a gig there. Festivals appeal to me – Reading maybe.

Tell us a fun story about your band or gig

We played a gig at a bar called Ethel`s Old Corral in Bakersfield, California in July 2011. We arrived at 10am and the temperature was already 90 degrees F. We were to set up on the patio and play outside. By the time we started our set at noon, the temperature was 104 degrees. The owner (Natalie) felt so bad that she went out and bought a $2500 fan (the ones that spray mist) and placed it directly in front of the band. We the preceded to play 3 full sets, and then a final set supporting rockabilly hall of fame inductee Al Hendrix. Needless to say, after 4 hours performing in the sun, our singer John got heatstroke and spent the rest of the night in bed. We were scheduled to play another show in town, so we quickly revamped the set, and supported Al again, playing some rockabilly classics that we heard a handful of times and had played once!

Do you regret anything? Missed chance, big mistake, …

I try never to regret anything as there is nothing I can do to go back and change it. I do wish I started playing drums earlier in my life, but then I would have missed out on some of my sporting experiences, which I wouldn’t trade.

I did apply to join a band called Like A Storm, but missed getting the drumming position. Apparently they had found a new drummer 2 weeks earlier. They have since played with Alter Bridge, Creed and Shinedown. Ah well!

What are your future plans?

We are going to continue working hard developing our brand. We are releasing the new CD this summer, then we are touring western USA again for the third time. We have started writing new material and are starting to plan for the next 2-3 years, hopefully a tour to southern USA (Texas) and then over to Europe.


Finish this sentence: we will never ever again

….bullshit about what we have accomplished. (Mike got caught in a lie, telling a band we had toured USA when we hadn`t. It was all good until I was asked about the tour. Mike failed to tell me what he said – and when I told the truth `Nah, we haven`t toured there yet!` we looked foolish).

 Band links



Twitter – @sixgunromeo

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