Home |  NewsStream |  eTracks |  Artists |  Podcast |  About
Go to home page
  NMC >  Artists >  Emerson Drive
Emerson Drive
Brad Mates, vocals
Danick Dupelle, guitar
Patrick Bourque, bass
Dale Wallace, keyboards
Mike Melancon, drums
David Pichette, fiddle

THE HISTORY

September 20, Louisville...
We're at Six Flags/Kentucky Kingdom, the latest stop on Emerson Drive's apparently endless tour. They rolled into town at 5:30 this morning, just in time to crash for a few hours in their hotel. It's two o'clock now, and sound check -- a multi-hour ritual before each gig -- is about to begin. Bassist Patrick Bourque and drummer Mike Melancon are onstage in the open-air venue, jamming through their own private set -- "All Blues" by Miles Davis, which melts into a nameless fusion groove that breaks down to five beats per bar -- as engineers nail the sound. The others will arrive later, but already a crowd has gathered outside the gates, screaming out the band's name or, simply, screaming in anticipation of this evening's show.
Such is life for Emerson Drive -- singer Brad Mates, guitarist Danick Dupelle, keyboardist/guitarist Dale Wallace, fiddler David Pichette, Bourque, and Melancon, the hottest young phenomenon in country music. Their world is the road, the stage, the road again, and every now and then, a visit to a recording studio. Whether behind the mic or splayed out on the floor of their bus, watching a new DVD as they barrel through the night to their next gig, there always seems to be a wind at their back, pushing them faster, rushing them toward something that they might only have dreamed of not so long ago.

Ask them where home is, and they'll answer, "The bus." And they're serious. But if that sounds pathetic, forget it: These guys are having a blast. There's no place they'd rather be, except for in the spotlight and in front of their fans. And there's no one they'd rather be with than their family -- which is to say, each other.

Whatever rigors they encountered on their travels over the past year or so were blown away by distinctions – ACM Top New Vocal Group/Duo [awarded in 2003]; Billboard's #1 Top Country Artist of the Year for 2002; R&R's #1 New Artist MVP for 2002; Group of the Year for two consecutive years, from the Canadian Country Music Association; two Top 5 hits with "Fall Into Me" and "I Should Be Sleeping"; as well as a number one music video on CMT's Top Twenty Countdown with "Fall Into Me" -- that flashed past like mileage markers en route to their next engagement.

And here, as roller coasters roar and onlookers call out their names, the band takes a few minutes on the bus to look forward to another milestone: the release of What If?, their second album for DreamWorks Records Nashville.

All it takes is one spin through the new album, What If?, to realize why these accolades have come their way: Emerson Drive is more formidable than they've ever been. The invigorated sound of Emerson Drive is apparent throughout What If?. They've always had powerful vocals, with solid harmonies behind Brad's electrifying lead. But now, there's nothing they can't handle; from the exuberant interplay of the voices on their cover of "Fishin' in the Dark" to the nifty basso on the chorus to "Waitin' On Me" (that's Dale, by the way) to the passion and unity that drives the ballad "I'll Die Tryin'," they chomp down every challenge and seem hungry for more.

Richard Marx, who produced two songs from Emerson Drive and all of What If?, has said as much himself: "This is a better band now," he declares. "There's a higher camaraderie factor. Everybody's enjoying the process more. The band feels as I do, which is that all of this has happened for a reason."

"We've reached a new level," is how Brad puts it. "Bringing in three new members has given us an upgrade in sound. We've worked hard to take the next step in our music. I guess you don't realize how much is possible until you have people like Dale, David, and Patrick step into the picture. Once we brought them in, it was like starting all over again: Doors opened, and the music just fell out of us."

Instrumentally, the sound has grown; Patrick's bass playing, drawing from funk and jazz as well as country, locks with Mike's rock-solid drumming in a groove that's irresistible at any tempo (check out that tasty glissando that Patrick lays down just before the second chorus on "You're Like Coming Home"), while on tracks like "Simple Miracles" Dale's keyboards paint the most vivid textures heard to date from this band. Whether pushing the beat within the rhythm backup or trading fiery licks with Danick's guitar on "Still Got Yesterday," David upholds Emerson Drive's standards for nothing but the best fiddle performance.

You'll hear more of their own songs on What If?, too. Outside material comprised almost the entire first album, but on this one they wrote several themselves. "It can be tough for a new band to get one of its songs out there right off the bat," Brad explains. "We were determined to be heard, and if that meant doing other writers' songs, that was fine with us. But we're writing more and more all the time. We've kept learning and maturing, so it felt right to put some of our own things on the new album."

"DreamWorks gave us as much time as we needed to finish the album," Brad says. Between a hectic tour schedule and being in and out of the studio, Emerson Drive chose not rush the album and worked for almost one year to get it just right. During its creation the guys juggled a schedule that typically included travel and performance for three to four shows per week, interspersed with brief visits to Nashville or to Richard Marx's home studio in Chicago for recording. This would be a back-breaking routine for most artists, but Emerson Drive thrived on it: "It was great to record while being on the road," Brad insists, "because we were able to try out new material onstage and see how the fans reacted."

At one point, they all moved into Richard Marx's house and cut nine tracks in only four days. "We were on fire," the producer remembers. "When I was with one of them, the others would be in the basement with my kids, playing video games. We would work all day, take a dinner break, watch movies, and work some more. I called it 'Camp Marx,' but they really became part of the family."

In the end, What If? came out sounding strong and only intensified the group's determination to make it to the top in a field that's dominated by solo artists. No matter how well your normal country superstar gets along with his or her musicians, there's still a line drawn between the headliners and the rest of the entourage. Not so with Emerson Drive; they're all on this bus together.

"I wouldn't even want to think about being a single artist," Brad insists. "If you have six people working for the same thing, why would you want to change that?"

"That fits with my own personality," David says. "I've never been a backup fiddle player. And I would never see Patrick as a backup bass player. It's the same for Dale and everyone else. We are members of a band."

"That's huge," Brad affirms, "and not just for the musicians. We've got a driver, a couple of techs, the merch guy, and they're all part of the family. It's funny; we'll walk out and horse around before the show with our merch guy because he's one of us. That's the cool thing: We can let other people come into the picture. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Neither would those who've already felt what's special about Emerson Drive. All that was magical about that debut album is even more evident on What If?. This is more than a great album; it's a snapshot of a life being shared by some exceptional musicians and their friends, one that will inspire younger followers to share in the fun and stir memories among older listeners of adventures from their own lives, not so long ago.

It's around four o'clock now, and beneath a glorious blue sky the whole band has assembled to complete their sound check. Brad, looking fit in a sleeveless T-shirt, a bottle of water in his hand, is at the mic as they play through "You're Like Coming Home." The song is flowing easy but rocking too -- then, gradually, one member after another drops out until Brad is singing alone, bringing it home with keening high notes and a final slow swoop into a rumbling bass. Outside, looking in through entry gates, fans shriek as the band grins, waves, and leaves to ride the roller coasters until showtime...

Tomorrow, they leave for ... wherever. It almost doesn't matter -- Emerson Drive are on their way

BRAD MATES

The Basics

Birthday: July 21, 1978
Born: Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Hometown: Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Reside: Nowhere right now!
Eyes: Hazel
Hair: Brown
Height: 6' 1'
Martial Status: single
Children: none
Siblings: 1 sister (Amber)
Pets: none
Musical Influences: George Strait & Sons of the Desert
Instruments: the vocal pipe, acoustic guitar
Hobbies: sports, workout
Pet Peeve: impatient people
Boxers or briefs: both
I sleep in... boxers
I never leave home without... my MasterCard

Favorites

Color: blue
Food: mashed potatoes
Drink: milk
Snack: cookies
Ice Cream: vanilla twist
Dessert: sundae
Restaurant: P.F. Chang's
Place: Christmas time back home
Book: anything by Louis L'Amour
Movie: "Meet The Parents"
TV Shows: David Letterman & Jay Leno
Cartoon: Tom & Jerry
Sports Team: Edmonton Oilers
Song: "Unwound" (George Strait)
Actor: Robert De Niro
Actress: Charlize Theron
Musical Artist: Sons of the Desert & Vertical Horizon
Album of all time: UNWOUND (George Strait)
Amusement Park Ride: roller coasters
Car: BMW

Interesting Tidbits

I first realized I wanted to be an artist... when I was 15 years old.
I want to be a singer/songwriter because... I love the rush, the life.
The most exciting part of my career so far... touring with Toby Keith and Shania Twain
Strangest gift I've received: clothes at Christmas that I never wore
Most unusual thing I've been asked to do: I was asked to phone a girl in the hospital who had just had a baby and couldn't make it to our show Did I do it?: yes!
Most unusual job: a Saturday paper route
First paying gig: a high school awards night
Job I would rather starve than do: construction (road building)
My hero is... Wayne Gretzky, he was the greatest hockey player when I was a kid
Posters on my wall as a kid: Alyssa Milano & Bon Jovi
First childhood crush on a star: DJ from Full House
Worst date: I didn't get a second date.
Ideal date: Hoping to get a second date!
If I could tour with anyone it would be... I would love to be on tour with Toby Keith again
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, and ask them one question, it would be... Billy the Kid, "Tell me your favorite story."

The Band's Sound

"We have a wide variety of influences that we combined to create the Emerson Drive sound."

The Band's Awards & Accolades

2003 CCMA Group/Duo of the Year
2002 Billboard Top New Artist of the Year
2002 R&R Top New MVP of the Year

2002 CCMA Rising Star Award

2002 CCMA Group/Duo of the Year

DANICK DUPELLE
Guitar

The Basics
Birthday: September 29, 1973
Born: Montreal, Québec, Canada
Hometown: Ile Perrot, Québec, Canada
Reside: our tour bus
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Light Brown
Height: 5' 6 ½"
Martial Status: single
Children: none
Siblings: none
Pets: none
Musical Influences: Ricky Skaggs, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens
Instruments: guitar, mandolin, sax, dobro, spoons
Hobbies: movies
Pet Peeve: someone who is late
Boxers or briefs: boxer briefs
I sleep in... boxers & t-shirt
I never leave home without... my guitar

Favorites

Color: blue
Food: minute steak & mashed potatoes
Drink: Diet Coke
Snack: Detour protein bars
Ice Cream: vanilla
Dessert: cheesecake
Restaurant: Tommy Toys
Place: San Francisco
Book: don't have one
Movie: "Rudy"
TV Show: Seinfeld
Cartoon: Bugs Bunny, Road Runner
Sports Team: Montreal Canadiens
Song: "If We Make It Through December" (Merle Haggard)
Actor: Robert De Niro
Actress: Michelle Pfeiffer
Musical Artist: James Taylor
Album of all time: James Taylor Live
Amusement Park Ride: roller coasters
Car: Ferrari

Interesting Tidbits

I first realized I wanted to be an artist... when I picked up the guitar at 10 years old.
I want to be a singer/songwriter because... my parents encouraged me.
The most exciting part of my career so far... playing guitar on a Kenny Loggins CD
Strangest gift I've received: an orange and an apple wrapped up in a box
Most unusual thing I've been asked to do: I have done so many unusual things that everything seems normal
Most unusual job: working in a bread factory
First paying gig: a festival when I was 11 years old (I made $100!)
Job I would rather starve than do: working in a bread factory
My hero is... My Dad, because he is my Dad and he builds my guitars
Posters on my wall as a kid: Samantha Fox
First childhood crush on a star: Debbie Gibson
Worst date: I spilled spaghetti sauce all over my white t-shirt at the beginning of the date
Ideal date: Someone who is really sociable, likes movies and concerts and who also loves traveling
If I could tour with anyone it would be... Shania Twain or th Rolling Stones
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, and ask him/her one question, it would be... someone who has already passed away, how is it on the other side, is it like heaven?

PATRICK BOURQUE
Bass Guitar

The Basics

Birthday: September 27, 1977
Born: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Hometown: Terrebonne, Québec, Canada
Reside: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Height: 6' 4"
Martial Status: single
Children: none
Siblings: 1 brother (Christian)
TV Shows: Ad Lib
Pets: none
Musical Influences: Tim McGraw & Jaco Pastorius
Instruments: bass & guitar
Hobbies: watch movies, read, work out
Pet Peeve: someone who doesn't tell the truth
Boxers or briefs: boxers
I sleep in... boxers
I never leave home without... my bass guitar

Favorites

Color: blue
Food: Italian
Snack: chocolate
Drink: ice tea
Ice Cream: chocolate
Dessert: chocolate mousse
Restaurant: Le Vieux Four
Place: Third & Lindsley (Nashville,TN)
Movie: "The Godfather"
Cartoon: Lucky Luke
Sports: Baseball
Song: "Angel" (Sarah McLachlan)
Actor: Al Pacino
Actress: Halle Berry
Musical Artist: Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller
Album of all time: Can't pick just one
Car: BMW

Interesting Tidbits

I first realized I wanted to be an artist... when I was very young.
I want to be a singer/songwriter because... music is my life.
The most exciting part of my career so far... touring with Emerson Drive
Strangest gift I've received: a pink shirt
Most unusual job: a cashier at a convenience store
First paying gig: a bar gig with a friend
Job I would rather starve than do: garbage man
My hero is... My father, he has a huge heart
Posters on my wall as a kid: Michael Jackson
First childhood crush on a star: Samantha Fox
If I could tour with anyone it would be... Tower of Power
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, and ask them one question, it would be... Jaco Pastorius, "How can you play the bass like that?"

DALE WALLACE
Keyboards

The Basics

Birthday: November 1, 1969
Born: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Hometown: Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Reside: Tour bus USA
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blonde
Height: 5' 8"
Martial Status: single
Children: none
Siblings: 3 brothers & 6 sisters
Pets: none
Musical Influences: Alabama, Elvis, Asleep At The Wheel,
Journey, Kiss
Instruments: keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, sax
Hobbies: hiking, fishing
Pet Peeve: the sound of construction vehicles in reverse
Boxers or briefs: boxers
I sleep in... t-shirt and boxers
I never leave home without... my passport

Favorites

Color: black
Food: cabbage rolls
Drink: soda water & cranberry juice
Snack: trail mix
Ice Cream: chocolate
Dessert: pumpkin pie
Restaurant: Fred's Sushi Palace
Place: Jocko and Shuswap Lakes
Book: "Stairway To Heaven"
Movie: "King Kong", "First Blood"
TV Shows: "Who's Line Is It Anyway?"
Cartoon: Bugs Bunny and The Simpsons
Sports Team: Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers
Songs: "Don't Stop Believin'" (Journey), "Calling Doctor Love" (Kiss), "I'll Die Trying" (Emerson Drive)
Actor: Joe Peschi
Actress: Elizabeth Shue
Musical Artist: Elvis, Alabama, Journey, Kiss, Asleep At The Wheel, Steely Dan, the list goes on and on
Album of all time: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, KISS ALIVE II, CHILLIWACK'S GREATEST HITS,
UP IN SMOKE (Cheech & Chong), BAT OUT OF HELL (Meatloaf)
Amusement Park Ride: roller coasters
Car: Lamborghini Countach or Ferrari F-50

Interesting Tidbits

I first realized I wanted to be an artist... after I convinced my 3rd grade principal to let me play a Billy Joel song at a school assembly.
I want to be a singer/songwriter because... I enjoy performing my own material
The most exciting part of my career so far... touring with Shania Twain, winning an ACM & CCMA Award and being honored by the British Columbia CMA as the 2003 Keyboard Player of the Year
Strangest gift I've received: hallway emergency lights
Most unusual job: dishwasher
First paying gig: a high school Christmas dance in 9th grade
Job I would rather starve than do: dishwasher
My hero is... jazz pianist Oscar Peterson
Posters on my wall as a kid: Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss, Terri Lynn Doss, BMX bikes, keyboards
First childhood crush on a star: Princess Di
Worst date: I've never had one
Ideal date: dinner and checking out a great band
If I could tour with anyone it would be... Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, or Keith Urban
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, and ask them one question, it would be... Gene Simmons, "What would the keyboard player's character make-up be if Kiss had ever had one?"

MIKE MELANCON
Drums

The Basics

Birthday: August 13, 1978
Born: Mt. Laurier, Québec, Canada
Hometown: Mt. Laurier, Québec, Canada
Reside: On the bus
Eyes: Dark Brown
Hair: Dark Brown
Height: 5' 10"
Martial Status: single
Children: none
Siblings: 1 sister (Any)
Movie: "Analyze This"
Pets: none
Musical Influences: a little of everything
Instruments: drums, guitar
Hobbies: work out, play drums and snowboard
Pet Peeve: someone who smokes while I am eating
Boxers or briefs: boxers
I sleep in... boxer shorts
I never leave home without... money and cell phone

Favorites

Color: dark colors
Food: Italian
Drink: water or beer
Snack: protein bar
Ice Cream: pistachio
Dessert: fresh berries
Restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's
Place: tropical islands
Book: anything about psychology
Movie: "Analyze This"
TV Show: Jay Leno
Cartoon: South Park
Sports Team: don't have one
Song: "Rolling" (Limp Bizkit)
Actor: Robert De Niro
Actress: Julia Roberts
Musical Artist: Cris Cornell
Album of all time: there's too many to list
Amusement Park Ride: roller coasters
Car: Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes

Interesting Tidbits
I first realized I wanted to be an artist... when I was about 10, I built myself a guitar out of a piece of wood (no strings)
I want to be a singer/songwriter because... I'm not!
The most exciting part of my career so far... touring with Shania Twain, playing arenas
Strangest gift I've received: I have no idea
Most unusual job: fish packer
First paying gig: a party in a maple sugar house
Job I would rather starve than do: fish packer
My hero is... Vinnie Colaiuta, the best drummer in the world
Posters on my wall as a kid: Metallica, Slayer
First childhood crush on a star: Lita Ford
Worst date: I don't remember
Ideal date: eat, drink, dance and play
If I could tour with anyone it would be... U2
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, and ask him/her one question, it would be... Vince Colaiuta, "Can you teach me how to the drums?"

The Band's Sound

"It's country music with attitude and lots of energy."

David Pichette
Fiddle

The Basics

Birthday: July 23, 1977
Born: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Hometown: Orléans, Ontario, Canada
Reside: my suitcase!
Eyes: Light blue
Hair: Dirty blonde
Height: 5' 11"
Martial Status: single
Children: none
Siblings: 1 sister (Lise-Anne)
Pets: 2 dogs, Heidi & Poochie
Musical Influences: Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor
Instruments: fiddle, mandolin, guitar
Hobbies: music, traveling, learning languages, working out
Pet Peeve: loud people who talk too much
Boxers or briefs: boxers
I sleep in... boxers
I never leave home without... my fiddle

Favorites

Color: blue
Food: salads, smoothies
Drink: water and Tim Horton's coffee
Snack: apples, protein bars (especially Tri-o-plex)
Ice Cream: I don't eat it! Too sweet!!
Dessert: strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream
Restaurant: any sushi place
Place: a stage
Book: WWII history books
Movie: "Lauita e' Bella" ("Life Is Beautiful")
TV Shows: "6 Feet Under", "Sex & the City", "ER"
Cartoon: Cartoon: Bugs Bunny (God Bless Pepe le piu!)
Sports Team: Montreal Canadiens
Songs: "Por una Cabeza" (Carlos Gardel)
Actor: Christopher Walken
Actress: Meryl Streep
Musical Artist: Jamiroqual
Album of all time: NEW NASHVILLE CATS (Mark O'Connor)
Amusement Park Ride: any (and as many roller coasters as I can handle)
Car: BMW

Interesting Tidbits

I first realized I wanted to be an artist... when I started playing the violin at 5 years old. I always knew that making music and living out my dreams would be my destiny
I want to be a singer/songwriter because... I'm not either one!
The most exciting part of my career so far... playing in Kandahar, Afghanistan for 900 Canadian and 5,000 American military troops in May 2002
Strangest gift I've received: a giant St. Nectair (like a huge gray Camenbert) with a candle stuck in the middle as a birthday cake in France
Most unusual job: fiddle player for a disco band
First paying gig: a classical duet for a wedding when I was 12 years old
Job I would rather starve than do: being dressed in a clown suit waving hello to passing cars
My hero is... too early in my life to know
Posters on my wall as a kid: Michael Jackson
First childhood crush on a star: Lea Thompson
Worst date: I can't think of any!
Ideal date: it's impossible, an illusion... the best dates are spontaneous
If I could tour with anyone it would be... Garth Brooks
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, and ask them one question, it would be... Stephane Grappelli, I would have done anything to meet him and have him tell me about his experiences with gypsy and jazz music in France in the 40s.

--- from the official Emerson Drive website

Fantasy Music League

Manage Emerson Drive's career in the Fantasy Music League now!


NewsStream


Available Albums



Emerson Drive
What If
2004



Emerson Drive
Emerson Drive
2002



Emerson Drive
Countrified


Mon, Sep 25th
NMC Colors
NMC on your body?
Visit the NMC Store!

[ADV] MusicMatch Jukebox is free... for Macintosh and Windows!

Join the NMC Crew!


BMI Licensing for Webcasters

ASCAP The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

SESAC Performing Rights Organization for Songwriters and Publishers