The Reluctant Cowboy

By Charelle Evelyn on February 16 2015

Mike Vanderlans didn’t exactly jump at the
chance to be in the Chris Buck Band.
Photo Credit: Christos Sarglogos

After moving to Vancouver from Prince George a decade ago, Vanderlans was on the lookout for musical opportunities after his main vehicle, Floored, ran out of gas.

Chris Buck was one of the first people he met in the big city and he asked Vanderlans if he wanted to play bass in his country band. Vanderlans’ rejection of the idea was swift. “I don’t like country music. Not at all,” he recalled. But Buck was persistent.

“I was trying a bunch of different stuff and I was like, you know what? More music can’t be a bad thing,” said Vanderlans, who has now played three different stints with the band that has quickly gained traction as the act to watch.

Vanderlans rejoined the band just over a year ago and together the group just brought home a B.C. Country Music Association award for Best Country Club Act of 2014.

It was a well-deserved trophy for the country/reggae/rock band that for a stretch of at least two months in 2014 played on average four nights per week and more than 150 live shows in the past two years.

On Feb. 20 and 21, Chris Buck Band brings the party to Prince George, headlining Nights 8 and 9 at Cariboo House. Presented by Citizen Special Events and Pacific Western Brewing, Cariboo House will offer 18 straight nights of after-hours fun during the Canada Winter Games.

Vanderlans, who hasn’t played a gig in his hometown since he moved away, said audiences could expect a top-notch show. “We’re a damn entertaining band,” he said, whether they’re getting people on stage to sing, having dance contests or bantering with the crowd. “We have a good time and we get other people to have a good time, too.”

The Prince George stop will be just one of the jam-packed weekends in Vanderlans’ year (he has three or four weekends free between now and Dec. 15). In addition to his Chris Buck Band duties, Vanderlans also plays with Vancouver rock outfit Dead City Scandal as well as other side projects.

“I pretty much have my hands in music as much as possible,” said Vanderlans, a self-proclaimed “huge bass nerd” who plays one of his four strings that sits besides his bed first thing every morning. It’s an obsession that started as a youngster listening to a California Raisins cassette, the bass lines in the old soul and funk tunes stirring something up unquenchable.

“I’ve always needed to play,” he said. “ I get antsy if I’m not playing all the time.”



Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.


Musicians, M2015Norm Coyne