Band Profile: Cactus Jam

Grand Bend Legion
June 2
3-6 p.m.

Goderich-native Arlene Darndrough (keyboard and vocals) and Seaforth-native Kim Such (guitar and vocals).
Strip spoke with Arlene Darndrough.

Personal Style: We do just about everything. We just worked our repertoire up so we do almost everything except for current top 40. Once in a while, Kim will do a couple of those tunes. We do jazz, we do classics, we do country, whatever people ask for.

Influences: Anybody. We like all sorts of music. I can’t really say that there’s any because we take the CD of the song that we like and duplicate it. It’s just been experience in bands and trying to find something that everyone enjoys so we can do any venue we want and keep it affordable.

What people can expect: It’s entertaining and they can dance if they want. There’s humour.

Interview by Casey Lessard

Who got you started in music?
Arlene: Probably my father. He was a self taught singer and piano player. He played in nightclubs and he played Eddie Duchin style. Eddie Duchin was a famous piano player and he had a specific style. They actually made a movie about him, so he was as popular as Glen Miller.

What do you like about being a musician?
I like music or I wouldn’t be doing it. I just like any kind. The challenge is good and the end result is satisfying as well.

Where did you first perform?
It was with a big band and I don’t remember the name but it was at the Stork Club in Port Stanley. As Cactus Jam we’ve been together 15 years with different members coming and going; I’ve been the only constant but different people come and go.

When did you decide that this was something you would do all the time?
When it became obvious that people wanted to hear music they could dance to and have it still be affordable. These days DJs have taken over. But I’ve always wanted to be in a band. This seems to be what people want and we’ve kept with it.

Why do you think people still want live music?
It’s not so much the young generation. The older generation wants live music because they’re used to it. We’re affordable so we do a lot of backyard parties and special events. Some people prefer to see live music at work. Some bars we go to, the younger generation is receptive to it, but at weddings, you’ll almost never see a band now. That’s probably because a bigger band is not affordable. A lot of bands do it for pleasure more than for profit.