I have a fairly strict stance against using Drake lyrics in any aspect of my daily life, but just this once, I may have to draw upon his poetry. As he once mused, “I swear sports and music are so synonymous, ’cause we wanna be them and they wanna be us.”
In this case, sports and music have drawn together two generations of Leasiders into a band of greatness.
In 2006, while on duty as parent supervisors at their sons’ hockey camp north of the city, three dads gathered on the camp beach at 4 a.m. with guitars, and realized they shared a lot more than their kids’ interest in sports. The dads, who all had kids playing in Leaside hockey, returned to the city and within a short period of time started playing together on a more regular basis.
The band of three soon became a band of seven, including more Leaside hockey dads and two friends from outside the neighbourhood. The music was fairly typical “dad” music. A bit of Beach Boys, interspersed with a little old rock. We all know the type.
Ndecision, a name, which as one could guess, resulted from an inability to settle on any other band name, includes Sandy McBride, Peter Tallis, Dave Howard, Dave McCauley, John Mason, Dave Porter, and Mark Vanderhelm. What started as an early morning beach shindig soon became a frequent gathering of the guys in McBride’s basement. It’s home to every piece of musical equipment imaginable and is a perfect mix of equipment along with comfy seating for pondering songs to include in their repertoire. And that repertoire saw a major overhaul when Ndecision was invited to play in the amazing annual Leaside fundraiser, Laugh Out Loud. The band was in dire need of a bass player, so an invitation was extended to John Mason’s son, Daniel. Says Daniel, “I didn’t know ANY of their music when we started playing together.” Focused on eliminating all Beach Boys’ music from set lists, the younger Mason introduced the dads to more modern music, now including rock, dance, indie rock, punk, and a smattering of country.
Soon after, more of the band members’ kids came on board with McCauley’s son Connor jamming with the band in McBride’s basement and at a few gigs and lending a hand with sound engineering. McBride’s son Mitch has brought incredible sound to the band with his mixing talents, and Cara Mason, daughter of John and sister of Daniel, lends her beautiful voice to the group. She has also introduced more female artists’ work, such as Adele, to their set lists. Dave Porter’s daughter also has her hand in the band as the group’s videographer and photographer. The kids, all now in their 20s, love hanging out with the band (which indicates the cool level of the dads).
The experience of coming together to play music, says John Mason, is “… a great stress relief. We love our group and want to pass along the enjoyment to our kids and to share it with them.”
Ndecision has helped the Laugh Out Loud fundraiser on five occasions, played at Rolph Road School’s 75th anniversary, and opened for several bands at the Leaside Pub over the years. This month, the band is booked to play their first solo gig at the Leaside Pub on Saturday, June 9th, and both dads and kids are excited about this big gig.
As Sandy McBride notes, “It’s the kids who brought us together through sports.” But it is now music which has brought both generations together.