Dave Marsh

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Dave Marsh


I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1963 and grew up in the north end Dartmouth military base of Shannon Heights. It was there I started to play music, cutting my teeth on early 1970’s rock and pop. Some kids bought guitars, but I zeroed in immediately on the drums. My granddad played the kettle drums in a regimental band, so maybe it was in the genes. In any case, there were lots of kids and lots of basements, and long rows of community garages you can still see today below the new bridge, where after-school bands formed and let it rock.

My first professional gig was as drummer in a country band at the age of 16, playing the Springhill legion. We played Tanya Tucker and soft country rock in bars and bingo halls around the province. From there it was the incompletion of High School and a move across the harbour to the downtown scene that led to membership and one off gigs in garage bands like The High Numbers, A Bunch of Girls, AKA, The Realists and the usual coffee shop/frat house gigs .

I moved to England in 1983 and joined the group The Only Alternative with compatriot Dave Lord from Halifax art band Agro. We released an eponymous album -- vinyl only, of course -- on Midnight Records in 1985. Punk-a-Billy was as out of step as you could get at the time, but it did lead to some memorable shows at legendary clubs and pubs all over London like the Fulham Greyhound with The UK Subs and the Half Moon, Herne Hill, with the Godfathers. I also gigged around London and Europe with acts as diverse as original Hamburg rocker Tony Sheridan and the Brixton reggae outfit Vivian Weathers and the Clouds which included members of Desmond Decker’s band. A chance meeting at a wedding in Nice also saw an opportunity to audition for Duran Duran, but, alas, I let it go.

The move back to Halifax in 1988 coincided with the beginning of a new era in local music. As we came of legal age, clubs began to open up offering stages, principally The Pub Flamingo, and this led to an unprecedented music scene downtown. The first group I wrote most of the material for was No Damn Fears which released the cassette only, Spring 1990, and included Matt Murphy, later of The SuperFriendz , Jennifer Pierce, later of Sub Pop’s Jale, and Andrew Scott, soon to be a founding member of Sloan, along with Doug MacDonald and artist Pete Digesu .

Between 1988 and 2000 I played in dozens of bands, some lasting only one or two shows - Leonard Conan, Jale, Bubaiskull, Bluegrass Lawnmower, The Piss Shivers. While others recorded and released albums - Blackpool, The SuperFriendz, whose Juno nominated debut Mock Up, Scale Down, became a bona fide Canadian “indie” classic, and an unreleased Mike Belitzky album recorded in New York with Tommy “Ramone” Erdelyi .

In 1999 I joined Joel Plaskett and formed the Emergency which has gone on to record three albums: Down At The Khyber, Truthfully Truthfully, and Ashtray Rock. The band has developed into a formidable live show with a gift for seat-of-your-pants improvisation. The Joel Plaskett Emergency remains a rock and roll night to remember whenever, wherever it plays.

The True Love Rules is my first complete album. It was written and recorded throughout 2007 in Halifax, Dartmouth and Sydney, Australia, and co-produced with Joel Plaskett who contributes to several of the tracks. It also has guest appearances by The SuperFriendz, original Emergency bassist Tim Brennan, Cool Blue Halo’s Paul Boudreau, and the always handsome Peter Elkas.

The songs are taken from the experiences of a life spent in the trenches of the music biz and the perseverance of true love through all the knocks. The influences are as diverse as the rock, pop, country and jazz heard in the music. The first track, Backstreets Thread, cites the enduring legacy of the teenage hangout and its cast of characters. It’s loud and slightly awkward, just like us.

The Way We Live Today, completes the sentiment of Backstreets only from a more realistic view. Still loud and just as confused. True Love Rules is a statement, a reminder of the need for self control. From rock-a-billy sauciness through country lament, the recording covers a lot of musical ground and closes with The Smoke Easy, which is equal shots of night club reminiscences and stubborn optimism to keep “rollin” on.

Playing live, touring, writing and recording … it’s all a musician could want. And here it is, The True Love Rules … hope you like it. Come out to a show ... and say hello.