Junior Pantherz

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Junior Pantherz
Recording, producing, promoting and distributing your own music takes a lot of work and that doesn't account for the hazards of booking your own gigs, doing the P.R. and trying to avoid the inevitable pitfalls of touring on an economy budget. None of this seems be of any concern to Saskatoon-based indie-rockers Junior Pantherz, though. Their love of music is the only inspiration required to release five albums in six years, tour the country continually and dedicate their lives to creating music they love.

Lead vocalist/guitarist Terry Mattson and drummer Arnold Van Lambalgen, have been neighbors since early childhood. Terry's mother, who was a piano teacher, brought a parade of students into their front room every day, somehow dragging Terry deep into the creative world of music in the process. Not only are Terry's lyrics predominant in the JPz songs, but his art adorns the cover of their latest CD Death by Life, an album that provided him a creative outlet for dealing with the reality of loss in the face of life.

Arnold, who became an audiophile at an early age, began his drumming career hitting whatever he could find while Terry strummed along. Throughout their early teens, Arnold and Terry played in several bands together, frequently reformatting and renaming until finally one name stuck. Today, besides playing with Junior Pantherz, Arnold collects records, works for Universal Music and hosts a weekly show on community radio.

Bassist S.J. Kardash was classically trained on piano and upright bass. He began playing electric bass in a local blues band whose first professional performance was opening for Colin James and Sass Jordan when S.J. was just 11 years old. Seven years later, after several albums, more touring than a teenager should be allowed to enjoy and playing some pretty impressive gigs including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, S.J left the band to join the Junior Pantherz.

They've played shows with The Pixies, Modest Mouse, and The Dears. But while the profile of these types of venues may have contributed to the stature of their resume, the Junior Pantherz have always been content to build their following one fan at a time. If just listening to their music doesn't do it, watching them perform surely will.

From the moment the guys take the stage, it's apparent they're no strangers to the limelight. But there's no strutting, nor pretension on display here. No melodrama. No idle chit-chat. As they settle into the shadows, you know this is their world, and without a single word they dare you to pay attention. Those who have stood in front of the Junior Pantherz before know full well that this is just the calm before the storm.