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BENTWOOD ROCKER began in the recording studio.

After more than a decade of performing mostly cover material as the popular Canadian band, "Sands of Time", musicians Eric Baragar, Mike Goettler, Steve Smith and Tim Campbell decided to take a new direction. The group would exist to write and record original songs.

With an extensive catalogue of songs, the band began recording the "312 Sessions" in Eric's basement studio in Belleville, Ontario. A fifth member, Dan Thompson, was added to the group. Dan was a long-time acquaintance from various area bands he had fronted, including the Trenton, Ontario based recording artists, "Noah".

For all the members of the as-yet-nameless group, this was a new approach to the music business... writing, arranging and recording; instead of, rehearsing, traveling and performing.

This new band soon came to the attention of veteran record producer, Jack Richardson (Guess Who, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger). Jack took BENTWOOD ROCKER into Nimbus Nine Studio where they recorded eight tracks. Although a record deal didn't come together at that point, the experience of working with Richardson inspired the band to release their first indie album, Not Taken, on Skyhawk Records.

The first single from the album, "Forgive and Forget", received substantial airplay in Canada and caught the ear of the Quality Records label. Just before signing with Quality, guitarist, Tim Campbell departed to pursue a solo career.

At this time Quality execs decided to go with a new album. BENTWOOD ROCKER's manager, Ken Williams, convinced Quality to send the band to Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida. It was in Criteria's Studio B, where hit albums by such artists as Eric Clapton, Eagles and the Allman Brothers were made that the band's second album, Take Me To Heaven, was recorded.

After returning from the Criteria sessions, BENTWOOD ROCKER added Peterborough, Ontario based guitarist, Barry Haggarty, to the group. An accomplished singer-songwriter himself, Barry added the finishing touches to the new album.

The Canadian release of Take Me to Heaven was followed by a European release on the Bellaphon label.

When Quality Records ceased its Canadian operations, BENTWOOD ROCKER signed a new record deal with Aquarius Records and the single, "Second Wind", was released. A heavy schedule of live performances continued.

BENTWOOD ROCKER made the decision to stop touring and concentrate once again on writing and recording. The band came up with the new material for their self-titled CD, BENTWOOD ROCKER. Released in 1996, the CD has received strong radio play in Canada.

The band had an idea to create a millenial project that was a collection of all their recorded material to date. The result was the release of the boxset, The Works - Taken From The Vaults. The success of the compilation spread from Canada to Europe spurring CD and online sales.

Forty years of recording and performing together as a group sets BENTWOOD ROCKER apart in the world of popular music. With the release of three new CDs, their music is a showcase of the many sides of a group whose career still continues today in the studio and on stage.

Bentwood Rocker band members

Dan Thompson is the voice of Bentwood Rocker. Born and raised in Brighton, Ontario, he started out as a singing drummer in his first band at age fifteen. Dan soon discovered his true calling as a front man lead vocalist. Through high school and university, Dan played professionally with several bands including The Westbury Union and Boojum, a group that featured future Bentwood Rocker members Tim Campbell and Steve Smith

After completing a degree in history and politics, Dan joined a band called Noah who were signed to ABC Dunhill Records, a U.S. company. Randy Bachman was a friend of the band and had produced their third album. Due to a record company shuffle, the album was shelved and a scheduled tour with Bachman Turner Overdrive was cancelled.

Dan was later recruited for Bentwood Rocker with the idea that this would be a studio band recording original songs. At the time, Dan was part way through law school which he took up as a fall back career after realizing the uncertainty of the music business and starting a young family.

Largely due to the patience and understanding of his life partner, Laurie, Dan has been able to pursue a dual career in law and music. Together Dan and Laurie successfully raised three sons. Sadly, like Rush drummer Neil Peart, Dan lost his wife to cancer in 2016. Recording and performing with Bentwood Rocker has been a major part of Dan’s life for decades. Affectionately known as "Danny" by close friends and family, in his spare time he enjoys doing community service and playing beer league hockey. Dan is especially excited about the material on the new Bentwood Rocker CD. Like his bandmates, Dan considers the new songs to be some of their best work ever.

 

Dan Thompson

Eric Baragar

Eric Baragar is Bentwood Rocker’s guitarist, keyboard player, backup vocalist, principal songwriter, recording engineer and producer. Born into a musical family in Belleville, Ontario, he studied piano and guitar at an early age. Eric and boyhood friend and neighbour, Mike Goettler, joined their first band together as young teenagers. The Sands of Time had a brush with success when Eric’s song “I’ve Got a Feeling” went top ten in Canada and the band toured the country.

When the Sands of Time moved to Toronto, Eric studied at York University before returning to Belleville and pursuing a career in songwriting and recording. He earned several Songwriting Awards and established a successful commercial recording studio business. Bentwood Rocker came to be as a result of Eric’s studio and catalogue of original songs. The band was assembled to record that material which led to their releasing three studio albums, a number of singles and a millennium project box set. While working on Bentwood Rocker’s second album in Miami, Florida, Eric met Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees at his personal recording studio.

A self-taught IT expert, Eric has moved exclusively into the digital recording world, producing Bentwood Rocker and other artists in his studio. In his off-stage career, Eric is a consultant for the worldwide MIDI electronic music industry.

With his wife and life partner, Janet, Eric has raised three children, an actress daughter and two musician sons. The Baragars enjoy travelling and spending time with their large extended family and friends.

Growing up in Belleville, Ontario, Bentwood Rocker bassist and backup vocalist Mike Goettler lived on the same street as future bandmate Eric Baragar. Together they started out playing ukulele and Hawaiian guitar in the garage trying to be the Beatles.

Mike joined his first band when he was fifteen as a bass player with Eric and his older brother Dennis. Known as the Sands of Time, the group also included future Bentwood Rocker guitarist Tim Campbell and drummer Steve Smith. After a top ten hit single and a stint living in Toronto, the Sands of Time broke up. Mike attended York University before returning to Belleville and becoming a founding member of Bentwood Rocker.

Mike’s longtime friend, Eric Baragar, had built a recording studio in his basement and together they assembled the band to record original songs. Over the years of recording and performing with Bentwood Rocker, Mike developed his own songwriting skills and a number of the songs on the latest Bentwood CD are his. Mike has also been a major contributor to the production and mixing of the new CD. His high range harmonies are a big part of the unique Bentwood Rocker vocal sound.

Like his bandmates, Mike has managed a successful parallel career in business both as a representative for Rogers Television and part owner of a music store in Kingston, Ontario. Mike and his soulmate, Suzanne, who he first met when she came to a Bentwood Rocker show with singer Dan Thompson’s sister, have raised a daughter and two sons. Mike and Suzanne are avid boaters.

Mike Goettler

Barry Haggarty

Born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Barry Haggarty was a teenage guitar prodigy. He was discovered by Ronnie Hawkins who recruited him for his backup band, The Hawks. Touring with Ronnie, Barry played on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue and jammed with the Band whose members were formerly with The Hawks.

Barry joined Bentwood Rocker in 1982. He came in to play lead guitar on the “Take Me to Heaven” album and added the finishing touches. While continuing to record and perform with Bentwood Rocker, Barry pursued a solo career which included songwriting with partner, Cyril Rawson in Nashville. Some of their demos were performed by Shania Twain before she was famous.

Barry also toured extensively with acts such as The Family Brown and Ronnie Prophet. He was nominated as Guitar Player of the Year for three consecutive years.

Barry became interested in recording and eventually built his own Haggarty Sound Studio in his hometown Peterborough. He continues to be in demand as a producer/engineer and studio guitarist. He has worked with a variety of artists including Serena Ryder, Natalie McMaster, Valdy, and Ronnie Hawkins.

An accomplished singer/songwriter in his own right, Barry has released two charted singles from his “Old Days” CD, and recorded a CD at Abbey Road Studios in London, England. He is on the "Pathway of Fame" in Peterborough. Barry and his wife Susan, have raised two boys who are both musicians like dad. Barry is involved in their careers as songwriters and recording artists.

Barry’s guitar playing on the new Bentwood Rocker CD confirms his status as one of Canada’s premiere guitarists.

Steve Smith is the drummer, backup vocalist, and resident jokester in Bentwood Rocker. An air force brat growing up, Steve has been known for years by all who love him as “Smitty”. Inspired by the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, he gave up on piano lessons and started playing the drums. Steve left his first band at 17 to join next door neighbor Tim Campbell in the Belleville, Ontario based Sands of Time.

While he was still in high school the band’s single “I’ve Got a Feeling” went top ten in Canada. Unfortunately, the Sands of Time fell apart following an ill-fated move to Toronto. Steve then accepted an offer to join a band called Boojum which featured future Bentwood Rocker singer, Dan Thompson. Based in Peterborough, Ontario, the band members all attended university while pursuing their musical careers. Steve ultimately attained his degree in psychology.

He then returned to Belleville, became a founding member of Bentwood Rocker, and maintained parallel careers as a rock drummer and youth probation officer. Just after the band’s second album was released, Steve became a dad. He has been a dedicated “Mr. Mom” to his only daughter while continuing to record and perform with Bentwood Rocker. Besides his in-studio humour, Steve has contributed many arrangement ideas to Bentwood recordings.

Steve’s vocals are a signature part of the Bentwood Rocker sound. His prowess as a singing drummer has led to him performing with other acts including the international touring Beatles tribute “All You Need is Love”. Smitty and his wife, Lori, love travelling and dining and living on their cabin cruiser.

Steve Smith

 

 

Worked with...

During years on the stage and in the studio, Bentwood Rocker and band members have worked with top professions such as:

Artists:

bulletRandy Bachmann
bulletBurton Cummings
bulletBob Dylan
bulletEric Burdon
bulletSass Jordan
bulletTom Cochrane
bulletDan Hill
bulletAnn Murray
bulletBTO
bulletKim Mitchell
bulletTrooper
bulletRich Dodson
bulletIrish Rovers
bulletRonnie Hawkins
bulletLouis Reney
bullet(One to One).

 

Producers:

bulletJack Richardson
bullet(Bob Segar, Alice Cooper)
bulletIan Thomas
bullet(Ian Thomas Band, The Boomers)
bulletLes Howe
bullet( Alanis Morrisette, One 2 One)
bulletTerry Brown
bullet(Rush)
bulletJohn Driscoll
bullet(Gino Soccio, Wednesday)
bulletGilles Goddard
bullet(Producer/Songwriter)
bulletCyril Rawson
bullet(Producer/Songwriter)

 

Engineers:

bulletDennis Hetzendorfer
bullet(The Bee Gees, John Mellencamp, America, Enrique Iglesias)
bulletGreg Ladanyi
bullet(Toto, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Warren Zevon, Jeff Healey Band)
bulletMike Jones
bullet(Bryan Adams, Triumph, Glass Tiger, Blue Rodeo, Alannah Myles)
bulletAndrew Thompson
bullet(Arrogant Worms)

 

Video Production:

bulletDennis Beauchamps
bullet(director for One 2 One, Alanis Morrisette)
bulletPierre Jodoin
bullet(cinematographer for Paul McCartney, The Box)

 

Radio:

bulletRoger Asbuy (CHUM-Radio)
bulletDave Charles (Media Results)
bulletGreg Hunter (CKLC)
bulletSteve Bolton (Loyalist College)
bulletPeter Thompson (Quinte Broadcasting)

 

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