The Neüterhead: Ace of Spays Fundraiser has been an ongoing event at the Rickshaw for six years now. You see the odd person in town with Neüterhead T-shirts, and members of some pretty respected Vancouver bands participate every year, with this year’s roster including members of Baptists, Bison, Dead Again, Harma White, Idle Rites, Molten Lava, Revocation, Waingro, and Worse. As with another annual Rickshaw event, Keithmas, you get the sense that this is an East Van rock tradition that’s going to stick.
We’re all in favour of the event, but this year, it’s the Blue Öyster Cult cover band (someone tell Steve Newton?) that got us extra excited. Nothing against Faith No More and Jimi Hendrixboth of whom will also be the subject of cover bands on March 1, but the prospect of a band of Vancouver metal musicians ripping up “ME262” is kind of impossible to resist (not that we know for sure that that will be on their set list).
Shane Clark (former guitarist for 3 Inches of Blood and current bassist for Bison) is a founding member of Neüterhead, and is on the board of directors.
“I’ve been involved since the very start," he notes, "and have played every show that we’ve done so far.”
Clark is willing to cop to being in said BÖC tribute band, saying “we’ll be covering from the first record to Cultosaurus Erectus, and lots in between.”
But the MO of Neüterhead is to maintain a certain secrecy about what is planned.
“We’ve always said what bands have people involved in the show but we’ve never been specific to who’s doing what,” Clark tells the Straight. “it’s fun for people to have a nice little surprise when the bands come on to do their set.”
In addition to that pleasing level of secrecy, there’s an ephemeral nature to Neüterhead: the bands, generally speaking, are one-offs.
“It’s fun for musicians to put the cover bands together and play with different members and friends from other bands," Clark says. "It makes the events special and lots of fun.”
He adds, referring to a Rush cover band from the past, “My sweet bro Ash and I put Xanadudes together for Neüterhead and played twice and ended up doing other shows because it was so much fun.”
Early listings for this year’s event promised an Allman Brothers cover band, with that now off the table. “They unforuntately had to bow out of the show due to someone’s schedule not working out, so we added a Jimi band," Clark reveals. "It’ll be lots of fun.”
He adds that attendees can expect “cool prizes, merch, 50/50, beer and rock and roll—a winning combination."
Past organizations that Neüterhead has raised funds for include Vokra, Broken Promises Rescue and Hugabull, to name a few, with 100% of proceeds going to make sure rescued animals are spayed and neutered.
“Neuterhead is active all year and donates all year to different organizations," Clark says of the non-profit. "Our HQ is located at Long Live Cats and Dogs, so we will see what happens on a case by case basis.”
The longevity of the event was built in, Clark adds; when Neüterhead began in 2013. Right from the beginning there was always the intention of sticking around.
“We most definitely intended to have longevity. One of the ways we raise funds is from rock and metal style merch that people like because it looks cool and it’s for a great cause.”
As for the future, the plan is “to just stay the course and do our thing. We have a lot of forward-thinking folks involved, so new ideas pop up all the time.”
The Neüterhead: Ace of Spays Fundraiser takes place Friday (March 1) at the Rickshaw. For more information, go here.