A return home for Mystery Machine

When alt-rock outfit Mystery Machine rolls back into Chilliwack this weekend, it’s going to be an “insane” reunion show.

The boys of Mystery Machine are coming home to Chilliwack for a gig Dec. 8 at Echo Room.

The boys of Mystery Machine are coming home to Chilliwack for a gig Dec. 8 at Echo Room.

When alt-rock outfit Mystery Machine rolls back into town this weekend, it’s going to be an “insane” reunion show.

It’s their first gig back in their hometown of Chilliwack in many years, said Luke Rogalsky, the front man who plays guitar and sings.

Known for big, atmospheric guitar rock, the band signed with Nettwerk Records back in 1990, after winning the Vancouver Shindig contest.

“The first years we were still living in Chilliwack,” Rogalsky told The Progress. “We would play Greg’s Place and Earthquake Annie’s.”

That’s how they came to know Dapper Dan of Echo Room fame, and he urged them to come play a hometown show.

“Back then we’d put on all ages shows at Camp River Hall, or house parties in Greendale. Our first album was written Chilliwack.”

“There was also a really big gang of friends from both high schools, a unique artistic group of people, that emerged from our peer group.”

The band’s music became the “soundtrack” of their youth, with their progressive and crunchy riffs and penchant for ear-splitting volume.

They wrote and toured hard for eight years straight.

But when the label dropped them in 1998, Mystery Machine simply stopped making records and performing live for a chunk of time. They got jobs and mortgages, started businesses and had kids.

“We realized years ago rock and roll wasn’t going to pay the bills. We loved playing music together and it was awesome to do it on any level. But we weren’t really career musicians, as special as it is.”

Fast forward to 2012. Like many bands from the 1990s, they had a few reunion shows in recent years. Then they signed with Sonic Unyon to put out a new album, a 10-track recording called Western Magnetics.

It’s got some old and new material, and it’s their first disc since 1998.

The band is now a four-piece with Rogalsky, Bean (Chris Switzer), Shane Ward and Mario Nieva. Original drummer Jordan Pratt plays drums on some of the tracks.

“We put this record a out couple of months ago. That led to a few shows in Ontario. We came back and played Vancouver, and thought that was pretty much it.

“But Dan (Brooks) kept bugging us to do show in Chilliwack.”

All four band members were born and raised in the ‘Wack.

So the gig is booked and they invited a couple of buddies and their bands, Clarence and Trout, to join them on stage at the Echo this weekend.

“This whole thing is going to be an insane reunion,” Rogalsky said. “There could be upward of eight guitars on the stage at one time.”

So where did the name come from?

“The name ‘mystery machine’ comes from a big piece of farm machinery we once saw out in Greendale. We called it the mystery machine. There’s obviously a Scoobie Doo reference going on there too.”

So did they ever find out what the farm machine was used for?

“No. I guess if we ever found out what it was, we couldn’t call ourselves that anymore.”


• Mystery Machine, with guests Trout and Clarence, $10, 9 p.m. Dec. 8 at Echo Room on Main Street.