I’VE HAD THE PLEASURE of knowing Brad Hails for most of my adult life. I first met him as a musician, then we became business partners in an annual music showcase in Burlington, Ontario called Burly Calling, which we’ve co-produced for over 10 years together.
As long as I’ve known Brad he’s been a vocal cannabis advocate and most of my early experience with cannabis advocacy were through conduits he provided through his many musical endeavors. It’s through similar conduits, Brad, met well known and beloved cannabis advocate Shane King, who, tragically lost his life in a motorcycle accident while in Mexico with his family this past March.
When news broke here in Canada about Shane’s death, social media exploded with condolences from all spectrums of the cannabis industry. If there was any positives to such a tragedy, it became remarkably clear how much love exists between those who have long participated in Canadian Cannabis advocacy. A side of the industry that brought Canada into being a global, progressive, industry leader that has the potential to guide other G7 countries through the “green renaissance”.
After the news of Shane’s death, Brad, Shane’s family, friends and cannabis advocates alike announced a Go Fund Me Campaign and benefit concert taking place May 6th in Burlington. Both efforts focused on raising money for Shane’s family. The ladder sold out in a day.
Brad took the time to chat about Shane with me in hopes to raise awareness of the King families Go Fund Me campaign, and to shed some further light on what he and Shane had been collaborating on.
BR: You’ve been active in cannabis advocacy for quite sometime, through performing, writing and video. Can you tell me when and how you got involved?
BH: I would say my involvement in Advocacy was completely accidental. All of my young bands, I’m sure you know, were heavily influenced by recreational cannabis smoking. Getting stoned, hanging with friends and jamming. The first real eye opener we had was when my old band Pail Face Boogie was asked to play Hempfest in Northern Ontario back in 2004. We had a budding friendship at the time with fellow federal cannabis advocate, Alison Myrden. Alison connected us with the organizers. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into (laughing). We packed up the van and headed north never realizing the band or our direction would ever be the same again. After a nine hour journey towards Sault Ste Marie combined with some backwoods driving, we finally found the Hempfest grounds. We were expecting to see Giant inflatable Pepsi cans, concessions and your usual festival commercialism. What we found was an old crumbling cabin, a huge mud pit we had to drive through, and the most beautiful group of misfits we could have been invited into. I think that year, there was around 800 people camping in the valley and they welcomed us into their family. We played and became a huge part of Hempfest over the next 9 years and through our new friendships and experiences, we learned so much about Cannabis. Much more than just a doobie between friends before jamming. We saw its healing effects on our friends, learned about how it could be used to save our environment, and soaked up the love of a kind hearted community that could party together for days in the woods, peacefully celebrating one of nature’s gifts. During those years, Pailface Boogie evolved into The Killin’ Time Band. Our creative experiences in this community began to change. Our outlooks and the music we were writing, we were uplifted by the Community and given the honour of being a voice for them. I would say the song “It Doesn’t Make sense” has had the biggest impact on me and my Canna friends. So many people have taken the time to reach out with their thanks and to let me know how much the song has meant to them, and given them strength or comfort when they needed it. To be able to help someone by writing and singing a song is an amazing feeling. We hosted a fundraiser for Hempfest at a bar in Burlington in maybe 2007. Alison Myrden was in attendance, as always she has been one of our biggest supporters. During the show she was given a hard time by security for medicating outside of the venue. Alison is always so kind and well spoken, tried to educate them by showing her license, but was asked to leave. I couldn’t believe that a venue would not realize that they have agreed to host a “Hempfest” Fundraiser with a bunch of Canna bands, and not realize someone may medicate. Right after this event, I went home and wrote “doesn’t make Sense” For Alison.
BR: A few years ago, you launched Puff Jam in Ontario, can you tell us how this came to be?
BH: Puff Jam began in 2014 when I partnered with my good friend, “Puff Mama” who runs an awesome comedy club in Toronto called “The Underground Comedy Club”. Puff Mama has been an activist and an amazing, inspiring person to me from the first time I met her at Hempfest. Together, Puff Mama and I wanted to start up a party closer to home for all of our “Hempfester” friends and Canna community. This summer will be our 5th year and I can’t wait. Puff Jam is a kind gathering of friends to celebrate music, comedy, medicine, education and friendship. It runs the second weekend of August every year and we will be announcing this years location soon. Everyone who loves a kind environment and a great party should check it out!www.puffjam.ca
BR: How did you meet Shane King?
BH: I think the first time I met Shane was when KTB was playing the TY expo at Toronto Convention Centre. Shane was in charge of the sound and bands amongst a million other jobs so he was our “go to guy” for the gig. After that, Shane and his family were everywhere we were, Hempfest, Global, Marijuana March, 420 at Yonge and Dundas Square. The Kings are beautiful, kind, magnetic people and friendship was inevitable. Shane and I share the same “Unique” Sense of humour and love of life. We are fortunate enough to have been welcomed into The King’s lives and love them like family. Shane loved his family, his friends, and his music. Generous to a fault and fearless. What I would give to hear that big outrageous laugh again while we get into some Shenanigans.
BR: In your own words, can you tell us what motivated Shane about cannabis?
BH: Shane just loved his community & believed very strongly in Cannabis as a medicine. Shane was my friend.
BR: The two of you were planning a festival in Mexico prior to his accident, can you tell us the state of that project?
BH: Yes, “Isla Got Soul” was a dream of Shane’s. His family had an amazing party every summer in Canada called, Burnt Up Fest, that was always a highlight of the year. Shane wanted to bring the same thing to Mexico “like a Burnt up South” he said to me one time. I have been fortunate enough to spend some time in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, hanging, playing some music and loving life thanks to the Kings. Shane’s introduced me to my new friend Penny, who is behind Isla Got Soul. Penny is a Canadian now in Mexico and she has one of the coolest bars on the island called, The Joint Reggae Bar & Grill. I have had the pleasure of being able to perform there for a few weeks this year and it was amazing. Anyways, Shane, Penny & I have been working on Isla Got Soul for about a year and it will be taking place this year on 420 (April 20th 2018) at 4:20 and runs until Sunday April 22. The festival features Roots, Rock & reggae music from international and local musicians on various stages around Isla Mujeres, and on a sunset Catamaran cruise. This festival meant a lot to Shane, so we have pushed forward with it and will be dedicating it to our friend. Shane loves music and celebration so there is no better way to show him our love then to make his vision come true. www.islagotsoul.com
BR: Your upcoming fundraiser has been sold out for weeks, but people can still donate to your cause through a go fund me, correct? Can you tell our readers what your raising money for and how they can get involved?
BH: “Music for The King” will be taking place at The Boston Manor in Burlington on May 6th. So many amazing bands have donated their time for the event. All the bands have performed for the King’s at Burnt up fest and have been embraced by their love and energy. It is all of our pleasure to be playing this show, and again, to celebrate a great friend, husband, father and activist the way he loved to do.
My Son The Hurricane, Mob Barley, The Killin’ Time Band, LO-FI, Kevin Foster, Dan Walsh, Peg & Willy, and Cory Zakk’s will all be performing. Plus, we have some amazing silent auction items that have been kindly donated. The show sold out almost the minute tickets were released, so many people want to support the family and repay the kindness the King’s have shown. I wish we could have sold another 1000 tickets. Every penny is going to Amber and Shane’s kids, so if anyone couldn’t get a ticket but still wants to help out, please visit the go fund me page https://ca.gofundme.com/dxbnb-help-the-king-family
Or please contact me of you can donate an item for the silent auction.
Long Live The king!