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Page history last edited by Al Hovden 8 years ago


A Band Is A Beautiful Thing


The story of the rise and fall of the great Vancouver rock band The Burner Boys


The Burner Boys were a jug rock band when they first began, similar in style to the skiffle music the Quarrymen played before they became the Beatles - but very loudly amplified. They cut a swathe across Vancouver and British Columbia. between 1970 and 1972. They were one of the first bands to write all their own material in Vancouver at the time - which often got them into trouble. Their wild stage presence drew loyal crowds to hear original songs they could hear nowhere else. They caused riots, were chased by shotgun wielding millionaires and had the loyalty of every gang that counted.


Check out the new Burner Boys web site. We are now in production on the new documentary film based on this book.


***Read the first three chapters. If you wish to read more let me know who you are and we can make the whole book available to you. We are trying not to leak the book out to the public while the film is being produced and we look for a publisher for the book. Contact: al@theburnerboys.com




The Burner Boys in front of the Big-O Hotel, North Vancouver, B.C. - publicity shot around 1971. The band members knew the woman in the photo only as a passing aquaintance. Obviously some wanted to get to know her better.


*** It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of David Jenneson, the author of this autobiographical novel "A Band Is A Beautfiul Thing". He passed away January 24, 2009 after a 6 month battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed - there was no one like him in this quadrant of the universe. This was Dave's last finished work and happily he has left this glimpse back to when our lives were full of hope and boundless energy - and a band was a beautiful thing.


Contact me if you are interested in this project in any way.


Alan Hovden

email: al@theburnerboys.com.



Lead singer David “Big D” Jenneson wrote the story of the Burner Boys, a book of Creative Non-Fiction called A Band is a Beautiful Thing Dave had three books published before his sad and untimely death in 2008. But Seriously is a collection of his internationally published columns of observational wit. Night of the Realtors was his first high concept novel about a realtor who sells the White House and The Helping Hands Of Christmas is a short novella about 12 small flying helping hands that arrive at his home one Christmas – hilarity ensues!  The first two are available on Amazon.ca in Canada or Amazon.com in the U.S. Helping Hands Of Christmas is currently out of print.


A Band is a Beautiful Thing is not only the story of the Burner Boys, but what has become a distant time – when the idealism of the 1960′s collided with the hedonism and repression of the 1970′s. It was the last gasp of the 1950′s old guard establishment. Drugs like LSD, MDA, methadrine, marijuana, peyote, and a hundred others were freely available yet possession of a gram of hash could get you two years in Federal prison. People were beaten by mounted riot police for smoking a joint in public.


The homeless were arrested for vagrancy and thrown on an outbound Greyhound with a one way ticket. A relatively minor charge could literally get you sent into internal exile – banned from the province for a year. Feminism and the environmental movement were still a twinkle in God’s eye and mounted riot police attacked a crowd in the Gastown Riot.


It is widely believed that the Burner Boys still secretly perform in a basement in Lynn Valley, perfecting new original songs for their return. Perhaps this is so. It is said that late at night when everything is closed, as busses and cabs hiss up and down Lonsdale in the rain, you can still hear the ghostly whine of the orange Burner Boy van. There have been sightings. Classics like Greaseball Heaven and I Deliver Chicken may capture the heart of another generation. Are the Burner Boys returning?

It's up to you.


Let People Know


There are many people who came in contact with the band during the period from late 1969 to 1972. If you know of anyone who might be able to contribute to this story please email them the location of this wiki.


Email Alan Hovden at al@theburnerboys.com  if you need help in any way.





Dave Jenneson on stage at the Club 140 in the Big-O Hotel in North Vancouver


Praise for A Band is a Beautiful thing.


`Dave Jenneson was not your typical rock star wannabe. He didn’t even try to affect that stance. While not of the wiry frame, layered hair and sculpted facial features of the gum-chewing rockers of the day, Dave had a high-energy stage presence and way of moving that worked well. The white shoes, various cuts of sports jackets, even square-dance lace ties told you he was here to testify. I always imagined if Hemingway and the Lost Generation gang had decided to rock in Paris during their stay in the 1920s, Dave would be their man. He was literate rock. ' - Al Harlow, Prism


I just finished reading A Band Is A Beautiful Thing and really enjoyed it. Some of the band names brought back memories of living in Vancouver. I sure hope that you are shopping this story around as a movie, it would be great! - Gary Ranson, Victoria, B.C.


Thank you for your query. The chapter you sent is wonderful. My son John has been in various bands in Montreal, The Brains being the present one. I recalled stories of their adventures and road trips when I read about yours. Shoreline is a very small press, and we are terribly backed up. I wish I could said yes to reading your manuscript, but I can't. With your other successes you can probably find a publisher on the West Coast or anywhere. We do wish you luck with this project. - Judith Isherwood, Shoreline Publishing, Montreal.




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Comments (5)

Anonymous said

at 9:23 pm on Apr 20, 2006

Here are some earlier emails I sent to Dave
Hi Dave,
Hmmm.....Burner Mansion. I remember getting seriously shafted on the rooms. I ended up in that tiny little broom closet/laundryroom off the kitchen. There was barely enough room for a single bed and a suitcase and I don't think I got too much action until Pop and Rich moved out and I got an actual bedroom. I think Carl Jensen used it as his shooting gallery because I often found used needles in between the rough wood panelling. There was a small pile of cat shit in one corner of Alfie's room when we moved in and it remained there in fossilized form until the day we left. I always felt a little uncomfortable when Edna Jensen came to visit (inspect?) the house. She really liked you and Tim and Alfie Nordstrom, but regarded me with a degree of suspicion. Said I was an "island", whatever that's supposed to mean. I guess I wasn't loud enough for her liking. Four Burners in one small space were about 3 Burners too many. Your relationship with Alf was always dynamic. You were either getting along great, collaborating well on songs, boozing and laughing it up or getting into Gestalt confrontations with personal "projections", clashing over musical arrangements and creating a general air of hostility around the house. For the most part, we had a blast at Burner Mansion. I was 18 when I moved there, the first place I lived after moving out of my parent's house, a baptism by fire, you could say. There was always someone to drink with, play music with, smoke with, play chess with and, often, the prospect of a roll in the hay.
We may have contacted Ray, the bullshitting booking agent, to give him shit for shafting us, but we never dealt with him again. Didn't Sam Feldman start getting us some gigs? I can't remember hearing anything from the musicians at Gassy Jack's that night, just from the patrons who obviously were more inclined to rock out than groove on.

Anonymous said

at 9:35 pm on Apr 20, 2006

Didn't Alfie discover a colony of crabs in his pubic region on the drive south, thanks to infested bedding at the Band house? You and Tim as well? He made us buy blue paisley shirts (as front man, I think yours was different, maybe solid navy) and beige, bell-bottom trousers. Said we looked sharp, like a professional band should.
Hi Dave,
Loved chapter 3, thought it was funny as hell. Another name for the main drag in Rupert is Apache Pass. Wasn't the song everybody requested "Green River" by CCR? Or maybe "Tie A Yellow Ribbon (Around That Old Oak Tree)? I've never heard of "Yellow River". When I think about those early days at Burner Mansion I recall inducing Rich and Poppy and baby Christie to come and live at the house with the promise that we'd be on the road most of the time, they'd have the place to themselves and only have to contribute a fraction of the rent. Apart from the occasional weekend up to the Sunshine Coast or over to Van. Is. I don't think we ever left town for an extended period again. At the time none of us could figure out why they wanted to move out. So what if we started rehearsing at 1am after the pub closed down and invited anyone who would buy some off-sales beer to tag along. Even after working a full shift at the Super-Valu, you'd think Poppy would have the energy to cook for us so we wouldn't have to go down to the Avalon and start weasling beer on empty stomachs.
Look forward to chapter 4.

Anonymous said

at 9:37 pm on Apr 20, 2006

Hi Dave,
Chapter 2 is great, my only complaint is that it's not long enough. I remember Jesse as a long, tall drink of Yankee beer; lots of fizz but no buzz. He had impressed Sneek with all of his bullshit stories about being tight with Jesse Colin Young, David Crosby, etc. who thought that he would be a good Burner fit. Wrong!! The only song I ever remember him singing or playing was "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Neil Young. He never had the balls to actually step on to the stage with us did he? Claimed he had to do more "wood sheddin'" to get his "chops tight". I don't think he ever moved into Burner Mansion, although I'm sure he ate and drank there when there was food or booze to be had. I can't remember paying for his flight home. As holder of the Burner purse strings it was pretty tough to squeeze a dime out of me, but he was such a simpering pain in the ass I may have approved the expense just to get rid of him.

Anonymous said

at 9:37 pm on Apr 20, 2006

As for the Rupert trip, I recall....... that asshole agent who sent us all the way up to Smithers for 2 nights for $400 with an assurance (guarantee?) that he would find us more work once we got there. Running out of gas in the middle of nowhere and being towed into Prince George or some such town because the gas gauge in the Burner van was broken and we were too dumb to figure out that the reason we couldn't get any gas into the tank was because of a frozen overflow vent. We just thought we were getting great mileage. We voted Alfie to leave the van and run through the frozen night to beg a phonecall from that isolated farm house. Those nights we spent at the Friendship House, me disturbing Jesse's sleep and blowing his wispy blonde hair back behind his ears with a hacking cough. Didn't we get hassled coming back drunk, past the curfew one night and having to sweet talk our way back into the dorm to climb into those nasty cots with the scratchy woolen blankets? There was no place to go but up from those circumstances. Billy Bond marching us down to buy uniforms from the local dept. store and insisting Alfie get his hair cut. Tiny Bubbles giving us a glimpse behind g-string when she turned her back to the audience. Play some Credence you useless, long-haired fuckers!
That's it for now.

Anonymous said

at 2:12 pm on May 23, 2006

Actually it wasn't me that ran to the house. I remember it being Tim and someone else. It was so cold that when they got back into the van their lungs started to thaw out and they were writing around in pain in the back of the van. I remember being glad it wasn't me! I also remember that us dumbasses had never been to a cold climate before and were wearing street shoes and North Van type winter jackets. We would fight to get into the front seat so we could put our feet under the pathetic heater in the Burner van cab. The road north to Prince George was frozen so cold that it wasn't slippery anymore - the thin layer of moisture that always accompanied ice on the North Shore didn't exist and made it like a regular road!

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