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The Stampeders include North Bay date on ‘final’ tour

Longtime Canadian classic rock radio staples The Stampeders are bringing their country-infused songs to the Capitol Centre on April 25
The Stampeders, including Rich Dodson, Kim Berly and the late Ronnie King, from left, are pictured in this undated photo. King died recently, and is being replaced on the band’s upcoming tour by bass player Dave Chabot.

Canadian rock legends The Stampeders are slated to perform at the North Bay Capitol  Centre's Betty Speers Theatre on April 25.

Billed as their “One More Time” tour, the classic rock band’s founding member, lead vocalist and guitar player Rich Dodson said he hasn’t committed to calling it quits after the tour.

He still remembers seeing The Who’s alleged final show at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1982, which was followed by numerous subsequent tours, including dates as recent as last year.

“What are you going to do?” Dodson asked during a recent phone interview from his home in the Greater Toronto Area. “Sit at home and watch MSNBC or something? Or Trump ... is he going to have the money?

“It’s sort of what we do and who we are, so as long as the health holds out and you can stand up on stage and move around and still sing and do all that,” he said. “It’d be a drag to pack it in.”

No, the 77-year-old rocker said, retirement isn’t for him.

“Rockers on walkers,” he said with a chuckle, adding that despite undergoing double bypass surgery in January (“all those cheeseburgers”), he’s feeling “pretty good” and ready to tour his home province.

With time comes tragedy, and the band lost founding member and bass player Ronnie King earlier this year at age 76 following long-standing health problems.

They’re proceeding with musician Dave Chabot, a friend of the band, fellow founding member and drummer Kim Berly, and with what Dodson said will be King’s spirit.

“I had a hawk land on my deck four days ago,” he told “You know what that means? That’s a spiritual thing, something’s happening there.”

There’s no chance King would want his bandmates to stop touring on his account, Dodson said.

“Oh gosh, if it were me that was gone he’d be out in a minute,” he added. “There’d be no turning him down.”

Despite what their name implies, and Alberta’s eagerness to claim the band as their own, Dodson said they’re very much an Ontario band, having called the province their home since the 1960s, well before their debut album dropped in 1971.

(For his part, Dodson spent the first several months of his life in Sudbury, until his father lost his job as a boiler operator and the family relocated to British Columbia.)

The band formed in Alberta in the mid-’60s, initially calling themselves The Rebounds.

“Some guy was going to invest money in us if we took the name ‘Stampeders,’” Dodson said with a chuckle. “That sort of went nowhere.”

They didn’t stay in Calgary long enough to make a name for themselves, ended up making an impact out east, and proceeded to tour the world for a career more than 50 years long and counting.

Although they continued writing music outside of what’s considered their ’70s heyday, in which their popular radio hit “Sweet City Woman” was released, it’s this career sweet spot that fans expect to hear live in concert.

“There were always new tunes floating in and out, but by the time you do all the songs you sort of should do, you’re an hour and a half in already,” Dodson said, describing their heyday in the ’70s as “a really exciting time” for the band, during which they toured Canada, the United States and Europe.

“We like to make our old fans happy, and it makes us feel good, too, to be able to go out and do all that stuff and still pull it off at this stage of life.”

Having toured Canada extensively throughout their career, Dodson said they’ve developed a dedicated fan base. including in North Bay, where they’ve performed many times before.

One road story that still makes Dodson chuckle took place in Sudbury early in their career, when the band was sitting at a hotel restaurant.

The waitress was taking their orders, and King said he wanted the Stampeder Burger, because it meant something special to him.

“Oh, why’s that,” the waitress asked.

“I’m in a band called The Burgers,” King said at the time.

King was always a jokester, Dodson said, adding that even during what ended up being the band’s last tour with him in 2023, he was still in good spirits.

“He really lived his life on the upside, he was the cup-half-full guy, so it didn’t matter what kind of traumas he was facing, he lived for the moment,” Dodson said. “He was fun to be around and tour with, lots of laughs.”

Their upcoming tour is dedicated to King, and Dodson said he and Berly would be sharing stories with the audience about their departed bandmate.

Touring in their senior years has become a family affair, with spouses and children joining them on the road to take care of the band’s merch table and help fill down time.

“It’s an excuse for the whole family to be together for a month, month and a half,” Dodson said.

Since they have a new bass player to break in, Dodson said their upcoming tour will have a unique musical flavour.

“It’s going to be interesting to see where it all goes,” he said. “There might be some nice new things happening. I just want to be open-minded and go with the flow.”

With a fresh double bypass surgery lowering his blood pressure to a healthy range, Dodson said he’s raring to head out on a more than month-long tour of Ontario, followed by music festivals in Saskatoon and Halifax later on in the year.

“One, two, three, go and we’ll see how it goes,” he said. “You just close your eyes and go. Count me in!”

The Stampeders’ upcoming tour of Ontario kicks off in Meaford on April 5, hits North Bay on April 25, and concludes in Chatham on May 16.

Tickets are $90 and available by clicking here.

Here are the BayToday coverage area dates:

April 12 - Parry Sound Stockey Centre - Box Office: (705) 746-4466

April 13 - Sudbury Fraser Auditorium, Laurentian University - STC Box Office: (705) 674-8381

April 15 - Pembroke Festival Hall Centre for the Arts - Box Office: (613) 735-2182

April 25 - North Bay Capitol Centre - Box Office: (705) 474-4747

April 26 - Huntsville Algonquin Theatre - Box Office: (705) 789-4975

Tyler Clarke is a reporter at