Bree outside the Trenton show, circa 1996. Left to right: Aaron, Mike, Lee and Trevor.

Bree outside the Trenton show, circa 1996. Left to right: Aaron, Mike, Lee and Trevor.

Trevor Dykstra (bassist) and Lee Shepard (guitarist) went to high school together and were always close friends. They started out a band together in 1995, each playing their instrument and signing dual vocals. They went to a lot of shows and that’s how they met their second guitarist, Aaron Scholl and their drummer, Mike Keire, at a New Day Rising show (before Trevor played in the band). However before Bree ever got started, Mike and Aaron had met playing baseball in high school, and Mike, Trevor and Adam Brodie were in a band called 3’s Company. By the time Trevor, Lee and Mike got together, their influences came from Sebadoh, Pavement, Archers of Loaf, Dinosaur Jr., The Jesus Lizard, Frail, Rye Coalition, Shotmaker, Braid, Cap’n Jazz, Hoover, Fugazi, June of 44, Drive Like Jehu, NoMeansNo and Grade. They named themselves Bree, after a horse in C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia”. The animal theme would be kept as the band named their songs after more animals. Names remembered include Bats, Snake, Tortoise and Donkey. Aaron was a friend of the band from early on, but would only join the band later on, though the date has not been established.

Bree show at the Oakville YMCA on May 17th 1996. With Church of the Bombs, Acrid and Chauvez.

Bree show at the Oakville YMCA on May 17th 1996. With Church of the Bombs, Acrid and Chauvez.

Trevor and Lee were already in charge of booking shows for bands at the Oakville YMCA and therefore handled all the booking for the band. They were often booked at the Church in Mississauga with Elliot Rosewater, Grade, New Day Rising, Seer and Blake. Once at Wheatfield House (Kyle Bishop’s house on Stratton Road in Burlington) with Regulator Watts and Pigment Vehicle. They also played at the other church in Burlington, in Cobourg with Holocron, 12 Ontario Basement in Guelph with Plataka, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of London with Shoulder and another show in Trenton. And of course they played countless times at the Oakville YMCA with bands already listed and also Ire, Linton, Left for Dead, Acrid, Chauvez and Church of the Bombs. Bree played with almost the entire roster of southern Ontario bands of the mid 90’s. Another show was with Louis Mistreated and New Day Rising.

Bree show at the Oakville YMCA on July 21st 1996. With Montgomery 21, 7 Years War, Waterdown and Bree

Bree show at the Oakville YMCA on July 21st 1996. With Montgomery 21, 7 Years War, Waterdown and Bree

As for their documented recordings, they were approached by two Canadian hardcore legends at separate times for two compilations. The first was Evan Clarke (famous for playing in Blake), who was putting together a compilation titled “Regional Ornament” in 1995. Mike had an 8-track recorder in his basement and so Bree recorded their first two songs, “Snake Song” and “Bat” (arguably their best song and one of the finest emo song ever composed). This recording was done as a three piece, as Aaron had not yet joined the band. “Regional Ornament” was released later in 1996 on cassette tape and was very well received.

Bree show at the Oakville YMCA on August 2nd 1996. With

Bree show at the Oakville YMCA on August 2nd 1996. With Plataka, Holocron, Linton and Left for Dead.

Bree playing at the Oakville YMCA. Aaron, Trevor, Mike and Lee.

Bree playing at the Oakville YMCA. Aaron, Trevor, Mike and Lee.

 

Their second recording session would be in thanks to Dave Buschemeyer (famous for playing guitar in New Day Rising, which Trevor had also joined in the spring of 1996) who was putting together a benefit compilation for the Animal Defense League. By then Aaron was in the band and Mike brought out once again the 8-track to record the song “763 Donkey”, a new re-edition of “Bats”. They sent the song off to Dave, who was supposed to get it released, first through Gorilla Warfare Records, then through Struggle Records, but unfortunately the compilation never came out. By late 1996, the band members had quickly moved into different directions, resulting in Lee playing more experimental music in the [David] Caravaggio Trio, Trevor moving to more metal influenced hardcore in Karenza, Aaron stopped playing in bands and Mike headed into audio production. Their last show was played at the Nelson High school Coffee House, where Aaron attended. Bree were later supposed to play a reunion show at the Kinsmen Hall, in Streetsville as a benefit for the Animal Liberation Front, a show put together by MArk McLean. Flyers were pressed and passed around but the band cancelled. The Wayouts and The Far Outs ended up playing in their place.

Download the Bree discography

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