Updated: Jul 25
by Scott Roos
photos by Aaron Brown Photography
“I'm a human. I'm a lover of life and the world. I really try to be positive…. I always kinda had a bigger picture brain that thought about what I can contribute and what I can give.”
The voice on the other end of the line is 66 Aces frontman/guitarist Acey Lonsberry. His tone is passionate and enthusiastic. He radiates positivity which is inspiring considering that the extent of his career within the music business has seen its fair share of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedy. He has every right to be jaded but he’s far from that. Instead, he’s presenting, at least during this phone conversation, as a really good dude.
Born and raised in Lanigan but coming up through the legendary Humboldt 90’s punk scene as part of the band Spy 66, Lonsberry’s story could easily fill the pages of a pretty good autobiographical tome and I’m sure a lot of people would read the hell out of it if given the opportunity. I know I would. Hell, if I was a better writer I’d even offer to write the damn thing myself. With a background in journalism, Lonsberry probably wouldn’t need my help, though, but I digress.
"Humboldt was always a really strong punk scene. But that whole area of Humboldt/Lanigan was always a really strong musical area of the province,” Lonsberry tells NSMZ, “You got eight months of the year (due to the long prairie winters) where you're stuck indoors…. you had to find some things to do to pass the time and music was definitely one of those things that a lot of kids did I think. Myself, it was definitely something I turned to in that kind of time frame.”
Spy 66 met a tragic end in 2000 with the untimely passing of co-founder and guitarist, Jason Keller. It wasn’t until a decade later that surviving members of the band got back together for what was to be a one off in Keller’s memory. The crew decided to forge ahead after this show was well received and 66 Aces was born. Nowadays, at least for Lonsberry, he’s having a blast performing but also looking to the future, on a mission to “pay it forward” to up-and-coming punk rock acts or even just to aspiring young musicians in general.
"We all heard a song or artist that inspired us and we thought it was so cool. So the way to do that is to get the music in front of kids and give them opportunities,” explains Lonsberry, “Kids are gonna like music and some of them are gonna wanna play and frankly it doesn't matter what they play - whether it's in the high school jazz band or hip hop or electronic or picking up a guitar and getting into some rock or punk or metal or what have you, I just think, especially in this day and age, when there's so much negativity, that music is one of the places where not only can you vent some of the negativity in a positive way but it's just a way to get together and be a part of a community and feel a part of something.”
Lonsberry, along with his 66aces bandmates Corri Barnes (bass) and Brent Stadnick (drums) will be playing the Spice Trail in Prince Albert this Saturday, July 29th. Tadoma will open up the festivities.
In my opinion, this is one of the best one two punch, punk rock double billings you can possibly get in this neck of the woods. It’s a can’t miss show. It’s all a part of the meticulous rebuilding of the scene that Threadbare Productions’ Clay Cottingham has been doing since returning to Prince Albert this past year. Build back better. Build back stronger. Support local. There’s a lot of positive things happening here these days and it’s great to have 66 Aces a part of it, if only for one evening. Lonsberry gets it. He really does. He’s been down this road before.
“For me when I'm playing, I'm having a great time, I'm hoping other people are having a great time listening to the music but you always know there's those one or two people out there who are looking for something to grab onto or who are looking for some direction or truth in life. So for me that's what gives me purpose in doing this is talking to those people.
I grew up in rural Saskatchewan where I felt very out of place. You know the black sheep in a farming community. I was always very urban and always wanted to get the hell away and was always looking for a community that I could latch onto. For me, rather than convince people that this is something great that they should get involved or be a part of, I'm just saying ‘here's a community, if you feel a connection to this community, come be a part of it.’"
Advance tickets can be purchased at Inspired Vapor, Moth Vintage and The Spice Trail. Cost is $15. Tickets will also be available at the door. Doors for the show will open at 8 pm.