Teacher’s pet project

Even the kids agree, Vancouver’s Apollo Ghosts is a great band. See them this weekend.

Teacher plays in a band.

It was a secret until one savvy student in a grade seven class spoke up.

"During silent reading, she lifted her hand up and said, 'Mr. B.,' and I said 'Yeah?'" recounts Adrian Teacher, singer/guitarist/lyricist for the Vancouver trio Apollo Ghosts, from a tour stop in Rochester.

The value of B is known, but he goes by his stage name.

Unsuspecting, Teacher waited for the pupil, a budding punk seen skateboarding and wearing a Melvins t-shirt, to ask her question: "'Are you in Apollo Ghosts?'" Teacher repeats. "The whole class put their books down and looked up."

When he asked her how she knew, she explained she was taking drum lessons at a music shop and was reading a local music mag there. "Uh, I'll talk to you after class," he responded. "I try and keep it separate. For the most part the kids don't know at all."

Teacher's also taught kindergarten and once recorded an album with the wee ones. "I really like being around kids all day," he says, adding, "They do really cool stuff.

"My hero, Robert Pollard, was a grade four teacher. Bee Thousand was all about teaching the kids."

A youthful sense of play comes across on Apollo Ghosts' latest full-length, Mount Benson.

Mount Benson is "the biggest thing in Nanaimo," says Teacher. "It's an ode to our friends who still live there. I kinda wanted to write a record for them, about them."

"This one's not as straight-ahead, not as four/four," says Teacher. "It's more angular, with weirder times. It's a little bit more bouncy."

A big reason for that: Amanda Panda's drumming. "You know how if you're playing street hockey and you need a goalie, and none of the kids want to be the goalie so they just get their little sister. That's kind of how it happened," offers Panda (a musical moniker used because she works in federal government, occasionally sending out letters in her own name, she explains).

This happened to her in hockey terms as well. "I actually turned out to be a good goalie," she says.

She's a good and fitting drummer, too, as bassist Jay O. bobs and weaves around her beats.

Teacher taught Panda drums. They're offstage partners as well. And Teacher and Jay have made music together for a decade. "They play so well together," observes Panda, pausing then adding with a laugh: "I sound like I'm talking about children or dogs. But they can read each other so well."

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