As far as opening bands go, Wil Mimnaugh, better known as Wil, is the swiss army knife of performing.
“The people we’ve worked with over the years, it’s nuts,” Mimnaugh said. “It’s kind of neat the diversity of it. You do a kids festival one day, then a blues festival, then a rock festival. I think it’s kind of cool to be able to hold your own.”
Wil is opening for The Guess Who frontman Burton Cummings when he rocks the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on March 12.
Mimnaugh’s wife has kept all of the bands contracts in a binder from over 18 years worth of touring, which has added up to an impressive sum. But the number of names in the list isn’t what stands out to him looking back.
“When you are younger and you want to walk around and drop names and talk about where you’re at and what the best show is that you recently did, and that’s normal and every musician is like that. Now I’m 44 and I look at this list and think it’s so diverse, like it’s absolutely insane,” Mimnaugh said.
The binder includes contracts to open for almost every style of music from thrash metal band GWAR to Greek singer Nana Mouskouri. Names like Big Sugar, Corb Lund and Jan Arden add to the mix.
He attributes the utility of his music to his passion for what he does.
“I definitely play to the room and play to the audience, but I more so play for myself because I love doing it. I’ve been at it for a long time and I’m not chewed up and jaded and pissed off and bitter about it. I just got better at it and I really like what I do. I think that comes across at the end of the day when people are watching an artist,” Mimnaugh said.
He’s done shows with Cummings in the past, but the most recent show at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo landed him the opening spot on the western half of the tour.
“Everything just went awesome and it was just well received,” Mimnaugh said. “It was one of those good feeling things I think and the promoter said let’s do it. It was cool.”
He said it was hard not to listen to The Guess Who growing up in Canada, but like many young Canadians, he may be a generation behind.
“I liked it, but my dad loved it. My dad was more of an actual fan,” Mimnaugh said.
“They wrote so many friggin’ songs, you just end up know ing the words and you don’t know why. You realized you’ve probably heard that song 150 times already without actually owning a record.”
Mimnaugh has actually played with the entirety of The Guess Who, just not at the same time. When he opened for Randy Bachman years ago, Mimnaugh’s father had just passed away.
“It was a pretty profound thing because I got to open for a member of one of my dad’s favourite bands, and my dad was really into music.”
Bachman put Mimnaugh’s name on the concert poster and Mimnaugh was able to frame the poster and give it to his brother.
“Now I’m doing the other half of the band and it’s pretty rad,” Mimnaugh said.
Tickets range from $69.50 to $110.50 and can be purchased in person at the Valley First Box Office (in the SOEC), via phone at 1-877-SOEC-TIX or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.