A 3740221 1498585028 9130

As Sheriff

Websites:  https://supremeecho.bandcamp.com/album/as-sheriff
Origin: Victoria, British Columbia, 🇨🇦

West Coast Folk/Blues Psych Rock! Formed in 1967 by Canadian hippies and an American draft dodger, As Sheriff brought the fuzz and smoke to Victoria and Vancouver’s underground scenes with their DIY attitude, guttural guitars, hypnotic harmonies, and anti-war covers – featuring future May Blitz bassist Reid Hudson.

“An original, head-banging style.”
-Steve Hume, Victoria Daily Times, Victoria

“The versatile and creative As Sheriff can finally take their deserved place in the history of West Coast music.”
-Craig Morrison, Ethnomusicologist, Montreal

Music archivist unearths rare '60s recordings by Victoria rockers As Sheriff
Few bands burned brighter than psychedelic rock act As Sheriff, which lasted from 1967 until 1972 and whose recordings are the subject of a new reissue project from archival record label Supreme Echo.
Mike Devlin
Jun 7, 2023

Six Ways to the Ace is a compilation of 12 recordings by psychedelic rock act As Sheriff, from archival record label Supreme Echo. SUPREME ECHO

Rock bands from Victoria in the 1960s were liquid entities. With only a handful of teen-friendly clubs in the city, and no real avenue in which to have recordings pressed and released, musicians would get together, play a smattering of shows, and move on to another project.

Even the good ones lasted only a handful of years — months, even — before they dissolved. But when inspiration took hold, the results were memorable, especially during the days of peace, love, and revolution.

“It was definitely a defining time in my life,” said bassist Reid Hudson, who played in a number of notable local acts during the 1960s and ’70s, including Blues X Five and As Sheriff.

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“I had quit school and I was playing in clubs when I was 15. It was only about five or six years, but it felt like there was a whole lifetime packed into it. There was always something happening, and you played with lots of guys. You had it for the moment, and then it was gone.”

Few bands burned brighter than psychedelic rock act As Sheriff, which lasted from 1967 until 1972 and whose recordings are the subject of a new reissue project from archival record label Supreme Echo.

Jason Flower, who owns the Victoria-based record label and Government Street record store of the same name, has restored and reissued more than 40 albums of archival material since 2003, many of which would have been lost to the passage of time were it not for his efforts.

As Sheriff, whose core line-up included Hudson, Andrew Godon (guitar), Denis Scherk (drums), and (Big) Ed Simpson-Baikie (vocals, guitar), is the latest local group to received the Supreme Echo treatment. Six Ways to the Ace is a compilation of 12 recordings by As Sheriff — some of which Hudson and Godon, the only two surviving members of the group, had not heard until Flower unearthed them.

The compilation is being released (on vinyl, naturally) through Supreme Echo today. Remastered from analog master sources, the project brings to a close a 22-year journey for Flower, who started with only a rehearsal tape from 1969 and a scratched copy of the band’s lone official single as the foundation.

His years of searching connected him with a number of musicians from the As Sheriff family, including members who have since died. From there, he obtained reams of background information, images, and audio recorded in 1969 or 1970, the sum total of which represents a key moment in the arc of rock music in Victoria.

“As Sheriff were top of their game, one of the most popular rock groups in Victoria at the turn of the decade,” Flower told the Times Colonist. “They’re a soundtrack to our city. I hope locals will appreciate just how historically significant this album is for Victoria.”

As Sheriff played all manner of gigs during their five-year run, from memorable nights at dubious venues to a campaign rally reception for Pierre-Elliot Trudeau in Saanichton. Hudson joined As Sheriff after a stint with seminal Victoria rockers Blues X Five, and was a member of the latter group when Blues X Five opened for The Doors at Memorial Arena in 1967.

“There wasn’t many people there,” Hudson, 74, said with a laugh. “But it was pretty wild.”

He remained with As Sheriff until 1969, at which point his former Blues X Five bandmate, frontman (Little) Ed Wright, joined the group. Reid left to join Victoria High grad James Black in the U.K. power trio May Blitz, whose drummer, Tony Newman, recorded with Jeff Beck and David Bowie and toured North America with The Beatles as a member of the opening act, Sounds Incorporated.

Rare albums by May Blitz sell for upwards of $200 online, which bodes well for Six Ways to the Ace. Record collectors are nothing if not completists.

Godon went to high school near Cupertino, California, in the mid-’60s, and participated in the folk music scene not far from the Bay Area coffeehouse vortex that would produce bands like Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. He dodged the draft, before landing in Vancouver in 1967. He eventually made it to Victoria, where he remains today.

Godon’s memory on certain talking points is admittedly foggy (“Hey, it was the ’60s,” he joked) but talking about As Sheriff, and listening to recordings that were made when he was a young man, has been a wonderful experience, he said.

“I was sort of grudgingly involved at first, but became more caught up with it as I realized the energy Jason was putting into it.”

As Sheriff continued as a unit until 1972, with a variety of members passing through the ranks. No late-period recordings from the group are included on Six Ways to the Ace as none are known to exist. “All I had was our [single],” Godon said.

“At that time, there were such limited options for recording. I wasn’t aware of any recorded music, other than what Jason unearthed. I hadn’t a clue anybody was recording us.”

Hudson, who now lives in Mill Bay, said it has been a rush reliving his youth and reconnecting with old friends as the project came to fruition. “I have 'sometimers' disease,” Hudson said. “Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don’t.”

He doesn’t play much guitar these days, due to arthritis, but his memories of his brief time with As Sheriff are fond.

“It was a surprise to me that this surfaced after so long, after hearing about it for a few years. It’s pretty cool, really. In the grand scheme, you don’t have to be going very long. If people like your music, they are going to keep it going forever.”




A 3740221 1498585028 9130

As Sheriff


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