The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Back in The Day has been performing together since they were teenagers. The five-piece cover band has faced several changes internally, but have managed to keep the band together and going strong for 30-plus years.

The band took a while to piece together. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Roy Stoffels along with Barry Lough, the keyboard player and percussionist, first played in a band called Shadow beat.

Brother John Stoffels, the guitarist and back-up vocalist, eventually joined a bit later. But the band still didn’t feel complete.

“We were using the sync-drummer and it wasn’t the same feel as you get live, you know, feeding off each other…there was just something missing,” John says.

The band called upon Rob Belfroy, the drummer before they would bring in Dwayne Couch to play bass guitar.

Roy Stoffles, reminisces while talking to brother John.

“You weren’t even old enough to play in the bars, remember?”

John was only 17 when the band played bar’s in the early-80s.

“I think we only knew 10 songs, so we just played the same 10 songs but mixed up,” John says.

They all agreed their favorite song to perform was Mony Mony by Billy Idol.

“We played the version by Tommy James and the Shondells and, a couple decades later, Billy Idol…” Lough explains.

“…Then we kind of mixed them together,” John interjects.

John further explains why they play classic rock. “That’s what we like…this is our philosophy, if we are gonna play this song all the time, we better like it!”

There were many changes that happened behind the scenes throughout the years. Stoffels moved to Blackfalds for about two years and eventually moved back to Calgary.

He explains that his brother Roy, wanted to start a band and named it The Rockin’ Hoods.

“We played the Ogden Legion, we played the T&C [Town & Country] back when it was Porky’s,” Roy says.

Roy Stoffels 1 copy

Roy Stoffels, one of the founding members of Back in The Day. Photo by: Marcy Morris

This would be the first few of several changes that happened over the next three decades.

“We had a great bass player, [in a previous band] he passed away…our lead guitarist for Rockin’ Hoods passed away last month, and we had families, and might not see each other all the time,” John says.

There are other factors that come into play, because the music is more of a passion project than a job.

“I travel a lot for my work, Barry is out of town a lot too, work comes first right, we’re not gonna dip into other people’s income for a gig,” John says.

He explains what types of venues they play; they say Big Al’s is a favorite, Bookers, and they play fundraisers and events by the Sien Lok Society.

Danny Ng, who has been on the board of directors for the Sien Lok Society, initially hired Back in The Day for the Dragon Boat races, which have been held yearly at the Glenmore Reservoir, since 1992. Back in the Day has performed for the past five years at the festival.

“They have a big tent, stage, beer gardens, probably on average, when they were playing, maybe at the peak of it, there were about 1000 people…or something like that,” Ng says.

“They were very good, the crowd, the mix…everything, they did a good job, everybody liked them and wanted them to come back”

Ng also hired them to perform with the Sien Lok Society for three years, and then for the Chinese New Year Gala.

The Chinese New Year and Halloween are favorite events for the band, but due to a surgery on his chord hand within the last few months, John Stoffels says that they had to turn down a couple of gigs during the summer and, most recently, their usual favorite – Halloween.

Their next show will be coming up at The Regency Palace, which is a New Year Gala, and Fundraiser that happens around February.

For three decades, Back in The Day underwent many changes, but they manage to keep rocking on. Both the Stoffels and the band hope to move forward and to keep playing gigs.

“If you want a good rock and roll band, give us a call!”