Bob White
Danny Casavant
Jean Savoie
& Vic Bicego


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history

The history of the BobCats really begins decades before the actual forming of the band in Vancouver in the spring of 2001. Three of the four members of the group have musical relationships that date back to the mid 1970's in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Winnipeg in the 60's was a hotbed of Rock & Roll music, with the Guess Who being the great role models for so many aspiring rock musicians. Neil Young was also on the scene with his first group the Squires, and the city was loaded with groups and gigs at every High School, Community Club and several rocking nightclubs. Bob White and Danny Casavant were a part of that scene in their respective early bands.

Harvey Kostenchuk grew up playing music a couple of hours outside of Winnipeg, but was fully aware of the rich music scene happening inside the city limits. He relocated to Winnipeg in 1972 and began working with Bob in 1975 in Hurricane Hannah.

Although socially aware of each other in the Winnipeg musicians' community, it wasn't until the late 1970's that all three began working together in Rick Neufeld's, Prairie Dog Band. When they did, they clicked musically in a big way coming from such similar musical backgrounds. Another local artist that realized their chemistry was Peter Jordan,(aka Rocki Rolletti) who hired the trio as part of his 10 piece band that became very popular in the Winnipeg pub and social scene, as well as many CBC variety shows.

A variety of gigs continued for the three until early in 1982, when Bob and Harvey decided it was time for a change and moved out West to seek their fame and fortune in Vancouver. Danny also decided to try his luck in Vancouver, but had quite separate plans for playing on the Coast at the time. As things progressed and time went by Bob and Danny crossed paths in Vancouver, and in mid 1983 formed the very successful music duo Fat City, which over time, morphed into a four-piece band and continued until disbanding in the summer of 1989. At this point Bob moved on to a very successful seven-year house gig at Vancouver's famous Roxy nightclub, with the Surreal McCoys.

Danny moved into a period of varied gigs with dozens of artists on the West Coast in the way of performing, writing, arranging, and producing. During this time Harvey was also busy as a sideman with a number of artists, both live and in the recording studios of Winnipeg and Vancouver, and eventually settling in Vancouver in 1989. During the late 90's, Danny and Harvey worked together in the highly successful R&B/Soul band, Mike Henry and The Big Dawg Band.

Over the years Danny, Bob and Harvey kept in touch as old friends do. After leaving the Roxy gig, Bob had a regular Wednesday night gig at Vancouver's West End pub, the Dover Arms. Danny dropped by one night for a visit and returned often to sit-in on guitar and vocals. As Danny tells it, "it was great to play together again".

Before long another old friend, Jimmy Walker (CLICK here for More on Jimmy Walker) dropped by and sat in on bass and sang a little as well. (Bob and Jimmy had played in a band called The Rockolas between 1990 - 95. In that band Bob was on bass and Jimmy on guitar). The audience and management of the Dover Arms agreed that the trio sounded great and before long, they secured a regular Sunday afternoon gig under their newly coined name, the BobCats (Bob and the two Cats). This gig continues today, now almost 9 years in duration and the BobCats affectionately refer to the Dover as "Home Office".

The BobCats continued to book themselves in various pubs across the Lower Mainland as a trio until the urge to rock a little harder led them to hire Darrell Mayes on drums. Darrell is the original drummer with the Colin James band and played with the BobCats regularly until gig scheduling became too difficult.

His replacement came in the person of Vic Bicego, the aptly nicknamed Ringoletto - the Italian Ringo! (CLICK here for More on Vic) Vic, who had subbed for Darrell on occasion and became available because his band, the HipCats weren't working much, and he seemed to be the right drummer for the BobCats. Vic's talents were a great addition to the Cats.

Jimmy continued to play with the BobCats until July 2006, when he left the band for personal reasons. Quebec native, Jean Savoie auditioned for the Bobcats after hearing about the band from Rockolas' singer Mary Orban, and was the hands-down best player for the gig.

In the spring of 2009, Bob asked an old friend to sub for Vic one afternoon at the Dover. That chemistry between old friends was still evident and soon Harvey was asked to join his old pals Bob and Danny as a member of the BobCats.

Although the BobCats are a four-piece band there is, in fact, a mysterious fifth BobCat. (Similar to Stuart Sutcliffe and the Beatles) He appears on occasion as a special guest vocalist and adds a whole new dimension to the BobCats' experience. His name is Bill Mac and here's the story of how he became the fifth BobCat.

When the BobCats were in their early days playing Sundays at the Dover Arms Pub, they band began to notice certain individuals among the regular listeners, and of course conversations began with many of them. One of these individuals was Bill Mac and after hearing him sing at Karaoke one evening after a BobCats gig, Danny, Bob and Jimmy realized he was not only a fan, but a fellow musician. The band asked him to sit in and magic happened! (CLICK here for More on Bill Mac)

Bill Mac at the Dover ArmsBill became a good buddy of the BobCats and actually joined another group, the HipCats, named by Danny, (notice a theme here?). This band was made up of Bill on lead vocals, Nick Bicego (Vic/Ringoletto's twin brother) on guitar, and a not yet BobCat, Vic/Ringoletto Bicego, on bass and drums. When the drum position opened up in the BobCats, Vic became a regular BobCat, and the HipCats subsequently disbanded, leaving Bill without a band.

Bill then became a regular guest on BobCats gigs at various pubs, but until there was a budget to hire him, it remained a casual thing. With the BobCats rise into more Corporate/Special Events type of work, the band can now add Bill to the show as a paid guest when his schedule and the budget are right. He brings a distinctly 50's Rock & Roll presence to the show that never fails to ignite and excite their audience. A particular high point is reached when he joins Bob in vocal duet on the Righteous Brothers hit "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".

The BobCats continue to make history today with a variety of gigs in pubs, casinos and corporate gigs in and around Vancouver British Columbia. They have a huge and loyal family of fans that come out to support them wherever they perform.

 

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