Our Story

Our Story

It might have started innocently enough.  It was 2001 and Christian Stokkmo was the residence manager for Place Vanier at the University of British Columbia. “Let’s get together and jam,” he said to a few of us and we gathered in a room we didn’t even know existed in the Commons basement.  We were Christian and Collen, Bradley, Bryan, Graham, Lis and Anthony.

The seven of us started with a little Dave Matthews and a few other covers lost to time before Christian taught us a couple of songs he had already written. We were jamming every Thursday and Friday and before long we realized that we were a band.

We needed a name and so we sideways borrowed one from The Adventures of Robin Hood and then drew inspiration for our music from Robin Hood’s theme of fairness and equality.

Our Thursday and Friday practices invariably led to Saturday gigs on campus and then in clubs around Vancouver. A legion of fans began to grow and they called themselves  Bent Heads.

Over the next two years we helped a lot of bar owners sell a lot of beer while keeping the dance floor packed and the music loud.
In 2003, the original seven members of Bent Roads Tavern played one final show and then gathered back in the Commons for a marathon session of crude recordings.

Christian, Collen, Brian and Lis moved on to other adventures in their lives while the rest carried on as Bent Roads for another four years adding Jim and James to the line up. In 2007, the first chapter of our story ended.

It was the unfortunate news in 2019 of the passing of Christian, just a few years after the same fate befell Bradley, that our story took up again. To honour our friends, we dug up the original recordings from that night in 2003, cleaned them up a bit, and released them as The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern.

And now that we are reconnected, we ride once more! Bent Roads Tavern are recording new versions of some of our old classics as well as some brand new songs.  We plan on releasing our new music throughout 2021 and hope to see you out on the road in the very near future.

Collen

vocals / guitars

Prior to becoming a founding member of Bent Roads Tavern, Collen found early success as a teen with his Green Day-inspired band Xstereo who won the “Golden Ear” award on CBC TV’s popular teen talk show Jonovision. In 2001 he moved to Vancouver to study Environmental Science at UBC and it was there that he became a founding member of Bent Roads Tavern.

In 2003, Collen left UBC and finished his schooling back home at the University of Guelph. He eventually developed a career as an environmental scientist in Calgary. By 2008, his calling as
a musician was just too strong to ignore and he dipped back in, performing with a variety of local acts.

In 2019, Collen returned to his roots leading the Green Day tribute project Bleeds Green.

In 2020, Collen returned full time to Bent Roads Tavern to curate the release of their original recordings as well as write and record new material for the next chapter in their story.
 

Graham

Piano / Synths / Vocals

Graham was born into a musical family in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and has spent more of his life playing piano than not.  He studied physics at UBC in the early 2000’s and was one of the founding members of Bent Roads Tavern.

Following Bent Roads Tavern’s final performance and legendary recording session, Graham switched from piano to drums and continued to carry the torch under the name Bent Roads
which featured singer Jim Riecken.

When not recording with the Bent Roads Tavern, Graham doubles on keys and bass for the alt-rock group The Fallow Years, a modern rock group based in Red Deer, Alberta.

Brian

Drums / Percussion

On a good day, Brian can be found wading in the surf of 7.1 surround sound waves of Lizzo, Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John,Goldfinger, or Yo Yo Ma in quick succession. 

Brian brings a self-reflective and critical ear that borders on full self-loathing you'd expect from proper punk rockers. Nevertheless, Brian doesn't quit, and finds the golden nugget that grounds the runaway melodic tendencies of the group as a whole.

James (Jimmy)

Bass

James grew up in northern British Columbia listening to his classical pianist father playing Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and others. In highschool, he focused primarily on bass, often playing with Mark and Graham Langridge. James got his first taste of playing with BRT,
jamming with the band while visiting UBC as a high school student.

After moving to Vancouver, James joined Bent Roads on piano when Graham switched to drums. Following his initial run as a member of Bent Roads, James travelled the high seas as a contract musician with Carnival Cruises.

James eventually settled on dry land in Winnipeg where he has collaborated and performed with several notable musicians including Jeff Tetrault (Jet Set Satellite), George Demeduk (Streetheart, Harlequin, Queen City Kids), Greg Germann (multiple national tours for Broadway), Tom King (Second City Toronto), and Dan Domenech
(Rock of Ages, original broadway cast).

Anthony (Tone)

Saxophones

As one of the founding members of BRT in Vancouver, Anthony’s wizardry on the sax earned him his own legion of fans. You can check out video evidence of his epic sax solo on Dave Matthews Band's #41 HERE.

Anthony now lives in Bristol, UK and continues to appear on BRT recordings.

James (Jim)

Vocals / Acoustic Guitar

Jim has been playing music his entire life. In 2003, he was recruited as the frontman for the group, joining Graham, Brad, Anthony, and Jimmy. With Jim in place as lead singer and acoustic guitarist, the newly christened Bent Roads was able to remain a popular live draw on the UBC Campus and Vancouver at large until 2007.

Volume 5 of Legend of Bent Roads Tavern features the masterful songwriting Jim contributed to Bent Roads during his time leading Bent Roads.

Over the years, Jim has continued writing and performing music, both solo and in groups. Most recently he is a member of Vancouver’s After Work Social.

Brad

Upright Bass

Brad's sweeping bassline style on Bent Roads Tavern's epics such as "Long Way from Toronto", "Tonight We Hit Calgary", and "Clear Night for Lite Brite" earned him a reputation for making the hulking upright bass absolutely roar. Contrast that with his peppy walking lines on the blues and more jazzy folk tunes like "Backwards", "Wreck Beach Summers" and "The Lean" proved that he belonged rightly in the category of bass virtuoso.

After continuing with Bent Roads through 2005, Brad joined fledgling Vancouver alt rock act Lotus Child, and is credited as the bassist on their first album "Gossip Diet". Lotus Child went on to rename themselves as The Zolas when they signed with 604 Records, putting Brad firmly into the ranks of the unsung rock music heroes.

Brad passed away all too early at the age of 33 and will never be forgotten as a crucial member of Bent Roads Tavern, and the skill, talent, and laid-laid back attitude he brought to the group.

Lis

Violin

After gracing the stage with BRT in the early 2000s, Lis could be heard playing violin with the St. John's, NFLD symphony-orchestra. It was there that she performed in an epic concert
supporting hometown heroes, Hey Rosetta!

She has since performed on several independent albums as a studio musician, spanning many genres of popular contemporary music.
Lis continues to contribute to BRT with harmony vocals and expertly crafted violin lines.

Christian

Vocals / Acoustic Guitar / Banjo / Mandolin

Christian was as clever as he was a passionate songwriter. He is credited as the primary songsmith of many of the most well-known cult-classic BRT songs including "Wreck Beach Summers", "You Can't Dance a Waltz that Ends in 4/4 Time", "Peer Gynt", "Sweet Mirona",and "Carnivores at the Supermarket". Christian also shared songwriting credit with Collen on two other cult-classic tracks, "Model Airplane" and "Clear Night for Lite Brite". 

Christian was the original founding member of BRT and was responsible for the pointed and multi-layered band name "Bent Roads Tavern". The name was lifted from the original motion
picture, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", where the Bent Road Tavern offered refuge to the exiled king his entourage where he learns of the Prince of Thieves 'stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.'

It was this sort of poetic social justice that was inseparable from Christian's songwriting and his enduring influence on his friends and BRT's "Bent Heads". Following his departure from UBC Christian left on an adventure to explore the wonders of the world.

When word spread in 2019 that Christian had died, work began in earnest to honour the legacy of his songs by releasing the five volumes that make up The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern. He will forever be in our hearts as an inspiration of pure joy in the brotherhood that playing live music with friends offers.