Originally hailing from Winnipeg, in 1973 by Brian Cowieson, Rob Bartlett and Graham Jones, Bootleg emerged playing top 40 cover songs in local clubs and colleges. By 1975, Bootleg was writing and recording original material, working to create a distinct Bootleg sound, something the band would pursue passionately over the next ten years.

Bootleg performing at the “CKXL School’s Out Picnic” in Calgary, early 80′s. Photo by Randy Myrdal.

Winnipeg highlights include CBC television appearances on “Canadian Express” hosted by Terry Jacks, CBC “Country Roads” national radio show, and a multitude of great live performances.

Bootleg relocated to Calgary in 1976, where they continued performing to packed clubs, appearing on the CFCN “Peter Temple” late night television show, opened the Red Bone concert and maintained a rigorous touring schedule which now encompassed most of Western Canada. Somehow Bootleg always found time for writing and recording and cut some of their best tracks during this period.

Around 1978, the band signed with indie label “Heart Records” recording and promoting “Queen Of Hearts”.

Bootleg live
Bootleg live

Although the band saw a number of member changes over the years, the original core players remained together, writing, recording, and performing until Bootleg from Winnipeg disbanded in the early 1980’s.