Ken Purvis – Unlike Gavin, Ken began life as an adult and has been slowly regressing ever since. Fortunately, he has reached middle age. Ken’s musical career began at the age of seven when he learned to play stand-up bass for the family blue-grass band. At one gig in the town of Tamworth Ontario, Ken delighted the audience by standing on a crate in order to reach all the way up the neck. Those were heady days. Since then Ken’s epidermis – an organ – has completely regenerated
During his high school years, Ken excelled in music and even became President of the concert band. By this time he had switched to the tuba but he was about to rediscover the instrument of his youth. Meanwhile, a summer job at Fort Henry introduced him to a little, high pitched transverse instrument called a “fife”. Little did Ken realise at the time that the past would figure so prominently in his present future, and more importantly his recent and not-so-recent past. Trading in the stand-up bass for electric, Ken soon embarked on a short but inspirational career as a rock star. After attending Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts program, he and some classmates formed a band called Big Huge People and made the move to the thriving metropolis of Toronto, where the past would catch up with him.
1986 marked a return to the history biz when Ken was hired at Historic Fort York. Here, he was introduced to fifer extraordinaire, Gavin Watt. Through a series of clever conceits, Ken managed to convince Gavin of his
musical superiority which forced Gavin into exile. “Able was I ere I saw Niagara,” muttered Gavin. Gavin introduced Ken to drummer Peter Alexander and soon the three were delighting crowds with their unparalleled fifing
and drumming. Peter’s broad-ranging percussive talents added tremendously to Gavin and Ken’s hitherto unfocused musical stylings. In short, he made them sound cool.
After a few years of touring and performing on bass with folk-rock band Two Penny Opera, Ken was looking for a change. During a pilgrimage to Williamsburg, Ken and Peter began experimenting with new old instruments (flute and dulcimer) and were excited by what they heard. Finally they were playing instruments that didn’t make people’s hair bleed. The three now-close friends, decided to form a folk band of their own. Determined to bring history to life through music, then kill it, can it and sell it, The Three Big Dummies/The Hogarth Trio/Malarky/Gin Lane was brought kicking and screaming into a harsh and unforgiving world. And the rest is history. Really