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Armstrong bassist has things together in CCR tribute band

Mike Nitchie performs with Bad Moon Riders in Vernon at PAC Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m.
Armstrong’s Mike Nitchie is the bass guitartist for the Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band Bad Moon Riders, who will play the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. (Facebook photo)

In the halcyon days of his musicianship, Armstrong’s Mike Nitchie was working almost every night.

He was playing bass guitar in places like Gabby’s Cabaret in Langley; Pancho and Lefty’s on the King George Highway in Surrey; Rooster’s Cabaret in Pitt Meadows.

Those places were six-nights-a-week gigs.

Alas, they’re not around anymore. Some have been flattened to make way for high rises.

A lot of musicians, said Nitchie, himself included, have gone the tribute band route. Nitchie, 57, plays bass for the Bad Moon Riders, a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band.

Nitchie - in the role of CCR bassist Stu Clifford – and his bandmates hit the North Okanagan Saturday, May 11, taking the stage at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m.

“There’s a lot fewer places for bands to play,” said Nitchie, a former Canada Post employee as well as being a musician, a week after the Riders took the stage in Salmon Arm. “I used to play every night, six nights a week, in a lot of places that are not around anymore. Those gigs were Monday-to-Saturday. So a lot of musicians have gone the tribute band route. There are a lot of tribute bands out there now.”

That includes Fleetwood Magic, a salute to the music of Fleetwood Mac, which takes the Vernon Performing Arts Centre stage Friday, May 10. Appearing in that band 24 hours ahead of Nitchie and Bad Moon Riders is Armstrong’s Mike Luniw as guitarist/vocalist Lindsay Buckingham.

Nitchie and Luniw have known each other since their days at Pleasant Valley Secondary School, both graduating in 1985, both heading to study music at the University of Victoria.

“We went to school together from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and I had a practice with him last (Monday) night,” laughed Nitchie, who now lives in Abbotsford. “We play together in the Mike Luno Band. Our drummer (Curtis Leippi) is the drummer in Fleetwood Magic with Mike.”

Nitchie began playing with Bad Moon Riders during COVID. When the band was being put together, he got a call from drummer Scott Young and was asked if he was available to join. Nitchie went and jammed, met lead singer Mike Kelly and guitarist Anthony Dellacroce (also guitarist for The Headpins, and currently on tour with them and Foreigner. Randy Robertson will take Dellacroce’s place in Vernon Saturday).

“We sounded great and that was it for me,” said Nitchie. “Mike (Kelly) sounds just like (CCR lead vocalist) John Fogerty, and that really sold me on it.

“CCR was one of my earliest musical influences. Seems like they’ve always been part of the music that has weaved in and out of my life. Their music is like a background track, like The Eagles, always there.”

Something else that is always there for Nitchie? A genetic condition known as Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), a bleeding disorder. He was diagnosed in 2013.

“I get nosebleeds every day,” said Nitchie, recalling his friends holding a fundraiser for him that same year after having had brain surgery. The evening event at the Branding Iron Pub was organized by fellow Armstrong musician, Class of 1985 PVSS Grad and UVIC music alumnus, Paul Moore.

Nitchie played with the Victoria, Okanagan and Prince George symphonies before exploring pop music, and has shared the stage over the years with the likes of Randy Bachman, Jerry Adolphe from the band Chilliwack, Gary Grace of Prism, Ray Roper from Stonebolt and Aaron Pritchett.

He is a multi-time nominee for B.C. Country Music Association bass player of the year award.

Nitchie is looking forward to having his high-rocking CCR tribute band playing in his hometown’s backyard. In the audience will be his mom and dad, two brothers, sister, family members and longtime friends.

“We do play as close to the (CCR) records as possible, and we play some of Fogerty’s solo music, but we add rock and roll attitude to it,” said Nitchie. “No matter where we play, we always have people dancing in front of the stage.”

Bad Moon Riders – The Ultimate CCR Tribute Concert plays the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through or by phoning 250-549-SHOW (7469)

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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