You may not have heard of them yet, but you will. The Sheepdogs — four burly, hirsute men from Saskatchewan — are the winners of Rolling Stone magazine’s first “Do You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star?” contest, making them the first unsigned band to ever land a cover story in the magazine. Also part of their prize: a recording contract with Atlantic Records. How’s that for a rags-to-riches story?
“It’s all still pretty surreal to us,” bassist Ryan Gullen says. “It’s like one of those things where you get your photo taken and they put it on the cover of a magazine for you, one of those fake photo booths, but it’s real.”
Since their fan-voted victory, which came after a performance at Bonnaroo Music Festival in June, the bluesy rock group with a ’70s vibe has sped up to live life in the fast lane.
“I’m not really sure how much sleep I got last night because I can’t remember when I went to bed,” says drummer Sam Corbett. “Then we got up and we had to go to ‘Jimmy Fallon’ — we woke up like literally 10 minutes before we had to go down there.”
The band came together in 2005, sharing a love for Kings of Leon. And now, despite the recent drama that forced the Kings to cancel their U.S. dates, The Sheepdogs are gearing up to tour Canada with them this fall.
“I really hope those guys pull together,” says guitarist Leot Hanson. “We’ve been together for six years and we’ve had our ups and downs, but in the end you are brothers and you’ve gotta work through it. Let’s just hope that they do that, because there’s lots of people that’d be disappointed in Canada if they didn’t tour.”
And even though The Sheepdogs are on the brink of celebrity, Hanson promises they won’t become divas.
“We always have been humble dudes and always will be,” he says. “We don’t have all green M&Ms or bulls— like that [on our rider]. It’s all just like beer and towels and f—ing cheese and crackers: nothing fancy. We’re not really rock stars. We don’t consider ourselves to be and we won’t fall into that kind of lifestyle.”