Proudly waving the ska flag with a fresh twist, Mad Bomber Society gained a reputation as one of Edmonton’s most eclectic acts not long after they first formed in 1997. Led by guitarist/vocalist Rich Bomber, various incarnations took shape over the next few years as they took their infectious grooves and high energy live shows across western Canada.
They used an independent cassette of demos for promo purposes and caught the attention of fans and promoters alike with the powerful five tracks, including “Young Ones” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Part-time touring across western and northern Canada and TV appearances continued, where they were staples in several clubs, and also became favourites at college and university events and at numerous all-ages events.
They released their independent debut album in 2001, and ATOMIC A-GO-GO instantly became a critic’s favourite. All originals, noteable cuts included the lead-off “Shotgun,” “Alley Cat,” “Baby’s Getting Busted,” “Bomb Shelter,” and “Emma Peel.” Over the next few years, road trips included their first national tour, as well as headlining the Dawson City Music Festival, Folk On The Rocks in Yellowknife (which was taped for a CBC North live radio special), The South Country Fair, the Salmon Arm Roots ‘n’ Blues Fest, and twice headlined Alberta’s North Country Fair.
In ’03, they were part of MuchMusic’s Going Coast Indie Showcase, as well as part of CBC Radio’s “Great Canadian Music Dream” program. The next year, they represented Edmonton in the Juno Awards’ Juno Cup Charity Invitational Hockey Game, and in ’05 headlined regional festivals throughout Alberta, including the Lakeland Music Festival and Fort McMurray’s Interplay Festival.
In ’06, they played their first ever acoustic set – at Edmonton’s Winspear Theatre during One World Beat, a charitable organization aiding needy third world children. After being featured on the soundtrack to the low budget sci-fi teen flick, “Decoys 2,” the band took a break in the late ’00s for what Lukho called “family, zen, and business reasons,” but regrouped in 2011 in time to headline the Sunstroke Festival in Whitehorse.
They returned to the studios and the result was BUTCHERS, STOMPERS & CHEATS a year later. With a lineup that consisted of Lukho, “Smooth” on bass, drummer Jay, and a horns section that was comprised of Nate on trombone, Mike on trumpet, and Jonny and on sax, the band was more mature in the writing. But just as infectious as ever, highlights included tracks like “Theme From The Piston Teens,” “The Kids Just Wanna Play,” “You Can’t Dance,” and “Heatstroke.” More TV appearances and honours from radio stations coincided with more touring across Canada.