After spring and summer 2000 internships at Sonic Unyun Records in Hamilton, HM Magazine in Austin,TX and Tooth & Nail Records in Seattle; followed by a degree in Visual Arts from University of Windsor; then working in theatre production for Princess Cruises around the Caribbean and Alaska in 2004, Tim arrived in Toronto in 2005 after landing a job in ad sales at VICE Magazine. With his VICE business card in hand, he got himself on as many party and event guest lists as possible around town, trying to discover a city and local music scene he previously knew nothing about.
Exiting VICE summer 2009, Tim started planning the 1st of his now famous #159Manning barbecues, exploring photography and playing bass in a band called the Bang Bangs. Summer 2010 he played bass on a European tour with Mohawk Lodge and Eamon McGrath, a group of musicians who a few years later became July Talk!
Back from tour, Tim became the sound tech at Parts & Labour, famous for head chef Matty Matheson and many classic punk and hardcore shows in the basement booked by Mark Pesci. Working through various challenges the room presented over the years, Tim learned how to set up and get bands on quickly, a skill that has paid off to this date as GELK cranks through 10-12 covers every hour they are performing.
Late November 2013 Tim got the call from a sound-tech friend, asking if he knew any karaoke bands he could hire for an upcoming event. Tim pulled a band together and they learned 20 songs in 2 weeks. During rehearsals, the name for the band became abundantly clear as they would learn most of a song and say “Good enough, now let’s learn the next one”. Two of the guys from the inception are still in the band to this day (Jesse on guitars, Craig on bass).
After a successful Christmas party, and because of Tim’s job at P&L, GELK Immediately got a monthly residency at Parts & Labour on Thursday nights. Word spread and then Clintons offered them a residency for every other Wednesday. And in 2014, they started playing Junction City Music Hall as well.
GELK just kept learning songs. And more songs. And more songs. Tim taught himself to play keys and started playing guitar for the first time in a band as well. For a sample of what they play, check out this spotify playlist.
One gig kept leading to the next gig. Tim followed the improv mindset of just saying yes. Musicians started swapping in and out to allow for more flexibility and more gigs.
3 years later, Tim and some of the band members were actually making a living at it. By Fall 2016 – GELK was averaging one or two corporate gigs a month and residencies. The momentum was happening.
2016 – 76 shows
2017 – 178 shows
2018 – 256 shows
2019 – 206 shows
By 2019 – they had multiple line-ups with 3 musicians full-time and another 8-10 part-timers who could sub-in based on availability and interest. Tim stayed focused on always hiring musicians better than him, while he took on all of the organization and promotion.
When the pandemic hit, Tim was ready for a break. He would not have slowed down otherwise. “The Pandemic was good for me” – says Tim. He was playing every night and coordinating all the shows, paying people, organizing, promoting. The break in 2020 allowed him to get caught up on taxes and administrative things that had been pushed aside. He also spent the last 18 months learning how to play better. Finally learned how to play the regular closer “Under the Bridge” properly, and finessing his guitar on songs like “Mr. Brightside” and “Sweet Child of Mine.”
Also, another major opportunity was thrown Tim’s way in the pandemic. Given the lack of tours coming to Toronto in 2020, GELK was able to their first gig at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. The Phoenix had a 1500 person venue sitting empty and they needed someone who could bring people in. A year later, they played again in August 2021. And now, they have a monthly residency at the Phoenix. The last show was Oct. 1st with local musician Michelle Treacy singing a few songs to warm up the crowd. They will be back at the Phoenix again on Friday, November 12th, 2021.
To stay on top of their next shows and ever growing song list, you can follow them here: