“Lucky” Doug Fergus, Concert, 2/23

“Lucky” Doug Fergus, Concert, 2/23

Mountainfilm will have to give her the night off. On Friday, February 23, 8 p.m., Suzan’s sweetie, “Lucky” Doug Fergus, performs in a free concert at Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts. Donations welcome. All funds go to Ah Haa.

Scroll down to listen to Doug perform one of his quirky, funny songs, “Canadian Woman.”

“Easy Rider” was in his cards. Instead he chose a career in fish –urr, the bass (pronounced like the instrument). Guess with hands as large as Richie Havens and humor as arch as Steve Martin’s and Jonathan Winters’, “quirk-rock” was in the cards. Ultimately Doug’s music got released by the very same person who produced Johnny Cash and Tom Petty.

No wonder the man sees the world as a glass that is always half full.

No wonder the man is “Lucky.”

“Lucky” Doug Fergus has been writing, recording and performing music since one fateful day in 1980, when he heard the song “Fame” on the radio and knew immediately he wanted to become a screaming lead guitarist.

But things did not work out quite according to plan.

Doug went on to become a singing/songwriting bassist (not a guitarist), a man inspired to create fun music by his favorite comedians and musicians: Jonathan Winters; George Carlin; Steve Martin; Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; the Guess Who; Earth, Wind and Fire; Bachman-Turner Overdrive; Randy Bachman; the Talking Heads; Weird Al Yankovic; and Frank Zappa.

But the path to his day job was long and windy – rather, winding.

Read on for the downlow.

Doug Fergus – more that you might need to know:

With regards to his music, Doug Fergus was a late bloomer. As a child, his true love was bikes.

Doug’s father owned a motorcycle dealership and was a top off-road racer, so weekends were spent with his family in the Mojave desert, camping, riding and watching his dad in action. Starting at age 10, Doug worked weekends in his dad’s dealership, opening his own repair business in the family’s garage at age 14.

After graduating high school, Doug determined he was burnt out on bikes and entered the US Air Force to get fours years of training as a heating and air-conditioning tech.

It was while in the Air Force that Doug’s interest in music kicked into high gear.

“I became increasingly interested in listening to the radio and bought myself a Kenwood stereo system. I purchased 45s and a few albums of bands popular at the time: The Cars, Gary Numan, The Bee Gees, Brothers Johnson, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool and the Gang, Billy Joel, Supertramp.”

Then one fateful day in the summer of 1980, Doug heard the aforementioned Irene Cara’s “Fame.”

“The song spoke to me and when the guitar solo came on, I was mesmerized. I was floored. At the end of that song, I knew I wanted to be a lead guitarist and play like that.” 

However, after struggling for many months as a 19-year-old beginner, Doug just did not get the chords.

“I have these huge hands. And I was told by lots of people that I needed to learn to play chords to be able to play guitar. But I just couldn’t seem to fit my fingers into all those crazy chord positions without covering all the strings.”

However, Doug was somewhat of a natural at playing single-note melodies and riffs, so a wise friend told him to switch to bass.

“I was so naive about music, I didn’t what a bass was. In fact, when I saw the word ‘bass’ on liner notes.. I didn’t know it was pronounced ‘base’. I thought is was pronounced ‘bass’ like a bass fish!”

After two years of practicing hard and learning by ear, Doug was out of the Air Force and playing in a band  in LA.

“We were a little tiny fish in a sea of great bands. The record business was thriving and every band was bombarding the record companies with demos, begging the A & R guys to come out to live shows. I was our band’s manager and miraculously, I managed to get us signed to a small label, Allied Artists Records.”

But Allied proved to be a dead end: too many other baby bands out there and not enough gigs to go around.

Ultimately, Doug wound up relocating from LA to Ashland Oregon, where the atmosphere was more conducive to his nontraditional style.

“I spent about 10 years in Ashland writing, recording and performing solo shows, just me and my bass.
 I found a niche audience who loved what I was doing, loved that my sound was unique and quirky.”

One day at a jam session, Doug met drummer Mark Arinsberg and guitarist Chris Johnson. They loved his  sound, and so the three came together as Naked In Public. Months later, a chance meeting at a restaurant resulted in the new band recording a debut album.

“A woman approached our table and said she overheard us talking about music. She gave us her card and told us to call when we were ready to record.”

Turned out the woman was Sylvia Massy, a multi-platinum producer for the likes of Johnny Cash, Tool, Tom Petty, and Red Hot Chile Peppers.

“Chris managed to get a job with Sylvia as an engineering apprentice. After we recorded a six-song demo, he timidly asked if she would listen to our work. In a few days, Sylvia reported she loved the material and in particular felt Doug’s voice was perfectly suited to the music.”

The trio went on to record 16 songs over three months. 
The result was the Naked In Public, No Filter album, released in 2011 as a collection of witty tunes adults and kids could love.

“The fact that we heard from parents their kids loved the record gave Sylvia and me the idea to make a kid-specific album next. 

Sylvia sent emails with song-title ideas. I then cranked out the tunes, about one a day for a month or so.”

The Lucky Doug and the Stinkbugs album was released in 2014 and  subsequently described by one critic this way: “If Weird Al Yankovic, the B-52’s and Frank Zappa formed a children’s band.”

In September 2017, Doug finished recording 53 new song demos at his home studio and sent a few of them to Sylvia for her critique. She particularly loved “Canadian Woman” because  of its timely story about an American man who wants to meet a Canadian woman so he could legally move to her country.

“We recorded the song quickly, with Evan Davidson on guitar and Tom Stamper on drums. 
Sylvia loved the song so much, she said, ‘We’ve got to make a video’ and then she proceeded to write a story outline and direct. We assembled a crew, scouted locations, got all the props in a week and shot the whole thing in just two days.”

“Canadian Woman” is the first song release under Doug’s new artist name, “Lucky” Doug Fergus.

“Lucky” Doug Fergus’ sound is fun and energetic; his lyrics slyly deep, witty and humorous.

Ok, sometimes silly.

Very silly.

Lucky us, we get to hear him soon.






1 Comment
  • Richie Kotzen
    Posted at 15:24h, 19 February

    Sounds very interesting and fun!
    We hope to make it to the show.
    The world does not have enough quirky in it!