Art Bergmann, Barry Taylor, and Jim Bescott formed the K-Tels in Vancouver in early 1978 and, along with D.O.A., the Subhumans, and the Pointed Sticks, created the influential Vancouver independent music scene. Their sound, defined by Bergmann's acerbic songwriting and blistering guitar work, was more power pop than punk, yet their incendiary live performances quickly made them darlings of the Vancouver hardcore scene. Perhaps more importantly, the K-Tels were instrumental in opening the legendary Smiling Buddha Cabaret to original bands, being the first of countless new bands to perform in that venue. The local label Quintessence Records contracted them to release a single; before it was released, the K-Tel corporation, notorious for releasing low-budget compilation LPs, threatened legal action over the name of the band, and so they became the Young Canadians.
Their career was to last less than two years, during which they release two EPs and a single, toured Canada with the Boomtown Rats, and, most notably, wrote the Canadian punk anthem "Hawaii," an acerbic and unforgettable attack on middle-class values in the 1970s. After the breakup of the band, Barry Taylor went on to form the popular club act Roots Roundup, while the self-destructive Bergmann's succeeding groups and solo career made him one of the key figures in the Canadian alternative music scene. His career ended quietly and ignobly when the onset of arthritis made it impossible for him to continue playing guitar. Much of the band's music continues to be released and reissued, and the original vinyl is highly coveted among collectors. ~ Laurie Mercer