Northwest Dance and Music Venues
Courtesy of Jack Smith
Rohan's Rockpile
2723 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia

Some of the bands that performed at this place during those great years of NW music were:

Brain Damage
Jim Byrnes
The Cement City Cowboys
Jeffrey Frederick and the Clamtones
Billy Cowsill
Robert Cray
Doug and the Slugs
The Dynatones
Foreman Young Band
The Holy Modal Rounders
Kidd Africa
Denise McCann and The Dead Marines
Bruce Miller Band
Rocket Norton Band
Out of The Blue
Ed Patterson
Pied Pumpkin
Powder Blues Band
R&B Allstars
The Silver Dollar Band
Jack Smith & Friends
Danny Tripper
The Who


Recently, two different cd issues were put out which were taken from a radio broadcast done from this club.  The recording date was 4 June 1976.

The groups were:  Jeffrey Frederick and the Clamtones and the Holy Modal Rounders.  These two groups were essentially the same save for whomever was fronting the band at a given time.  The HMR were fronted by Steve Weber.

Mark Freeman, February 2006

Rohans Rockpile was on 4th Avenue across the street from my brother's place.  That would be just east of Arbutus Street.  My brother's place was a coffee shop named "Hari Krishna's Famous Last Chance Saloon".

Gregory Melle, November 2006

A Seattle band called Kidd Africa played there and the power went out half way through the show.  The band played on and it was a brilliant night, although going to the can was a little weird.

The Rockpile was across the street from Naam ( great vegetarian restaurant) and Banyan's, a very cerebral book store was almost next door.

Brian Shields, May 2007

Rohan's was perhaps my favourite place for live music in Vancouver.  As far as I can remember, it was the very first local club that had it's own sound system and lights. The place was tiny, no more than a storefront. Service was self-serve for the polite, and table service if you had patience to wait for your order.

Fred Xavier ran the place. It was a favorite with local musicians, and Fred hired the most interesting of local scene. He also had acts from out of town/country.

I worked there as the sound man for my good friend Richard Stepp band Shakedown. After our first night Fred came up to me and said he
has never heard better sound there. But the praise was unneeded, as the clubs mixing board was exactly the same as ours. Easy.....

Local FM radio station CFRO (Co-Op Radio 102.7 broadcast a live hour or two every week there.

Some of the bands I remember seeing there include:

 Alexis (Radlin) and her fantastic band of heavyweights
 Rocket Norton Band
 Bruce Miller Band
 Foreman Young Band
 Dave Paul & The Silver Dollar Band (featuring Lindsay Mitchell (Prism))
 Danny Mac (MacInnis) and The Cement City Cowboys
 Danny Tripper
 .....and a whole bunch more......

Roger Stomperud (R.I.P.), January 2008

I can't believe there is still a following.  I used to sneak in here when I was in high school in the mid 70's (in the early 80's I worked there for a time).

I recall bands like Chiliwack, Widroot, Doug and the Slugs, Rocket Norten et al.   If I remeber correctly, it was jointly (or partly) owned by 'Smilin" Jack Smith and Jerry Doucette.

As far as I can recollect, the story of The Who playing there following the Jerry Doucette concert is, well, not accurate, but I was at UBC at the time and might of actually been studying.  I still have a Rohan's Rockpile T-Shirt by Rand Holmes.

Thanks for the memories!

Peter Hexter, July 2009

I was born a block away from Rohans, and was part of the 4th ave scene from 68 to ?.  I was there often.

Another band that played there was Brain Damage.

I am part of a large group on Facebook...old dear friends from 4th .. .almost all the musicians that are left, and 100's of pics... some of bands playing at Rohans....  .I used to do Light Shows at the Afterthought when The Retinal Circus on Davie street took over the scene.

Keith Light, May 2010

Rohan's was of the better bars for live music. Tarkus played there a number of times.  The owner liked different acts and the use of violin as part of our line-up helped us get the gigs in this great venue.

Robb Armstrong, August 2014

I was there the night the Who played.

Chris Okey, March 2016

Courtesy of Jack Smith
Jack Smith at Rohans

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Last Update:  14 March 2018
Credits: Gregory Melle, Mark Freeman, Jocelyn Weatherbe, Brian Shields, Tom Brydon, Rick Hill, Roger Stomperud (R.I.P.), Jack Smith, Keith Light, Peter Hexter, Ron "Bones" McRobbie, Robb Armstrong, Barry Creamer, Chris Okey, Matt Wilson