• Welcome

    Hello and we're so glad you made it!
    You've reached the home of Bonkers.

    This is where we lay it all out and keep in touch with our friends and fans across the country. A four pieces band with three decades of professional performing experience and years on the stage and memebrs that have played in cities and towns across Canada, USA and the UK, the guys in Bonkers know what it's all about.

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    Latest News

    July 23, 2014

    It's on! The Bonkers Band is back together after a long time apart with members working on other projects and playing with other bands they're back together and sounding better than ever. Three original members Mike, Gater and Paul are joined by John Dawson. John was the leader of the house band Johnny and the Sex Machine for over 16 years at The Tap and Tankard in Whitby, a very popular club and it's always packed when John and the boys were there. Mike had been playing with John for the last year and it was perfect timing when Gater and Paul voiced an interest to get Bonkers back together. We're all so excited and we've got some great music and tricks up our sleeve so stay tuned....

    September 1, 2014

    The band is coming to gether and the the material is fantastic. It sounds so sweet. The new FaceBook page is up so please Click Here to "Like Us". This makes it easy for us to stay in touch and keep you informed of any Bonkers news. Do it now before you forget!

  • The Plan / Our Mission

    Play some great music with awesome people and fantastic audiences.
    Maybe do some recording of our original music to share with the world.
    Sounds like a plan?

    This new Bonkers Band will prove to be the most well rounded and experienced Bonkers Band ever. We love what we do and we're thankful we have the opportunity to have some fun and perform for audiences at great functions and events. We look forward to it and we love it. We'll be working hard and performing at corporate functions, private parties and clubs to fund this adventure. You can help, keep reading to find out more.

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    Events,Partys and Clubs

    The Shows

    We try very hard to bring as much to the stage as we can for every show. Every musician in Bonkers plays multiple instruments and sings lead. We work to fit it all in and show you good folks and great time..

    New Venues, new friends

    We're always looking for new places or events to perfrom at. If you know of a function that you want us to play let us know. Just drop us a message via email or connect with us on FaceBook. We'd love to play your event!

    We are Professional Performers

    At the risk of aggravating some potential clients I'd like to publish this letter from another professional musican as we believe it makes good sense. We work hard to become the perfromers we are and invest countless hours and dollars into our craft. We love to perform but we need to earn an income as this is a business as well. More

  • Bonkers History

    Bonkers was started with three fresh young faces and hearts full of hope and adventure and the guidance of one crazy road musician. Founded by Micheal Charles Chessman with original members Dave Gater Smith, Paul James Evans and Gary MacDougal in the late 80's it was one for all and one for all. Everything was new and exciting and the world was ours to take. We were three young musicians on the road for the first time with our resident rock and roll mentor "The Gater". God help us! We started like many others playing all the rural towns outside our homes in the GTA. We had managed to get involved with another group that Gater had been playing with, The Corvettes. They had a good following and great connections with bookings and plenty of experience at that point. The Corvettes were a top 40, 50's and 60's show band. We quickly modeled ourself after the Vets and the show they were playing and before long we were playing shows in clubs around Ontario and booked by the same agency. It was a great a start and led us all to bigger and better things in years to come.

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    The Band

    Michael Charles Chessman

    Front man and primary lead vocals as well as guitar, bass guitar, harmonica and drums.
    "Bonkers was really the first pro band I ever worked with and the memories from those days are priceless. I learned how to entertain and show people a good time at very early age and I've been lucky enought to do it ever since."More

    John Dawson

    Guitars, vocals and just a hell of a good guy. The newest member of Bonkers, John was the leader of the house band Johnny and the Sex Machine at a popular club named The Tap and Tankard for 16 years. A record by any stretch of the imagination. Outstanding talent and a great personality keeps John out front on stage for all to enjoy. Come see what all the talk is about, Johnny Rocks! More

    Paul James Evans

    Bonkers original drummer as well as vocals, guitar and bass Paul is a well established player. With countless band over the years he's made his way home to where it started. More

    Dave "Gater" Smith

    Bonkers Big Daddy. The Gater as we know him. Others my know him as The Fake Ox. For almost 30 years Gater has had a passion and the ability to play bass like a mad man! It was only natural that the longest running Who Tribute Band in the world solicite his skill on bass. Gater has perfromed in the USA, Canada and UK with this long time power act and is know world wide as a master of his craft online. More

  • Play List

    The Cell Phone Recording Sessions 2014

    The Cell Phone Sessions 2014

    Here's a bunch of sound bites from various places that were all recorded on cell phones.
    It's cheap and nasty but well worth a listen. We encourage anyone and everyone to record, photograpgh or take video of Bonkers. It's impossible for us to do it all and let's face it, you folks have the best view. Please send us any media you have on the band as we always looking to add to the website or post it on FaceBook. We'd really appreciate the help. Who knows maybe you'll get discovered as the next big thing! Please enjoy the sound bites we call "The Cell Phone Sessions". We hope to be doing some serious recording in the near future so check back for some high quality downloads. Post any media on out FaceBook Page

  • Festivals, Parties and Club Dates

    We're out there and looking to perform for you

    Although Bonkers specializes in private parties and Corporate Functions

    We are always looking to perform at new venues. Playing clubs is proving to be a difficult task these days due to the economy and other factors but we work with club owners and venues to provide the best performance we can and supply the right package of production and services to make sure our time on thier stage is great entertainment and great value. We know money is tight so let us know what you are working with and we'll do our best to provide the best professional show we can so that we all end up smiling. Give us a call or drop us an email to discuss perfomance packages and prices for your venue or event. Click on the contact us button up top to reach us.

    Shows and Performances

    Private Parties and Corporate Events will not be listed here.

    We will post in the coming weeks any public club dates or fund raisers and charity functions. Please contact us with any inquires on performances. Be sure to "Like Us" on Facebook so we can stay in touch and keep you in the loop for up coming shows and events. We can't wait to see you at our next show!

  • Our Location

    Bonkers Band

    1550 Bayly St. #18,Pickering, Ontario, Canada. L1W 3W1
    Telephone: 905-839-0332
    E-mail: bonkersband@gmail.com

    Contact Form

  • Privacy Policy

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  • More

    We're so excited and can't wait to perform the for you!

    It's about having a good time with the people we perform for. You, the audience are the reason we do it. It's the love of the stage and the roar of the crowd that drives us to continue to get better and strive to play the music you want to hear. We're always working on the band to bring the perfect mix of songs and laughter to your party or event. It takes many years on a stage to be able to read an audience and get it right. So many bands and performers these days just don't get that fact that it's about the people that are there to see them and go about playing the songs they want to play. This is all fine and good but it's be no means a winning formula to a great party. People like what they like and they want to hear it right then and we try to make it happen for our audience every show.
    With over three decades of professional performing experience and time on stage the folks in Bonkers have got a lot to share with the thousands of friends we've made over the years. After a long time apart doing other project it seemed like time for the guys in Bonkers to get back out there and have some fun. We're so pleased to have 3 out of 4 of the original members in the band. Michael Charles Chessman, Paul James Evans and Dave "Gater" Smith. The newest addition is our good friend and extremley talented John Dawson on guitar, banjo and vocals. This line up is simply a blast! Browse the website and we'll do our best to keep you in the loop. Don't forget to connect with us on facebook and "like us" to received any posts about dates and events with Bonkers.
    We'd love to stay in touch so do it now before you forget.CLICK HERE ,

    Let's go Bonkers!!

    We wanna go Bonkers with you....

  • More

    Help us reach our goals and be part of the Bonkers family.

    Over the years we have all tried our hand at recording but neither of us have really ever gone that extra mile to make a recording career. I think it's one part of this industry we have all walked past mainly due to the financial issues and costs of recording. Things have changed and costs have come down. The new digital revolution has made it easier for musicians and bands like Bonkers to persue their goals and share the music. This being said the new band will be making steps forward in the next year to record and perfrom some of our original music. All four memebrs have a host of songs that have been written from the heart and we'd love nothging more than the chance to record and share them with you all. We'll be doing many events and funds raisers to fund this project so please stay tuned as these parties and functions should prove to be nights to remember. Help us record this CD and be part of the family. Details to follow.........

    Bonkers is a state of mind....

  • More

    This may sound a little angry but it's not meant too. All in all it's good sense for the performers, clubs and events managers.

    To venue owners and managers,

    You may have noticed a decline in attendance, lower quality of music, and generally unappreciative performers. I feel your pain and have some suggestions for you so that you get the highest quality of music, more attendance, and happiness in your life.
    We professional musicians--the humble, know we are servants. We bring joy and soul to the darkest corners of downtown, and then shlep our axes through the back alleys.

    Pay us.
    Monetary compensation for a service which we have trained for years to be able to provide. Some of us even went to school to better understand the magic that we bring. It's very disheartening to watch the doorman go home with most of our cover.

    Weed out the amateurs.
    We don’t mind. Don’t feel you should pay lower quality musicians? We agree! Take a little time to make sure your acts are the real deal. Feel free to listen to the music. Look at our resumes. You are a curator.

    Have a decent PA system.
    We want to sound our best so people are comfortable STAYING. You want that too. If we supply the PA understand that it is an expense we need to pay.

    Feed us.
    Performers shouldn’t have to spend money to stay standing at a gig. It is common courtesy to provide food if possible. It simply makes for a better enviroment and in the end a better show.

    Don’t give us “drink tickets”.
    It’s like giving an allowance to a 30 year old and it’s patronizing to 1) be paid in bee, (Is that how you pay your bartenders?) and 2) have you assume we are gluttonous drunks. WE want to perform in agood state of mind so your patrons have a great time.

    Promote us.
    We will do our fair share of promo, but unless you want us to only bring our friends and family (half of which will want to be on the guest list and none of which will return without us), do a little work yourself. Get us on your website calendar (with a picture, mini-bio, and link to our website). Put up our flyer in your bathroom.
    We have fans, but the steady working musician can’t be expected to bring them to every gig, it's simply not realistic. I’m sure there are fans of your venue. Bring them out! If you can build a reputation for always having amazing musicians, people won’t care who is playing. They will show up because you have taken the time and put an effort into hiring professionals that do a good job and take it seriously.

    Stop offering us “exposure”.
    To what are you exposing us? Our own fans who we painstakingly convinced to come support us and attend events we wrok? Unless you have a large, built-in audience (e.g. a festival) that is there to see what great new act you have procured, “exposure” means nothing to us. If you are running a festival, you should be hiring proefessional performers anyway because that’s probably why people are there.

    Okay, take a deep breath.
    You are probably pretty upset right now and want to switch to Pay-to-Play just to spite us (if you haven’t already).
    We know that you are running a business. We are too. You need to make a profit and cover expenses. We know we have them too.
    Unless you are happy with a noob garage band who will trash your lovely establishment or ruin your event and drink until horizontal because that is how they are paid hire pro's. It's an expense.
    You have a right to expect excellence.
    We WANT to provide you with quality entertainment.
    We WANT people to keep ordering food and drink all night so they stay and watch us.
    We WANT to build a rapport with you. So please help us to help you and pay responisbly for professional performers. It all makes sense at the end of the day.
    Treat us well and we will be your bards, your court jesters, and your geisha.

    Because, remember, when you are counting on word of mouth, we hold the microphone.

    With love,
    A Working Class Musician

    Bonkers is a state of mind....

  • More

    For three of us it was our first time on the road.

    Gater had been an acomplished player for many years by the time we met him and for us he was simply superman. He could play anything and seemed to know every song. To this day he is the best player I have ever met, simply a genius. Our manager and booking agent was a man named John Burd, he was a cop and booked bands on the side. He treated us well and got us started and on our way. He was a good man. As the years went by Bonkers learned some valuable lessons in the business. We spent lots of money on fancy gear and fancy clothes but it really didn't sink in until later in life that it's really about the music and the performances. There's nothing better than a skilled player with a great personality to drive a party or event. I look back on the old days and wonder what we were thinking sometimes. John Dawson although not an origianl member was taking a very similar path himself and tried his hand at many styles of music while he cut his teeth on hundreds of stages across Canada. As part of the Q107 Homegrown band winners Cindy and The slammers John was thrust into the big stages and things got real very fast. Like us all there was that time when your passion became a real job and you treated it as such. It's a great job to have but it is work and you need to ake it serious to be good at it. I guess that's why we're all still doing it. Over three decades we have all played together and in separate projects. Thousdans of show and hundreds of stages, partys and events. Every show adds to our knowledge and bag of tricks making the next show just that much better. We have met so many friends and people along the way and I don't think either of us would change a thing if we could. We all live good lives and music and performing has treated us well and still does. As for Bonkers it's a gift to be back on stage with these guys and making some beautiful music and having a blast doing it. To see all the friends form over the years is a gift that we don't take lightly. Thank you for three decades of support and friendship and let take this into that 4th decade in fine form. We can't wait to perform for you so keep in touch with us and we hope to see you all out there on the road. Bonkers is back!

    Bonkers is a state of mind....

  • More

    It was a great start to a fantastic life in the music business. When I was in high school I messed around with music but didn't really get it. I remeber being at a friends place and they were all playing songs but nobody would sing. I thought what the hell I can do that. I gave it a go. It was an old blues tune called Little Red Rooster and I let it rip. My buddies looked on in amazement and it was done, I was hooked. From that point on I was going to sing and play music. It was easy back then, I was young and I could remember the words and really had no responsibilities or expenses. I was very lucky to have an older brother Gary that really influenced me and turned me on to so much of the older music and standards. He would sneak me into clubs and concerts so I could see the players do their thing. It really helped me to cut through the crap of peer pressure and sing songs that people had heard and liked. I wasn't the most popular musician with the kids in my area but the adults all loved me and this led to work. Yes that's right, I was a working musician very quickly and getting paid real money for playing music seemed like a dream at that age. I quickly found some friends and the begginings of Bonkers was starting seed. We played in several other little bands around town but when a chance meeting of Gater came about it was the final piece of the puzzle. Gater knew how to get work and how to make a living playing music. He took me and the others under his wing and we were off. It had it's ups and downs but those first years gave me the skills I needed to make a go of it and I have done so ever since. I have played in dozens of bands over the years and each group had it's characters and friends and every one taught me a little something about performing. The one thing that has always stuck with me is the resposibility to perform well for the people that are there so see you. It's the single most critical element of a working musician. You are an entetrtainer first and an artisit second. Sometimes, if you're lucky you get to do both. As I grew a little older and a little wiser my then girl friend and now wife began to build a life together and it was time for me to "get a hair cut an get a real job". I was lucky to have a friend in a man that ran the local music store. Guy from Kalua music, had helped me for so long threw me a contact for a day job. I took that job and it lead me to what has now become my real living. I worked at RMS for two long years. RMS was a distributor for lighting and audio gear. This is where I met my now business partener and best friend. Dave created Light Design Systems in the late 70's and I quickly became an integral put of the company and together have made it into a very successful business providing entertianment equipment such as lighting and sound systems as well as lasers, pyrotecnics and special effects for some of the largest bands and events in the world. We also service school boards and music stores across the country. This exposure to world class acts has given me a well rounded out look on the music business. We have produced gear that tours with KISS, Metallica and many other world class acts. We manufacture laser systems and lighting rigs that travel the world with musicians and theatrical groups. Everyone of these jobs and projects has added to my presence on stage and my knowledge of the business of entertaining. I'm very confident on stage and know I can do a good job and entertain people when surrounded by good people. Most folks want to have a good time you just need to hand it to them. It takes a little coaxing sometimes but I always get there. It's such a joy to be the age I am and get to play with my friends and fellow prefessional musicans still. We all know it's a privialige and we don't take it for granted. I've raised a couple daughters, I have a lovely wife and a good home. I'm happy and content and the fact I get to party with people on stage on a regular bassis is just icing on the cake. As a good friend always says to me "It's all good!". It really is. I can't wait to see you all out there and play some tunes for you. Keep checking back at the website or FaceBook as there is talk of some original music being recorded and I know this stuff will blow you away so stay tuned. Until then check out the website and get to know the guys in the band if you don't already. Remeber to "Like Us" on facebook so we can stay in touch. Thanks for being a friend and see you soon.

    Bonkers is a state of mind.... Let's Go Bonkers !!

  • More

    Who would have guessed? Way back in the early 80's Paul Evans was cutting his teeth playing in a progressive rock band that was heavily into "Genesis, King Crimson, Talking Heads etc.,,,. Although enjoying the music challenges, it didn't give him the charge he was looking for. Enter Wayne Reddy, close friend of Paul's and also of Mike Chessman. It was Wayne that introduced Paul to Mike and the musical direction Mike wanted to go. Intrigued, Paul quit the progressive rock band and ventured out with Mike to form "Bonkers". Bonkers played for many years and then Paul was eventually coaxed by their agent John Burd to join The Corvettes. A travelling show band. As time went by Paul (wanting to expand his musical repertoire), decided to do a solo career playing acoustic guitar. In recent history and finally through Facebook was able to re-connect with Gator and Mike. I wasn't long before rumblings of starting up Bonkers was back on the table. Look out ! Here we come.....

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    Who the world is that on bass? A common question when Gater's doing his thing. A massive talent with a wealth of knowledge and stage time in every kind of band there is and was. A little crazy and outside of the box but it's always about the music and rocking it up. His touring experience is exhaustively long and his performance experience is wide, including film and studio recording. But most of all, he loves playing with talented musicians in front of a live audience. Gater was there in the begining and has shared stages and bands with Micheal Chessman for 30 years. The two have become some what attached at the hip and truely have become a team. Gater has a website. Check it out for more info. on him.
    The Gater's House or check out the The Wholigans