After months of competition and over 1.5 million votes cast online, the wait is over: The Sheepdogs have become the first unsigned band ever to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. The Canadian boogie rock revivalists, who have been touring relentlessly throughout North America for six years, beat out 15 other bands for the grand prize, which includes a contract with Atlantic Records along with their faces on the cover of the August 18th issue of the magazine.
Though the Sheepdogs’ groovy, harmonic, neo-psychedelic sound is easy-going and relaxed, the guys have struggled in their quest to break out of their native Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and into the big time. “Shit was bleak,” frontman Ewan Currie tells Austin Scaggs in the issue of Rolling Stone that hits newsstands this Friday, August 5th. “I saw high school friends get jobs and get married and become adults, and I’m still pursuing this artistic dream where I have no money, no assets and a shitty car I can’t even afford to register.”
The band’s luck changed when a Canadian music manager submitted their demo for this contest, which put them on the path to visiting New York City, performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, rocking out at the Bonnaroo festival, getting mentored by Kid Rock and now, appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Now that the Sheepdogs have won the contest, it’s time for the band to take their victory lap. First up, the band will return to Late Night on Tuesday night, where they will be formally announced as the winners by host Jimmy Fallon. After that, the quartet will head out on tour in Canada with Kings of Leon. “They have a timeless sound, and you can hear their influences from song to song,” says Kings frontman Caleb Followill. “I can’t wait to hear those harmonies live.”
In the video clip below, you can watch as the Sheepdogs learn from Rolling Stone publisher Matt Mastrangelo and managing editor Will Dana that they have won the contest, and that their photo shoot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard was, in fact, the actual cover shoot. As you can imagine, the guys were thrilled. “We fucking did it!” Currie shouts as he reached out to embrace his bandmates.