Whitehorse Daily Star

Musician devastated' by bandmate's death

Yukon blues musician Brandon Isaak was involved in a three-vehicle collision in British Columbia last weekend that claimed the life of his bassist.

By Whitehorse Star on November 4, 2005

Yukon blues musician Brandon Isaak was involved in a three-vehicle collision in British Columbia last weekend that claimed the life of his bassist.

All four members of Brandon's band, The Twisters, were on their way to play in Prince George early last Saturday morning. They were travelling in two vehicles.

James 'JT' Taylor, the standup bassist, and trumpeter and Matt Pease, the drummer, were leading the convoy in a pickup truck.

Brandon, the guitarist and singer, and Dave 'Hurricane' Hoerl, the harmonica player and singer, were driving in a car behind.

The band had just pulled out of a gas station when they collided with a tractor-trailer that had rolled into their lane, Brandon's mother, Donna Isaak, proprietor of the Discovery Bar in downtown Whitehorse, said Thursday.

Police reports state that at about 7:55 Saturday morning, a 48-year-old man lost control of his tractor-trailer while driving on the Fraser bridge in Hope, B.C.

The tractor-trailer, which was travelling south, toppled onto its side and slid into the northbound lane.

'The semi-trailer truck driver was driving too fast,' Donna told the Star. 'He was loaded heavy with pulp and he was coming down a hill around a curve just too fast.'

The pickup truck, which Taylor was driving, crashed into the tractor-trailer and Brandon's car hit the back of the truck.

Both Taylor and the driver of the tractor-trailer died instantly. Pease was airlifted to Vancouver with serious injuries, police say.

There was nowhere for the two vehicles to go and nothing they could do to avoid the crash, Donna said.

'Brandon's car burst into flames,' she said. 'The harp player had to kick the window out of Brandon's car and they crawled out of the side window.'

As soon as they got out of the car, they called 911 on a cell phone.

While Brandon and Hoerl survived the collision with minor injuries, the emotional toll has been profound, Donna said.

'He's in compounded shock ... He's devastated by the loss of his band mate and his good friend. It's a terrible loss for him and for the Twisters.'

Despite the loss, the band will try to stay together, she said.

'JT, the band member that was lost, would want it.'

In the wake of the accident, the band has 'lost track' of the support that fans have offered them the world over, Donna said.

They have been flooded with e-mails and letters, and stations from across the country and throughout Europe have been giving their music radio play.

The Twisters have played in the Yukon a number of times in recent years and are scheduled to play at the Sourdough Rendezvous in February.

'By the time Rendezvous is happening, they'll have regrouped,' she said. 'They'll find a way.'

'We're definitely going to have them up for Rendezvous.'

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