Sherman “Tank” Doucette grew up surrounded by music.
Born and raised in the small Canadian city of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, he recalls the sounds of
His Dad on Guitar or Banjo,
His Brother on Guitar,
His Mom, Sisters and Aunts Dancing and Singing along,
And his Grandfather
Giggin’ and Jiggin’ on the Harmonica.
He inherited his grandfather’s harp hand-me-downs, and In the summer of 1969, Doucette and his best bud hitchhiked to Vancouver.
“I didn’t have to leave home,” he says, “it’s just that we had that adventurous spirit.” And so thumbs pointed west, they took to the road.
Once in Vancouver, he played whenever and wherever he could.
“Most were stripper bars,” he says, “but it was a great experience. Some of the emcees were really good, and I picked up stuff from them.”
When he returned home for a visit some years later, his dad sat him down for a “man-to-man” talk.
I didn’t realize that he was a frustrated musician. He had played in bands in the 1940s, but with seven kids, he had to pack it in so he could support us. Later he became a fan, and was very supportive.”
Back in Vancouver, things were jumping. “All of the big bands were coming through, and I went to see as many of them as I could. When I was seventeen I went to see John Lee Hooker. I had worked a 24-hour shift on the docks, and I had my ticket to see him at the Commodore Ballroom. The lights were low, and I was starting to fall asleep in my chair when he came on stage and proceeded to take me and twelve hundred other people to another place. I couldn’t believe how much fire and power and energy the blues had.
Years later, he would play with Hooker on five different occasions ― the highlight, he says, of his career.
Over the next five years, Doucette continued to perform around the city, supplementing his income at a local lumber mill. Things were rockin’ along until one April day in 1977, when everything changed with the flick of a switch, and Doucette literally got the shock of his life.
He says he remembers walking into a paint shed, where, unbeknownst to him, there was a buildup of fumes on the ceiling.
Two months later he awoke from a coma to find himself in the burn ward of a Vancouver hospital, fifty percent of his body covered in third-degree burns. He would spend another four months in the hospital healing from the ravages of those burns, and putting in some hard time learning to walk again, after lying still for so long.
The fact that he had beaten the odds and survived earned him the nickname
After a short stint with the Water Hole All-Stars he joined the Grand Slam Blues Band, which was heavily into soul music. Playing along with the horn players, he wanted to pick their brains and learn from them.
Back on his feet, he formed his own band ‘INCOGNITO’, sharing the stage with the likes of Albert Collins, Sunnyland Slim, and Pinetop Perkins before moving on in 1999.
INCOGNITO was rated ONE OF THE HOTTEST & HARDEST WORKING BANDS IN VANCOUVER’S BLUES SCENE from 1981 to 1999, recording 3 independent albums and touring extensively across Canada.