Cowichan Valley Musician, "Hoss" Kristinsson Passes Away

Copyright 1995 by Monte Nordstrom
"Cosmic Debris - February 2005"

Hoss Kristinsson
Popular Cowichan Valley musician, "Hoss" Kristinsson passed away on February 4th, 2005 at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. He had recently undergone another bout of heart surgery & finally succumbed to complications after a lengthy history of heart problems. He will be sadly missed by his family & friends.

An avid musician, antique dealer & retired commercial fisherman, Hoss was a loving father to Ellen & a proud grandfather to Mieneke. He also leaves behind his mother, Karlotta, sisters, Helga & Irene & brothers Thor & Robert, as well as many nephews & nieces.

Hoss' memorial was testament to his popularity as hundreds of people packed the Eagles Hall to pay tribute to him. A moving eulogy by brother Thor Kristinsson set the tone of the afternoon. Later in the evening, a musical celebration of Hoss' life featured many of the musicians that he had performed with & interacted with on the local scene over the years. Hoss will be missed for his enthusiastic attitude & strong character.

Thor Kristinson with niece Jona Kristinsson on drums & vocals & with brother Robbie Kristinsson on guitar

I first met Hoss when he played in a blues band called "the Suspects". The group featured brothers Hoss & Thor Kristinsson on bass & guitar, Lorette Larson on drums & either Snuffy Ladret on trumpet or Rick Reefer on harmonica. The Suspects played dances & pubs up & down the Islands & were very popular with blues fans.

I got to know Hoss & Thor quite well at the local jam sessions & always enjoyed interacting with them & their brother Robbie, who occassionally joined them on guitar. The talented brothers were also commercial fishermen & this added to their rugged westcoast mystique.

Hoss & Lorette were a couple at the time & they were deeply involved in the antique business. Hoss impressed me when he mentioned an antique buying trip to Texas where they made a point of taking in the musical side of Austin. Hoss & Thor gave me a few very helpful tips about which clubs to check out on my subsequent visit to the SXSW Music Conference.

Thor & Jona with John Hird on Guitar, Marty Jones on bass & Brent Hutchinson on sax

Hoss was a very hardworking individual in whatever he undertook. He & Lorette furthered their passion for antiques when they bought & extensively renovated a heritage country estate, which they filled with antiques & ran as a B&B for several years.

The highly rated "Northhaven Manor" on Herd Road just outside Duncan was the site of many musical gatherings over the years. After Hoss & Lorette split up, they sold the business, but Hoss continued to live in the caretaker's cottage until his recent passing. I drive past Northhaven every day & will always be reminded of Hoss & his hardworking ethic.

After the Suspects disbanded Hoss again joined his brother in "Thor & the Thundercats" & continued to be featured in the band's lineup off & on through the years, while continuing to pursue his passion for antiques.

Thor, Sandy Cuthbert, trumpeter Snuffy Ladret, Chris Lawrence, Marty Jones & Brent Hutchinson

Inspired by 60's Surf music, Hoss put together his own group, the "Roll Models" & continued to perform at bars & dances for the past few years, although his health was becoming a real problem.

In spite of his health setbacks Hoss still found the energy to open & operate a new commercial outlet for antiques at Whippletree Junction until reentering the hospital in January of this year.

The last time I saw Hoss was just before Xmas in Mill Bay at the Lions Den "Four-on-the- Floor" reunion jam. He entered with an entourage & was in a fine mood. It was great to see him enjoying himself & I'll always remember his warm smile & handshake that evening.

The Roll Models: Dave Campbell, John Chrysler, Chris Dobel & Ron Brown paying tribute to Hoss

I remember a good number of years ago I was playing a gig in a lounge at Port Hardy. I literally bumped into the Kristinsson boys in the lobby of my hotel while they were stocking up on supplies. Their boats were all tied up at the pier next door & they were getting ready to depart for another salmon run. Sometime later on, inspired by these 'fishin' musicians I wrote a song called "Sou'wester", a romanticised ode to the Westcoast fishery.

I got a chance to sing this song at Hoss' Memorial Jam & I will think of Hoss & his family when I sing this song. it was an honour to give a CD copy of it to Hoss' mother Karlotta & sister Helga who had come all the way from Iceland to see him for his birthday. Sadly for all he did not live to see the day.

God bless you my old Viking friend, Hoss. May the Valkyries treat you well in Valhalla. Love from us all back here on Earth.

-Monte Nordstrom

Brent Hutchinson, Hoss Kristinsson, Brian "Buddy Love" Hay, Thor Kristinsson, Wayne Diggins, an unidentified saxman & John Hird at the Brig in the late 90s.


There’s a sou’wester brewing off Puget Sound,
It’s across Juan da Fuca like a runaway train.
Cross the San Juans, Gulf Islands and up Georgia Strait,
It’s time to batten down again.

The Icelander’s are bearing down the inside.
They toil off Texada going past the north shore.
They make for Lasqueti & safe harbour,
Robbie, Hoss & Thor.

And they’ll drop anchor in a tidy little cove tonight.
Boil their water on an old gimbled stove.
Just standing pat, with a hot whiskey mac.
While they’re riding out the storm.

Time was when fishing was a good game to run.
You could count on your year, & the year to come.
Now the Feds buy back licenses one by one.
When they used to pass father to son.
Now you can’t get a fair price for your catch anymore,
& the big salmon run’s all but gone.
But they’re still riding out the storm.

Red skies at night’s a sailor’s delight,
But there’s a black sky in the heavens today.
So they’ll pull out their guitars & sing about home
& the one’s that they won’t see today.

Oh give me a home, where the Killer Whales roam.
And the Salmon & Halibut play.
And never is heard a disparaging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

And they’ll leave anchor in a tidy little cove tonight.
Cook their grub on an old gimbled stove.
Just standing pat with a hot whiskey mac,
While they’re riding out the storm.

There’s a Sou’wester brewing off Puget Sound,
It’s across Juan de Fuca like a runaway train
‘Cross the San Juans & Gulf Islands & up Georgia Strait
It’s time to batten down again.
There’s a Sou’wester brewing off Puget Sound,
Its across Juan De Fuca like a runaway train,
Cross the San Juans, Gulf Islands & up Georgia Strait,
They’ll be riding out the storm, Riding out the storm…

Copyright by Monte Nordstrom/Northstream Music/Groovedigger Records/SOCAN April 24, 1999