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So you wanna be a rock & roll star

October 2018

54.40

54-40 is an alternative rock band from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, formed in 1981 by Neil Osborne on lead vocals and guitar, Brad Merritt on bass guitar and Ian Franey on drums.

They made their recording debut in 1981 by contributing four songs on the independent compilation LP Things Are Still Coming Ashore, featuring songs by other Vancouver area bands. The following year, the band released their debut the EP “Selection”.

In 1983, Phil Comparelli was added on guitar, trumpet and vocals, but Franey left the band, as did his replacement Darryl Neudorf in 1986.  Matt Johnson then took over on drums.

Dave Osborne was added in 1987 as a backing musician, playing keyboards and harmonica on stage and in the studio, recording with the band until 1993.  He returned for their 1999 live album, “Heavy Mellow”.

It was with their self-titled second album, released in 1986, that the band began to attract attention from radio with the single “Baby Ran”, followed by a string of hit albums and singles including “One Day In Your Life”, “One Gun”, “Miss You”, “Baby, Have Some Faith”, “Ocean Pearl”, “She La”, Radio Luv Song”, “Love You All”, “Lies To Me”, “Since When”, “Casual Viewin” and “Easy To Love”. 

However, it was their 1986 hit song “I Go Blind” that garnered them international attention when American band Hootie and the Blowfish covered the song on their album “Cracked Rear View”.  The Hootie version of the song was also featured in an episode of the TV show “Friends”.

Guitarist Dave Genn, formerly of the Matthew Good Band, joined in 2003, briefly making the band a 5-piece.  Phil Comparelli left 54.40 in 2005.

The band continues to record and tour today.

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Honeymoon Suite

Honeymoon Suite formed in 1981 in Niagara Falls, Ontario and went on to a very successful career with hits like “New Girl Now”, “Burning In Love”, “Wave Babies”, “Stay In the Light”, “Feel It Again”, “What Does It Take”, “Bad Attitude”, and “All Along You Knew”.

Although the band have always been more successful in their native Canada than internationally, their song “What Does It Take” was featured on the soundtrack for the movie, “One Crazy Summer”, starring John Cusack and “Bad Attitude” was later featured in the series finale of Miami Vice.

The band also recorded  the song “Those Were the Days” from the Charlie Sheen film “The Wraith” in 1986 and the title song for the Mel Gibson film ”Lethal Weapon” in 1987.

The classic 80s line-up of lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist Johnnie Dee, guitarist Derry Grehan, keyboardist Ray Coburn, bass guitarist Gary Lalonde and drummer Dave Betts splintered in the early 90s, with only Dee and Grehan remaining.

The band carried on with a succession of musicians coming and going, including keyboardist Peter Nunn and bass guitarists Stan Miczek & Steve Webster (from Billy Idol’s band).

In June 2007, classic line-up reunited for a Canadian tour.  A new album, “Clifton Hill” (a reference to a tourist street in Niagara Falls), was released in 2008, although for contractual reasons, bass guitarist Stan Mizeck and drummer Chris McNeill substituted for Lalonde and Betts in the studio.  Grehan described the album as “somewhat of a return musically to the sound that we had in the 80s”.

Unfortunately the reunion would be short lived as Coburn once again left the band in September 2009.  Peter Nunn returned to the band, replacing Coburn for the second time.

The band continues to tour to this day.

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Rick Emmett

Richard Gordon (Rik) Emmett (born July 10, 1953 in Toronto, Ontario) is a vocalist, guitarist and founding member of the Canadian power-rock trio Triumph, along with drummer and occasional lead singer Gil Moore and bass guitarist and keyboardist Mike Levine.

Emmett has a wide vocal range and considered one of the most proficient and versatile guitarists of all time.  As the primary songwriter for Triumph,

Emmett left Triumph in 1988 to pursue a successful solo career.  Moore and Levine carried on with Phil Xenidis, aka Phil X, on guitar until 1993 when they disbanded the group.

In 2008, Emmett reunited with his former Triumph bandmates Gil Moore and Mike Levine for the Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg, Sweden and Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma.  However, the reunion was short-lived as nothing more came of it and the band is now inactive again.  Apparently there are still some hash feelings between the guys, as Emmett not so subtly mentioned in an interview a few years later.

In 2016, a mini-reunion occurred when Rik Emmett released the album RES9, an album which included the song “Grand Parade,” with Gil Moore playing drums and Mike Levine playing bass guitar.

Today, Emmett maintains a busy schedule with his musical partner and member of his solo band, guitarist Dave Dunlop, both under his own name and as a duo with Dunlop as the Strung-Out Troubadours.

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The Tea Party

The Tea Party, formed in Windsor, Ontario in 1990 by singer-guitarist Jeff Martin, bass guitarist-keyboardist Stuart Chatwood and drummer Jeff Burrows, is a band that pushed the boundaries of North American music by infusing their blues-rock sound with Middle Eastern influences and instrumentation, a sound that has been dubbed “Moroccan roll” by the media.  They have released 8 studio albums and one live album and are best know for the songs, “Temptation”, “Babylon”, “Heaven Coming Down”, “The Messenger”, “Walking Wounded” and “Writing’s on the Wall”.

Their 1997 electronica infused album “Transmission” further stretched the boundaries of their sound by combining traditional and exotic instruments with synthesizers, samples, sequencers and drum loops.

The Tea Party abruptly broke up in October 2005, with Martin announcing he was embarking on a solo career, news that even took Chatwood and Burrows by surprise as they thought the band was only taking an extended break.  Creative differences was given as the reason for the demise of the band.

In 2011, the band reunited and launched a Canadian summer tour. At a show at the Métropolis in Montreal in December 2011, Martin confirmed that the reunion was permanent, stating “The Tea Party is back for good.”

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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath are a folk-rock band formed in Kelowana, British Columbia in 1983 by guitarist/singer Kevin Kane, bass guitarist/singer Chris Hooper and drummer Tom Hooper, taking their name from the famous book and movie.  Keyboardist Vince Jones officially joined the band for their third full-length album “Now and Again”, having previously toured with the band.

The band enjoyed their commercial peak in the late 1980s to the early 90s with hits such as “Peace of Mind”, “O Lucky Man” , “All the Things I Wasn’t”, “What Was Going Through My Head”, “What Was Going Through My Head” and “I Am Here”.

The Grapes of Wrath broke-up in 1992 after the acrimonious departure of Kevin Kane.  The remaining members went on to form the band Ginger as The Grapes of Wrath name was tied up in legal .

Kane and Tom Hooper briefly re-formed The Grapes of Wrath in 2000, producing one album as a duo before going their separate ways again in 2001.

Kane and Hooper reunited again in 2009, leading to a full reunion with Chris Hooper as The Grapes of Wrath the following year.

The band continues to tour and released an album, High Road in 2013, their first album of new songs in 22 years.

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Spoons

Spoons are a new wave band formed in Burlington, Ontario in 1979 by singer-guitarist Gord Deppe, bass guitarist Sandy Horne, drummer Peter Shepherd, all students at Aldershot High School, and keyboardist Brent Wickens.

Shepherd left after a brief tenure and was replace by Derrick Ross on drums.  Wickens left the following year and was replaced by 15 year-old Rob Pruess on keyboards.  It was this “classic line-up” that were behind the band’s biggest hits, including “Romantic Traffic”, “Nova Heart”, “Old Emotions”, “Arias & Symphonies”, “Bridges Over Borders”, “Talkback”, “Rodeo” and “Tell No Lies”.

Spoons’ debut album, “Stick Figure Neighbourhood”, released in 1981, is notable for being one of the early new wave albums engineered by Hamilton, Ontario native Daniel Lanois, who would later go on to produce albums by U2, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and Neil Young.

After releasing two more hit albums, “Arias & Symphonies” (1982) and “Talkback” (1983), the latter produced by Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers, the band had still failed to crack the American market. 

Ross and Pruess left the band in 1985 and were replaced by Scott MacDonald (keyboards) and Steve Kendry (drums), respectively.  A subsequent album, “Bridges over Borders”, released in 1986, was a commercial failure, but the next “Vertigo Tango,” released in 1988, was a moderate success but would become the final album of their original run as the band broke up in 1990.

Horne and Deppe would re-unite several times over the next 20 years for special events.

In 2010, Horne and Deppe formally re-activated the band and have since released two albums of new material, “Static in Transmission” in 2011 and “New world, New day” in 2019.  The band continues to tour today, with Casey MQ on keyboards and Chris McNeill on drums.

On two separate occasions, once in 2012 and again in 2014, Horne and Deppe reunited with  Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross for a series of shows, temporarily reuniting the classic 1980s line-up.

Derrick Ross also made a surprise appearance in October 2015, when Spoons played a special show in the auditorium at Aldershot High School, the place where they got their start, to raise money for the refurbishing of the aging auditorium.

Deppe told a humorous story about Sandy’s “exploding bass amp.”  The band had frequently used smoke pods as a part of their show, something the Principal had asked them not to do.  At one show in the Aldershot High School auditorium, they had a friend sneak a smoke pod onto the stage near Horne’s amplifier, which was also right by an exit door.  After setting off the smoke pod, the friend picked it up and ran out the exit door.  The band told the infuriated Principal that Sandy’s amp must have exploded.

Spoons also played a multi-artist show during their days at Aldershot High that featured a young Jim Carrey, whom had very briefly been a student at Aldershot, on the bill.

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April Wine

April Wine was formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1969 by brothers David Henman on guitar and Ritchie Henman on drums, their cousin Jim Henman on bass guitar and Myles Goodwyn on lead vocals and guitar.

The band re-located to Montreal, Quebec in 1970 and released their debut album the following year, featuring their first hit song, “Fast Train”.

Their second album “On Record”, with Jim clench taking over bass guitar duties from Jim Henman, began to garner the band international attention with their cover version of “You Could Have Been a Lady” by the band Hot Chocolate and “Bad Side of the Moon”, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

David and Ritchie Henman left the band during the recording of their third album “Electric Jewels”, leaving Myles Goodwin the sole original member and chief songwriter.

April Wine have had numerous hits over the years have including “Lady Run, Lady Hide”, “Tonight Is A Wonderful Time To Fall In Love”, “I Wouldn’t Want To Lose Your Love”, “Like A Lover, Like A Song”, “Say Hello”, “I Like to Rock”, “Anything You Want, You Got It”, “Sign of the Gypsy Queen”, “Roller”, “Say Hello”, “I Like to Rock” and the concert favourite “Oowatanite”

One big break for April Wine came in March 1977 when the band was book to play a charity concert at the El Macambo Club in Toronto as a co-headlining act with a ban called “The Cockroaches”, who were actually The Rolling Stones.  This poorly kept secret lead to huge crowds showing up at the club.  April Wine’s performance was recorded for the live ablum, “Live at the El Mocambo.”

Over the years, many other musicians would come and go, with Goodwyn being the only constant in the band.  Guitarist Brian Greenway was brought into the band in 1977 as a third guitarist and remains with the band to this day.  Greenway’s arrival gave the band a powerful three-guitar sound but it also allowed Goodwyn to double of keyboards.

April wine broke up in 1986 and Goodwyn and Greenway embarked on solo careers.

The band re-united in 1992, featuring Goodwyn, Greenway, returning drummer Jerry Mercer, bass guitarist Jim Clench after a 17 year absence and new member Steve Segal as the third guitarist.

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Big Wreck

Big Wreck was formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1994 by Canadian lead vocalist/guitarist Ian Thornley, guitarist Brian Doherty, bassist Dave Henning and drummer Forrest Williams while they were students at the Berklee College of Music.

They released their debut album “In Loving Memory Of…” in 1997, which featured some of their biggest hits, “The Oaf (My luck is wasted)”, “That Song”, and “Blown Wide Open”.  Despite being an American-based band, Big Wreck found greater success in Thornley’s home country of Canada.

Their follow-up album in 2001, “The Pleasure and the Greed” was a commercial disappointment and the band broke -up the following year.  Thornley returned to Canada and began a successful solo career.

In 2010, Ian Thornley and Brian Doherty re-united for a series of concerts “An evening with Thornley and Big Wreck.”  The success of this tour lead to the official re-formation of Big Wreck, with the three other members of Thornley’s solo band replacing Henning and Williams in the line-up.

Big Wreck continues continues to tour and has released three new albums, the most recent being Grace Street in 2017.

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Goddo

Goddo was formed in Scarborough, Ontario in 1975 by bass guitarist and singer Greg Godovitz, guitarist Gino Scarpelli and drummer Marty Morin. Morin was replaced two years later by Doug Inglis, completing the “classic” line-up.

Goddo had mixed major label success from 1977 to 1982, releasing three studio and two live albums, along with touring clubs, concert halls and amphitheatres.  Their biggest hits include “Under My Hat” from their 1977 self-titled debut album and “Pretty Bad Boy” from the 1981 album of the same name.

The band was slapped with a lifetime ban from The Forum at Ontario Place in Toronto, Ontario, in 1980 after an over-sold show lead to a riot at the general admission facility.

Goddo broke up in 1982, broke and without a recording contract, but re-formed by 1989.  With Godovitz as the only constant member, the band and continued to tour and record through the 90s and 2000s with various line-ups.

The “classic” line-up of Greg Godovitz, Gino Scarpelli and Doug Inglis re-united in 2010.

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Big Sugar

Big Sugar are a blues-reggae band formed in Toronto in 1988 by singer-guitarist Gordie Johnson, bass guitarist Terry Wilkins and drummer Al Cross.  All three had previously been playing together as the backing band for singer Molly Johnson.

The band released their self-titled debut album in 1991.  Prior to recording their second album, “Five Hundred Pounds” in 1993, Wilkins left the band and Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe joined on saxophone, harmonica and keyboards.

Bass guitarist Garry Lowe joined in 1994, cementing a core trio that would record some of the band’s biggest hits such as, “Diggin’ a Hole”, “If I Had My Way”, “The Scene”, “Better Get Used to It”, “Turn The Lights On”, “Nicotina (She’s All That)”, “Red Rover”, “All Hell For A Basement”, “Roads Ahead” and their own versions of “Oh Canada” and Traffic’s “Dear Mister Fantasy”.

Numerous drummers would come and go over the 90s and into the new century, as would touring guitarist Mojah, as the band released four additional albums (three new ones and a French language version of their 2001 album, “Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?”, and three EPs.

Big Sugar broke up after a final performance on 31 December 2003 in Edmonton, Alberta, and Gordie Johnson relocated to Austin, Texas, forming a new band Grady.

In 2010, Johnson reformed Big Sugar with returning members Garry Lowe and Kelly Hoppe, along with new members DJ Friendlyness on keyboards, backing vocals and rapping.  A new album, “Revolution Per Minute”, followed in June 2011.

The current line-up features Johnson, his wife and long-time band associate Alex Johnson replacing DJ Friendlyness, bass guitarist “Big Ben” Richardson, a former member of Grady and an early member of Big Sugar, replacing Garry Lowe, who died suddenly of cancer on 7 July 2018, percussionist Rey Arteaga replacing the retired Kelly Hoppe, and drummer Chris Colepaugh.

The current band is focusing on a more percussion heavy, guitar based presentation, no longer having keyboards, harmonica or horns.

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Monster Truck

Monster Truck were formed in Hamilton, Ontario, in 2009 by lead singer and bass guitarist Jon Harvey, guitarist Jeremy Widerman, keyboardist Brandon Bliss and drummer Steve Kiely.

The band’s sound hearkens back to the gritty southern-rock sound of bands such as The Alman Brothers, Lynard Skynard and .38 Special

Monster Truck’s second EP, “The Brown EP”, released in 2010, paroved to be a big  success for them in Canada, with the single “Seven Seas Blues” and “Righteous Smoke” blasting across radios all over the county.

Their debut full-length album “Furiosity” featured the hits such as “Sweet Mountain River”, “The Lion” and “Sweet Mountain River”.

Follow-up albums “Sittin’ Heavy” and their most recent “True Rockers,” released in 2018, continued their hit-making streak with “Don’t tell me how to live” and “Evolution”, a song that features Dee Snider from Twisted Sister.

Monster Truck have been making an impact on both sides of the Canadian border, with “Sweet Mountain River being included in the music game “rocksmith 2014”, “Seven Seas Blues” featuring in “EA Sports’ NHL 13”, “Righteous Smoke”  in “EA Sports’ NHL 13” and “The Enforcer” being used as the goal song for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The band regularly tours across North America.

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The Northern Pikes

The Northern Pikes were formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1984 by Jay Semko on lead vocals and bass guitar, Bryan Potvin on guitar, Merl Bryck on guitar and Glen Hollingshead on drums.

The band released two independent EPs, “The Northern Pikes”, in 1984 and “Scene in North America” in 1985. Hollingshead left the band in 1985 and was replaced by Don Schmid in June 1986.

Their first full-length album, “Big Blue Sky”, was released in 1986 and featured the hits “Teenland” and “Things I Do For Money”.

Over the next seven year, the band released three other albums with hits such as “Wait for Me”, “Let’s Pretend”, “Hopes Go Astray”, “Girl With A Problem”, “Kiss Me You Fool”, “Believe” and their biggest hit, “She Ain’t Pretty”.

After touring in support of their 1992 album “Neptune, the band broke-up in July 1993.

The Northern Pikes reunited in 1999, originally for a short promotional tour for their greatest hits album, “Hits and Assorted Secrets 1984-1993”, but the band decided to continue and have since released three more albums.

In 2006, Merl Bryck left the band and long-time sideman Ross Nykiforuk joined the band on keyboards from 2006-2011. For several years afterwards Semko, Potvin and Schmid toured as a “power trio”, but for their 2017 30th Anniversary of “Big Blue Sky” Tour, guitarist Kevin Kane of the Grapes of Wrath joined them as a second guitarist.

The Northern Pikes were inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame in September 2012 in Regina Saskatchewan. The entire band, Jay Semko, Merl Bryck, Don Schmid and Bryan Potvin performed at the induction ceremony.

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Platinum Blonde

Platinum Blonde is a Canadian new-wave band, originally formed in 1983 as a tribute band of “The Police”, they later went on to become one of Canada’s hottest bands of the 1980s. Originally consisting of Mark Holmes on vocals and bass guitar, Sergio Galli on guitar and Chris Steffler on drums, they were later joined by Kenny MacLean on bass guitar, allowing Holmes to concentrate on singing.

The band had numerous hit singles such as “Standing in the Dark” and “It Doesn’t Really Matter”. “Situation Critical”, “Crying Over You”, “Somebody Somewhere”, “Sad, Sad Rain” and “Hungry Eyes” from their first two albums, “Standing in the Dark” in 1984 and “Alien Shores” in 1985.

Unfortunately for the band, their next two albums were commercial disappointments (the last one recorded as “The Blondes”). As a result of dwindling album sales, they disbanded in 1990. Holmes later opened the internationally renowned “The Mod Club” on College Street in Toronto’s Little Italy.

Although the band re-united for a few charity concerts in the mid-2000s, it wasn’t until 2010 when the band formally re-united for a successful cross-Canada tour. Absent from the reunion tour was bass guitarist Kenny McLean, who died 2008. His absence was particularly heartbreaking as he had been the inspiration for the reunion.

In November 2008, Holmes took up McLean’s long-standing offer to make a guest appearance at one of his shows at the Mod Club, this time to mark the release of his third solo CD entitled ”Completely”. McLean had commented to Holmes “hundreds of times” that Platinum Blonde should re-unite. Holmes quotes McLean as saying, “Let’s get back together. Music doesn’t have any rock stars anymore.” Holmes always replied that he was too busy with his DJ career, but this time he agreed and they performed a collection of Platinum Blonde hits. MacLean died of a heart attack three hours after the show ended in his recording studio on Yonge Street in Toronto. His body was found there on November 24, 2008.

Rob Laidlaw took over bass guitar duties when the band did officially reunite in 2010.

In January 2012, drummer Chris Steffler left the band after being afflicted with severe symptoms of the auditory medical affliction tinnitus. He was replaced by drummer Dan Todd.

In June 2012, Platinum Blonde released a new single “Beautiful” on iTunes and released their first new album in over 2 decades, “Now & Never”.

The band, now a trio consisting of Holmes (back on bass guitar), Galli and Todd, continue to tour Canada regularly.

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Kim Mitchell

Kim Mitchell is a Canadian rock guitarist and songwriter. He was a founding member of Canadian band Max Webster from 1973 until the band broke-up in 1982, when he launched a successful solo career.

Mitchell released a self-titled 5-song EP in 1982 and a full album, “Akimbo Alogo” in 1984. Since then, Mitchell has released 7 studio albums with numerous hit singles such as “Go For Soda”,”Lager and Ale”, “Feel It Burn”, “All We Are”, “Patio Lanterns”, “Alana Loves Me”, “Easy To Tame”, “Rock and Roll Duty” and “I Am A Wild Party”.

Frequent collaborators over the years have included lyricist Pye Dubois, his songwriting partner from his Max Webster days until they parted ways in the mid 1990s, and multi-instrumentalist and singer Peter Fredette. While Fredette usually plays bass guitar and sings backing vocals, he also doubles on keyboards and sometimes drums. Fredette was prominently featured in the song “All We Are”, singing co-lead vocals with Mitchell.

Mitchell still maintains a busy touring schedule, usually in the summer, with Fredette still by his side as he has done for three decades.

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Andy Kim

You may not recognize the name, but you will recognize some of his songs: “Shoot ‘Em Up Baby”, “How’d We Ever Get This Way?”, “Rock Me Gently”, “So Good Together” and the massive hit “Sugar Sugar”, originally recorded by The Archies. He also co-wrote three songs, “Do You Feel It Too?”, “Changes” and “Oh My My” on the The Monkees 1970 album, “Changes”.

Andrew Youakim, known professionally as Andy Kim, is a Lebanese-Canadian pop rock singer and songwriter. Born in Montreal, Quebec, he released numerous hit singles and won numerous awards starting in 1968 until he stepped away from the music business in 1976.

In 1980, Kim returned to the music scene, recording under the stage name Baron Longfellow, and released two albums.

In 2005, with the assistance of Ed Robertson of Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, Kim to come out of retirement and released a 5-track EP, featuring the Robertson co-written song “I Forgot to Mention” and a re-recording of “Powerdrive”, a song he originally released under the Baron Longfellow name.

Kim also co-wrote “What Ever Happened To Christmas” with fellow Canadian musician Ron Sexsmith and established the annual Andy Kim Christmas Show – a multi-artist benefit concert held in Toronto.

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Trooper

Trooper formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1975 as “Applejack” by singer-guitarist Ramon “Ra” McGuire, guitarist Brian Smith, drummer Tommy Stewart and bass guitarist Harry Kalensky.

The band was signed by Randy Bachman of Bachman–Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who fame to his “Legend” label and changed their name to Trooper.

Over the next two decades, Trooper released xx albums featuring hits “Baby Woncha Please Come Home”, “General Hand Grenade”, “Raise A Little Hell”, “Two for the Show”, “Santa Maria”, “Three Dressed Up as a Nine”, “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)” and “Oh, Pretty Lady”.

Several musicians would come and go, with McGuire and Smith being the only constant members and the band’s principal songwriters.  The current line-up also includes Paul Gogo, (aka Gogo) on keyboards, Scott Brown on bass guitar and Clayton Hill on drums.

Although their last album of original material was released in 1991, the “Trooper Touring Machine” continues to play concerts across Canada.

Trooper celebrated their 35th Anniversary by performing at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Victory Ceremony on February 21, 2010, a performance broadcast across Canada and the world, and the half-time show at the Canadian Football League’s 98th Grey Cup game in November 2010.

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SAGA

Saga was a progressive rock quintet, formed in Oakville, Ontario in 1977 by the Crichton brothers, bass guitarist/keyboardist Jim Crichton and guitarist Ian Crichton, along with Welsh-born singer/keyboardist/bass guitarist Michael Sadler, keyboardist Peter Rochon and drummer Steve Negus.

Rochon and his replacement Gregg Chadd would both leave the band by the end of the 70s, with Keyboardist Jim Gilmour becoming the final member of the “classic line-up” that would produce hit songs such as “It’s Time”, “Wind Him Up”, “On The Loose”, “The Flyer”, “Scratching The Surface”, “What Do I Know”, and “Only Time Will Tell”.

In 1986, Steve Negus and Jim Gilmour left the band over management problems and went on to form the band Gilmour-Negus Project.

Saddler and the Crichton brothers carried on with various session musicians, sequencers and drum machines filling out the band until Steve Negus and Jim Gilmour returned to Saga in 1993.

Despite dwindling album sales throughout the late 80s and into the 90s, Saga remained a very popular live band and toured extensively throughout North American, Germany and Puerto Rico, where they have been very popular since their inception.

It was at Saga’s second concert in Puerto Rico in 1981 that riots broke out over fans trying to crash into a sold-out concert that sold over 10,000 tickets. For a few years, a keyboard riff from their song “No Regrets” became the background music for station breaks at WCAD-FM in San Juan.

Steve Negus amicably left SAGA again in 2003 and was replaced by Brian Doerner, formerly of fellow Canadian band Helix. This new line-up released their 18th album “Trust” in 2006.

Saddler would be the next to depart the band in 2008 for family reasons and was replaced by Rob Moratti, who recorded his only album with Saga “The Human Condition” in 2009.

Saddler returned to the band in 2011, but the following year Doerner was forced to leave because of health problems and was replaced by drummer Mike Thorne.

In January 2017, it was announced that Saga would retire following their farewell tour dubbed Final Chapter.  the band played their final show on 12 October 2018 at Luis A. Ferre Performing Arts Centre in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Saga was awarded numerous gold and platinum albums worldwide and has sold more than 8 million albums in their four decade-long existence.

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Moist

Moist was originally formed in Vancouver, B.C. in 1992 by singer David Usher, guitarist Mark Makoway, keyboardist Kevin Young, drummer Paul Wilcox and bass guitarist Jeff Pearce.

The band released an independent cassette in 1993 before being signed to EMI Music and releasing three albums throughout the 1990s. Hits such as “Silver”, “Push”, “Leave it alone”, “Resurrection”, “Tangerine”, “Gasoline”, “Breath” and “Believe me” became staples on Canadian radio and the video music television channel MuchMusic.

The band released their third album “Mercedes 5 and Dime” in 1999, an album that would be their last album for 15 years.

Drummer Paul Willcox left the band in 2000 after injuring his back on the tour supporting “Mercedes 5 and Dime” and the following year, the band went on an indefinite hiatus. While the band never officially broke-up, the hiatus would last for 12 years.

In the interim, David Usher, who had previously released a solo album in 1998, embarked on a successful solo career.

The band re-grouped in June 2013, but Wilcox didn’t return. With Francis Fillion now on drums, the band recorded a cover of Greg Lake’s “I believe in Father Christmas” and toured across Canada.

Bass guitarist Jeff Pearce left the band the following year as the band began recording the album “Glory Under Dangerous Skies”. Louis Lalancette replaced him on bass guitar and touring guitarist Jonathan Gallivan became an official member.

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Lighthouse

Lighthouse, formed in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario, by drummer–vocalist Skip Prokop and keyboardist–arranger Paul Hoffert, is a unique band whose music reflected elements of rock music, jazz, classical music and swing. Their regular line-up includes horns, string instruments, and vibraphone, with soaring vocals that lead to Juno Awards for Best Canadian Group of the Year in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Prokop and Hoffert assembled a group from friends, studio session musicians and Toronto Symphony Orchestra members to made a demo recording, taking it to MGM Records in New York who saw the potential and signed the band. Lighthouse made its debut on May 14, 1969 at the Rock Pile in Toronto, introduced by Duke Ellington with the words, “I’m beginning to see the Light…house”. The initial line-up consisted of 13 members, with Vic “Pinky” Dauvin serving as their first lead singer.

In its first year, the band played at Carnegie Hall, Fillmore East, Fillmore West, Toronto, Boston and Atlantic City pop festivals and the Monterey and Newport jazz festivals. A free concert at Toronto City Hall in the summer of 1969 drew a reported crowd of 25,000. Their first album, Lighthouse, was released in 1969 by RCA from RCA’s Toronto Eastern Sound Studio.

The band appeared at the Strawberry Fields Festival in August 1970, followed by the Isle of Wight Festival where they were the only act other than Jimi Hendrix asked to perform a second night among groups that included The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Chicago, Miles Davis and The Who.

Dauvin was replaced by Bob McBride as lead singer in 1971 and over the next 2 years, Lighthouse released some of their most memorable hit singles “One Fine Morning”, “Thoughts of Movin’ On”, “Hats Off to the Stranger” and the massive hit “Sunny Days”.

In between recording albums and touring 300 days a year, they were creating innovative projects including the first performances by a rock band with symphony orchestras, a collaboration with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet company, Ballet High, which toured across Canada and a CBC production of Prometheus Bound with actress Irene Worth.

In 1973, both McBride and Hoffert left the band prior to recording the album “Can You Feel It?”, although Hoffert did remain as the album’s executive producer. Lead vocals were divided between Prokop and guitarist Ralph Cole, with new sax player Dale Hillary singing on one song. The result was one of the band’s biggest singles, “Pretty Lady”.

For the 1974 album “Good Day”, Prokop switched to guitar full-time, with Billy King taking over the drums. Once again the lead vocals were divided between Prokop and Cole. The album produced no hits, but did contain “Wide-Eyed Lady”, a song co-written by Bob McBride. It would also be the last album from the original incarnation.

The band attempted to record a follow-up and completed a few songs before Prokop quit the band. The album was never completed. Ralph Cole attempted to keep the band alive and but after another couple of tours but in 1976, Lighthouse disbanded.

In September 1982, Prokop, Hoffert, Cole and McBride briefly reunited along with many of the Lighthouse alumnae for a weekend of four concerts at Ontario Place in Toronto, a concert festival that drew 33,000 people.

An album, “The Best of Lighthouse-Sunny Days Again”, was released in 1989, produced by Hoffert, Cole, Prokop and McBride.

The band reunited again in 1992 with a ten-member line-up which included the founding members Prokop, Hoffert and Cole, along with McBride on vocals. Howver McBride had developed a serious drug addiction, resulting in erratic performances. He was fired from the band several months later and replaced by Dan Clancy, who remains to this day.

The current 10 member line-up, which also includes original members Russ Little (trombone), Simon Wallis, (saxophones and flute) and Chris Howells (trumpet), continues to perform and tour extensively across Canada.

Although Bob McBride became a top studio session singer and was heard on numerous commercials, his drug abuse continued. Although he would later clean up, he suffered from ill-health in his later years and died February 20, 1998 of heart failure in Toronto.

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Five Man Electrical Band

Originally formed in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1963 as The Staccatos, the band changed their name to Five Man Electrical Band in 1969 after being told their name sounded dated.

The line-up consisted of Les Emmerson on vocals and guitar, Vern Craig on guitar, Brian Rading on bass guitar, brothers Rick Bell and Mike Bell on drums and Ted Gerow on keyboards. Their self-titled album, a mix of new songs and older ones originally recorded under their old name, was released in 1969 and spawned the hits “It Never Rains On Maple Lane” and the B-side “Private Train”, along with The Staccatos song “Half Past Midnight”.

Several more singles followed such as “Absolutely Right”, Money Back Guarantee” and I’m A Stranger Here”, but by the time their third album came out in 1973, Mike Bell (now going by his birth name Belanger) and Brian Rading had left the band. Emmerson and Gerow and Rick Bell (Belanger) carried on with session players rounding out the band, but Belanger also departed the following year.

After their single “Johnny Get A Gun” peaked at #69 in 1975, Emmerson and Gerow disbanded the group.

After 11 years apart, Emmerson, Gerow and Mike Belanger re-formed the band with new members Brian Sim on guitar, Rick Smithers on bass guitar, Steve Hollingworth on drums.

Mike Belanger has since left the band and was replaced by Wes Reed.

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Finger 11

Finger Eleven originally formed at Lester B. Pearson High School in Burlington, Ontario, in 1989 as Rainbow Butt Monkeys with Scott Anderson on lead vocals, James Black on lead guitar & background vocals, Rick Jackett on rhythm guitar, Sean Anderson on bass guitar and Rob Gommerman – drums

They released their first full album “Letters from Chutney” in 1995 with money won from a rock band search contest on 97.7 HTZ FM’s “Southern Ontario’s Best Rock”.

The band changed their name to Finger 11 in an effort to be taken more seriously in 1996 and released their breakthrough album, “Tip”, the following year under that name.

Rob Gommerman left the band in 1999 and was replaced by Rich Beddoe on drums, cementing a line-up that continues to this day.

This line-up has released four albums featuring hits such as “One Thing”, “Paralyzer”, “Falling On”, “I’ll Keep Your Memory Vague” and “Talking to the Walls”, “Living in a Dream”, and “Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me”.

Their songs have been featured on TV series such as Scrubs, Smallville and Third Watch. They recorded the song Slow Chemical for (WWE) Superstar Kane to serve as his entrance music.

The band continues to record and tour to this day.

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Helix

Helix is a Canadian hard rock/heavy metal band, originally formed in 1974 by lead vocalist Brian Vollmer, who is the only original member still in the band.

The band is best known for their song “Rock You” and a cover of A Foot in Coldwater’s “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want”.

In 1984, the band generated some controversy with the music video for their cover of the Crazy Elephant song “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin.” Two versions were created: an uncensored version featuring semi-nude and topless women, along with a censored version. Some controversy ensued several years later when it was learned that was a then-unknown 16-year-old Traci Lords among the cast of porn stars that appear topless in the uncensored version.

Over the years, Helix have toured with bands such as KISS, Aerosmith, Rush, Mötley Crüe, Alice Cooper, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Heart, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Ian Gillan, and Motörhead among others.

After years of revolving-door line-ups, the surviving members of the classic 80s lineup, drummer Greg “Fritz” Hinz, bass guitarist Daryl Gray and guitarist Brent “The Doctor” Doerner reunited in 2009, along with new member guitarist Kaleb “Duckman” Duck, for a tour and released the album “Vagabond Bones”.

A live album was released in 2010, “Smash Hits…Unplugged!” an album of acoustic re-recorded versions of classic Helix songs.

Helix continues to tour today, with Chris Julke replacing Brent Doerner.

Outside of Helix, Brian Vollmer also teaches the classical vocal technique, Bel canto, in his hometown of London, Ontario.

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The Heartbroken

The Heartbroken is a Canadian Indie band formed in 2009 in Newfoundland by Damhnait Doyle on lead vocals and guitar, Blake Manning on drums, Stuart Cameron on guitar and pedal steel guitar and Peter Fusco on bass guitar.

Manning, Cameron and Fusco had all been backing members of Doyle’s previous band, Shaye, a folk-pop vocal trio from Atlantic Canada.

They released a self-titled debut album in 2010, featuring the songs “Tonight, Tonight” and “Seventeen”, the latter receiving considerable airplay on country music radio stations and on television on CMT.

Their second album, “Storm Clouds”, was released in 2016.

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The Cult

The Cult were formed in 1983 in the United Kingdom by singer Ian Astbury, guitarist Billy Duffy, bass guitarist Jamie Stewart and drummer Ray Mondo.  Originally calling themselves Death Cult, a nod to Astbury’s previous band Southern Death Cult, the band soon shortened the name to The Cult.

The band evolved from the post-punk/gothic rock sound of their fist two albums “Dreamtime (1984) and “Love” (1985), to a hard rock sound on succeeding albums like “Electric” (1987), “Sonic Temple” (1989) and “Ceremony” (1991) and the grunge/alternative rock sound of their 1994 album “The Cult”.

Numerous hit singles flowed from their albums, including “She Sells Sanctuary”, “Revolution”, “Rain”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Lil’ Devil” , “Wild Flower”, “Sun King”, “Fire Woman”, “Edie (Ciao Baby), “Wild Hearted Son”, “Heart of Soul”, Star and “Coming Down (Drug Tongue)”.

From their second album until the end of the 1980s, The Cult was essentially a trio, with Astbury, Duffy and Stewart as the core members, as a succession of drummers came and went, including noted session players such as Mickey Curry from Hall & Oates, future Guns ‘N Roses drummer Matt Sorum and future Kiss drummer Eric Singer.

In the later part of the 80s, Stewart switched to rhythm guitar for live shows, often doubling on keyboards, with Kid Chaos taking over the bass guitar duties.

After a grueling tour in 1990, Stewart quit the band, leaving Astbury and Duffy to carry on with a constantly changing line-up of session musicians.  By 1995, even Astbury and Duffy had had enough and the band broke-up.

In 1999, Astbury and Duffy reformed The Cult, with Matt Sorum returning as their drummer.  A new album, “Beyond Good and Evil” followed in 2001.  However, problems with their record company over a lack of support for the album lead to the band going on indefinite hiatus in 2002.  Astbury moved on to become the singer for Astbury for The Doors of the 21st Century.

Astbury and Duffy re-united once again in 2005 and have been recording and touring ever since, releasing three albums since, the most recent “Hidden City” in 2016.

At a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 10 October 2009, the band was joined on stage during the second encore by Jamie Stewart and drummer Mark Brzezicki, the drummer from the “Love” album.

The current line-up includes Damien Fox on keyboards, Grant Fitzpatrick on bass guitar and John Tempesta as their longest serving drummer, with twelve years behind the drum kit.

At a performance at the Sound of Music Festival along the waterfront in Burlington, Ontario, in June 2016, Astbury took time to point across the water to the City of Hamilton where he lived from 11 years old until 17 years old, attending Glendale Secondary School in Hamilton’s east end.  Astbury briefly reminisced about growing up in Hamilton as a punk rocker in Hamilton in the 70s.

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The Glorious Sons

The Glorious Sons were formed in 2011 in Kingston, Ontario, by Brett Emmons (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar), Jay Emmons (guitar), Andrew Young (guitar), Chris Huot (bass guitar) and Adam Paquette (drums).

The band has released one EP, “Shapless Art”, and two full-length albums, “The Union” and their most recent,  “Young Beautiful Fools”, in 2016.

Multiple hits have followed each album, including “Mama”, “White Noise”, “Heavy”, “Lightning”, “Sometimes on a Sunday”, “Kill the Lights”, “The Contender”, “Everything Is Alright”, “Josie” and “Sawed Off Shotgun”

The band currently includes Chris Koster on guitar, replacing Andrew Young.

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The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs were formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 2006 by lead singer and guitarist Ewan Currie, guitarist Leot Hanson, bass guitarist Ryan Gullen, drummer Sam Corbett.

The band’s sound hearkens back to the classic rock era of some of their influences, which include Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Allman Brothers Band Sly and the Family Stone and Humble Pie.

Between 2006 and 2010, The Sheepdogs released one EP and three full-length albums, finally gaining significant attention in Canada with “Learn & Burn” in 2010, featuring the hit “I Don’t Know”.

The Sheepdogs finally received international recognition in 2011 when the band won Rolling Stone magazine’s “Choose the cover” competition, appearing on the 18 August 2011 cover, the first unsigned act to appear on the cover.

As a part of the competition, The Sheepdogs performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee and The Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Quebec.

Guitarist Leot Hanson left the band in July 2014 and was replaced by Rusty Matyas.

In 2015, Jimmy Bowskill replaced Matyas, playing guitar and pedal steel.

The band’s most recent album, “Changing Colours”, was released in 2018.

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The Trews

The Trews were formed in 1996 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia by singer-guitarist Colin MacDonals, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bass guitarist Jack Syperek and drummer Rose Murphy.  Murphy left shortly afterwards and was replaced by Ramsey Clark.

Originally calling themselves One I’d Trouser after a line from a song in the movie Monthy Python’ Meaning of Life, they released on EP, “The Trouser EP” in 1997, before re-naming themselves The Trews and releasing a second EP, “The Trews EP” in 2002.

Their first full-length album, “” came in 2003, produced by Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, now with Sean Dalton on drums.

The Trews have released five additional studio albums, three additional EPs, a greatest hits album and thee live albums, featuring hits such as “Not Ready to Go”, “Tired of Waiting”, “So She’s Leaving”, “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me”, “Hold Me in Your Arms”, “Sing Your Heart Out”, “Hope & Ruin”, “Under the Sun”, “Paranoid Freak”, “The World, I Know” , “Misery Loves Company” , “The Power of Positive Drinking”, “Beautiful & Tragic” and “Vintage Love”, along with the single “Highway of Heroes, a song dedicated to the section of Highway 401 in southern Ontario where Canadian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel killed overseas are transported after landing at RCAF Station Trenton to the provincial coroner’s office in Toronto.

In 2015, Sean Dalton amicably quit the band for personal reasons.  Now reduced to a trio, the band carried on with Gavin Maguire behind the drum kit for the next three years until Chris Gormley took over.

The Trews touring band also includes Jeff Heisholt on keyboards and backing vocals.

Their most recent album, “Civilianaires”, was released in 2018.

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Tom Cochrane & Red Rider

Red Rider was founded in 1975 in Toronto, Ontario, by Peter Boynton (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals), Ken Greer (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), Rob Baker (drums), Arvo Lepp (guitar) and Jon Checkowski (bass guitar).

In 1978, Lepp and Checkowski left the band and singer-guitarist/composer Tom Cochrane and bass guitarist Jeff Jones, a founding member of Canadian Progressive Rock band Rush, joined the band, cementing the classic line-up.

Red Rider released their debut album “Don’t Fight It” in October 1979, featuring the hit singles “White Hot” and “Don’t Fight It”.

Their second album, “As Far as Siam”, was released in June 1981, with Greer’s steel guitar giving the band a distinctive sound, especially on the hit single, “Lunatic Fringe”, which soared up the charts.  The song gained international attention when it was featured in the 1985 movie “Vision Quest” and the “Smuggler’s Blues” episode of the TV show “Miami Vice”.

Peter Boynton left the band prior to recording their third album “Neruda”, released in March 1983.  He was replaced by keyboardist Steve Sexton and more hit singles followed such as  “Napoleon Sheds His Skin” and “Human Race”, which picked up considerable FM radio airplay in the US.

Sexton left the band prior to their next album, “Breaking Curfew” in September 1984, and was replaced by John Webster.  The poor sales of the album saw the band leave their management team, along with the departures of Webster, Jones and Baker.  The album did feature another hit single, “Young Thing, Wild Dreams (Rock Me)”.

Re-naming themselves as Tom Cochrane and Red Rider for their 1986 self-titled album, the band added Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve on bass guitar, with Graham Broad playing drums on the album and Randall Coryell for the resulting tour.  Hit singles from the album included “Boy Inside The Man”, “The Untouchable One” and “Ocean Blues (Emotion Blue)”.

Their final studio album, “Victory Day”, was released in 1989, with Peter Muellerv added on guitar.  Hit singles included “Big League”, “Good Times” and “Victory Day’.

The band broke up in 1990 and Cochrane went on to a very successful solo career.

In 2002, Cochrane, Greer and Jones re-united to play a benefit show after their 80s guitar tech, John Garrish, was mugged and stabbed to death in the Yorkville section of Toronto, and have been together ever since.

Red Rider continues to tour today, with Bill Bell (guitar) and Davide Direnzo on drums.

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The Stampeders

The Stampeders were formed in Calgary, Alberta, in 1964, originally as The Rebounds, by guitarist Rich Dodson, drummer Kim Berly and bass guitarist Len Roemer, along with Bendan Lyttle and Race Holiday.

The following year, the band changed their name to The Stampeders.  Bass guitarist Ronnie King  replaced Len Roemer and the band relocated to Toronto, Ontario in 1966.

The band was reduced to the trio of Dodson, King and Berly in 1968 and it was this line-up that recorded their debut album “Against the Grain” in 1971, featuring the hit “Sweet City Woman”, the first of many hits that include “Wild Eyes”, “Running Wild”, “Devil You”, “Minstrel Gypsy” and “Hit the Road Jack,” a song that featured legendary DJ Wolfman Jack.

Dodson left the group in 1977. Berly and King recruited new members for the their 1977 album “Platinum”.  Berly also departed not long afterwards, leaving King to bring in three new members for the 1979 album “Ballsy”, but King broke up the band.

Dodson, King and Berly reunited for a performance at the Calgary Stampede in 1992 and have been together ever since.  Their last album, “Sure Beats Working”, was released in 1998.

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Loverboy

Loverboy, formed in 1980 in Calgary, Alberta, had numerous hit songs and multi-platinum albums in Canada and the United States during the 1980s. Consisting of Mike Reno on lead vocals, Paul Dean on guitar, Scott Smith on bass guitar, Doug Johnson on keyboards and Matt Frenette drums, the band’s best known songs include “Turn Me Loose”, “Working for the Weekend”, “Hot Girls in Love”, “Loving Every Minute of It” and “When It’s Over”.

The band broke up in 1988, but briefly re-united in 1989 to promote a greatest hits album.

In 1991, Loverboy re-united again, this time with former Trooper keyboardist Richard Sera replacing Doug Johnson and have been touring and recording ever since. In 2000, Johnson re-joined the band.

Bass guitarist Scott Smith went missing on November 30, 2000 while sailing with friends off the coast of San Francisco. A 26 foot wave swept Scott overboard. He was later declared legally dead. Bass guitarist Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve was brought in to replace Scott.  Sinnaeve had previously played with Paul Dean and Matt Frenette in Streetheart back in the 1970s.

Loverboy was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

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Scott Weiland

Scott Weiland was an American singer, songwriter and musician whose career spanned three decades.  Weiland was known for for having a flamboyant and chaotic presence on stage, but he was also known for the substance abuse problems that dogged him throughout his life.

Weiland was a founding member of Stone Temple Pilots in 1989, remaining with the band until they disbanded in 2002.  The band had numerous hits such as “Sex Type Thing,” “Plush,” “Creep”, “Vasoline”, “Interstate Love Song” and “Wicked Garden.”

From there, Weiland went on to form Velvet Revolver with three former members of Guns N’ Roses.  Jokingly called Guns N’ Pilots and Stone Temple Roses, the band released two albums with Weiland before he left in 2008 to join the re-united Stone Temple Pilots.

After being fired from the Stone Temple Pilots in 2013, Weilland went on to form his own band, Scott Weiland and The Wildabouts.

Scott Weiland was found dead on his tour bus on 3 December 2015, in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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Chilliwack

Chilliwack was formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, 1970 by singer and guitarist Bill Henderson, Glenn Miller (bass, guitar, backing vocals), Ross Turney (drums), and Claire Lawrence (flute, saxophone, keyboards, backing vocals), all former members of The Collectors.

Over their initial run from 1970 until 1988, the band released 12 albums and had numerous line-up changes, with only Henderson remaining with the band.

Hit songs included “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)”, “I Believe”, “Whatcha Gonna Do”, “Fly At Night”, “Crazy Talk”, and “Lonesome Mary”.

Henderson reformed the band in 1997 and they continue to tour to this day.

The current line-up features Henderson, along with his brother Ed Henderson (guitar), Doug Edwards (bass guitar) and Jerry Adolphe (drums).

Former members Ab Bryant (bass guitar) and Brian MacLeod (guitar), both members in the late 70s and early 80s, went on to form the band Headpins, initially as a side project while still members of Chilliwack.

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The Damn Truth

The Damn Truth stormed onto the music scene in Montreal, Quebec with their 4-song self-titled EP in 2010, featuring guitarist Tom Shemer, bassist David Massé, drummer Dave Traina and singer-guitarist Lee-La Baum, whose ferocious singing evokes memories of Janis Joplin.

The Damn Truth harken back to the classic rock-era with their high-energy mix of blues-based, hard-driving rock, psychedelic folk and punk.

They have since released two full-length albums, “Deer in the Headlights“ and “Devilish Folk”, featuring the songs “Heart Is Cold”, “Broken Blues”, “White Lies” and “Get With You” from “Devilish Folk” and “Kinda Awkward”.

The band tours across North America and Europe, currently with touring bass guitarist PY Letellier in place of Massé, and have shared the stage with the likes of The Cult, Dee Snyder, Three Days Grace, Rival Sons, Monster Truck, Airbourne and July Talk.

Guitarist Tom Shemer suggested: “I think some of the older fans are drawn to the band because we remind them of what rock’n’roll used to be like in its heyday, when it was still a bit dangerous…”

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Sloan

Sloan was formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1991 by Chris Murphy on bass guitar, Jay Ferguson on rhythm guitar, Patrick Pentland on lead guitar Andrew Scott on drums.  All four members take turns singing lead vocals and sometimes switch instruments from song to song.

The band’s name came from the fact that when a French-Canadian friend of the band says “slow one,” it sounds like “sloan”.

Sloan has released 12 full-length albums, two EPs, a live album and a greatest hits album.  Hit singles include “The Good in Everyone”, “Everything You’ve Done Wrong”, “The Lines You Amend”, “She Says What She Means”, “Don’t You Believe a Word”, “If It Feels Good Do It”, “Who Taught You to Live Like That?” and “Unkind”.

Soan’s line-up has remained unchanged since its inception and they continue to record and tour today, frequently accompanied by touring keyboard player Gregory Macdonald.

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The Martels

The Martels first emerged on the music scene in 1957 when Midland musicians Tom Ambeau (drums, guitar), Milt Budarick (bass guitar), Bert DesRochers (piano), Larry French (lead guitar, vocals) and Gary French (lead vocals, drums), formed The Corvettes while attending Midland-Penetang District High School. Rock & Roll was becoming a powerful force on the music scene and The Corvettes became a part of that, playing concerts throughout Ontario.

The Corvettes would go on to become the backing band for Canada’s first teen idol Bobby Curtola as he toured the university circut. Changing their name to Bobby Curtola & The Martells (after Curtola’s manager, Maria Martell) in 1961, the band went on to record hits such as “Indian Giver”, “Hand in Hand with You” and “Fortune Teller” with Curtola.

After leaving Curtola, the band toured across Canada and recorded with big stars of the day such stars as Del Shannon, The Stampeeders and Chuck Berry.

The Martels disbanded in the late 1960s but in 1979, the band reunited and continued playing together until disbanding in 2015.

For their second incarnation, the band members also included Madeleine French on vocals & piano, Dr. Sax (a.k.a. Russ Strathdee) on saxophone and Bill Chambers, formerly of Canadian band Lisle, on guitar & vocals. Former radio DJ Ken Rowland served as the band’s master of ceremonies and occasional percussionist until his death of cancer in 2008.

In 2007, The Martels released a new album of Rock & Roll classics to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their founding.

In August 2015, The Martels played the Kempenfest Arts and Crafts Festival in Barrie, Ontario for a record-breaking 25th straight year.

Citing their age and and a desire to bow out gracefully while they were all still standing, The Martels decided to disband at the end of 2015 after a 58 year career.

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Assorted collection of artists

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/so-you-wanna-be-a-rock-roll-star/

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