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Under the Lights

Bears Repeating

It all started…in the most unlikely place; Cowtown, Alberta!  Paul Dean found himself back in Calgary after leaving Streetheart in late 1979…along with good friend Matt Frenette, ex-drummer of the same Canadian rockers, Streetheart.

     Both Western Canadian minstrels hooked up with one Mike Rynoski, fresh from a stint as Vocalist for Ontario based gritty band, Moxy.  From an undescript warehouse in central Calgary, Canada’s first Supergroup was formed.  Loverboy began their fabled career, and honed their playing and song writing skills, looking for a record deal as well as a producer.  The quintet, made up of Mike Rynoski…now Mike Reno, Paul Dean, Doug Johnson, Scott Smith, and Matt Frenette accomplished both with producer Bruce Fairbairn, (Prism), and after many rejections, signed with Columbia Records in Canada.  The time, March of 1980, and the official year of Loverboy.  The group relocated to Vancouver, recorded what became their self-titled debut…and hit the Canadian charts with such impact…the whole of the music business in

Canada were righteously stunned!  “The Kid Is Hot Tonite” was, if nothing else, prophetic…and spurned the first Loverboy album to the number one spot throughout the summer of ’80.  In the autumn of 1980, Loverboy finally got an American release, and ‘Loverboy’ went on to sell two million copies in the States alone!  The debut set the group up, with over 700,000 copies sold in Canada, and more millions in the States! 

Being seasoned musicians, Loverboy were ready and willing to hit the road hard, and they did…with over two hundred shows in their first full year together, opening for the likes of: Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, and Kansas…making an indelible impression on the American record buying public.  They did not forget their home…Canada saw hot performances all over the country.  Loverboy were everywhere, from St. John’s NFLD., to Nanaimo BC.  A year went by, and the group released their second effort, “Get Lucky”…a throw to their unparalleled success across North America.  “Get Lucky” proved that this group was no one hit wonder…spawning several hit singles including “When It’s Over” and of course, “Working For The Weekend”.  This album became their best selling record to date in the US…with over four million copies bought on the initial run!  1981/82 saw more success for the group back home, receiving six Junos at one time…the highest for any Canadian group, even to this day!

    Recording, touring, recording…the never ending cycle of modern musicians…Loverboy released their third album “Keep It Up” in 1983, and hit the road again.  The group toured across the U.S., but this time as headliners!  “Hot Girls In Love” raced up both the Canadian and US charts, and garnered more accolades for the group.  The Loverboy machine seemed unstoppable. 

The group’s fourth album saw some changes…1985’s “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It” saw a change in the production team, with Tom Allom at the helm and the title cut & single was written by one Mutt Lange.  The group embarked on a North American tour, but the criticisms started to come…the group was criticised as being too juvenile in the lyrics, and no depth.  Both, by the way, didn’t hold water…as the group continued to climb the charts, and their concert performances were powerful, even extraordinary!  “Wildside” in 1987 saw the group sporting a more mature sound, but the Loverboy machine was running out of fuel…with the departure of keyboardist Doug  Johnson, and some friction between Paul Dean and Mike Reno, the group took a hiatus in 1988…citied as a break-up, it wasn’t, more like a retiring, and stepping back.  Paul pursued other musical interests, including releasing his own album, and Mike Reno started a group with keyboardist Neil Shilkin called “Just-If-I”.  1991 saw the debut release of ‘Just-If-I with the album “All One People”, and included such luminaries as Neal Schon on guitars, and friends Matt Frenette on drums ‘Spider’ Sinnaeve on bass.  “All One People” is chalk full of heart felt and emotive Works.  The album is a treasure trove of highly skilled musicianship, and downright stunning  creations.

In the same year, (1991), Loverboy officially reunited. The group were back, touring Canada like no tomorrow, and continued their efforts in the States with a sixty-four date tour that sold out in 1993.  Loverboy was back, and the kid was still hot!!...1997 saw the release of “Six”, continuing with that more mature sound that was heard on “Wildside”.  With such gems as “Big Picture”, “Goodbye Angel” and “Spinnin’ My Wheels”, the group strengthened their repertoire…touching upon legendary status.

After many tours and special performances, it took the group another ten years before they released their next official studio Work.  “Just Getting Started” in 2007, brought back memories of their self titled effort…with the title track being their first single, which got some chart action in both Canada and the States…this album also saw two more songs become popular, “Back For More” & “As Good As It Gets”.  Loverboy keeps marching on to their original drummers beat…the current line-up of the group sports original members Mike Reno, Paul Dean, Dog Johnson and of course, Matt Frenette…Canada’s most powerful drummer.  Unfortunately Bassist Scott Smith has left us, being pronounced dead after a boating accident in 2000, and missing, lost at sea.  “Spider Sinnaeve, current bassist for the group was actually a member of Streetheart, along with Paul and Matt…so we have the best of both groups, the original rhythm section of Streetheart, and 90% of the original Loverboy.  2011 marks another effort from the group, with the release of a new single “Heartbreaker”, which is breaking out across the country.  An album is forthcoming, and Canada can rejoice that their first true Supergroup is back!  “The Kid Is Hot Tonite” is as hot today as it was in 1980, Loverboy, recording and performing all across North America, giving us that timeless sound…and they are just getting started!!

Above was the Loverboy story that ran a few years back, and keeping with the last statement, the band certainly was just getting started!  The Frontiers release of “Rock N’ Roll Revival” saw great sales and three brand new songs along with re-recorded versions of the group’s radio hits.

2014 sees Loverboy’s  “Unfinished Business”…a collection of never-before released material that spans their career!  Currently on tour, one can expect that some of what is on this album will be in their live set!  The group are travelling across North America, sharing stages with the likes of Pat Benatar, Journey, Styx and Foreigner!

A brand new band out of Canada is These Raven Skies!  This quartet will certainly become a world-wide influence in the years to come.  Check out their debut, when released in the first part of August!!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Zamboni Brothers:  July 18th & 19th   Young ‘Uns:  July 25th & 26th   Poppa Dawg:  July 31st    The Goods:  Aug. 1st & 2nd

Lake City Casino:    Rann Berry’s Rhythm & Soul Revue:   July 19th

The Vibrant Vine:    Honest Woods:  July 20th (1:30pm)    Wild Son: July 27th (1:30pm)    Devon Coyote:  Aug. 3rd (1:00pm) 

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Wild Son:  July 18th     

Notable Concerts:

 Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     John Fogerty:  November 27th 

 

  …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Get your Groove On

In just a week, the rhythmic soulful sounds of Motown will float over the core of Kelowna!  From the Masters of James Brown to the tenderness of The Temptations—renditions of this famous Detroit sound will fill the Gateway 21 Show Room at Lake City Casino!  Saturday July 19th will be the big show, with a nine piece band fronted by…yes, you guessed it, Rann Berry!!  Rann has put together another fantastic revue, and is ready to get his “groove” on.  Digging deep in to the soul and rhythm of American Motown—we are guaranteed a night of dancing, emotive renditions of the Soul Masters themselves!—And only like Rann and his band mates can deliver!!  So, mark your calendars—Saturday July 19th at the Gateway 21 Show Room, you may reserve tickets now—just drop in or phone the Lake City Casino.

Now, Rann is not only presenting the “Rann Berry’s Rhythm & Soul Revue” in July, his “One Hit Wonders Show” will soon be touching down in August!  More details on that in future columns! 

“Heaven & Earth” is the latest from veteran Progressive/Symphonic rockers “Yes”!  Only eight tracks, but beautiful it is and so fresh sounding!  One would not think that this group has been around for forty years—the sounds on “Heaven & Earth” are as fresh as a Spring morning!  The album will be released in North America on July 22nd.

Also look for the new Nazareth record, along with “California Breed” with Jason Bonham and Glenn Hughes!—talk to you all next week!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   July 11th & 12th   Zamboni Brothers:  July 18th & 19th   Young ‘Uns:  July 25th & 26th   Poppa Dawg:  July 31st    The Goods:  Aug. 1st & 2nd

Dream Café:   Barney Bentall: July 11th  & 12th 

Lake City Casino:  Blue Skies Trio:   July 11th 

The Vibrant Vine:   Wild Son: July 13th (1:30pm)   Honest Woods:  July 20th (1:30pm) 

Notable Concerts:

 Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     John Fogerty:  November 27th 

 

  …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Just Conversations

This week, just a couple conversations I have had with two veteran groups.  Both are facing challenges, in the case of “Shakra”—the group is facing another personnel change and one that they may not be up for.  This interview shows a little of what groups face as the years go on:

Question: Sorry to hear that John has decided to leave the group—however how is the search going for a new singer?

Answer: To be honest, I’m not very motivated right now. But Thom just started to check out some possible guys, right now  I’m not yet involved in this process. I’m a bit tired of all this, I guess I need a longer break…

Q: Some other good news though — a new release which not only is a “Best Of”, but a couple new songs aswell… Please talk about what you have done with this new release…

A: Well, it is mainly a “Best-Of”. There are 30 classic SHAKRA tracks on 2 CD’s. With all three singers we had in the band so far. And all the songs are in a chronological order, the newer material first and the older stuff afterwards. And then we have 3 brand new songs on the album.  “Live For Today” is a straight rocker. Cool song. Then there is a kind of ballad called “For The Rest Of My Days” and finally a song called “The Beacon”. This one is almost 7 minutes long. It’s a bit progressive for SHAKRA-circumstances, but I really love that one!

Q: Not only three new songs, but you have re-mixed a few more…

A: Two songs on the album are remixed versions: “Chains Of Temptation” and “Take Me Now”. Both from the “Fall”-album. We released that one in 2005. It sounded a little bit special… I was never really happy with the production, so I asked Thom (our lead-guitarist and producer), if he’s in the mood to remix these two tracks. So well, he did it!

Q: It is good to see that you are not giving up! Of course it depends on when you accept a new singer—but have you plans for recording more new material?

A: No, not at the moment. It’s not easy to make some plans if you don’t have a singer anymore…

Q: As a music fan, which artist/band would you say that has influenced you mostly?

A: AC/DC. My first AC/DC album was “Let There Be Rock”. My parents bought me an acoustic guitar with nylon strings. I had a few lessons at the local music school. I had to play this fingerpicking classical stuff. Then I started to play “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Whole Lotta Rosie” and all the other songs from the album!  That was much more fun for me to play! So that album showed me what Rock 'n' Roll means!

Q: Wel l , gents thanks so much in answering these questions—all the best, and looking forward to your new record!

A: Well, we’ll see what happens in the future!

 

SHAKRA - 33 The Best Of (AFM Records)

This veteran Swiss group are about to close another chapter in their long and storied career. Yet, they are also readying for a brand new, exciting chapter to be added! “33 The Best Of” Shakra is a very ambitious release. Yes, this one is thirty-three tracks on two cd’s and contains three brand new heavenly pieces of Hard Rock! Unfortunately, just last month, John Prakesh announced that he was leaving the band-however Thom, Thomas and Roger and Dominik are pushing forward. But, we shouldn’t worry-as “33…” shows us that “Shakra” are not ready to throw in the towel! All stand out tracks, with thirty of them taken from the group’s nine albums… When you come upon the three brand new tracks, don’t be surprised that their next full-length album will hit that magic spot as well! “33 The Best Of” shows off every great piece of Hard Rock this five piece have created. Their attention to melody, dramatic lyrics and constant high energy is overflowing here. There are some rare pieces on

this release as well… So, this scribes advice? Embrace this release… Treasure it, as “33...” is full of gems from this top drawer Hard Rock five piece! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)

-------------------

With Tesla, we can feel the optimism the group has, and how they are soldiering on with a determined attitude…

Question: “Simplicity” is the name of your new album… Is there a message there?

Brian Wheat: Yes, the title of the album came from the lyrics of the first track MP3. The song was inspired by all of the technology of today, and TESLA is a simple band so we thought Simplicity was a good title.

Dave Rude: Man, I really think Tesla fans are gonna like it. I think rock fans are gonna like this record because it’ s different than what has been coming up lately from most bands. We really didn’ t pay attention to the radio or anything than any other band were doing.  We are trying to be contemporary and compete with anybody. We just wanted to make a sound we were really happy with, and that’ s difficult to do for an established band these days. There’ s a lot of influences and pressures on you when you make an album and this time we just said “fuck it”... We do what we wanna do!” Hopefully Tesla fans will buy it, and I think we definitely succeeded at that. We spent a lot of time writing the record before we went in the studio, and then we went in the studio and spent a lot of time making songs to getting them to where we were happy with them, but we didn’ t like over producing, it’ s still pretty live for the most part, most of the music was all cut live, and we didn’ t add a lot of stuff to it because it’ s pretty old school.

Q: What we hear are brand new musical journeys from you—when did you actually go to the studio to record this new effort?

BW: End of 2013 we went to Virginia for pre production at Tom Zutaut’s farm. We then recorded the record in Brian Wheat’s studio in our home town of Sacramento.

Q: Did you produce the recordings yourself?

BW: No, Tom Zutaut co-produced it with the band. 

Q: I take it that this is your first for Frontiers, is that right?

BW: No, we’ve also released “Forevermore” and the live album.

Q: “Going back to “Simplicity”, there seems to be a feel of ‘back to your roots’…is this a correct impression?

BW: Absolutely.

Q: In the recording process did you embrace the analogue way more so than the digital method of recording?

BW: We actually embraced the analogue vibe as we always do, but we recorded it with the digital method.

Q: Tesla has been on the road for most of last year, are you planning to tour this year as well… And where so far?

BW: Yes we are, everywhere and anywhere that wants us.

Q: Thanks for this brief conversation, Brian… Good luck on your European tour, and thank-you for this fantastic album…please leave our readers with some final thoughts…

BW: Let’s kick some ass and enjoy the music!

They are back! Tesla are giving us the simple goods! “Simplicity” is all new and it is a no nonsense slice of Hard Rock from this musical force! Yes, guitar dominant still, the Tesla sound is just as hard and just as full of unique signatures as they were from the beginning. Melody? This quintet pulls melody out of the air and lay it all down effortlessly. Listening to “Simplicity” one could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this five piece must be brand new Rock Heroes and not the thirty year veterans that Tesla is. That is the energy level you are about to experience.  Each and every track is a musical statement in of itself, no matter what Jeff is singing about or what musical emotion is being played out. Dave, Troy, Frank, and Brian just keep giving it and the combination is amazing! Each song builds in to the next, combining to give us one heck of a wild ride! Stand-out tracks? Well, all of

them in fact, however a few of my favourites? “Cross My Heart”, MP3”, “Life Is A River” and “Flip Side”. Tesla: simply enjoy!   

Bruce Atkinson (91/100)


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:

Dream Café:   Barney Bentall: July 11th  & 12th 

Lake City Casino:  Floyd Vedan:  July 4th & 5th    Blue Skies Trio:   July 11th 

Turtle Bay Pub:   The Young ‘Uns:   July 4th  Wild Son:  July 5th    Jeff Piattelli:   July 6th    

The Vibrant Vine:  Kyle Tubbs & Connor:   July 5th (1:30pm)   Devon Coyote:  July 6th (1:30pm) 

Notable Concerts:  

Parks Alive! (Kerry Park):  July 4th: “Flashback”,  “Mundayz”, “Jimmy LeGuilloux”, & “The Marksmen”    July 5th“Radio Lifeline”,  “Rattlesnack Shakes”, “Marty Edwards & The Revival”, & “Roy Has Fire”

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     John Fogerty:  November 27th 

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

 

  …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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A Little Journey

He is a driven individual, one that is driven by passion…passion of music.  He and his band of minstrels are also road warriors, playing countless gigs across Canada-big and small.  A true rocker, Devon Coyote continues to bring his organic, soulful and bluesy notes to the everyday person.  “Broken Down” is the group’s latest effort, and a gem at that!  Entering into their fourth year-Devon Coyote is set to celebrate the Summer by playing as much as they can!  From intimate bar-room visits to the sunny Summer Festivals all across our province.  

In our area, we can take in Devon Coyote’s music at:  the Desert Live Music Festival on June 30th in Osoyoos, then at Doc Willoughby’s in Kelowna on July 1st!—a great way to celebrate Canadian music with a Canadian rocker!!

I’ll have more on Devon in future columns…hopefully you will stay tuned!

Last week, we covered some of the upcoming releases we can enjoy throughout the Summer.  “The Quireboys” are actually celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year, with a brand new album and enjoying increased record sales on a global scale.

Canada’s own pioneers of Progressive Rock, “Saga” are on the come-back trail!  A brand new album in “Saga City” is about to be released!  The group are already on the road in support of this release!  

 

 

 

 

 

Plus from Yesterrock: the completely re-mastered self-titled debut of the one and only Nick Gilder!  His debut re-issue sounds just as fresh now as it did back in the ‘70’s!  Yesterrrock have done a fine job with this international release.

Finally for this week, here is a Review from one of Rock’s premiere guitarists: “Journey’s Neal Schon:

 

 

 

 

Neal Schon  “So U”                                 
Frontiers Records     
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson  
                                                                                                                    

Let me just say “So U” is bloody amazing!  Just think of it---the lead guitarist of one of the world’s most active groups, “Journey”-Neal Schon still finds the time to create such a masterful statement such as this!

Neal has teamed up with heavyweights Marco Mendoza and Deen Castronovo, bringing us a true Power Trio.  The level of creativity on this album blows the scales!  All three players are deeply involved in the superb grooves we hear.  Neal has also collaborated with legendary “Night Ranger”, Jake Blades on the songwriting side.  Neal has been a masterful and timeless guitarist ever since he picked up a six string when he was a teen and went to cut his teeth with Santana, and this record shows us all of that and more!

Now, teaming up with the likes of Marco and Deen seems to have allowed all three to enter the inner sanctum of Rock’s soul, and produce a sea of music that flows in all directions.  What we hear on “So U’ is an extremely heady, trippy slice of musical super consciousness!  One can’t just talk about one-two-or three songs---one must immerse in the whole.  “So U’ is a ‘Magical-Mystery-Musical ride of the year, and don’t hesitate to get on it!

 


Under the Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: Poppa Dawg:  June 27th  

Notable Concerts:  

Desert Live Music Festival:  Gyro Beach-Park Place:  Osoyoos:  Yukon Blond  Shawn Hook   Redeye Empire   No Sinner…and more!   June 28th / 29th /30th

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     John Fogerty:  November 27th 

Funtastic: (Vernon)  Nazareth:   June 27th 

Prospera Place:  Heart:  June 28th

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

Notes & News:  New Albums from—Ace Frehley “Space Invader”  Nazareth “Rock N’ Roll Telephone”  Uriah Heep “Outsider”  The Quireboys “Black Eyed Sons”

  …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.









The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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