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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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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.






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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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