LOVERBOY ENTERS CANADIAN MUSIC HALL OF FAME:
March 27, 2009
Darryl Sterdanall of Sun Media reports that working for the weekend has finally paid off for Loverboy.
The legendary ’80s pop-rock quintet is being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at this weekend’s Juno Awards.
OK, it’s far from the first time the band has been celebrated at the Junos. Over the course of their 29-year career, Loverboy has taken home nine trophies, including a whopping six awards in 1982 alone.
(Insert your own joke involving the album title Get Lucky and/or the song title The Kid is Hot Tonite here.)
Even more impressive: The band still boasts four of the five original band members — singer Mike Reno, guitarist Paul Dean, drummer Matt Frenette, and keyboardist Doug Johnson. Bassist Scott Smith died in a boating mishap in 2000 and was replaced by Ken (Spider) Sinnaeve, Dean and Frenette’s former Streetheart bandmate). And while they won’t be playing at the Junos, Loverboy still work a lot of weekends — they spend about half the year on the road, and even released a new studio album in 2007, Just Getting Started.
Recently, we chatted with the 63-year-old Dean about Loverboy, getting in the bubble and his love of tween-pop. Here’s some of what the Calgary resident had to say:
SUN MEDIA:Congrats on the Hall of Fame induction. What was your first thought when you heard about it?
DEAN: The coolest thing for me is that I’m on the same wall as Neil Young, one of the finest songwriters ever. I’m really happy to be sharing that space.
SUN MEDIA:Were you surprised? A lot of these things are seen as caps on a career.
DEAN: Yeah, you’re supposed to be dead before you get this. (Laughs) But I’m not done and the band is not done by any stretch. Still, better now than 20 years from now when I could be that other way.
SUN MEDIA:A lot of times, pop music gets short shrift from critics. How do you feel about that?
DEAN: I don’t think you can take anything away from the band. We rock hard and we have a really good time. We talk about what we want to talk about. And obviously a lot of other people like to talk about the same things. Critics like to talk about it in the other way, but what are you gonna do? I don’t owe them anything. We’re just doing what we do. And lucky to be still doing it after all this time.
SUN MEDIA:Yeah, you guys have weathered some events that would have torn other bands apart. What keeps it all together?
DEAN: I don’t know. It’s a real challenge. We’re never on the same page. We’re in the same book, at least. But we’ve got to really work at it and be open and honest with each other and communicate. That’s the only way you can do it. We have had a lot of ups and downs and ins and outs and breakups and solo projects and whatever, but in the end we really respect each other and love to play together. And when it’s a magic night — and it’s not a magic night every night — it’s incredible. You get in the bubble for two hours and you can do no wrong. That’s an incredible feeling. I don’t know any other job where you would get that. That’s all it’s about for me.
SUN MEDIA:Do you think you’d be able to make it if you were just starting out today?
DEAN: Well, we’re a bunch of old farts now! (Laughs) It would be tough to compete. People come and look at us now and they gasp. But then they forget about it. They hear Mike singing and they feel the groove that Matt and Spider and I are putting out and they don’t care about how we look. They just love the songs and the excitement. Mike always says, ‘Loverboy fans don’t come to the show to see what we’re wearing.’ This is not a fashion show. We’re just a really hard-rocking band. We really lay it down.
SUN MEDIA:Do you keep pace with current music?
DEAN: Oh, totally. I’m buying albums all the time off iTunes. I’m still into guitar players — Jeff Beck is my go-to guy. But I listen to a lot of the young people too. I really like the Taylor Swift album. Her new one is great. And I know this is going to sound real weird, but I love Hilary Duff too. Her last album was killer for me — good pissed-off lyrics and cool grooves, and not screaming.
SUN MEDIA:So you are down with the ‘tweens?
DEAN: I am down with the ‘tweens. It’s funny; there hasn’t been a lot of good pop music lately, at least to my ear. But we were playing in DisneyWorld and Hannah Montana was playing on a monitor in our dressing room and I saw it and said, ‘There is a God after all! Pop lives on!’ That’s exactly where I’m at; I love that style. I’m a pop guy through and through; no question about it.
SUN MEDIA:Would you have any advice to bands who are just starting out?
DEAN: It all starts with the songs. I know that’s an obvious thing to say, but it took me forever to figure out how to write a good song. I wrote a lot of songs before I wrote The Kid is Hot Tonite in 1978. That was kind of the turning point for me.
SUN MEDIA:Aside from your award, what are you looking forward to at the Junos?
DEAN: I’ve never heard Nickelback live, so I’m looking forward to seeing them play. And Simple Plan too — I’m not their biggest fan, but I think seeing them live will change my opinion. And obviously, it’ll be a really good time. I’ve got a lot of friends coming in from all over. And I’ll be bringing my wife and my 12-year-old son to the show, so that’ll be a good thing for him.
SUN MEDIA:What does he think of dad?
DEAN: What do all 12-year-old kids think of dad? He gives me a hard time — and I return it. But it’s all in good fun.
SUN MEDIA:So life is good?
DEAN: I can’t complain. Who would care, anyway?