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Spoons bring 80s pop to Festival Hall in Pembroke Saturday

Rick Wharton

By Rick Wharton, Special to The Daily Observer

The Spoons are, from left, Casey MQ, Sandy Horne, Gord Deppe and Chris McNeill. The pop rock, 80s new wave band will help to celebrate Festival Hall's 35th anniversary this Saturday with a performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Spoons are, from left, Casey MQ, Sandy Horne, Gord Deppe and Chris McNeill. The pop rock, 80s new wave band will help to celebrate Festival Hall's 35th anniversary this Saturday with a performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Rick Wharton (actor, comedian, radio host, Conspiracy Guy, and Festival Hall director) brings The Daily Observer readers exclusive interviews with some of the big name acts coming to Festival Hall. Instead of the traditional story format, these pieces will be brought to you in the question and answer format in the same way the interviews took place. So let's be a fly on the wall and see what Gord Deppe and Sandy Horne of the iconic Canadian band the Spoons had to say during their "10 Minutes with Rick'.

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Rick: Thank you for coming to do this special concert with the Spoons on May 2nd. It's been long time since you have been to the area. I know you played Deep River years ago. You have to get everyone dancing again after this long winter.

Gord: We have a song titled Smiling In Winter. We may have to leave that one out of the set!

You're right, last winter was a long one. We promise to warm things up at Festival Hall.

Rick: When you mention the band the Spoons, everyone smiles. Good music and the videos were so big on Much Music. Eighties and 90s music will never go away.

Gord: The 80s were 10 years of Halloween! The hair, the makeup. But seriously, it was a great time in their lives for a lot of people and once in a while we need to relive those days. As a genre of music, I think the 80s are here to stay.

Sandy: It seems that way with the retro 80s scene being really big now with the younger generation, not to mention the 80s generation listening and not willing to let it go, which is great!

Rick: Sandy, how was the band and great musical partnership formed?

Sandy: Well, Gord and I met at Aldershot High School around 1976. We both were in the senior high school brass band. Gord played sax and I played trumpet. After several band formations, Gord and I formed the Spoons in 1979 (with) Derrick Ross, our original drummer, and Brett Wickens on key(boards), who also went to Aldershot High, joining in. Rob Preuss (on keyboards) joined the band after Brett Wickens left to pursue art school in London, England. Rob was only 15 years old at the time.

Rick: You have just celebrated anniversaries musically. How does it feel to still be working, thriving and surviving in the music business?

Gord: It's incredible that we're still doing what we love all these years later. We're enjoying it as much as the audience is. Bring on the anniversaries! We're just getting started!

Sandy: It feels fantastic! It's amazing that our music has held the test of time. With the release of our new album 'Static in Transmission' and the newly recorded mixes of Nova Heart and Romantic Traffic, along with our new band mates Casey MQ on keys and Chris McNeill on drums, I feel new and refreshed. I'm ready to pick up where we left off, somewhat in the late 80s. (laughs).

Rick: What was it like working with two very different producers - Nile Rogers and John Punter as a writer?

Gord: Nile Rodgers and John Punter were two completely different kinds of producers, but we learned from both of them. When Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' came out last year, which Nile also produced and played on, I pointed out to him that it sounded a lot like Tell No Lies, which he produced for us 30 years ago! Between the two producers, we put out our biggest hits. As a songwriter, I'm sure I was influenced by them without even knowing it.

Sandy: John Punter was our first big producer to work with. I was in awe. He was and still is amazing. John had a true vision of who we were as a band and introduced us to the famous 808 Rolland Drum Machine, which became a large part of our original sound. He was always so positive and easy to work with. He always know how to get the best performance out of us during recording. Nile Rogers, on the other hand, had a totally different approach to our sound, with his funk dance/pop influence. He was also fantastic to work with. It was Nile who introduced me to my Spector Bass Guitars, which is still the only bass I use today to perform, both on stage and in recording. It was also Nile who influenced us by bringing the horn section to the band and shifting our sound to a more 'pop' sound to suit the US market.

Rick: Sandy, I have always loved your bass playing and you get better with age. Was that your instrument of choice growing up? Any influences or mentors?

Sandy: Ever since I can remember, which would be around five years of age, I've always wanted to be on the stage. I didn't know how I would get there but I knew I would. Judy Garland was my first big influence with the movie Wizard of Oz. I thought, 'I want to do that.' Singing was my first choice but then I needed an instrument to accompany my voice so I took up the acoustic guitar. Playing the bass however, was a complete accident. On our high school band trip to Arnprior, Ontario, Gord and I got together playing acoustic guitars on the bus and he said, "Here, play the root notes of the songs I'm playing on the four lower strings." I was totally unaware that I was playing bass on the acoustic. Afterwards, Gord asked me to join his cover band that he had going called 'Impulse' and play bass. Suddenly I was becoming a bass player! Who knew!

Rick: Gord, who were your influences?

Gord: We started out as a progressive rock band in the 70s, influenced by bands like Genesis. When the 80s new wave hit, we were inspired by everything from Ultravox to Talking Heads.

Rick: Malcolm Burn of Boys Brigade will return home to guest with your band for a few of his hits. Did you ever work with (Boys Brigade) back in the 80s?

Sandy: I'm not (100 per cent) sure but I'm thinking some big show in Ottawa. I don't know! Back to you Gord! I know they were on Anthem Records with us at one time too!

Gord: I'm pretty sure we crossed paths with Boys Brigade back in the 80s. It's great to see everyone again, since everyone's out touring again - Platinum Blonde, Glass Tiger, Images In Vogue. Some festivals are like high school reunions.

Rick: You have a lot of music, books and happenings going on at www.spoonsmusic.com. Gord, you now you have a book out. Will you be bringing merchandise and books for the meet and greet after the show?

Gord: I will have copies of my book SpoonFed to sign after the show. It's a number one best seller in its genre on Amazon and available in book stores. It's pretty amazing to see how much people are enjoying the story of our little band from Burlington, Ontario.

Rick: I have seen live footage of the band, the playing and singing are in top forum. Besides the special appearance with Malcolm what else is in store?

Sandy: We have some new songs that have just been written that not too many people have heard. Plus we will be performing the new dance dub-step Nova Heart, which is a lot of fun to perform as well. Along with some visual affects, all the hits as well!

Rick: Thanks to you both, it will be a very special night as we celebrate 35 years at Frestival Hall, hopefully singing and dancing up a storm - Shadow Night Club, The Mix, Chez Charles reunions!

Sandy: Thanks Rick, We are so looking forward to the show and performing at Festival Hall in Pembroke!

Gord: We'll be playing plenty of festivals and theatres this summer. We're already booked into the fall. We also just released a live concert/documentary we filmed with the original band members Rob and Derrick last December. I've also been doing acoustic Spoons shows, stripping the old songs down to acoustic guitar and piano. Fans are loving it. There's so much yet to do. I can't wait to see where this every winding road takes us next.

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The Spoons with special guest Malcolm Burn of Boys Brigade are on stage at Festival Hall in Pembroke this Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the Festival Hall box office or by calling 613-735-2182.

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