It was 35 years ago, Saturday August 13th 1982 to be precise when Gord Deppe led The Spoons on stage to participate in The Second Annual Police Picnic, a showcase for the Peroxide Trio of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland which also featured The Talking Heads, English Beat, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts and another up and coming New Romantic band, Liverpool’s A Flock Of Seagulls.
In a strange twist of fate, 35 years later, Deppe has accepted an offer from A Flock Of Seagulls’ front man, Mike Score to join the band and appear at a series of 80’s retro concerts in the States next year.
“When I walked on stage for that concert, I didn’t expect A Flock Of Seagulls to catch my ear,” explained Deppe on the phone from his hometown Oakville. “I wasn’t a big fan of The Police, I was a big fan of The Talking Heads but when I heard A Flock Of Seagulls play it was like wow! I had never heard guitar work like that. It was like seeing U2’s The Edge for the first time. I was definitely impressed.
Maybe Toronto promoters Gary Cormier and Gary Topp had a special premonition about those two bands. A Flock Of Seagulls had just made a dent in both the British and American charts with “I Ran” of their self-titled debut release while The Spoons were enjoying domestic success with “Nova Heart” and “Smiling In Winter” off their sophomore “Arias And Symphonies” release,
Although both bands had peaked creatively by the late 1980’s, A Flock Of Seagulls lead vocalist Mike Score and his drummer brother Alister, relocated in the USA, first to Philadelphia and then, later to Tampa Florida where Mike has capitalized on the industry’s 80’s renaissance by successfully reforming the Seagulls.
Deppe, original bassist Sandy Horne and new members, keyboardist Casey McQ and drummer Chris Neill have also enjoyed a revival, releasing anniversary issues of `Arias And Symphonies’ and their first album, “Stick Figure Neighbourhood’ while being picked up by the Feldman Agency to hit Canada’s casino and classic rock summer circuit.
So how did Deppe and Score touch base again after such a long period of time?
“We first made contact about two years ago at a charity event in Misssissauga for Ronald MacDonald House,” explained Deppe. “Mike was going to come up to Canada to play, he was in New York but wanted to leave his band there and asked if The Spoons could learn five or six of his songs and back him up at the function.”
“We did it and found the songs relatively easy to learn,” he continued. “I knew the songs perfectly, I knew the mentality behind them and Mike was happy with our contribution. We did another event last year with both bands playing and Mike and I just seemed to get along. His wife and my fiancé really hit it off so that was obviously a big deal.”
Gord and his fiancé were in Rome Italy on vacation when he received a call from Score asking if he was interested in joining A Flock of Seagulls. “There were both personal and musical reasons for me accepting Mike’s offer. “I realized I could still play in both bands and make both projects work.”
“What is amazing is how much exposure A Flock Of Seagulls songs continue to generate “ Deppe continued. “He’s been successful placing his songs in video games and commercials. I Ran” was featured in the La La Land movie, “Space Age Love Song” appears in the new Spiderman movie and I Ran is the number one added track in major video games like Call Of Duty; that’s how my son heard about them”.
Deppe is set to travel down to Tampa to fine tune his Flock Of Seagulls guitar skills and possibly collaborate on some song writing ideas with Score in preparation for two charity Ontario dates October 28th in Brampton and 29thin Mississauga. Then The Spoons will perform dates with Styx frontman Lawrence Gowan before Deppe heads down to Miami for a New Year’s Eve date with The Seagulls.
Of course Gowan set a precedent for Canadian performers joining established American bands when he replaced Dennis DeYoung as keyboardist and co-lead vocalist with US super group Styx and Deppe was able to seek advise from Gowan when he guested at a recent Spoons concert.
Aware that Styx usually allow Gowan to sing one of his own songs, “Strange Animal” as part of their set list, Deppe was asked if A Flock Of Seagulls would allow a Spoons song in their future song selection.
“I am not going to press that right away but it would be great if they would let me sing “Nova Heart”, Deppe laughed.
And understanding that Deppe plans to keep The Spoons active, there is a distinct possibility that the two bands could tour together, definitely in Canada but possibly in The States also.
“A big reason I am doing this is to try to get The Spoons some recognition in the United States,” allowed Deppe. “There’s lots of 80’s retro festivals featuring relatively obscure bands like Bananarama and Berlin, bands that only had one hit single. If I could get The Spoons on to some of these shows in the U.S, that would be an added bonus.”