Coney Hatch’s Friday night at Toronto’s Rockpile East venue, presents a rare opportunity to catch this band live.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Carl Dixon, lead vocalist/bassist Andy Curran, lead guitarist Steve Shelski and drummer Dave (Thumper) Ketchum will be hard at work rehearsing today and even have a charity performance in Thorold tonight performing a benefit for HTZ- FM deejay Iron Mike Besson, who recently succumbed to cancer.
Yes they launched their first recording together for the first time in 30 years earlier this year with the release of “Four” and celebrated the recording with a high-profile concert appearance at `Come Rock And Roar’ Festival in Spanish Ontario in August. Yet since then, Coney Hatch have been laying low as the machinations of their record launch kicked in.
“Unless you have a Bon Jovi-sized hit, there isn’t a platform for us to go out on the road and tour,” explained Dixon from his Haliburton home base. “You are talking about four middle-aged guys who aren’t about to pile into a van and hit every night club in the country. We are selecting performances that will have the most impact; we are especially looking at Europe in 2014. We have already been selected for the final Firefest Festival in Nottingham, England next October and we are hoping to string along a bunch of English dates to go with that appearance.
Dixon admits that in retrospect, the public’s reaction to “Four” was tempered by the lack of a build up to the release. “It’s hard to get people excited about the band without the establishment of a new story,” Dixon explained. “But what has allowed us to sustain momentum is a positive global response from the rock music community. I’m talking about, England, Europe, South America; I just got off the phone with a rock music journalist from Australia. Everyone seems to be buzzed about the record and we hope to keep this momentum going in the New Year. We are currently talking with a number of agents and promoters about European dates, especially the Festivals”.
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Having signed a recording deal with Italian label Frontiers, after their last successful Firefest appearance, Coney Hatch feels they still have a strong following in Europe. “In Europe, if they decide they are a fan of yours, they stay a fan of yours forever,” explained Dixon. “When we played at Firefest we met people who had remained fans of ours even though we hadn’t been together for like 30 years. They were so happy just to see us back together again.”
True that the band hasn’t exactly been overactive in the past few months but none of them are waiting on pogey cheques! Curran remains an important cog in the Anthem Records, A&R machine, working with Rush on their latest Clockwork Angels DVD/CD package, Shelski continues his TV work providing musical scores for shows, Ketchum serves as a juvenile detention officer in Thunder Bay when he’s not behind the drum kit and Curran is also working on a new musical project with former Nelly Furtado guitarist Sean Kelly and Mark Santers as well as working on his an auto biographical book.
Yet you still get the impression Coney Hatch are deadly serious about re-establishing themselves and Friday’s gig at Rockpile East will go a long way towards shaping the band’s future legacy. So what can punters expect on Friday?
“They can expect a shuffle of the old favorites and a half a dozen new songs,” confirmed Dixon. “And a power house performance from all concerned!”
Photos by Ted Van Boort