Hall Of Fame Honours Give Gilder Fresh Motivation

On Tuesday, June 18th of this year, Nick Gilder was inducted into the Canadian Song Writer’s Hall Of Fame in recognition of his song “Hot Child In The City” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1979.

With his current wife, his mother and both his son and daughter present during the ceremony, staged by SOCAN at the BMO Theatre in Vancouver, Gilder received his award and his band performed four songs; Hot Child In The City, “Roxy Roller”, initially performed with Sweeney Todd in 1977; “The Warrior” written for Patty Smyth and Scandal, and as a surprise tossing in a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”

Nick Gilder - Canadian Song Writer’s Hall Of Fame for song “Hot Child In The City”
Nick Gilder – Canadian Song Writer’s Hall Of Fame for the song “Hot Child In The City”

Yet as much as Gilder appreciates being lauded for past achievements, the former London England native is still intent on proving he and his band Sweeney Todd are still relevant when he heads east to perform Friday at the Thunder Bay Fair and Sunday afternoon at the Kitchener Blues Festival – Clock Tower Stage

“It was a great event, my family was present, we (Sweeney Todd) played a couple of songs, it was a great honour to be inducted into the Song Writer’s Hall of Fame,” noted Gilder on the phone from Vancouver. “It’s an incentive to keep going and enjoy even more success, I keep thinking I am making up for lost time.”

After enjoying the initial success of co-writing “Roxy Roller” for Sweeney Todd with guitarist James McCulloch, which won a Juno Award in 1977, Gilder then moved with McCulloch to the States, having just signed a solo record deal with New York-based Chrysalis Records. This relationship resulted in “Hot Child In The City” going to No 1 on the U.S charts with Gilder’s second solo album. He also enjoyed success writing “The Warrior” for Patty Smyth and Scandal.

Yet although Gilder enjoyed further success writing songs for the likes of Pat Benatar (“Rated X”), Bette Midler (“Is It Love”) and Joe Cocker (“We’re Gonna Hurt”) establishing a solo recording career stateside proved to be a challenge. Things came to a head-on January 17, 1994, when an earthquake rocked Gilder’s Los Angeles location.

“I was in my music room finishing off a remake of a song for Pat Benatar called “Don’t Walk Away” when the earthquake hit,” reflected Gilder. “As a result, I walked away from my house, I virtually had to give it away and moved back to Vancouver.”

That move motivated Gilder to reform Sweeney Todd and although he hasn’t released a new studio album since his 1999 “Long Time Coming” release, he has repackaged previous material and is writing some new material which he hopes to record in the near future.

Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd - Photo by Ted Van Boort
Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd – Photo by Ted Van Boort for The Music Express

With current band members; guitarist Dave Groves, bassist Mark Kenney, drummer Glen Regnier, and keyboardist Michael Russell, Gilder’s Sweeney Todd has been actively performing at Western Canadian festivals and casinos but due to the financial constraints of traveling East, has been limited to just a few festival appearances at Mattawa Voyageur Days and Spanish Rock & Roar events

“I’m not exactly Tony Bennett, I won’t be able to do this forever but I can still sing songs in the same key,” allowed Gilder. “I still love to perform and we still have a great fan following.”

Aware that there is a renaissance of Eighties bands still active in Canada, Gilder is aware that he did miss out on a chunk of time in the mid-eighties and early nineties and he is intent on making up for lost time.

“I still get lots of airplay for “Hot Child In The City”, “Roxy Roller” and “The Warrior”, there are songs we perform that people don’t recognize that I wrote (“Rated X”, “You Really Rock Me”, “She’s A Star”), Gilder noted. “People do know who Sweeney Todd is so it’s our challenge to get out there and show people we are still viable.”

Gilder is performing Friday at the Thunder Bay Fair and Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m) at the Kitchener Blues Festival Clock Tower Stage.

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By Keith Sharp

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