It seemed inevitable really. When Bryan Potvin took a bus man’s holiday from The Northern Pikes to tour and record with Kevin Kane from Grapes Of Wrath, the partnership seemed to fit like a well-worn glove. And when the then three-piece Northern Pikes were looking for a fourth member to tour in support of their 30th anniversary re-recording of their ‘Big Blue Sky’ 1987 release, Kane accepted the invitation and then agreed to be a full-fledged member of the band.
On the verge of the Pikes releasing their first new studio album, `Forest Of Love’ in 16 years, drummer Don Schmid called in from Harrison Mills, BC to report that the inclusion of Kane has infused the band with a healthy dose of energy and creativity.
“When (original guitarist) Merl Bryck left the band in 2006 we came back in 2009 and toured as a three-piece because there was always a desire to keep going,” explained Schmid. “But the time never seemed right to record as a three-piece, it was like we were missing a component. So when we decided to tour in support of our `Big Blue Sky’ re-release, we asked Kevin if would tour with us, he said yes and the fit has been perfect.”
With Kane not only being a top-notch guitarist, a lead vocalist whose voice ideally blends with Semko and Potvin and a prolific songwriter, all the elements were in place to re-energize the band enough to head back into the recording studio (Bell Studios in Calgary) and lay down tracks for their first new effort since their 2003 `It’s A Good Life’ effort.
“Kevin and Bryan already had some songs from their previous efforts together, Jay had some songs so it worked out that all three of them contributed three songs each,” explained Schmid. “For the 10th song, “Don’t You Give Up”, I suggested that all three of them sing one verse each and that’s what they did.”
The success of the Big Blue Sky re-released which featured a re-work of the original tracks (including “Teenland”, “Things I Do For Money” and “Dancing In A Dance Club”, plus a selection of outtakes from that period and a live 1986 recording from the El Mocambo, was so well received that a follow up tour with Kane seemed inevitable.
And now that The Northern Pikes are back in the spotlight with a new opus, featuring the debut single, Semko’s “King In His Castle”, Stroud reports there is a three-year plan in place for the band.
“Yes we will be touring, we are planning a re-release of our 1990 `Snow In June’ album (which featured “She Ain’t Pretty, “Girl With A Problem” and “Dream Away”) recorded this time acoustically with Kane,” enthused Schmid. “As well as at least another studio album in the future.”
“Kevin and ourselves are from small Western communities, he is from Kelowna B.C, we are from Saskatoon, we are the same age, we enjoyed initial success during the same era (the mid-80’s), we played the same style of guitar-based music,” mused Schmid. “And Kevin just looks like he fits in with us. There is a great new dynamic and we are all looking forward to hitting the road and playing our new music.”
Album to be re-released in 2020.
The Northern Pikes debuted their new album June 6th at Bullfrog Studios in White Rock B.C., will play Hamilton Ontario’s Gage Park on Canada Day, perform at the Kitchener Blues Festival August 10th and will then head out West before returning to Toronto November 2nd for a nostalgic return to the Horseshoe Tavern.
For more information on The Northern Pikes, please link to thenorthernpikes.com