Think of famous rock music duets from the 1980’s and both Britain’s Eurythmics and Sweden’s Roxette come quickly to mind…but Trapper! Never heard of them? Well you wouldn’t have because Trapper consists of a Canadian duo; Emm Gryner and Sean Kelly who are about to celebrate the launch of their new project by opening for 80’s rock icons Def Leppard during three dates of the band’s 13-date Canadian tour. Trapper will be the opening act May 2nd at the Bell Centre in Montreal, May 4th at Ottawa’s TD Plus Centre and May 5th at London Ontario’s Budweiser Gardens
So what’s with the 1980’s comparison? Well Sean Kelly, ace guitarist, producer, writer with the likes of Nelly Furtado, Helix, Honeymoon Suite, Lee Aaron and Carole Pope, sees his new project with solo artist and former David Bowie back-up singer Emm Gryner as a throw-back to that peak period of rock creativity which culminated in the mid to late 1980’s.
“Emm and I are both big fans of 80’s music, we shared that interest growing up and it’s the basis of what Trapper is all about,” noted Kelly on the phone from the Toronto-based Coalition Entertainment complex where he is executing one of his many persona’s as an instructor at the facility. “We just connected together, she toured with David Bowie (sang back-up vocals and played keyboards), has her own solo career and tours with own roots group; Trent-Severn and I am working with major 80’s Canadian talent like Helix, Honeymoon Suite and Lee Aaron so there is a great synergy there. “She reached out to me on Twitter; she wanted to know who this guy was who played guitar for both Nelly Furtado and Helix”.
“The strange thing was that I had heard Emm sing this song “North” on CBC Radio earlier that day and the lyrics reminded me of my childhood growing up in North Bay, Ontario,” Kelly continued. “So when we met I discovered she too is from a small town in Ontario (Forest) and she had spent time on Manitoulin Island and in Haliburton so we have a lot in common.”
Reflecting on their mutual 80’s interest, it wasn’t a surprise then that their first single together was a cover of Scandal’s Eighties’ hit, “The Warrior” written by Vancouver’s Nick Gilder backed with an original track, “Grand Bender”. What has also launched their creativity into full steam is the task of completing a five-song EP before May 2nd when they are due to open for Def Leppard at the Bell Centre in Montreal. So how did a newly-created duo with just one single to their credit pull that coup off?
“Well Emm played piano and sang with Def Leppard on one track off their 2006 “Yeah” covers record and has been working with the band’s lead singer Joe Elliott on a side project so when we heard they were coming through I encouraged Emm to just throw it out there and see if the band was interested in us opening for them. So we sent them a tape of our music and they obviously liked it because we got the three dates on their Spring tour.”
So with a band comprised of Emm Gryner, her brother Frank on guitar, Jordan Kern on bass, Tim Timleck on drums and Kelly on lead guitar, Trapper is about to venture forth in to untested waters to fathom the wrath of fanatic Leppard fans who have never heard of them previously. “We have played big shows before,” offered Kelly, defensively. “Emm’s been on stage with Bowie and I played some major shows with Nelly Furtado so I think we’ll be able to handle it. I remember touring with a band that opened for Alice Cooper and his crowd was pretty intimidating but both Emm and I are up for the challenge.”
Having just finished writing five songs and laying down all the guitar parts for Lee Aaron’s new release , currently helping to write new material for Honeymoon Suite’s new record and with a new project with Helix pending, it’s amazing Kelly has the time to work on Trapper.
“I feel like a rock n roll utility infielder,” he cracks. “You need a bass player?, a guitar player for a few days?, no problem,” he cracks. “I want to be a facilitator and be a catalyst for new artists. I just like making new music, I don’t care if I’m just shaking a tambourine, whatever, let’s just make music happen.”
As for the Trapper project. Kelly believes classic rock is an art form like classical music. “You have to have a certain skill set to do it and it is something that needs to be kept vital. Yet you don’t have to mimic being current to actually be current,” he analyzed. “It is possible to be new yet also be authentic.”
Learning from his experience executing a pledge campaign to raise money for a companion record for his “Metal On Ice” Canadian rocker tribute book , Kelly and Gryner are executing a similar campaign to fund the band’s five song EP. (You can support this project by contributing to http://wwwpledgemusic.com/projects/trapper)
Ultimately, Trapper’s goal is be ready for those three dates with Def Leppard. “This is a dream gig for me, Def Leppard was my Led Zeppelin growing up, to me they are the ultimate rock band” concluded Kelly. “And to think, I get to go on stage with my heroes and perform, it feels like being 16 again.”
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