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Pikes dive back into music scene

WHO: The Northern Pikes WHERE: Dusty’s WHEN: Sunday, March 4 One of Canada’s premier bands of the ’80s has returned to the studio and to the road.

WHO: The Northern Pikes

WHERE: Dusty’s

WHEN: Sunday, March 4

One of Canada’s premier bands of the ’80s has returned to the studio and to the road.

After a nine-year hiatus from recording, The Northern Pikes have released a brand new CD entitled Truest Inspiration . The Pikes disbanded in 1993 after Gig , but came back together in ’99 to release a best of album, Hits and Assorted Secrets , and one year later came Live .

"It was a little bit of a domino affect," says Merl Bryck, the vocals behind such favourites as Teenland and Things I do for Money.

"With the best of CD coming out, we thought if we were ever going to get together again to play, now might be a good time. We hadn’t really thought about reforming at that time. It was more about going out and helping the album. As time went by, things were going very, very well, and we thought it would be so much more fun playing new songs."

Bryck says there was no shortage of material to contribute to the new project as most of the members had stayed active with music during the lengthy break. Jay Semko worked on the score for the TV series Due South as well as releasing an independent album. Bryan Potvin released a solo album as well under the Universal label. Drummer Don Shmid stayed busy with an indie band and home recording studio. Bryck decided to take to the road, revisiting many of the people and places he had only briefly encountered during the Pikes’ six year whirlwind.

Now older, wiser, with a fresh outlook on themselves, it was the right time for Truest Inspiration .

"That line comes from Jay’s song Beautiful Music… it’s tied in with the artwork on the cover which is about innocence and kids, how things are when you’re small and young… and it’s about a new beginning."

However, any band that’s been away for a lengthy time faces the risk that old fans may not be interested in the "new beginning," wanting only to hear the old hits.

"Once the new album gets around and people get to hear it a little bit more, I think that separation between the old and the new will disappear," Bryck says. "I think it’s an easy transition (from the older stuff to the new album) but I think they’ll also find a few surprises on there."

Speaking as he loads up the band van in Saskatoon, Bryck says the response during the Pikes’ first five shows has been very positive.

"A number of people came up to us in Edmonton saying they had never seen us before. It’s nice because it means there’s a new audience out there."

The Pikes hope to capture another market when they make their first trip overseas at the end of the summer.

"We’ve been released (in England, Scotland and Ireland), but we’ve never played there. It’s always been a regret of mine as part of the band that we never travelled over there. It’s going to be great fun," Bryck said.

Beyond the club tour, Bryck envisions the band moving into slightly larger venues, like soft seat theatres.

"We’d like be in places where people are coming to hear you and the music as opposed to meeting up with a bunch of pals, sucking back a bunch of beer and trying to get lucky – not that there’s anything wrong with that!" laughs Bryck.