Mott the Hoople ain’t got nothing on these dudes …
Okay, maybe they do.
Ian Hunter’s band, Mott the Hoople, were pretty much on the verge of nothing when David Bowie rescued them from the top of the nightclub heap. Bowie presented the band a gift. A song which was called ‘All the Young Dudes’. A record which Bowie not only helped produce, the iconic singer also played saxophone on.
How does this affect Canadian music or rather – how does Canadian music affect the song?
Ian Hunter fell in love with a bunch of predominantly Canadian dudes. Young dudes. All of them. So much so – permission was granted to allow the use of David Bowie’s song’s name as the bands name ….
All cool … right? Oh so wrong in the end.
“It all started for me in 1974 when Bob Segarini called me to his apartment on Marcil Ave for a “meeting”.” Says former ( and current?) lead guitarist of All the Young Dudes – David Henman. “It turned out he wanted to put a band together.”
Henman and his brother Ritchie, had left April Wine and knew Segarini from his band; ‘the Wackers’.
“Segarini came to Montreal from Stockton California.” Continues Dave. “Their drummer broke his arm in a diving accident, and my brother Ritchie subbed for a few months. I was performing in a band called Silver at the time. One night at a club called the Five Aces, Bob showed up with his entire entourage just as I was finishing a set. He walked right up to me and complimented me on my music – it was a life-changing moment.”
The ‘ new ‘ band included Ritchie Henman and Wayne Cullen on drums, Kootch Trochim and Bob Segarini on bass and rhythm guitar respectively – and finally a young Brian Greenway and David on lead guitar.
“We were a pop band” Says Henman. “We wrote great songs and had an exciting, highly unpredictable live show. Bob was our front man, and his skill at engaing an audience is legendary.
“We had two lead guitars in the band. Since guitar players love guitar, the more the merrier. You can never have enough guitars, or guitarists. We enjoyed some legendary jams with the likes of Frank Marino, and many others.”
David continues the story.
“Originally, it was a seven-piece band with a keyboard player who left after only a few weeks.” Says David.” We were called All the Young Dudes. Bob, Kootch, Brian and I were singers so- four frontman. I believe we recognized Bob was the main singer / songwriter and resident genius.
Segarini was able to attract the attention of the American music media instantly, in very short order the group was signed to Columbia Records. It was the biggest signing bonus that year for the company.
“We signed a management deal with Fred Heller, who was also managing Phoebe Snow, Ian Hunter and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Our lawyer was Nat Weiss – a former partner of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein.” Explains Henman.
“We recorded an album at Le Studio in Morin Heights. The producer was Mark Spector. He was the “Head of Contemporary A & R” at Columbia. He had previously produced a 1974 album by Tom Rush; ‘Ladies Love Outlaws’. As it turned out, he was a producer who did not know how to produce.”
The band recorded exclusively at Morin Heights which gave time for the everyone to have ‘fun’. Says Henman;
“…you work hard, you play hard. We were truly excessive, but it was mostly booze.”
The album, called “We’re No Angels”, was essentially ‘garbage ‘ according to Henman. “Despite all the time and effort and money invested, Spector managed to make it sound like it was recorded under water. We heard the recordings as we were going yet when it came time for Mark and his engineer to mix the album, we were informed that we (the artist) were not welcome in the studio”.
David goes on; “Once we heard it, we tried everything to stop the album from being released.”
‘All the Young Dudes’ spent the next few weeks opening for the Bee Gees. There were a few gigs in Quebec and the Martimes yet primarily in Ontario.
Then – as quickly as it started; it was over …
“The band never officially disbanded.” Says Henman.”We all got together in 1997 and released an album of demos which had been recorded before our first album.There were also new tracks on the album which were supposed to be on our second album which was never released. A gig at a bar on the West Island named Clydes was also part of the reunion.”
Stay tuned for part two as drummer Wayne Cullen joins the discussion …
Some Photos courtesy of Oliver Clarke