” Carl was in a car accident and I was supposed to replace him for a month. After four months – the guys and I spoke and they asked if we were going to keep going with this. Unfortunately – his recovery took longer and here I am – seven years later and still here.”
At the time Sharp was being ‘auditioned’ for The Guess Who, he had several projects going on. Sass and him had been playing together for quite a while and he was the co-coordinator for Canadian Idol – the sister show to American Idol and his wife’s platform as a judge …
” The first year they put on Canadian Idol, it was a huge failure.” Says Sharp.”They did three weeks worth of shows and everything got cancelled. They wanted to put something in place where people with experience were running things. They asked me to oversee the whole production of it and be the musical direction. They got a new agent and a new manager. Between the three of us – we put together this huge extravaganza. The first year we did it, we sold out the whole year.”
Derek backed out in the final year because he committed to The Guess Who. A Canadian band who are globally loved but even Derek did not know all the words.
” I knew them kinda … because I am not that old.” Laughs Derek. ” I had to learn all the songs in five days. I was more into Zeppelin and those kind of bands. Of course I knew the songs but not all the lyrics because all those songs are wordy and some of them do not even make sense … ( he laughs ) I put my iPod on and went running to get to know the words …”
It was just hours before his first appearance with the band ( in Houston), Sharp was on the bus and his mind went blank. He could not remember anything and sheer panic took over him. Thankfully – once on stage, just before the first verse, the words came back and the concert ( and Sharp’s new career) took off …
” My favorite songs to sing have changed over the years.” Admits Sharp. ” Now we have a few new ones that we throw in. We sing ‘Lucille’ to have some fun and fool around with. As far as my favorite Guess Who songs; I would have to say ‘These Eyes’ and ‘Busrider’. ‘These Eyes’ is a hard song to sing. It is really high and we have to knock it down a few keys. With our band – of course, people want it as close to the original as possible. In other words – I can’t smoke too many cigarettes before the show.”
Derek has not taken any flack from older Guess Who fans. He is asked what happened to Bachman or Cummings occasionally and the fans who attend the shows are just happy to hear the classic Guess Who songs. Sharp does notice a funny trend …
” We will play one of our new songs or a cover of another band’s song and a fan in the first two rows will shout out “Ya man – That’s a great Guess Who song ….!” He laughs. ” It’s all good. As long as they (the fans) are having fun!”
Sharp’s career has been a journey.
Derek played with Gary Brice ( Bryan Adams’ band ) and Charlie Cooley in the late eighties and early nineties. Theirs was a cover band and all three of them parlayed their experience into higher profile bands. Charlie and Gary with Amanda Marshall ( and Adams ) and Sharp morphed into Red Rider. He also saw stints with Alannah Myles, Jeff Healey and Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes among others. Then – Derek met Sass. His life has not been the same since. Musically and romantically …
“We met in Canada and went to the States ( L.A.)” Says Derek. ” We moved back to Canada when we had our daughter. From the time we met , we just hit it off and have always been buddies. I played with her at first but now I will fill in if one of the guys she is working with can’t make it or something. I have been doing it for so long – it just makes sense. Sass and I play together all the time. We do acoustic sets at local places and we have a blast. Sass is doing her S.U.N. stuff and I am with The Guess Who, so our schedules conflict.”
Sharp’s current band consists of two original members of The Guess Who. Garry Peterson on drums ( Vocals) and Jim Kale ( bass and vocals). The pair have been there, done that yet according to Sharp; you would never know it …
” It’s amazing!” Says Derek.” These guys are kids when they get on stage. They have so much fun and energy! Offstage it’s a little different … ” He laughs. “They are a little slower then they used to be …. Heck – they are seventy years old! Hey! Look at Jagger. Look at the shape he is in! Sign me up …! I’m in! I don’t want to be a couch potato when I am older. I want to be like that guy!?”
He goes on …
“I think music is an elixir. No matter all the shit you go through, getting stuck in small towns – airport screw-ups, once you get on stage it is worth it. I think that’s the reason we all get into this. To make people smile – which makes us smile at the same time …! How many jobs are there where people come and see you and get excited?”
The Guess Who have just recently finished recording four new tracks for an upcoming album which should be released some time next year. Sharp has no immediate plans to go anywhere else. He is enjoying his life on the road and at home. He does admit – the older he gets , the more things are changing …
“We always do these long meet and greets after the show.” Says Sharp. “Being the singer,I used to get all the ‘hot’ young girls coming up to me after shows …”
Explains the forty-eight year old.
“Now I get older ladies wanting kisses and their picture with me! It’s great! It is really good to see people having fun. That’s what this is all about. It makes me sad when I see all these ‘artists’ backed by big corporations with no talent getting all the airplay and the money. The worse thing is – they are not having fun! I really do not get it at all …?
Sharp and Sass’ daughter is planning to go into musical theater once her High School education is complete. Derek has no plans to alter her mind in either direction. Whatever she wants to do is okay with him as long as she is happy and safe.
” My Father gave me the talking to about having something to fall back on …”Admits Sharp. ” That old speech. My ( late ) Mom was very supportive. No matter where I played, she would show up and sit in the front row with her drink and cheer me on. She would embarrass me but it was fantastic! Now my Father comes out when he can and has a great time.”
Derek as a kid growing up in Fort William had about ten albums. Records which helped him make the decision ( at the age of six), to be a music and / or singing star …
“One was a polka record, one was a Big Band record – Glen Miller I think, one was a Beatles’ album …”
He goes on …
“Whatever was available – I liked everything. Whatever was on the radio. My family would go on a long road trip and we would have these sing-a-longs in the car. I love seventies classic rock stuff. That’s my favorite …”
Derek Sharp is looking forward to the new Guess Who album and is currently writing songs with Sass Jordan for films. Sharp spends his spare time biking, running, gardening and playing music with Sass when they have the opportunity.
Somewhere in the middle of somewhere …
- Popular songs keep Guess Who on the road (rapidcityjournal.com)
- Stage West musical ‘I Love You Because’ stars Canadian Idol singer (beaconnews.ca)
- ‘Call Me Maybe’ Tonight at Wolf Trap (metroweekly.com)
- CONEY HATCH: ‘Blown Away’ Video Released (blabbermouth.net)
- CONEY HATCH Release ‘Blown Away’ Single / Video (bravewords.com)