In the early seventies, Montreal and various ‘other’ places benefited from two bands. One evolving into another. Each one took David Bowie’s courage, songwriting and performance style onto themselves.
Please listen below as David Henman, co-founder of April Wine and member of The Dudes ( among other bands) , discusses Bowie’s influences, Ian Hunter and how the band chose the name based on a David Bowie tune.
‘All the Young Dudes’ are a perfect example of what can happen when art and business meet. The right and left sides of the brain are in those positions for a reason …
Wayne Cullen, one of the two drummers in the band, reminisces on what a drag the whole ordeal became;
“There were enough completed, fully-produced tracks for a second album.” Explains Cullen.” Columbia decided not to release another lp rather than spend more money promoting the band any further. This was a shame because the band was very happy with the work we had done for the second album.”
The band had produced six of the tracks on their own and another five tracks had been produced by the well-known production team of Ron and Howie Albert. Two brothers who had been engineers at Criterion Studios in Miami under the tutelage of Tom Dowd and Karl Richardson.
The siblings had participated in the recording of the Derek and the Dominoes’ song Layla as well as recordings by Stephen Stills, the Allman Brothers and others.
“The brothers were asked by Columbia to supervise the production of some tracks for us after Columbia decided the six we had produced ourselves were inadequate.” Says Cullen. “When the Albert Brothers listened to the same six tracks they wondered aloud why they were asked to preside. They believed the self-produced tracks were excellent and they doubted they would be able to improve on what they had heard.”
Despite Columbia not knowing what was right, the ‘Dudes’ gave their all and have nothing but fond memories of the time spent together. According to David Henman, most of the funny memories took.place on stage …
“The band was quite spontaneous. In the middle of a set, Segarini would suddenly request that a table and six chairs be brought on stage so we could just sit, drink and goof around. Sometimes, when we used to perform downtown Montreal at the Moustache club, the next days’ newspaper would often arrive. Segarini would aks for it to be brought to the stage, whereupon he would put his own spin on the stories”. Laughs Henman.
One tale which Segarini or anyone else do not have to conjur was meeting and hanging out with the Bee Gees. A memory which floats dearly in Henman’s conscience.
“I was very sick during the Bee Gees tour.” Says David. ” Somehow, I always ended up in Barry Gibb’s hotel suite after the show sitting between him and his wife and passing out on his shoulder. We were fans before the tour and by the end, we practically idolized them. Barry, especially – one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. The effect they had on audiences was pure magic.”
David did not stay in contact with all the Bee Gees. Barry did invite him to le Studio in Morin Heights when he was recording the album “Nights on Broadway”.
Says Henman. “I sat with him at the console while he chain-smoked Panama Red and conducted a string section. He then went into the studio and without any warm up – sang like an angel.”
Henman and his fellow ‘dudes’ also met Ian Hunter. David became acquaintances with the singer and an opportunity to replace future Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson in Hunter’s band presented itself. Unfortunately, Henman was too shy to grab the opportunity.
Following the release of their first album, ‘the dudes’ thought about re – recording their first record.. A record which had and continued to have so much promise.
“Bob was on the phone constantly”.Says Henman. “Demanding that we be able to at least re-mix that album. If I am not mistaken, the guys at le Studio in Morin Heights offered to re-mix it for free.” He continues. “I think at least one other studio in Montreal made that offer as well but we were up against Columbia Records, a gigantic corporation at that time. We were told: “hey, Columbia Records insists that this album is going to be a huge hit and, well, they oughta know…” so, we backed down…”
Henman’s advice to young musicians and the lessons learned;
” If you are the artist, you should make the rules…”
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 …