That’s usually the spot rebel teenagers get together to ‘ under ‘ mine their parents’ and society’s rules. Randy Bowen and Chris Brodbeck were no different.
Thirty five years later – the duo, along with the ‘new’ bandmates Aaron Little ( guitar ) and Dave Fudge ( Drums ) returned to the place where it kind of all started. Le Pionnier in Pte Claire. Le starting point.
Local sensation and legendary songwriter / producerJeff Smallwood opened things up with an acoustic set. Smallwood has known the band since the beginning and it was only fitting for him to set the stage. Cover versions of April Wine and Pagliaro set the tone and Smallwood’s version of Safety Dance -turned-ballad was eye opening. Smallwood’s musings a history lesson and a treat to witness one of Montreal’s great ( and unsung ) talents.
Appearance wise , See Spot Run must have released their album Ten Stories High when they were playing with their Tonka trucks. Rock n Roll may be a vicous game but for See Spot Run; it’s the fountain of youth.
Randy Bowen and Aaron Little dueled the guitar work withprecision on songs that splattered their career. ‘ Au Naturel ‘ and ‘Lucy‘ from their debut album on display in full power. The Neo Punk Alternative vibrations creating a buzz in the crowd to both the fanbase and the music virgins. Considering all the music played on radio today , it’s a puzzle why more people do not wake up on their morning drives to the combined harmonies and spunk within a See Spot Run CD.
Fudge and Brodbeck sustain the foundation with a professionalism second to none. This battery is both heavy and soft to maintain a perfect equilibrium with the twists and turns of the band’s catalogue.
‘Terrified ‘ , ‘Gonna Get Ya ‘ and ‘Let It Go ‘ – a trio of tunes framing the band’s career. Catchy , hard driving and formulaic for See Spot Run. Caressing Brodbeck’s vocals for their unique sound while implanting a relentless energy into the pulse of the punters. ‘My IPad Killed my Girlfriend ‘, one of the highlights of the show and a perfect Rock / Alternative song if their ever was one. Another example of a tune that should be propelling the band beyond Nickleback status but is not.
Le piece de la resistance. ‘Weightless’. The tune which placed the band on stage for a lifetime. The song that made many people kiss and fall in love. See Spot Run saved it for the end (as most bands would) and upon its uncaging, it proved that music is timeless. A great song is a great song no matter the place, time or era. Brodbeck’s vocals youthful as the the day it was first recorded.
Along the journey of a See Spot Run show, the playfulness shines on. Bowen and Brodbeck miming their way through various antics and adding humorous antedotes along the way. Drummer Fudge singing ‘Wild Thing’ (the one hit wonder by Ton Loc) and upon completion Brodbeck stating ‘ If you came to hear Fudge you can leave now.’
See Spot Run show no signs of slowing down. Why should they? It’s not their fault mainstream and radio haven’t caught up.
Although Jerry’s interview(the main one) was not carried out in 2012, it was the beginning of the popularity to this site. Mercer, the drummer from April Wine, gave me a week of his time and we remain in touch although his life is filled with retirement traveling …
Brothers David and Ritchie, along with cousin Jim, were the founding members of the iconic rock group April Wine. The three were so generous with their time, divulging stories of not only April Wine but of the group named The Dudes. The pics they sent and the information shared was incredible. A heartfelt thanks is owed to a trio of musicians who were among the pioneers in Canadian music …
Many thanks to all the musicians I have interviewed in 2012. Everyone was very gracious in their time and I sincerely thank each one for helping me establish my site and radio spot. Without you guys – no Rick Keene‘s Music Scene …
Thanks to … Susie Arioli, Frank Marino, Colin James, Darryl Jones, The Hi-Fins, Sass Jordan, Kenny Dupree, Carolyn Fe and the Blues Collective, Jesse Cook, Auresia, Jackson X, Brie Nielson, Cecile K Dinogue,Tasha Cyr, The Sultans of String, Guillaume from Sagapool, Mistress Barbara, Wayne Cullen, Nitza, Alex Sparbre, Lee Mellor,Roger Walls,Leslie Alston, Tracy, Steve Hill, The Darling Demaes, Biz Oliver,Robert Atyeo,Jason Rockman, Randy Bowen, David Henman,Ritchie Henman, Jim Henman, Jerry Mercer and many more musicians who make people smile …
Looking forward to more interviews in the New Year ..
Roger Walls is a walking Jazz encyclopedia. Is it any wonder …?
Walls has been around playing his horns for thirty plus years. If he has not played alongside the likes of Tony Bennett, then he played for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald. A genuine good guy from a different time ..
Why? Does he have a pooch who nixes the idea of standing still? Does Randy spend his days observing the non – putrid pooch?
The Pointe Claire resident’s name should be Spot because Randy is always on the move and he would not have it any other way …
” My first cousins, my second cousins and what seemed like generations in my family were all musicians. I remember seeing a drum kit and amps for the first time – it was like ‘wow’, I gotta do this!”
‘Do this’ was exactly what Bowen did and judging by his success, the guitarist’s choice of playing music was the right one.
Channeling childhood idols such as Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Mick Ronson of David Bowie’s band, Randy – like a lot of teens, played in a couple of cover bands. It was at the age of twenty – one, playing in a band by the name Inner Germ, Bowen crossed paths with singer and bass player Chris Brodbeck.
“Chris’ band was falling apart and so was mine.” Says Bowen. ” I said to Chris why don’t we kinda merge and make a band …? Chris was more of a rock guy and I was into New Wave stuff. Somewhere in the middle – we realized a shared taste in music. I remember we played ‘Message in a Bottle’ by the Police. It was a song everybody in the band had played and we knew we were meant to be together.”
Along with Brodbeck ‘s brother Tom on drums and Paul Moore on guitar; the first incarnation of See Spot Run was born and it didn’t take long for the band to get some gigs.
” I believe our first show was at a high school, Father McDonald or something like that. We also played downtown Montreal in clubs such as Station 10. I still remember Chris and I hitchhiking to and from the city back to the West Island with our gear. It was very hot!”
See Spot Run’s first break came in the form of a two month tour opening up for a caucasian rhythm and blues singer by the name of Wayne Nicholson. The band had signed a contract with a new label; Loggerhead Records.
That cross – country jaunt was the band’s introduction to the music world. A realm which they were about to be part of – in a big way …
The group’s second ‘coup d’etat was landing Gary Moffet as a producer. The former April Wine guitarist brought everything he had learned with April Wine to See Spot Run’s virgin songwriting. According to Bowen, Moffet saved the day if and when himself or any member of the band locked horns with Brodbeck over one of his songs.
“Chris writes everything and then he introduces what he has to the group. We then take it and play with it – add our own ideas. Sometimes we don’t agree and that was when Moffet stepped in. To arbitrate.”
Bowen continues …
“Chris and I never came close to screaming and yelling – we were never that far apart in our view. Moffet was a calming, trustworthy presence. He was just what the band needed to bring us to the next level. Moffet had already been to that ledge and he showed us how to climb.”
After a non – commercial, no hit album named Traces introduced the world to SSR, the globe suddenly became that much bigger with their second album; ‘Ten Stories High’. A record which introduced the group to the world of videos and the reality of the music business.
“We were doing a video for the song ‘Au Natural’. It was filmed in an old dance hall in Wasaga beach. A place which we returned to twice – once with the band Moist and the other time we were on tour with I Mother Earth. We would shoot some footage and wait for an hour. Shoot then wait, shoot and wait … All day we did this and it was sooooo cold! I asked myself this is fame …?” He laughs.
“TEN STORIES HIGH” may have garnered the band fame. Their third album and single ‘Weightless’, shot them to stardom …
Since those releases; See Spot Run has had 5 charting singles and 5 videos played on MuchMusic. They have crossed Canada with seven tours and appeared on multi Canadian and international television shows.
The album “Weightless” made Canadian recording history. The disc’s title track was certified by BDS as being “the highest charted independent song on the rock chart since the inception of BDS”.
The single “Weightless” reached number nine on the rock chart, six on the Top 40 Chart and peaked at five on the all Canadian chart. The French translation of Weightless, Decoller – was number one on the Quebec charts. The follow-up single “Terrified/Terrifié” also climbed the Canadian CHR charts in both languages.
” When Chris played the beginnings of Weightless to us, I thought it was a very good song. I never thought it was going to be a huge hit. I just thought it was a little better than the rest he ( Broadbent) had written. I had no inclination of what would happen next …!?”
What happened was the band started playing with some very big names in music. Opening up for the likes of Bon Jovi and Kim Mitchell to name a few.
Another brush with greatness in Bowen’s views came when SSR was playing in Winnipeg. The group was on stage, doing their thing in a small club before a couple of hundred of people. In walks Stevie Wonders’ drummer James Allan and Dennis Davis – one of Bowie’s drummers from the seventies.
The pair joined Randy and his mates on stage which blew Bowen away. Randy, however was more impressed with what happened later.
“Following the show, those two guys joined us in the basement for some coffee. We all just sat around drinking coffee as musicians. There was no pretense, no egos from anyone’s part. Just a bunch of guys with the same vibe drinkin’ coffee. It was very cool …!”
Around that time, Chris and the band members re-located to Toronto. A city where the band is based, a city where Bowen travels to and from every week from his hometown in Quebec.
” This is my home!” Says Bowen about Pte. Claire ” Ever since Chris moved there, I drive up to Toronto where I have a place. Sometimes I feel that’s all I do … Drive, park and drive some more …!” He laughs.
SEE SPOT RUN released their third CD “Gonna Getcha” on August 28, 2007. The album is on Rocket9 Music distributed by DEP/ Universal Music. It is the band’s first record without Moffet involved as a producer.
The first single and title track, “Gonna Getcha” was selected by “Degrassi: The Next Generation” to be a feature song in their 2008 season. Leaning towards the band’s rockier side, the album is a result of collaboration between See Spot Run and producer Ed Krautner (Sum 41). Featured on the disc is drummer Josh Trager of the Sam Roberts band.
“Josh actually played with us in 2004 for less than a year before he left us to join Sam Roberts. In that time, we didn’t gig very much (one small tour) so we never had time to really gel as a band. He was already established with Sam Roberts when we asked him to come back and play on the Gonna Getcha record.” Bowen continues.” He played on seven of the twelve tracks on Gonna Getcha. Davide Direnzo played on the other five. Josh gave us as much time as he could but obviously had large commitments with Sam. It was during the recording of Gonna Getcha that Fudge and Aaron came on board. Josh played with us before Sam Roberts and came back to help us following the success of his band.
According to Bowen, that C.D; Gonna Getcha may be the last one.
“The music industry crashed right out. Nobody buys C.D’s anymore, it’s about buying a song at a time on ITunes. We won’t say for sure but one single at a time seems the way of the future!”
The group’s latest single; ‘Let it Go’ was released it 2009 and joins 2007’s ‘My IPod killed my girlfriend’ as the latest ability of the band to stay near the top of catchy alternative rock songs.
Since the days of meeting Chris in a basement, See Spot Run’s line – up has changed. Chris and Randy remain the two constants. The band’s current formation consists of Fudge on drums and Aaron Little on guitar since 2007.
Paul Moore and Tom Broadbent played on the first album Traces. They were followed by Reg Bennett on guitar and Bruce McQueen on drums for the albums Ten Stories High and Weightless. Mark Homer and Bryan Duffy then played on an album which was never released.
All the members left on their own terms for various reasons and all members, past and present – get along very well according to Bowen.
The group is also in discussion of possibly having a documentary made of their career. Talks are ongoing and a decision should be made shortly.
One of the nicest stories ever heard, will be a huge part of the documentary; as told by Mr. Brodbeck …
“We did a command performance for a young girl who’s last wish it was to see See Spot Run in concert. The young girl was from East Angus Quebec and had terminal cancer. The Child Wish Foundation contacted us in the spring while we were on tour out west and told us she only had a few months. So they sent a film crew from a local TV station to shoot us live and send it to the young girl in Quebec.
We were scheduled to return to Montreal from out west late summer so they asked if they could book a date in East Angus in the unlikely event that she might still be with us. We agreed and as the story goes she lived 4 months longer just to see her favourite band and then passed away shortly after. The entire town came to the show and their family has never forgotten. We still play East Angus once every year!”
You never know what can come from a basement meeting …