Loverboy Frontman Mike Reno on Reuniting With Bob Rock, Touring With Journey Again After 30 Years
Bob Rock has returned to the fold to produce two new songs for a new collection entitled Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival (due Aug.14), from legendary AOR heroes Loverboy. The album includes nine of the Canadian rockers’ classic hits recorded live, primarily at a 2012 Casino Rama concert in Rama, Ontario.
This past weekend (July 21), the band – which has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide since forming in 1979 in Calgary, AB, and is best known for such hits as “Working for the Weekend” and “Turn Me Lose” – kicked off an extensive North American arena tour with Journey and Pat Benatar, featuring Neil Giraldo, which will keep them out on the road into December (dates below).
Rock, who was in the band The Payola$ at the time and lived in the same province (British Columbia), engineered Loverboy’s 1980 self-titled debut, 1981’s Get Lucky, 1983’s Keep It Up, and 1987’s Wildside, before going on to produce such heavyweights as The Cult, Mötley Crüe, David Lee Roth, Metallica, Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams.
This past Christmas holidays, Rock invited Loverboy – original members Mike Reno (vocals), Paul Dean (guitars), Matt Frenette (drums), Doug Johnson (keyboards), along with bassist Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve (who replaced the late Scott Smith) – to Bryan Adams’ state-of-the-art Warehouse studio in Vancouver to record their songs “Heartbreaker” and “No Tomorrow.”
“We’ve always been in touch off and on,” Reno tells Noisecreep. “We’ve talked to him about different projects and he’s been so busy. We were always saying to each other, ‘Let’s do something,’ and it ended up he called us and said, ‘Listen, I’m going to be in Vancouver during Christmas, let’s get together and go in the studio.’
“He was in the middle of doing a [Michael] Bublé record. He wanted to take a week off or something so – he must be a workaholic – he says, ‘Let’s get together on my week off.’ So we pounded out a couple of new songs that he helped us with. It was cool that he instigated the whole thing.
Watch “Turn Me Loose” Video
“It was a fun time for me because it was my birthday weekend [Jan. 8 is his exact birth date] so I spent the weekend just recording and hanging out with Bob and the guys in the band, right in downtown Vancouver; it was great. We did it all really fast the way Loverboy always recorded. We just set up and play.”
The title-track, another new song, was self-produced. The rest of the material, Loverboy classics – “Turn Me Loose,” “Working for the Weekend,” “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It,” “The Kid Is Hot Tonight,” “Lucky Ones,” “Always On My Mind,” “Queen of the Broken Hearts,” “When It’s Over” and “Hot Girls in Love” – are live tracks from several shows.
“‘Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend” were recorded live in Charlotte N.C., in 2005; the rest in March 2012 in Rama, Ont., except for “Always on my Mind,” which was recorded live in Winnipeg, MB, in 2005. “Mike and I rewrote some of the lyrics, with the theme of the album title in mind,” Dean told Noisecreep in an email. “We sang it at his house in Vancouver.”
Watch “Working for the Weekend” Video
Reno recalls the day the two started running through all the live tracks they had amassed in recent years. They had no intention at the time of using them for a live album.
“We record live [shows] all the time and we sat around listening to these tracks and Paul and I went, ‘These are some of the best recordings we’ve got in a long time,” says Reno.
“They were mostly recorded at Casino Rama Toronto [actually 2 hours outside],” Reno says. “It was one of those nights when Matthew, our drummer, was like spot-on, full of energy. He looked like he was 19 years old again. It happens once in a while that everybody just sparks and this was one of those nights.
“Paul says, ‘Listen to this,’ and he plays me a tape, and I says, ‘That’s like perfect.’ He says, ‘That was the other night.’ I says, ‘What else do you got?’ He says, ‘Listen to this song.’ So we start listening to all the songs and I went, ‘Wow. Cool.'”
Reno feels the studio tracks and live tracks work together on one album because of the way Loverboy approaches recording.
“When we go into the studio, it’s basically a live recording too. This is basically what we’ve done right from the beginning, which is the fun thing about us. A lot of bands they made their recordings in the studio kind of un-fun thing; for us, we stay in there the whole time and play everything, and then a little bit later when we listen, we might change one or two things.
“So most of the stuff we do – whether it’s live in front of an audience or whether it’s live in a studio, that’s always been the fun part of Loverboy. We push ourselves to play it so good every time, which is neat when you consider that we’ve been at it for 30 years.”
Watch “Queen of the Broken Hearts” Video
Also kind of neat is that this tour the band just started with Journey is 30 years after the two bands last toured together.
“We both had songs the top 10,” Reno recalls. “They had the Escape album out and we had the Get Lucky album out. The Escape album was their biggest album ever and Get Lucky was our biggest album ever. So that was a tour and a half.
“People still talk to me abut the time they saw us together because it was a co-headlining type deal because everybody was totally into both bands. What a fun tour. I remember like it was yesterday so this is going to be the same, except 30 year later. It’s kind of like a time warp. It’s like Outer Limits,” he laughs.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival will be out on Aug. 14. Catch Loverboy on tour with Journey and Pat Benatar on the following dates:
24 Paso Robles, CA Pasa Robles Fair
26 Cheyenne, WY Frontier Days
28 Seattle, WA The Gorge
29 Spokane, WA Northern Quest Casino
1 Great Falls, MT Montana State Fair
3 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
4 Boise, ID Idaho Center
6 Sturgis, SD Buffalo Chip Campground
8 Indianapolis, IN Indiana State Fair
10 Wantagh, NY Nikon Theater At Jones Beach
14 Watertown, NY Watertown Fairgrounds
15 Canandaigua, NY Constellations Brands PAC
17 Louisville, KY Kentucky State Fair
18 Des Moines, IA Iowa State Fair
22 Albuquerque, NM Sandia Outdoor Theater
24 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
25 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
27 Pelham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheater
28 Lafayette, LA Cajun Dome
31 Kansas City, KS LiveStrong Sporting Park
1 St. Paul, MN Minnesota State Fair
15 Mt. Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino
19 Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center
21 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
22 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
25 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
26 Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
28 Bangor, ME Waterfront Park
29 Providence, RI Dunkin Donuts Center
2 Norfolk, VA Constant Convocation Center
3 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
5 Mobile, AL Bayfest
6 Atlanta, GA Aaron’s Amphitheater At Lakewood
9 Little Rock, AR Verizon Arena
10 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
12 Tampa, FL 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater
13 West Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre
30 New York, NY Barclays Bank Arena
2 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
3 Manchester, NH Verizon Center
5 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
7 Columbus, OH Schottenstein/Nationwide
8 Evansville, IN Ford Center
10 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
11 Fort Wayne, IN Allen County War Memorial
13 Moline, IL iWireless Center
14 Sioux City, IA Tyson Center
16 Milwaukee, WI Bradley Center
17 Green Bay, WI Resch Center
19 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
24 Grand Praire, AB Crystal Center
27 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
28 Saskatoon, SK Credit Union Centre
30 Calgary, AB Scotiabank Saddledome
1 Kelowna, BC Prospera Place
3 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
4 Victoria, BC Save-On Food Centre
7 Las Vegas, NV Planet Hollywood