Herald’s Q&A: 40 Years of Loverboy

Herald’s Q&A: 40 Years of Loverboy

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Celebrating four decades as Canada’s rock royalty, Loverboy embraces nostalgia and the hits of a generation ahead of their return to St. John’s at Iceberg Alley Performance Tent

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You know their name. You know the hits. Loverboy are one of the biggest rock bands to ever hail from the great white north. Singles Working For The Weekend, Turn Me Loose and Loving Every Minute Of It are classic rock anthems that stand the test of time.

We caught up with frontman Mike Reno before the legends return to St. John’s to close out the Iceberg Alley Performance Tent on September 21st with Kim Mitchell and David Wilcox. 

We’re weeks away from the return of Loverboy on September 21st. We know you’re no strangers to Newfoundland and Labrador. 

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We didn’t go for the longest time and then we went. Now we go back at every opportunity. People are so wonderful and it’s such a beautiful place to be. The serenity and solitude out there, I love it. It’s just a good place to come and get your good thoughts together. I loved it. 

Obvious question for come from aways, but have you guys experienced the screech-in?

I have had the initiation (laughs). You know who helped do it is the guys in Trooper. They said ‘Mike we’ll screech you in!’ There was a bunch of people there and I think it was onstage and everything. It was pretty funny. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but 2019 marks 40 years of Loverboy. What do you attribute to that longevity? Especially given the at times turbulent rock lifestyle. 

If you relate it to like sports we’re an all-star team, a team that breaks out and now we’re an alumni team. The older we get the tighter we get. We were great friends and we always do things together and we’ve remained great friends. I think Paul and I had a good idea from the very beginning, we just made everybody equal as far as being paid. 

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Nobody was special. We made sure everybody was treated equal. Everybody has a responsibility to pull their weight and that’s always been a big thing for me and for Paul. When we put this band together we wanted to make sure everybody was responsible for just as much as everybody else. We were all together. We were like the fingers on a fist.

Many of the bands of the 80s experienced a downtown during the changing landscape of the 1990s. What was your take on the changing trends in radio rock during that time?

There was a little time I think, maybe only a year and a half, that we decided not to play for a while and there was a reason for it to be honest with you. The record company didn’t want anymore records because and the radio stations, believe it or not, didn’t want any more music because they all decided to change and play only grunge music. And I said to myself this is insane. 

I mean how can you stop playing Foreigner, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Styx, Kansas on and on and on. How do you stop playing that? And then that turned into an opportunity for someone to devise a whole radio system called classic rock radio. 

And during the two years that everybody didn’t know what to do that’s when country music decided to hop in and steal all that ground. So it was kind of an interesting time and it was a learning experience I’m sure for the record companies and the radio stations because now some of the best stations around are classic rock radio.

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To that end, what’s your take on the ‘classic rock bands’ of the 80s performing and touring today? Is there still a strong demand?

Isn’t it true that the music from the 80s seems to be surviving better than a lot of other music? Everywhere we go I figure there’s going to be quite a few people. But to be honest with you  everywhere we’ve gone for the last four years they’ve been sold out to the max, packed. That to me shows that people are dedicated to the 80s music and those songs. 

After 40 years of touring all over the world, is the fire still there? Do you enjoy the performance aspect?

I love it more than I used to. In the old days we were kind of heavily being pushed by the management and record companies. That’s all gone because nobody’s around pushing us anymore too hard. There’s only so much you can do before you break. And we wanted to make sure we never got to the breaking point. So we tried to keep it to three or four shows a week with days off here and there. 

The travel we try to keep reasonable, other than Newfoundland, which isn’t reasonable, but we love going there (laughs). 

For the fans at Iceberg Alley, what does a Loverboy show look like in 2019?

Basically it’s kind of like every song that we play onstage we’ve done a video for. People can relate to different things. We come on that stage and we have the best time that we can. The audience can’t help but get into it. And they push us. The audience pushes us and we push them to get to this place. You know, there’s a lot of things that aren’t right with the world right now, but we try to forget that for the two hours that we’re onstage.

For more on Loverboy visit loverboyband.com and icebergalleyconcerts.com.

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