Interview: Paul Dean and Loverboy Are Set for a 'Rock 'N' Roll' Revival'
Loverboy, the Canadian rock band whose songs “Working For The Weekend," “Hot Girls in Love” and “Queen of The Broken Hearts” have become staples of classic rock radio, have released Rock 'N' Roll Revival, a new album of re-recorded hits and new songs.
The band is on a massive nationwide tour supporting fellow veteran rockers Journey, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.
I had the chance to speak with guitarist Paul Dean about Rock 'N' Roll Revival as well as his current guitar setup and the origins of some of Loverboy's biggest hits.
GUITAR WORLD: What made you decide to re-record and put together Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival?
The album started off with "Heartbreaker," a song outline sent to us by acclaimed producer and good friend Bob Rock. Bob and I go all the way back to 1980, when he was the engineer on our first self-titled album. The first time I heard the song, it was instant for me; I could hear Mike Reno singing the bejeezus out of it. We fleshed it out and rearranged it from its original 1:50 form to the structure you hear on the record. We sent it to Bob, and he was duly impressed. He then sent us "No Tomorrow," also in abbreviated form. Same task, write some guitar hooks, shorten up a couple of sections, write some extra lyrics for the bridge and there you go. So now we had two songs.
Then one night, I had the crazy notion to call our road manager to see if he could set up a recording for a gig we were about to do at a huge casino in Ontario, Canada. I remembered the last time we had played the venue, it was a gas. The audience was great and I figured it might be one of those magic nights. It turns out, I was right. Matt Frenette, our drummer was all over it, and as any guitar player will tell you, if the drummer’s having a bad night, you might as well go home early. There was no phoning it in. That gave us way more than we needed for an album, so the hard part was actually finding stuff to leave off. I was interested in giving our fans a taste of what we sound like today.
We also had a version of “Always On My Mind” that we played in Winnipeg, Canada, one night in ’05, the only time we played it with Ken Sinnaeve, our “new” bass player. The quotes because he’s only been with us for 12 years. Mike and I updated the lyrics to mean a bit more to us and hopefully our fans.
Finally, one day last February, Mike called me up to see if I wanted to come to new his place in Palm Springs and write a song or two. I said sure, and the song "Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival" was born. I had a drum track from a session I did in Dallas a few years earlier at my buddy Mike Pisterzi’s Maximedia studio, and that was the foundation for the tune.
I also have to add that this album features the massive talents of our keyboard player, Doug Johnson. Almost every song is an example of new and wonderful synth sounds not heard on previous versions of these tunes.
Can you tell me the origin of some of your biggest songs: "Working for the Weekend" and "Hot Girls in Love"?
"Working" was originally called "Waiting." I was strolling through Kitsilano in Vancouver one spring day and the streets and stores were mostly deserted. I thought: “Where is everybody? This place is usually jumpin! Oh I get it; they’re probably waiting for the weekend.” I got the music part of the song started in Montreal a week later in my hotel room. It took a while to figure out all of the key changes, but eventually it made sense. Then, I brought it to the band and Reno says, “How about 'Working for the Weekend?'”
I wrote "Hot Girls In Love" the same weekend I wrote "Queen Of The Broken Hearts." My wife Denise and I were in Hawaii for a break. It was over Christmas and around the same time that Teac released the first portable four-track cassette recorder. It made an excellent Christmas present, and I was really into it. I originally recorded it as a rockabilly tune, with slap echo and all. Back in a real studio some months later, the band put our sound to it.
What do you like most about performing?
First and foremost, I love to play guitar, and I also get to sing with one of the greats, Mike Reno. My favorite moments are when we see a sea of teeth in the audience. And I love these songs. They’ve been around forever, but I still find new stuff to play inside those frameworks; they leave a lot of room for experimentation.
What guitars/amps are you using now?
I thought you’d never ask. 2011 Gibson Les Paul Axcess, with a Floyd-Rose whammy. I changed the pickups to Gibson T500’s and put a big ol’ brass block in the Floyd. TC Electronics G System into a Marshall 900 50-watt. Four Marshall 900 cabs, but I just use the top two, that way I‘m not too loud for Mike.
What are the future plans for Loverboy?
We’re hoping to tour the rest of the world, there are a lot of places we haven’t been. Now that we have a new manager in Jonathan Wolfson, and a new label in Frontiers, we’re hoping to finally see some of those doors opening. Plus, I just moved back to Vancouver where Mike lives most of the time and I’m hoping to do some more writing with him.
Which guitarists inspired you growing up and why?
My first influences were Luther Perkins (Johnny Cash’s guy) and Duane Eddy. Duane released an awesome album last year, Road Trip. One of the best guitar albums ever, IMHO. Luther had the feel. I saw a video of him backstage practicing that giddyap thing he did so well. You may have noticed a certain familiarity in "Working For The Weekend" and "The Kid Is Hot Tonight". I confess, Luther Perkins.
What advice would you give to up and coming guitarists?
If it feels good, do it. The day you hate it, quit and sell shoes. Remember, it’s not about the money. It’s a lifestyle, not a career or a fame machine. It’s being on the road with a bunch of people you respect and enjoy hanging with. At any level, from the garage all the way to the top and back.
Photo: Mick Rock