Prolific Canadian hard rock band April Wine has seen some change over the years.
Longtime guitarist Brian Greenway even loses track listing the names. “There’s been 12 or 13 of us: Gerry retired, left the band; Jim Clench left, then he passed away; Richie and David Henman left in ’73; Gary Moffet and Steve Lang didn’t come back when we got back together in ’92; Steve Segal came in ’92 left in ’95; then there’s Blair … uh, what the heck’s his last name?” Greenway breaks into raucous laughter. “(Blair Mackay) was there for a few years and Breen (LeBoeuf) was there for a few years. Now Richard (Lanthier) and Roy (Nichol) are there.”
The current lineup also includes founding member Myles Goodwin.
“You never retire from anything like this – it’s not like you’re there every day doing it,” says Greenway. “It happens all of a sudden. It happens at a terrifying pace, then it stops and you wonder ‘what just happened?’ But that’s the nature of the business – I was going to say beast, but that’s cliché,” he muses at the referral to the band’s 1981 Nature of the Beast album which spawned their must successful single, Just between You and Me.
April Wine released their debut self titled album in 1971 which featured the hit Fast Train, they followed up releasing nine albums over the next 10 years, six of those hitting Canadian Platinum status with 1979’s Harder Faster and Nature of the Beast both also reaching Gold on the US charts.
Greenway joined the band as third guitar in late 1977, after the band made headlines playing a charity concert at the famed El Mocambo Club in Toronto with a band called “The Cockroaches” who turned out to be The Rolling Stones.
April Wine’s performance was recorded and released as Live at the El Mocambo. The band then toured the US opening for The Stones, then for bands including Styx, Rush and Nazareth.
“We did take a break for eight years, ’84 to ’92,” says Greenway. But since then it’s been a steady gig with annual tours across Canada and the US.
“When we got back together in 1992, we used to do close to 90 shows a year,” says Greenway. These days it’s closer to 50.
The rest of the year is “me time” says Greenway. Time spent playing music with other people. “I have a little duo that I work with, we’ve done a couple shows. Then there’s a four piece with some of the same people. … It’s fun because it’s not April Wine music, although I’ve got to play some of the stuff. I don’t want to play all April Wine stuff because I didn’t write it. Although some people expect to hear it, but – tough,” he says. “I’m not April Wine, I’m not trying to be April Wine, it’s just me.”
But with the band, Greenway still loves to rock. “Lately we’ve been concentrating on the ‘70s and ‘80s. The albums that sold the most. People want to hear You Won’t Dance With Me, we haven’t played that in a long time. Depends on the type of fan because across the country some radio stations would play some of the syrupy stuff instead of the hard rock stuff that we really are.”
Audiences want to hear You Won’t Dance With Me and instead they hear 21st Century Schizoid Man, which is a song that most people really shouldn’t try to dance to,” he says.
“I like playing some of the other hits too. Just Between you and Me, that’s a classic ballad. But with You Won’t Dance With Me we get into the years when we had keyboards in the band and we don’t travel with keyboards anymore. So it depends on if Myles wants to try the arrangement without keyboards and how that sounds.”
May 13 Royal Theatre