It's Party Time

Making the Album

Failing to land the major label recording deal, and having Lowspeak Records refuse to release us (they would have had to pay for the recordings, gee, didn’t see that coming) we decided to release a CD with a combination of tracks recorded in Toronto with Chris Wardman, and tracks done in the UK with Nigel Palmer for Lowspeak. So, a bit of a mixed bag. While I love all the songs, it doesn’t feel like an album, it feels like a compilation CD, of songs written in Vancouver, songs written in Toronto, and then songs recorded in the UK. Maybe to the listener that doesn’t matter, but I find this one feels like one foot in the past, one foot in the present, and one foot moving forward. Which would give me three legs. Three legs good, four legs better. We also moved away from the one for all, all for one song writing credits after we had to buy Ian Noble out when he quit the band in Toronto, and get his percentage back to ensure we could release the songs. As a co-writer he could have technically held up any release. We had a formula originally when it was Gord, Roxanne and I. 20% for playing your part, 20% for writing the music, 20% for writing the lyrics. Gord scored big time on the Go Four 3 Theme on the first EP because there were no lyrics so Roxanne got nada for lyrics or playing her part. Actually, that’s a pretty good formula. That’s why the next release will be an instrumental album with no lyrics or bass and a Roland 707…

Anyway, when Ian Noble joined the band we changed the formula to 15% for playing your part, 20% for writing the music, 20% for the lyrics. But when Ian left the band he could have held up any new releases as a co-song writer (though technically he didn’t write anything). So, we had to buy him out and get our performing rights organization Socan to revert the songs back to the original formula. But after that I decided any new songs were going to be the traditional 50% music 50% lyrics, so that’s what we did moving forward. The newer songs where credit was Quinn/Heichert were like that. Sucked for Gord as I know he would never have threatened to hold up a release. But I couldn’t take that chance again. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t really matter. There’s the old Bruce Allen quote: “Do you want 80% of something, or 100% of nothing?” Gord probably only missed out on about $8 of royalties over the year had we stuck to our original formula. Gord, I’ll pick up the tab next time we go out for a drink (he says during COVID19 lockdown). If you know Ian, in his heart he’s a good guy, but he does go in to business rock manager mode sometimes. You try not to take it personally; the band would never have got as far as it did without Gord’s networking skills and Ian’s business acumen. And hey, Ian is a successful promoter in New York and Gord, Roxanne, and I are in Vancouver having never made the big time. Actually, it is all good with Ian and us, and he very generously gave us the opening slot for the Buzzcocks in Vancouver in the 90’s which we are all incredibly grateful for to this day.

Heart Of Tears


I love this song, it still brings a smile to my face to this day listening to it. “There’s a hole in my heart, bigger than the sun, that won’t shine where I’m standing…every day’s a thousand years, stuck inside this heart of tears.” The Abba-esque intro guitar similar to SOS, the John Waite Missing You verses, the 60’s girl group middle eighth, the Big Country/Skids guitar solo at the end. Chris Wardman with all the augmented and guitar chords that require more than three fingers, great vocals by Roxanne, some nice Cassandra Vasik back ups, Gord’s McCartney era Baby You’re a Rich Man bass lines. Joel Anderson with some great drumming. Killer song. Really captured the Mike Chapman Nicky Chinn song writing of the early 70’s. This would have been a killer line up if we had got a deal, not only to play gigs, but just hang out and tour. Joel was a riot and super nice guy. He lived with us for awhile in Toronto. During the day he worked at a butcher’s, and in the evening, he’d bring home these amazing cuts of meat for my cat at the end of his shift. My cat ate better than I did.

Flowers On My Grave


Recorded in the UK with Nigel Palmer, another favorite of mine. Bob Mould meets the Psychedelic Furs. Chris Cooke, our spectacular manager in the UK brought in a “ringer” in guitarist Hussien Boon to try make our songs sound good and give him “a hit”. Thanks for the vote of confidence Chris. Hussien was a guitar teacher and a super nice guy, but he is, to be polite, a man of many styles. He could play anything and sound like anyone. We were rehearsing demos before recording and Hussien was playing a lot of parts that didn’t really fit. At one point on this song he played something that sounded like Bob Mould in his Sugar phase and we stopped the song and said: Okay, just play like Bob Mould on all the songs. And that was that. The outro solo, that’s me. I think.

It's Not My Fault


More Bob Mould thank you Hussien. Love this song too. We were in our Eurythmics phase here. We had flown over and thought we were getting signed to their label at one point, but surprise, that fell through (read my book for all the details). Fantastic Gord bass lines, great vocals by Roxanne. I think I made tea for everyone when we recorded this one. One of my favourite all time songs where I capture the Abba/Sweet pop of the 70’s, the Buzzcocks and Sugar later. Should have been blasting on the radio on high rotation. Sigh.

Just Another Day


A re-recording in Toronto, Chris Wardman add some tasty little guitar licks, backs up the velvety smooth Cassandra Vasik, another super awesome person. We did this figuring the album would be released in the USA and the UK so it would be new to people outside of Canada.

Now Or Never


I think Chris Wardman and I both shared a love of Chris Spedding’s Hurt By Love, so we were on the same wavelength on this tune. Always a fun song to play live. I could have sworn there was a difficult sounding guitar solo at the end of the song that Chris played, but I’m not hearing it now.

It Starts To Rain


One of the newer songs. One of the lyrics was a tip to Ric Arboit “…slipped my mind” which was a Catherine O’Hara line from SCTV, I think. 99% of the bass line is Gord, but I think I had one little bit I asked him to play which was influenced by local band Family Plot who had two bass players (what were they thinking, that’s worse than two drummers…okay maybe not) but I remember one of the lead bass guitar players did a lot of this one semi tone down to the next sort of thing which sounded really cool.

No One Home


In the mid Eighties I used to avoid everyone and lived in my folk’s basement, writing songs, going to work, and refusing to talk to anyone. I’m much more social now, I’ve moved upstairs. Gord had returned to Vancouver when we recorded this one, so we used Breeding Ground bassist Gary Quinn on this track. A really cool, funny, amazing guy, who’s pinky probably had more rock and roll in him than my entire body.



There are a couple of versions of this song, this one, plus the one we are releasing on Anchors Away, the album of unreleased tracks. This one started off one of several 4 track demo’s I gave to Chris when we moved to Toronto. Chris had the tape for maybe a half hour before he phoned me up all excited and said: “I’ve got something here”. He had put lyrics together and of all the songs we recorded he saw this one as “the hit” as we put the most time in to it in the recording studio. And it should have been.

Love And Rain


Multiple recordings of this one as well, we did a 16 track demo in Vancouver with Chris before re-recording it in Toronto. Great tune, loads of fun to play live. Great drums and bass. Middle eighth was inspired by Prince Sign O’ The Times album. Yes, Prince and I, almost indistinguishable.

Sick And Tired Of It


Another one of the 16 track demos we did in Vancouver that we re-recorded in Toronto. Original version is on Anchors Away. Chris did a real makeover on this tune, changing it from an upbeat pop tune to a heavier slower “dirge” tune. He added a really cool DX7 keyboard part that plays through out, Cassandra Vasik adds back ups, Chris adds the little lead bits on the verses, I think I only strum the major chords on this one. No wait, I hear a little picking bit that’s me as well. The middle eighth is a guitar lick from a traditional Scottish song called The One Eyed Reilly. I shit you not.



A re-recording of this song that was on Six Friends. Chris puts some depth to it with some additional backing vocal work on the choruses, and adds some atmospheric bits. Basically trying to make an indie band sound big time, or give us a chance to compete with bigger budget productions, with some subtle synth pad parts underneath. Roxanne goes a bit Sound of Music at the end. I would have fader her out and cranked my tasty guitar work, which would have ensured a massive recording deal, but I can live with this version.

Someone To Believe In


I was really proud of my lyrics on this one, and it’s funny how nothing has changed politically from when this was written up till today. Chris went to town on this one and did a beautiful job. Having said that, part of me really likes the stripped-down 4 track demo which was quite minimal. They are both cool in their own way. Classic SQ guitar solo.

If you enjoyed these notes look forward to The Day Nobody Came – my autobiography on Culture Shock, Go Four 3, Thrill Squad, and The Irises. Stay tuned for releases of Six Friends and Anchors Away – all unreleased tracks and demos from Go Four 3.

-Stephen Quinn