Oh, how I miss the ’80s. Even though I was quite young, it was the perfect time at the right age to grow up. Whether, you were aspiring to one day be as cool as the teens in John Hughes movies or the excitement you got each month when your teacher passed out book order forms, the ’80s were awesome!
1986 is a memorable year when it comes to pop culture; Halley’s comet reached the closest point to the Earth during its second visit to the solar system in the 20th century. Top Gun and Platoon topped the box office, the first ever musicians were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Canadian rock band Glass Tiger released The Thin Red Line, which included hits like Don’t Forget Me, and Someday.
Recently, I had a chance to speak with keyboardist Sam Reid of Glass Tiger to talk about music through the last three decades as well as their fundraising album for Canadian troops and much more.
Debra Heather (DH): Originally you guys were named Tokyo, what made you change the name to Glass Tiger, and what is the meaning behind the bands name?
Sam Reid (SR): Tokyo was an early name for the band when oriental fashion was popular in the early ’80s. Our first promo photo was shot in Chinatown in Toronto. We performed under that name in local bars while we were trying to get a record deal. Once we got our first record deal we decided we wanted a better more meaningful name. Al Connelly was reading a book at the time, and they referred to the term “Paper Tiger.” Wasn’t a very flattering name as it means “false strength” so we decided to change the “Paper” to “Glass”, and everyone loved it. We had two sides to the band’s music, one was more rock and the other was very pop and we always felt that “Glass” could be smooth or sharp and “Tiger” could be cute or dangerous.
DH: Glass Tiger has been around since the early ’80s, since then there have been so many changes in the music industry especially over the last 30 years. If you could choose one particular thing that you could change in music today what would it be?
SR: I love a lot of the new music today. Some artists even remind me of the ’80s keyboard sounds like “Muse” or “Churches”. My main complaint about some of the new music is that it seems so disposable. Doesn’t have the same “take home” quality of the ’80s bands. Melody and lyrics were always important to us and also pushing musicians to get their parts right instead of fixing everything with a computer program. It’s so refreshing when a vocalist can actually sing.
DH: I admire Glass Tiger’s involvement with the troops that you have had in the past. I remember hearing back in 2009 you guys went over to Kandahar Afghanistan, and visited Canadian troops. How was that experience for the band and what did you take away from it?
SR: We got involved with our Canadian troops back in 1996 with a show tour over to Bosnia and the North Pole. We enjoyed the experience, and we made some lifelong friends that we still have to this day. We were invited to join “Team Canada” Afghanistan tours in 2009, 2010 and 2011 which was comprised of Glass Tiger and some NHL Alumni hockey players. It was an incredible opportunity to visit with our men and women in theater. Tough part of the world to operate in and many challenges for them to perform their duties. Two of our soldiers died while on patrol when we were there, and it was incredible to be part of the ramp ceremony to return them back to Canada.
DH: I wanted to talk a bit about Sound Of Freedom, the fundraising album you produced for the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services (CFPFSS). What was it like collaborating with such a wide range of talented musicians all working together with a common goal- to help look after the soldiers and their families when they come back from long tours of duty?
SR: The “Sound Of Freedom” project was a unique project. Mixing some of the best musicians in the Canadian military with some great Canadian vocalists was great. I think the general public would be surprised to hear the calibre of these musicians. It’s far more than just doing marches and parade music. Great way to give back to the Family Support Services as well who do some great work helping our returning soldiers.
DH: I see Glass Tiger has quite a few shows coming up, are you guys working on new music as well? What is a typical day in the studio for you guys?
SR: This has been a busy summer for the band. We are just getting ready to start a western tour on Sept 26 in Winnipeg. Hopefully, get a chance to get back to Montreal soon. There is some new music on the horizon for us and we are recording at my studio in Newmarket this fall. Spring is a target for us to bring out some new tunes.
DH: Any famous last words for Montreal Rampage?
SR: Montreal has always been one of the band’s favorite cities to visit, and we’ve always had great fans in Quebec. Hope to see everyone soon!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“When the power of love over comes the love of power, the world will know peace.”- Jimi Hendrix