A musical genre as tough and hard as the Canadian Shield.
Canada has produced many successful proponents of the genre known as heavy metal, which grew out of the hard rock of the 1970s, exploded commercially in the 1980s, and then petered out in the 1990s as grunge took over, only to rise to prominence once again in the new millennium.
The road to Canadian musical glory is not lined with the palm trees and top-down convertibles of the Sunset Strip. It is a road slick with black ice, obscured by blizzards, and littered with moose and deer that could cause peril for a cube van thundering down a Canadian highway.
Drawing on interviews with original artists such as Helix, Anvil, Coney Hatch, Killer Dwarfs, Harem Scarem, and Honeymoon Suite, as well as prominent journalists, VJs, and industry insiders, we relive their experiences, motivations, and lifestyles as they strove for that most alluring of brass rings – the coveted record deal. It’s a new perspective on the dreams of musicians shooting for an American ideal of success and discovering a uniquely Canadian voice in the process.
Veteran rocker Kelly provides a fascinating history of Canadian hard rock. The author combines a methodical approach with obvious enthusiasm for his subject, first setting the stage by introducing the significant figures in this field, icons such as Anvil, Coney Hatch, Harem Scarem, Helix, Killer Dwarfs and more. What follows is an celebration of the world of hard rock, ranging from the demanding lifestyle forced on Canada's itinerant musicians by that nation's thinly settled geography to the challenges of trying to expand into the U.S. market, from Canadian rock journalism to the exploitive machinations of the music industry of the day, and from the heights of the golden age of the 1970s and 1980s to the dark age of the 1990s, when hard rock and metal were pushed aside by the grunge fad; the one element that gets short shrift are the women of Canadian rock, relegated to a single chapter. Drawing on his own experiences and that of the musicians he interviewed, the author has created a masterful account whose main flaw, aside from its focus on men, is brevity; the reader is left hoping this is merely introductory and works of greater depth will follow.