Honeymoon Suite, Prism & Lee Aaron
|Fri Sep 21, 2018||07:30 PM|
Johnnie Dee and Derry Grehan, the principal and founding members of Honeymoon Suite, met when introduced by manager Stephen Prendergast in 1982. Deciding to work together, they formed Honeymoon Suite with Grehan’s former Steve Blimkie And The Reason’ band-mate Dave Betts on drums, plus an anonymous keyboard player and bassist.
In 1983 they decided to enter the Homegrown Contest put on yearly by Toronto’s Q107-FM radio station so Prendergast approached his friend and producer Tom Treumuth to produce a song for them. Based on the buying public’s response, “New Girl Now” won the contest and Bob Roper at WEA Canada was so impressed with the song and response that he signed the band right away.
Personnel conflicts eventually arose and the keyboardist was replaced with Toronto bred Ray Coburn. Although a session player named Brian Brackstone played bass on the album, the band soon found themselves a permanent bassist named Gary Lalonde. Originally scheduled for release on Valentine’s Day, the milestone first album was released in June of 1984.
Throughout 1983 and 1984 Honeymoon Suite toured Canada and the US, consistently headlining club gigs and opening for such acts as Billy Idol, April Wine, Laura Branigan, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, and Bryan Adams. In 1984 the band was nominated for the ‘Most Promising Group’ Juno Award but did not win.
Propelled by the success of more singles from the album, 1985 saw the band begin to headline gigs throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. A highlight was the presentation of an award at the 1985 Junos. By this time the first album had achieved platinum sales status. Almost 22 years later the album has now sold over 400,000 units in Canada alone.
Honeymoon Suite’s second album was released on Valentine’s Day 1986. ‘The Big Prize’ featured a rare appearance by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. It went platinum in Canada almost immediately and started selling steadily in the US. Tours in the States that year included opening stints for Heart, .38 Special, ZZ Top, Journey, Starship, and Saga. The band also headlined a sold-out show at the Kingswood Music Theatre just north of Toronto. Ray Coburn left and was replaced by Toronto whiz-kid keyboardist Rob Preuss (formerly of the Spoons). 1986 also saw the band win a gold award for ‘Best Live Act’ at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, the ‘Group Of The Year’ Juno and headline more dates in both Canada and some northern States.
For album number three, the band went to Los Angeles in the winter of 1987 to record with Ted Templeman (Little Feat, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen), and while there Dee was hit by a car at L.A.X. airport breaking his leg in several places and requiring surgery for a ten inch pin to help the leg heal properly. While recovering in hospital, Doobie Brother Michael McDonald was brought in to help out with the recording sessions; he wrote lyrics and sang back up on one song. The results of all the hard work was ‘Racing After Midnight’, a slightly harder-edged more guitar oriented album that spawned a European tour with Status Quo and a headlining tour of Canada.
The trio returned to the studio in 1990 to craft ‘Monsters Under The Bed’ with Paul Northfield producing. The album featured Steve Webster ( from Billy Idol’s band) on bass and Jorn Anderson on drums. Singles like “Say You Don’t Know Me” and “The Road” did well in Canada. Some US success did come their way as songs got placed on TV’s ‘Miami Vice’ and two movie soundtracks, ‘Lethal Weapon II’ and ‘One Crazy Summer’.
In other recent activity a new Best of album has been released on Warner in Canada as part of their Essentials series. A new Best of Honeymoon Suite DVD featuring all their videos and live concert footage is also scheduled to be released by Warner this fall.
Songwriting has also wrapped up for a brand new studio album that will be recorded this fall and arrive early in 2008. A European/Japanese deal has already been signed with the prestigious Frontiers label and negotiations are now underway for a North American release.
NASA chose Prism’s “Spaceship Superstar” as the official song aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during its historic final flight, which speaks to Prism’s ongoing popularity, even in outer space! Meanwhile, back on earth:
They’ve sold millions of albums, with songs that have become radio standards – Spaceship Superstar,
Take Me to the Kaptin, Flying, Armageddon, Take Me Away, Young & Restless, Night to Remember,
Don’t Let Him Know among them. Prism itself is classic rock.
With two Juno Awards (Canada’s Grammy) for Album & Group of the Year, multi-platinum albums and a continuing legacy of sold-out shows, Prism is a must-see live attraction. The band rocks out the hits more energetically than ever, thrilling audiences nationwide.
Founding member Al Harlow’s showmanship drives Prism forward with award-winning alumni Gary Grace, Tad Goddard and Marc Gladstone’s brilliant performances of the trademark Prism sound.
Every day across the country, radio is playing the many Prism classics. Combine unstoppable world-class concerts, and the best may be yet to come.
To sum up Lee Aaron’s career in one paragraph is near impossible. This legendary rock diva started out singing jazz and Broadway standards in musical theatre in the Toronto suburbs, hanging out in music class after school, practicing and picking the brains of her instructors. By 15 she had formed a rock band, singing, playing keyboards and sax, and began playing all-ages shows.
While still in her teens, she wrote and recorded her debut, 1982’s The Lee Aaron Project. Featuring some of Canada’s most notable talent at the time (Triumph/Moxy) the LP was released on Polygram in Europe and garnered a feature in Britain’s Kerrang! magazine. That was followed with an appearance at 1983’s Reading Festival, where she blew away fans and critics alike with her powerhouse vocals and vibrant stage energy.
In 1984 she released Metal Queen. The album’s title track, a hard driving anthem about female empowerment, catapulted Aaron to iconic status in the rock world.
When famed producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper) heard Aaron sing (he was recording in the adjacent studio) he was impressed enough to step in to produce her next release. Call of The Wild garnered solid chart success in Canada and sold over 100,000 copies in Europe in just 6 weeks. The single “Barely Holdin’ On” resonated strongly with audiences and before long Aaron was topping European music polls and appearing on dozens of magazine covers including Sounds, Melody Maker and even TV Guide.
Relentless touring and chart-toppers like “Only Human”, “Whatcha Do To My Body”, “Hands On” and “Some Girls Do” resulted in multi-platinum sales in her home country and continued international success through the ’80s and ’90s.
Chart Magazine proclaimed Bodyrock (1989) one of the 20 most influential Canadian albums of the ’80s, with Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morrisette and Shania Twain all “under Aaron’s influence.” MuchMusic’s Listed has consistently rated her in the Top Female Rockers Of All Time category.
In addition to the solid catalogue of rock releases, Aaron has ventured into other genres throughout her career, performing jazz, blues and even opera, solidifying her credibility as one of the most respected and versatile vocalists and songwriters around.
Concurrent with 2004’s Beautiful Things (Billboard claimed it her best yet), Aaron toured up until a month before her first child was born. For the last decade, outside of a handful of select appearances, she has been out of the spotlight, devoted to family and raising her two children. She currently resides in the Vancouver, Canada area with her husband, two children and two dogs.