December 1, 2004

SJP


Artist: Northern Pikes




Jay Semko (bass, vocals)
Bryan Potvin (vocals, guitar)
Merl Bryck (vocals, guitar)
Rob Esch (drums; 1983-1984)
Glenn Hollingshead (drums; replaced Esch 1984-85)
Don "Nigs" Schmid (drums; replaced Hollingshead 1986)

The Northern Pikes were founded in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1983 out of the relics of such prairie bands as The Idols, Seventeen Envelope, and Doris Daye. They needed money to finance an independent release and so became, according to band members, the worst Top-40 band ever. They ended up releasing two self-financed independent albums: 'The Northern Pikes' and 'Scene In North America' which led to bites from Virgin Records Canada who were looking to expand their Canadian roster beyond their first domestic act Agent.

Virgin's Doug Chappell chased them down as early as 1985 and offered the band a 6 album International deal. Their major label debut was 'Big Blue Sky' and contained the breakaway singles/videos "Teenland" and "The Things I Do For Money". They would open headlining tours by Duran Duran, David Bowie and The Fixx.

Their next album, 'Secrets Of The Alibi' was blatantly ignored by critics who had already grown tired of the Pikes' perky outlook. However, Robert Palmer saw potential in the band and offered them an opening slot on his 1989 North American tour.

1990's 'Snow In June' was their third major release and boasted three Top-40 hits/videos "She Ain't Pretty", "Girl With A Problem", and "Kiss Me You Fool". The album sported the attitude Bigger Is Better with mixes by Hugh Padgham & Bob Clearmountain and production by Rick Hutt, Fraser Hill & the Pikes themselves. The playing was augmented by an array of support musicians including Garth Hudson (The Band) and John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful).

And despite all of this attention the album received, Virgin America passed on the US release of the album and instead, Scotti Brothers Records in the US picked it up in 1991. The album would go on to sell double platinum.

1992 saw the album 'Neptune' and its first single "Worlds Away" (a duet with Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins) released to very little fanfare and as the popularity of the band dwindled, they released a live album at the end of 1993 called 'Gig' from a set of shows they knew would be their last.

Semko quit the band in frustration over the Pikes' inability to grow south of the border and released a solo disc called 'Mouse' in 1995 with the Iron Music Group label in Toronto. He would then become music director for the TV show 'Due South'.

Potvin became an A & R representative for Polygram Records and helped launch the career of The Barstool Prophets. In July 2000, he released a solo CD, "Heartbreakthrough". Schmid formed an indie band in Saskatoon with the ill-fated moniker of The Non-Happeners who released one CD on Fresh Vibe North Records.

The original line-up of The Pikes then reconvened in December 1999. That meeting saw the release of a collection of old favorites and buried treasures, entitled 'Hits And Assorted Secrets: 1984-1993'. It also led to a hugely successful Canadian tour in early 2000, some of which was recorded and resulted in The Northern Pikes 'Live', a CD worth of tunes from various shows in Ontario and Quebec. The band decided to stick it out and record a new studio album in Toronto during the Fall of 2000. 'Truest Inspiration' was released in 2001, the Pikes' first studio album in 8 years. The title track from that album became a hit in Japan, so The Pikes did a short, but intensive, tour there in late June 2003, including a Canada Day party at the Canadian Embassy.

Studio recording resumed in late 2003 and the result was the well received CD 'It’s A Good Life' in 2004. The band is expected to release a hybrid collection of songs from 'Truest Inspiration' and 'It's A Good Life' along with lyrics and enhanced video foorage under the name 'Beautiful Music' sometime in 2006.

with notes from Trent Stevely, Sue Jackson and Blaine Gysler.


Singles
1987 Teenland/Heartaches Heartbreaks (Virgin) VS-1379 1987 Things I Do For Money/Love Will Break You (Virgin) VS-1397
1987 Dancing In A Dance Club/Never Again (Virgin) VS-1419
1987 Dancing In A Dance Club (Edit)/Dancing In A Dance Club (Live)/Things I Do For Money (Live) [12" single] (Virgin) VSX-1419
1987 Dancing In A Dance Club (Spawnin' Mix)/Love Will Break You/Heartaches Heartbreaks (Open Up) [12" single](Virgin) VSX-1426
1988 Wait For Me/Better Twice (Virgin) VS-1441
1988 One Good Reason/One Good Reason (Extended Mix) [12" single] (Virgin) VSX-2472
1988 Place That's Insane/Place That's Insane [12" single]( Virgin) VSX-2548
1989 Hopes Go Astray/Hole In The Ground (Virgin) VS1458
1989 Let's Pretend/Do You Really Want Me (Virgin) VS-1478
1990 She Ain't Pretty/Isn't It Lovely (Virgin) VS-1521
1990 Girl With A Problem/Unimportant (Virgin) 4KM-1530
1991 Kiss Me You Fool/Shadow Of Doubt (Virgin) 4KM-1534
1991 Dream Away/Unimportant (Virgin) 4KM-1543
1992 Twister/Black Cat (Virgin) 4KM-9942
1993 Believe (Virgin)
1993 Everything/World's Away (Virgin) 7349
1993 Worlds Away (Virgin) [with Margo Timmins]
2001 Echo Off The Beach (Northern Pike Songs)
2001 Colour Into Colour (Northern Pike Songs)
2003 It's A Good Life (Northern Pike Songs)
2004 Underwater (Northern Pike Songs)


Albums
1984 The Northern Pikes (independent)
1985 Scene In North America (independent)
1987 Big Blue Sky (Virgin) VL4-03001
1988 Secrets Of The Alibi (Virgin) VL4-03041
1990 Snow In June (Virgin) VL4-03084
1992 Neptune (Virgin) V4-86501
1993 Gig (Virgin) V4-39191
1999 Hits And Assorted Secrets 1984-1993 (Virgin/EMI) 72438-48219-2-0
2000 Live (Northern Pike Songs/Outside Music)
2001 Truest Inspiration (Northern Pike Songs/Outside Music)
2004 It's A Good Life (Northern Pike Songs/Outside Music)

Video
1987 Teenland
1987 The Things I Do For Money
1988 One Good Reason
1988 Let's Pretend
1988 Hopes Go Astray
1988 Wait For Me
1990 She Ain't Pretty
1990 Girl With A Problem
1991 Kiss Me You Fool
1991 Dream Away
1992 Twister
1993 Believe
1993 Everything
2004 Underwater

Compilation Tracks




Official Northern Pikes Website Official Jay Semko Website

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