Backstage with Loverboy

In the early 80's they were one of the biggest rock bands in the world--Loverboy. While B-Level groups like Toronto, Helix and Streetheart were slammin' through medium-sized markets and receiving good radio airplay thanks to the CanCon regulations, Loverboy was sweeping through the lucrative American market with songs like "Working for the Weekend" and "Hot Girls in Love" filling the big arenas from coast to coast.

They formed in Calgary in 1980, fronted by a slim and trim Joseph Rynoski, or as he is better known, Mike Reno. Their1981 album Get Lucky, complete with a rear end view of Mike's tight red leather pants with his fingers crossed, was a staple of every record collection for anyone at or near puberty at that time.

I was grateful to be able to take our dinner guests, Rob and Rita, backstage tonight to meet the band. As a group of about ten of us were led into the hospitality room, the beers were on ice and the air was ripe with the smell of the catered food under the stainless steel heated serving trays. Rita was almost humming with anticipation as she was about to meet one of her heroes.

"I'm so excited," she said. "I just hope I don't pee myself!"

Keyboardist and sax player Doug Johnson came in first, followed by the rest of the band and finally Mike Reno.

At age 55, Reno is no longer able to fit into those tight pants. He is undoubtedly older and not the smallest of men--he moves a little slower than in his glory years -- but his voice is as strong and pitch perfect as it was when they were hitting the Top 10 almost three decades ago.

I was never a heavy rock and roller, so meeting these guys didn't mean much to me, but seeing the joy in the faces of the true fans was wonderful. As they said their hellos I sat against the back wall of the small dressing room letting them do their thing. All of a sudden Mike Reno was to my left while the rest of the band was to my right. Snap! Snap! Pictures were being taken of Loverboy and there I was, the non-fan, scrunched in amongst them. Awkward! I just went with the flow, laughing and smiling, living the rock 'n' roll dream. Too funny!

Six degrees of separation: playing bass tonight for Loverboy was Ken "Spider" Sinnaeve, formerly of Red Rider and the co-founder of Streetheart. Streetheart's lead singer was Kenny Shields. I used to babysit for Kenny's sister in Kamsack, Saskatchewan. As he was living out of hotel rooms in those years, touring constantly, his Juno Awards gathered dust on her mantle. That was my best close-to-brush-with-greatness story for many years, till I walked into Dennis Quaid's hotel room to find him naked -- but that's a story for another time.

February 5, 2010 - 195.4 pounds, 25.5% body fat


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