April Wine and Myles Goodywn: For Now and For Ever (Interview)

April Wine and Myles Goodywn: For Now and For Ever (Interview)

In the annals of Canadian music, there have been very few bands that have had the long-lasting career or made as strong an impression as April Wine. Through the 1970’s and 1980’s, they were consistently on the Singles and Album charts in Canada, and among the country’s most valued musical exports. It was virtually impossible to travel to any city in Canada during those decades and not hear an April Wine song on the radio. While other bands had greater international success, if it was three-four minute melodic songs that were your cup of tea, April Wine did it as well as anyone.

The band got its start in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1969 with brothers David and Ritchie Henman, their cousin Jim, and lead singer-songwriter Myles Goodwyn. Their self-titled debut was released in 1971, catching attention due to the single “Fast Train.”

The album also established Goodwyn as the band’s primary songwriter and lead singer. It was with their second album, On Record and its single, “You Could Have Been a Lady in 1972, that radio started to take notice and a true listening audience was created. The single was a major success in Canada, and cracked the Top 40 in the US.

By this time, the band had made Montreal, Quebec its new home, where they would work on their third album, Electric Jewels. Jewels yielded another top single in Canada, “Lady Run, Lady Hide.” It also led to the first in a series of personnel changes. The Henmans exited, and the reformation brought in guitarist Gary Moffet, bassist Jim Clench and drummer Jerry Mercer. These additions would jump-start the band’s career, leading to a major breakthrough in 1975.

Ruling the Charts; 1970’s

The new album, Stand Back, released in 1975, would eventually become the first album by a Canadian band to achieve platinum sales in Canada. The singles, “Oowatanite,” “I Wouldn’t Want to Lose Your Love” and “Tonite Is a Wonderful Time (To Fall in Love),” were major chart successes, and would become standards on Canadian radio. This was the start of an amazing run of success for the band, and also an amazing feat of five albums in five years.

Following Stand Back, the band released The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy in 1976, Forever for Now in 1977, First Glance in 1978 and Harder…Faster in 1979. The never-ending schedule that saw them either in the studio or on the road, would take its toll. Crazy saw Clench leave and new bassist Steve Lang come into the fold, and First brought in additional guitarist Brian Greenway, forming a three-guitar assault with Goodwyn and Moffet. First also gave the band its biggest international hit, “Roller.”

…and the 1980’s

Into the new decade, AW continued its roll with its next two albums, The Nature of the Beast (1981) and Power Play (1982), and their corresponding hit singles, “I Like to Rock,” “Say Hello” and “Just Between You and Me,” respectively. Music listening tastes and radio were beginning to change, yet April Wine had put together an enviable streak of hit albums and hit singles.

The Future

Now almost 50 years since their inception, April Wine are still touring with Goodwyn directing the traffic, and Greenway also on board. Fifteen studio albums, three live releases, numerous compilations, a boxed set, and thousands of concerts later, the band has persevered, proving that there is always a place for a good song.

They have firmly cemented their reputation, and their music is ensconced in the heads and hearts of music listeners forever. Their legacy was further affirmed when they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 2016, Goodwyn released his own memoir, Just Between You and Me, a fascinating look into the early days, struggles and heights of the band, as well as his personal ups and downs in the music business and in life. On behalf of Rock Cellar Magazine, I had the opportunity to ‘speak’ with him via email to discuss the past, the present and what was coming down the road.

(Editor’s note: This interview was conducted in April 2017). 

Rock Cellar: The April Wine catalogue is packed with songs that Canadians have grown up with, that have never really left the airwaves. These songs will likely play on Canadian radio forever. Is there one song that you’re the most proud of?

Myles Goodwyn: I think “Roller” would be pretty high up on my personal list. It was very successful in Canada, and in the US, it was our biggest hit. Here it is, 40 years later, and I love the reception that it still gets.

Is there any song that you never expected to be a hit, that turned out to be a hit?

Myles Goodwyn: There was always a song or two on each album that I suspected would be chosen as the single or should have been the singles, but as far as a surprise hit goes, “Comin’ Right Down on Top of Me” (from First Glance) became a big FM hit. That was kinda unsuspected.

After all these years, are you surprised that there is still a demand for live April Wine shows?

Myles Goodwyn: I’m not surprised at all, given the fact that radio still plays our music pretty regularly. And for that I need to thank the fans and radio for keeping our music alive and relevant all over the country. Canadian radio has been very good to us.

I think every artist has songs in their catalogue that they can’t listen to anymore. Looking back at your catalogue, is there a song like that for you – one that you now can’t listen to and would like to maybe re-do?

Myles Goodwyn: Oh boy! That’s opening up a can of worms! You’re never ever totally happy with everything, because you always feel that there’s something you’d like to change. So yeah, there are lots that I’d love to tackle again!

Favourite AW song to perform live?

Myles Goodwyn: Again, without a doubt, “Roller.” It’s great seeing the fans’ reaction; that opening guitar lick gets the crowd going, and that really pumps up the band.

Favorite cover song to perform?

Myles Goodwyn: People thought it was odd when we covered “Tell Me Why” on the Power Play’album, but it’s always been a favorite of mine. And, we gave it such a different reading from the Beatles original. It’s easily my favorite song that we’ve covered.

Your book was a fascinating trip through the early days of radio and gigging in Montreal. It was a fun time for all of us who were also there, and a vibrant time to be living in Montreal. Can you speak a bit about what the musical atmosphere was like in those days?

Myles Goodwyn: There was a lot of music everywhere, but I didn’t really get involved with the Montreal music scene, or any other scene, for that matter. Most of the time I was so focused on the band and our own music. I didn’t diverge from that.

Your book mentions many of your musical influences. Is there a musical influence that people would be surprised to know about?

Myles Goodwyn: I doubt many people would see this coming, but Taj Mahal is a major influence.

That really is fascinating, and not something I would have guessed.

Myles Goodwyn: I like to keep fans guessing. But yes, I’ve got pretty diverse tastes that don’t necessarily fall in line with the music the fans have heard from me.

Canada is blessed to have many wonderful artists, especially some that are not well-known. Is there a Canadian artist that you could bring to peoples’ attention, someone you’d like to write with?

Myles Goodwyn: Warren Robert is a musician from the Maritimes. I’ve done some shows with him, and he’s an artist that I’d like to do more work with.

Going back to your musical tastes, what are you listening to these days?

Myles Goodwyn: I’m an old rock and roller who now spends most of his music-listening time with classical music and light jazz. Yes, folks, it’s true.

You’ve got some acoustic shows upcoming shows with original April Wine member, Jim Henman. This sounds extremely intriguing for long-time fans. Any hints about what songs you’ve been kicking around or what we can expect?

Myles Goodwyn: Well I don’t want to give any secrets away, but this project is something we’ve talked about for a while. I think fans, old and new, will be really happy. Come on out and see us!

What was the impetus to get together now?

Myles Goodwyn: Jim and I have been close friends for over four decades, and we still keep in touch on a regular basis. He’s a great player, singer-songwriter, and he was a natural choice as a partner on the solo acoustic live project.

In addition to the solo shows, you’re set to release a blues record. The million-dollar question is whether there are any plans for another ‘Pop-Rock’ record?

Myles Goodwyn: It may be surprising to some, given the music that I’ve released over the years, but I’ve been a blues fan for many, many years. So, doing this blues record was not something that was ‘off the beaten path’ for me. As far as another ‘Pop’ record goes, no plans at the moment, but you never know.

———————————————–

For more information on Myles Goodwyn, please check:

https://www.facebook.com/mylesf.goodwyn

http://www.aprilwine.ca/

Myles Goodwyn’s memoir, ‘Just Between You and Me’ is available through all booksellers.

16 Responses to "April Wine and Myles Goodywn: For Now and For Ever (Interview)"

  1. kaptain beyond   August 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    well that interview was as boring as his book.
    but april wine are still the greatest canadian pop/rock band of all time. myles goodwin is the canadian paul mccartney. no canadian has written more great well known hits than myles.

    Reply
    • Michael McDougall   August 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      I would agree Kaptain , many many notable tunes!!

      Reply
    • Joe canuck   August 27, 2017 at 10:28 am

      whoa back up stompin tom wrote anthem songs bud tge spud good ol hockey game margos cargo fuck off with that one even myles goodwyn has q high respect for stomping Tom Conners that man started with out fuck and he hitched hiked evwhere feck off with that your truly newfie

      Reply
  2. Renegade Drifter   August 24, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    One of the most significant sounds from April Wine was most recognized by in the 70’s and 80’s was the phenomenal drumming prowess of Jerry Mercer!!! Myles Goodwin sure chose ” The Best!” …..catapult for success when he took Jerry on!!!

    Reply
  3. Sherry Martineau   August 24, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    HI im Sherry from Rosemere Que n now in Sarnia ont it’s been decades since I’ve last seen you guys play the last time was 1981 or 80 at my high school Rosemere high
    I’d like to no if you guys are touring Ont n if you’d come to Sarnia, would love to see you guys again.
    Sincerely Sher

    Reply
  4. William Stanly Elder   August 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    April Wine is a great band no matter how you slice ’email! There is magic there between Goldwyn and Greeway.

    Reply
  5. Roger Roy   August 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Hello. I was just wondering why “if you see Kay” was never on any album in the US? And who was Kay? Wonderful song. The garage band I play in does that song with unreal response. Thanks to A.W. for getting me to play.You all were my inspiration. There was nothing else to do in Island Pond, Vermont

    Reply
  6. William Stanly Elder   August 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Sorry, my phone doesn’t want to print what I spell. April Wine is a great band no matter how you slice ’em. Goodwyn and Freeway is magic.

    Reply
  7. William Stanly Elder   August 24, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    April Wine is a great band no matter how you slice ’email! There is magic there between Goodwyn and Greeway.

    Reply
  8. Harald Gill   August 24, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Saw April Wine at Ambleside Park last Sunday (20 Aug). As with the majority of thr bands over he weekend, they can still play great. The music was awesome, but, Myles, Randy Bachman, and Helix lead just can’t sing anymore. Their voices are shot, they can’t hit the notes, and don’t have the lungs anymore to hold the notes. These guys need to let it go. Keep playing, but bring in some younger talent to sing. Headpins have a new, younger singer(Darby Mills left to “pursue other opportunities”) and the new singer was amazing. It’s (mostly)the original band playing, but Kat sings just like Darby used to, and that means the Headpins still rock it.

    Myles and Randy need to learn from the Headpins.

    Reply
    • Donald   September 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      dear Mr gill cleberitys outdated don’t care and were are you last I checked the music business is dead unless you are rap or hiphop your dead bussiness itself in this country is in the toilet were not winning anymore we suck at deals one time we had indryustry people wrnt to bars no body goes out anymore this is 2017 it’s all about ratings business in this country is gone folks I mean come on folks when was the last time ya saw a Canadian product made when was the last time you turned on the radio and ya heard a canadian song canada folks we suck at deals we elect incompetent dumb dumbs that can’t wipe there own noses and don’t look after our employees not everyone pays taxes we havery ciztains in this country using loopholes somthing needs to change we need a new folks come on come on folks it’s 2017

      Reply
    • Donald   September 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      let’s make canada great agian folks were gonna make great agian

      Reply
    • Michelle Marshall   September 7, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Reality is, I can’t hit some of those notes and my ears are shot, dont care, love ’em! In the end, April Wine is a classic band just, who can continue until time to make changes, to me thats the difference btwn them and headpins (not comparing apples to apples)

      Reply
  9. Peter Miceli   August 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I also liked Tell Me Why and of course Just Between You and Me was part of the soundtrack of my youth…but it pretty much ended there with AW. Glad to see they are still going strong.

    Reply
  10. gene   September 10, 2017 at 6:42 am

    mr goodwyn is great musican but his track record shows he sucks at bussiness been years since he had q hit record his bad attitude is driving away fans he doesn’t brother to look at rattings his website is boring if he doesn’t change the way he responds to client’s he’s going to continue to lose assets which are fans take a look at his interviews great guy but atriocs attuide the customer is always right mr goodwyn needs to see q therapist or get councling or change attuide and devople people skills you can not have this in a workforce or bussiness bad attitudes kill business and drive away clients I’m disgusted as person who’s educated myles goodwyn needs to get people skills yours truly gene

    Reply
  11. Joe blo   September 26, 2017 at 4:47 am

    myles goodwyn if that’s what’s yas call that fadder he’s really myles francis Fergus goodwin and he might be a great musican but he’s got cousins that dieing of cancer and he can’t be brotherd to viset or even take 5 mins and phone we all have family and friends like that it’s ok because in the end we get see their faces and we get to look them in the eye and tell em just exactly how angry we are but as an old saying goes myles you make yer bed bouy you lie in it I’m shure where ever his elders are there all looking down going your making bad descions heartless newfie he is yours truly fellow newfoundlander one of myles cousins ain’t that a shame

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.