They ain’t pretty and they don’t look that way

By Chris Simmons

Back from the deep-end and swimming in local watering holes, the Northern Pikes are getting ready to start a tour in support of their new release, Hits and Assorted Secrets.

Their first in six years, the album is made up primarily of greatest hits with three unreleased tracks.

"We had tonnes of material that never saw the light of day, Virgin [records] wanted to do a hits record and we managed to squeeze on three unreleased tracks," explains vocalist Bryan Potvin. "We had talked about playing before, but now that there is an album to release it seems more suitable."

Expectations for the tour aren’t cast in stone and the tour is more of an experiment for a band whose prior success gives them the confidence to take such a stance.

"We have no idea what’s going to happen," says Potvin. "We could run screaming from the van in three weeks, it’s low responsibility."

The unreleased material on the album is the fruit of making five albums. Some of the unreleased material may be better off that way, but there is certainly enough quality material to be found.

"A lot of it is trash, but there are a few gems," states Potvin matter-of-factly.

As well, the experience that the band has acquired gives them a keener eye in evaluating their original creative process.

"There are some songs on the albums that when we listened to the demos [they are] outstanding and we wished we had addressed the album versions differently," he explains.

While it’s premature to predict a new album from the Pikes, new material would take a much different style from their earlier releases.

"I don’t want to predetermine anything, but if we record another album it would have a serious roots content, we were groomed as a pop band and while we all went through that with punk and new wave, underneath there is a serious country and western side, a twang to our music," muses Potvin.

Such an album may be more possible today than when the Pikes first arrived on a rather stagnant Canadian Music scene.

"Before we signed a deal, it was a different scene," recounts Potvin. "There was a textbook feel, there was an army of cheesy metal bands."

It will be difficult to live up to prior shows in Calgary like the show they played on Bermuda Shorts Day a few years back.

"I’ve never seen a larger group of people that were as hammered as these people. They’re were people slumped in the hallways and people lying in their own vomit. Someone brought a box of frisbees and the air was filled with them until they decided to throw them at the stage."

The air will be filled with the sweet notes of the Pikes Jan. 25.