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Nick Gilder glad to be back playing Sweeney Todd songs

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Nick Gilder, the lone original member of ’70s/ ’80s band Sweeney Todd, is in as much awe about his career as anybody else.
 He has played with a who’s who of Vancouver rock including a young Bryan Adams, who was briefly in Sweeney Todd after Gilder left. Before that Gilder  replaced original Prism lead singer Ron Tabak in a band called Rasputin.Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd come to Lethbridge, Nov. 1. Photo submitted
“I just found that out,” Gilder enthused from his Vancouver home. But his biggest success came with Sweeney Todd, who play Average Joes, Nov. 1.

The Vancouver based glam rock band have a string of hits in the ’70s still played constantly on classic rock radio including “Roxy Roller,” Gilder had solo hits with “Hot Child in the City,” “Here Comes the Night,” and “You Really Rock Me” to name a few.

“They do? I should really give them a call,” he said of being informed they get constant airplay on the Lounge. 94.1 FM. Their songs are also featured in a number of movies including “the Runaways,” which features “Roxy Roller,” though he noted “Hot Child In The City might have been a better choice for it.

“It was really written about runaways who move to Los Angeles to be movie stars. Los Angeles is full of stories like that so I thought it would be a good idea for a song. It proved to be right, because it’s got legs,” Gilder enthused.

“ George Martin wanted to do a remix of Roxy Roller.  It must have been in the mid ’70s. We had Lee Sklar and all of these Los Angeles  session  cats.  He wanted to do a funky version of it with six part harmonies, a choir and horns. And then he said ‘ I think I like what you had before. And that’s high praise coming from George freaking Martin of the Beatles,” he enthused, adding that came about through talks with Chrysalis Records president Terry Ellis.

“ I should really do something with that, put it on the internet or something,” he continued.

 He and original guitarist Jim McCulloch “ran away” to Los Angeles in hopes that Sweeney Todd would make it big in the United States. They had quite a few stories to tell of their own including meeting Joan Jett and the girls from the Runaways and as well as their manager Kim Fowley.

 There have been several incarnations of Sweeney Todd, however Gilder has been the constant over a career that runs almost 40 years.
 His current band includes Dave Groves on guitar, Mark Kenny on bass, Frank Baker on drums, and Michael Russell on keyboards. Some of them have been playing with him for 10 years.

The original Sweeney Todd fell apart in the ’70s, but Gilder got other incarnations of the band going in the meantime in addition to busy solo performing and songwriting career.

“ I’m not really sure why. It just fell apart,” he said.
 He is still excited about playing the old hits.

“I should have done this years ago,” he said observing fellow Vancouver classic rockers like Trooper and Prism have been constantly touring for many years.

“It’s a really sexy feeling, playing them,” he said.
“It’s hard to get enough of it,” he continued adding they get multi-generations of fans at their shows.
“Lots of kids are picking up guitars now and listening to us,” he said.

The show includes both Sweeney Todd hits as well as Nick Gilder’s hits plus some new material.
A number of musicians including Pat Benetar, Blondie, Patty Smyth and Scandal (The Warrior), Bette Midler and Joe Cocker have recorded his songs.

“ We do faithful renditions of the songs and we’ve added solo material and even Highway Star because I love Deep Purple,” he said.
“ I can still hit those notes,” he said. His own songs show some pretty impressive vocal range, which comes with practice.
“  I find my voice is a lot better when I get lots of exercise. It opens up the passages,” he said.
“It’s really good to be alive. So let’s get rocking,” he enthused.

 Tickets for the show, which begins at 9 p.m. cost $20.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 October 2012 10:54 )  
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