A&E » Music

The lovely return of Loverboy

‘80s rockers play Whistler Olympic Plaza with Trooper on Saturday



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Reno's red leather pants, the band's squalling, '80s riffage, the cheesy synths and, of course, the songs helped to defined the aesthetic, style and sound of the 1980s. Loverboy was of their era, and because of this, the band has been fodder for comedy programs.

On Saturday Night Live, Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze famously auditioned as Chippendale dancers to "Working for the Weekend" on Saturday Night Live. An early South Park episode made a reference to a fictional Loverboy song, "Pig and Elephant DNA Just Won't Splice." More recently, Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock claimed he was the original bassist for Loverboy before leaving the band for a college scholarship in "TV Budgeting."

"We're the brunt of a lot of jokes and I love it," Reno says. "It's kind of like any press is good press. I've (done) enough. I could quit today. I've done ten times more than I thought I would ever do and seen some amazing things, so it's all kind of gravy for me."

By the early '90s, a decade after first hitting it big, their career stalled. Hair metal slowly edged them off the airwaves, and then grunge booted them off for good. Reno told an interview in the late '90s, "Nirvana killed our career."

"I've met Dave (Grohl, ex-Nirvana drummer) over the years," he says now. "He just laughs and says, 'Dude when you said Nirvana killed my career, man, I nearly pissed my pants.' And it was true. These guys just came in and we were history."

By the mid-'90s, Loverboy's brand of arena rock was unwanted by their label. They released one album of original material in 1997, Six , to little fanfare.

But Loverboy is the posterband for persistence. They toured frequently, playing much smaller venues than in their heyday. In November 2000, original bassist Scott Smith was declared dead after being lost at sea, which resulted in another round of touring, dedicated to Smith. In 2005, the band commemorated their 25 th anniversary by playing selected cities across North America. And, from there, the resurgence began. The energy resulted in another album of originals, 2007's wryly-titled Just Getting Started . In 2009, they were inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame.

They were playing more frequently, in bigger venues. Reno started noticing that young people were almost outnumbering "the old farts" at all their shows.