Catching up with The Guess Who (By Andy Argyrakis)
As the house lights fade down and the stage spots flair up, the sounds of rock and roll with classic sensibilities and progressive nuances permeate the crowd. At first a familiar chord strikes everyone’s attention, then comes a catchy chorus followed by a memorable solo or remarkable moment of improvisation. Such an ear-pleasing arsenal carries into a non-stop evening of precise performance taking fans on a roller coaster ride of electric instrumentation, timeless balladry, unpredictable jamming and the ultimate sing-a-long experience. It’s a position held by a troupe of true musical luminaries who through over four decades in show business have been loaded with more hits than members can count, record sales well into the multi-millions and more drama than a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode and an E! “True Hollywood Story” documentary combined.
The name is none other than The Guess Who, a group that’s connected with the masses throughout a exultant hit parade including “These Eyes,” “Clap For the Wolfman,” “Hand Me Down World,” “No Time,” “Star Baby” and “Share the Land.” Add in fellow classics and double sided singles like the rock anthem “American Woman” and “No Sugar Tonight,” plus “Laughing” and “Undun,” and the Canadian bred stateside conquerors are amongst music’s most indelible treasures who are eternally etched within the very fabric of pop culture history.
“You’re going to see an excellent version of the songs and hear exactly how they should sound or be played,” verifies founding member and original drummer/songwriter Garry Peterson. “We’re coming at a new generation of fans who are seeing how the band can execute with enthusiasm. And we’re also making sure the respect level remains at an all time high for how the music was initially recorded and remains at an all time high for the fans who have been with the band from the beginning.”
Joining Peterson is fellow co-founder, songwriter and bassist Jim Kale, plus veterans like keyboard player/flutist Leonard Shaw, lead guitarist Will Evankovich and lead vocalist/guitarist Derek Sharp, who began touring with the band in 2008 after Carl Dixon’s near fatal car accident. Together the quintet has launched an ambitious annual tour, criss-crossing the country to adoring audiences and selling out each house with their awe inspiring execution, deft meticulousness and decades of radio penetrating smashes.
“Besides hearing members reproduce each record’s integrity, we’ve exhaustively outlined all the other moments that cannot be reproduced by players on stage,” Peterson explains. “We’ve used technology to bring fans closer to the action than they’ve ever been on any of our previous tours, incorporating everything from the strings in ‘These Eyes’ to the enhanced percussion in “Laughing” to chimes at the end of ‘Share the Land.’ The point of this band is to take time and let fans old and new experience the material true to form. The more we play, the more that’s becoming evident and the comments are astounding!