For 30 years, Loverboy has been “Working for the Weekend,” delighting audiences around the world since forming in Calgary, Alberta, when vocalist Mike Reno was introduced to local guitar hot shot Paul Dean, both veterans of several bands on the scene. And now they’re back, having reunited with their original engineer, legendary producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Aerosmith, The Cure, Bon Jovi), who worked under Bruce Fairbairn at the time.
The band recorded two new songs with Rock, “Heartbreaker” and “No Tomorrow,” which could to be a prelude for a new album.
“He phoned Mike and me out of the blue and told us he had a song that might work for us that he’d love to produce,” says Dean. “He sent it over and we just flipped out. It’s a great, kick-ass Loverboy song. It was just fantastic to be on the same page with everybody else in the band again. We had been through several false starts recording-wise over the years. Mike was really inspired this time. It was a great experience. I think these tracks are some of the best work we’ve ever done.”
Not just Canada’s greatest rock export, Loverboy made its mark south of the border, with four multi-platinum albums including the four-million-selling Get Lucky, and a trio of double-platinum releases in their self-titled 1980 debut, 1983’s Keep It Up and 1985’s Lovin’ Every Minute of It. Their string of hits includes, in addition to the anthem “Working for the Weekend,” such arena rock staples as “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “This Could Be the Night,” “Hot Girls in Love,” “Heaven In Your Eyes,” “Turn Me Loose,” “When It’s Over,” “Heaven In Your Eyes” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts.”
Their pop culture credibility was cemented by a recent 30 Rock episode in which Scott Adsit’s amateur musician Pete Hornberger revealed he was actually Loverboy’s original bassist, showing him inserted into vintage ’80s footage of the band wailing away on “Working for the Weekend”.
The group still includes original members Doug Johnson on keyboards and Matt Frenette on drums, with Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve (a former member of Dean and Frenette’s pre-Loverboy band Streetheart), who replaced the late Scott Smith on bass, and continues a healthy touring schedule around the world.
“I look at our concerts as a 100-minute experience,” says Dean, who still claims to be able to fit into the same pair of red leather pants he wore on the “Queen of the Broken Hearts” video in 1983. “I’m a normal guy up until 10 minutes before we hit the stage. Then the heart rate goes up and I consciously step into the bubble. And I don’t come out of it until 30 seconds after that last cymbal smash and I walk off-stage. It’s a great stress release, better than riding a Harley.”
Perhaps the band’s most famous song is “Working for the Weekend,” which has fueled a generation’s dreams of toiling every day for the chance to celebrate come Friday night. Dean realizes it has taken on a whole new meaning these days.
“You’re lucky if you can work for the weekend now,” he says. “We’re all fortunate to be doing that.”
With four decades under his belt, Dean sees no end in sight for Loverboy… or himself. “My dream has always been to play guitar and entertain people,” he enthuses. “There’s no feeling like looking out in the audience and seeing them grinning ear to ear, everyone on the same wavelength. And once we start with the megahits, the place goes crazy. That’s why we do what we do and will continue.”
Still “Working for the Weekend” 30 years later, Loverboy’s catalog includes some of arena-rock’s most enduring anthems, and they are about to add to that legacy.