Plan to catch the Pikes
It promises to be a rockin’ trip down memory lane for fans who catch the Northern Pikes when they play Langley’s Summit Theatre on Feb. 10.
The local show is one of just three stops in a short tour that finds the Saskatchewan band in Winnipeg the previous night and in Campbell River the following evening.
Though the band’s style is perhaps better suited to larger venues, drummer Don Schmid really doesn’t mind playing to a small theatre, he said, speaking from California, where he spends his winters.
“It seems like the casino market is working out well for us. When they’re run properly, they really showcase the band,” he said.
The Northern Pikes formed in Saskatoon in 1984, and Schmid joined the band two years later.
The impressive fact that he has been part of a group for nearly 30 years isn’t lost on the musician.
“It’s amazing that we still play together,” he said.
“I try not to take anything for granted.”
The band did lose one of its original members fairly recently — singer Merl Bryck left a couple of years ago — and it’s been a bit of an adjustment for the remaining members to perform as a trio, said the drummer.
“There are three of us now. That, in itself, is different because there has always been four guys on stage. It almost feels totally different, it takes it back to where you have to think about things,” said Schmid.
“It takes you off autopilot, it’s challenging again.”
Since re-forming in 1999 after a six-year hiatus, the band has been criss-crossing the country periodically, hitting both coasts and, of course, making plenty of stops on the Canadian Prairie, trying to mix it up a little along the way.
“We do a really good variety of our catalogue (which is comprised of 70-plus songs),” said Schmid.
“There are some staples we play almost every night and others we rotate, depending on the venue.”
The Langley show, he said, “will be a good variety of old and new — possibly we’ll be doing a couple we haven’t even recorded yet.”
Still, he understands fans’ desire to hear the older songs — the ones that were hits in the band’s early days — She Ain’t Pretty, Teenland, Girl With a Problem and Kiss Me You Fool among them.
“It’s human instinct, you like things familiar. People know those songs and they relate — they want to hear stuff they know.”
But the band will likely slip some newer stuff in as well.
Blame the Song, for example, has been popular with audiences, Schmid said, adding it has a similar feel to She Ain’t Pretty.
“It’s hard to write a song that’s simple, but catches your attention,” he said.
And with music being downloaded onto devices less than half the size of a pack of gum, bands have had to rethink their whole approach to sales, said Schmid.
“Nowadays, you make a recording and what do you do with it?” he said.
Rather than come up with a bunch of songs for an album, he said, “It’s a realistic challenge to write a song or two and put it on iTunes.”
That’s not to say he’d prefer it all to stay the same.
“I love that you can go to iTunes and buy one song or test one out for a minute and a half.
“You have to change with the times,” he said.
“You really have to adapt and change the way you do things.”
But for those who do want to relive their youth, if only for a night, the Northern Pikes will be on stage in the Summit Theatre at Cascades Casino, 20393 Fraser Hwy. at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10.
Tickets are $32.50, available from casino guest services inside Cascades or by phone, at 604-530-2211.
They can also be purchased at ticketweb.ca.