Ghosts are said to haunt Ragian Castle, the medieval fortress in Wales where Burlington’s most famous rock band recorded the album Vertigo Tango in 1988.
Now The Spoons are bringing some more pleasant musical spirits out of the closet to the auditorium of the school three of them claim as their alma mater.
The band will headline a concert at Aldershot high school, Oct. 24, to raise funds for the school’s Seat Yourself Auditorium Refurbishment Campaign.
Formed in 1980, the original band included Gord Deppe (lead vocals and guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals and bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synths) and Peter Shepherd (drums). Deppe, Horne and Wickens were students at Aldershot.
“It made so much sense to come back,” Deppe said. “Aldershot was a very artsy school with a great music program. The school was very important to us in many ways.”
Deppe had been a saxophonist in the Aldershot school band, Horne played the trumpet and Ross the drums. Preuss had been a member of the band at Nelson high school.
The Spoons first and only show at Aldershot got students so excited it almost caused a riot.
“They were smashing tables and throwing eggs at the wall in the school cafeteria,” Deppe recalled.
Horne remembers ducking to avoid being hit with an egg.
“We got caught in the middle of it because we were putting on the show,” she said. “It was right at the time of the cross between punk and new wave. Punk came out of socialism in Great Britain and was associated with rebellion. When they couldn’t decide what our show was supposed to be, they just took things into their own hands.”
Police did not have to be called, however, and discipline came in the form of reprimands in the office of Principal James Baker on Monday morning.
Baker, some felt unfairly, arranged to have the band banned from playing at any other school in southern Ontario.
The band got its name when Wickens tossed a spoon at Horne and splashed her with soup, during a rehearsal.
Derrick Ross replaced Shepherd in 1979. Shortly after that Rob Preuss, who was only 15 at the time, took over for Wickens.
The Spoons rehearsed at The Sound Shop on Plains Road, where Deppe had a part-time job and bought his first guitar.
“We didn’t even send out any demo tapes,” Depp said. “We did our first album with Daniel Lanois in Hamilton. All along we’ve been very lucky to be aligned with very important people.”
The Spoons went from playing in front of 500 people to a crowd of 60,000 at The Police Picnic at the CNE grandstand in 1982. The Police was an English rock band, which won six Grammy awards.
They also appeared on television on the very first episode of Much Music
They would help define the sound of pop and new wave in the 80s with hits including ‘Nova Heart’, ‘Romantic Traffic’, ‘Old Emotions’ and ‘Tell No Lies’. Their album ‘Arias & Symphonies’ would go on to be named one of the 20 most influential albums of the 80s by ‘The Chart’ magazine and their song ‘Nova Heart’ was included in Bob Mersereau’s book ‘The Top 100 Canadian Singles.’
In the summer of 1983, the band attracted 5,000 fans to a concert at Canada’s Wonderland, more than twice the number the British group The Hollies had drawn. The Hollies were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
The Spoons also played at the official opening of the World University Games in Edmonton.
Gord Deppe’s autobiography ‘SpoonFed’, released through Manor House Publishing, is available through Chapters and Indigo stores and quickly became a best seller in its genre on Amazon.
Lots of use has worn out the auditorium at Aldershot, which was built in 1961, and it is in dire need of new seating, lighting and sound upgrades The Burlington band’s concert will contribute to a $120,000 campaign to help refurbish seating, modernize lighting and sound systems and build a new stage at the auditorium.
The Spoons’ lineup for the Oct. 24 concert will include Deppe, Horne, keyboard player Casey MQ and drummer Chris McNeill.
Tickets at $35 each can be purchased online at ald.hdsb.ca. Receipts are available through the Halton Learning Foundation
Written by: Denis Gibbons