Alright, let me get something off my chest right away: I’m lying when I tell you that this show took place in Bermuda. The truth is, that no one is quite sure where this particular Vault performance was recorded, and no one has managed to cough up any additional details in the comments section at Wolfgang’s Vault. So, I’d like to imagine that in 1983, after more than a decade of slugging it out in the clubs, Chilliwack finally hit the road for an international world tour that brought them to Bermuda.
I’ll admit that I don’t know a lot about Chilliwack, which is appropriate for this series, because I think that part of this weekly look into the Vault should involve a bit of exploration. How else are we to expand our horizons as music fans? You’re telling me that you don’t believe that we’ll eventually be tackling all of those shows from Ambrosia that are in the Vault? There’s ten of ’em, so you bet your ass that we will be taking a good hard look to try and figure out why King Biscuit Flower Hour (and others) followed them around like they were recording The Who!
Chilliwack are Canadian, and you probably know them because of this song.
Popdose’s own Jon Cummings went in-depth with Chilliwack in volume 34 volume 2 of his “Jesus is Cool” series, and wrote:
I’m pretty sure I don’t have any more voices in my head than the average person, but during the fall of 1981 one of those voices was running a particular phrase on a perpetual loop: “Gone gone gone, she been gone so long, she been gone gone gone so long/Gone gone gone, she been gone so long, g-gone gone gone gone so long.”
Random thought: Is it just me, or is “My Girl” just waiting to be mashed up with “Love Comes Quickly” by the Pet Shop Boys?
Although “My Girl” and “I Believe” got the band large amounts of airplay in 1981, Chilliwack had actually been around since 1970 when they released the first of two self-titled albums. Knowing that they’re Canadian, you can probably start to pick out lots of similarities – guitars that sound like Aldo Nova, and vocals that could be from any lost outtake from the catalogs of Loverboy, Honeymoon Suite, Triumph, April Wine – do you see where I’m going with this? That’s not to say that Chilliwack didn’t potentially get some revenge of their own – the opening synths on “Whatcha Gonna Do (When I’m Gone)” sound like they could have been nicked from Aldo Nova’s “Fantasy,” which was released one year prior to “Whatcha Gonna Do” in 1981. Meanwhile, “Lonesome Mary” is proof that in 1971, Chilliwack lead vocalist (and principal songwriter) Bill Henderson already had the whole “arena rock” thing figured out. Trailblazer and innovator of rock, that Henderson fellow was.
Guitarist Brian “Too Loud” Macleod (best use of a nickname EVER!) joined Chilliwack several years later in 1978, and it was the songwriting duo of Henderson and Macleod that fueled the band’s eventual success in the States and elsewhere with “My Girl,” “I Believe” and “Whatcha Gonna Do.” This Chilliwack performance features one of the last appearances by Macleod, who left the band at some point after touring to support Opus X, the band’s tenth release, to focus full time on The Headpins, a side project that he had formed in the late ’70s. It’s also interesting to note that this particular touring lineup of Chilliwack in 1983 featured Twisted Sister drummer Joe Franco behind the kit.
Chilliwack seem to be one of those bands that people either remember fondly, or exclaim “OH GOD!” in non-exaggerated horror at the mention of their name. Like most Canadian bands from the past 30 years, they’re still apparently still somewhat active, and if you watch the club listings, you can probably take a trip to somewhere in Canada for your own personal Chilliwack experience. And it will probably be an enjoyable experience because after all, 629 commenters on Youtube can’t be wrong, can they?
Listen to this entire show at Concert Vault by clicking here.