Canadian rock fans will have a unique opportunity this month to experience the original Toronto punk scene once again as one of its founding bands, The Diodes, return with a multimedia extravaganza (see below for full schedule).
Along with the original line-up consisting of vocalist Paul Robinson, guitarist John Catto, bassist Ian Mackay, and drummer John Hamilton performing their best-loved tracks such as “Tired Of Waking Up Tired” and “Time/Damage,” select dates will feature a special set by Teenage Head guitarist Gordie Lewis and his band featuring Dave Rave, along with a rare screening of the 1977 film Crash ‘N’ Burn, documenting Toronto’s first punk rock club of the same name.
Crash ‘N’ Burn manager Ralph Alfonso will be on hand to introduce the film as well as exhibit his treasure trove of original photography from the era, including shots of Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie and Talking Heads. For the Montreal performance, Alfonso will cede toDon Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet who will present his “Out Of Focus Talking Slide Show,” based on his acclaimed photo book Trouble In The Camera Club.
To top it all off, the tour will also introduce The Diodes’ limited edition signature beer, Time Damage IPA, created by The Manantler Craft Brewing Co. of Bowmanville, Ontario.
According to Alfonso, “Crash ‘N’ Burn itself can never be recreated because it was of its time; a club that was built, created and run by The Diodes and friends in the scene. Longevity was never an option. It was born spontaneously and extinguished instantaneously.
“But the energy and and sense of communal solidarity still runs through those of us who created it, who were part of it, and in my case, slept there after everyone went home.
“So, when I was asked about the Crash ‘N’ Burn, I thought why re-create when you can create something new. We’re all friends. We’ve all been through the same battles. Let’s share the energy of our experiences and blow the roof off the joint.”
The Diodes jump-started punk in Toronto with pioneering concerts at the Ontario College of Art and the creation of Canada’s first punk club, The Crash ‘N’ Burn, which became a showcase for the leading bands of that era (including Teenage Head).
As the first punk band signed to a major Canadian label (CBS) in 1977, The Diodes benefitted from a media presence and touring regime that helped open doors for punk across the country.
The international clout of CBS got The Diodes’s self-titled debut LP released in the UK, France, Holland, Germany, Australia, and the USA (where it sold 10,000 on import). When the reunited Diodes toured Italy and the UK in 2010, they were met by fans who’d waited 30 years to see them.
In 2016, all three Diodes lps will be re-released in vinyl form by the prestigious reissue label, Storming The Base. A deluxe vinyl box set will include a bonus disc of rarities and outtakes.
Meanwhile, Time/Damage, the Italian vinyl LP of The Diodes live at the El Mocambo 1978, will finally get its digital and CD debut later this year.
About Gordie Lewis:
Gordie Lewis has always been the heartbeat and rock ‘n’ roll soul behind the iconic Teenage Head, a Canadian rock juggernaut that continues to this day (the band recently celebrated 40 years at the Phoenix Concert Theatre) with a legacy of gold and platinum albums
and indestructible hits like “Let’s Shake”, “Top Down” and “Disgusteen.”
Over the years, Gordie Lewis has stepped out on his own in various capacities, culminating in a solo venture that reunites him with former Teenage Head rhythm guitarist/vocalist Dave Rave (The Shakers, solo), that allows him the creativity to explore his rock influences to the delight of both old and new fans alike. A debut solo album will be released shortly and is already creating a buzz amongst those who’ve heard a preview.
Gordie Lewis will be joined on stage by Dave Rave on vocals, Gene Champagne (Killjoys) on drums and Paul Cameron on bass.
About Ralph Alfonso:
Ralph Alfonso has been the glue in the background of the Toronto 1977 era; championing the bands and the scene as a journalist (Bomp!, New York Rocker, Cheap Thrills), photographer, club manager, book publisher (Liz Worth’s groundbreaking Toronto punk history Treat Me Like Dirt) and commentator.
Ralph is a former record label executive at Attic Records (he was there when Teenage Head was signed to the label), Warner, EMI, Nettwerk, and his own acclaimed Bongo Beat Records; in addition to a career as a musician/poet with Top Ten College Radio CDs as leader of the garage rock jazz group Ralph (an offshoot of his fanzine Ralph, Coffee Jazz and Poetry). Ralph currently runs an art gallery/performance space in Montreal called BBAM! Gallery that shares the same DIY ethos of the Crash ‘N’ Burn club (and the same cashbox, actually).
The Diodes On Tour 2015 / Music. Film. Photography:
September 11 / Phoenix Concert Theatre / Toronto ON
September 12 / Manantler Craft Brewing Co. / Bowmanville ON *
September 13 / This Ain’t Hollywood / Hamilton ON
September 15 / Brantford Station Gallery / Brantford ON ^
September 17 / Phi Centre (POP Montreal) / Montreal QC #
*Diodes only w/ guests Tijuana Jesus
^Diodes only (all ages)
#w/ Don Pyle’s Out Of Focus Slide Show & Frisky Kids