Thirty years ago today--on December 31, 1987--Rock and Hyde played a New Year's Eve gig at the B.C. Enterprise Hall (formerly the B.C. Discovery Pavilion at Expo 86).
Maybe you were there. I was.
At the time the band--led by original Payola$ members Paul Hyde and Bob Rock--was basking in the success of its Bruce Fairbairn-produced debut LP, Under the Volcano. It was the only album released under the Rock and Hyde moniker, but it sold pretty well, boosted by the hit single "Dirty Water" and upbeat ditties like "I Will".
Here's the interview I did with Hyde before the show:
Since the U.S. release of Rock and Hyde's Under the Volcano nine months ago, the album has sold more copies stateside than all of the duo's previous work put together. That's a fair accomplishment given that Bob Rock and Paul Hyde released four albums as the Payola$, including a much-hyped effort produced by David Foster. Success in the States is something that every Canadian band hopes for--but it's nothing you can bet the farm on.
"We've learned not to expect anything," says Hyde, "so it's a pleasant surprise."
It was with strong U.S. airplay of the first single, "Dirty Water", and a successful two-and-a-half month tour focusing on the East Coast that the band worked its way into the hearts of rock 'n' roll-loving Yanks. And as anyone who's seen one of their numerous local clubs shows can testify, they're a super live act. A lot of that is the result of the band snagging former Kick Axe guitarist Ray Harvey, as Hyde explains.
"Ray's great, 'cause he let me put my guitar down, finally. It used to be that my guitar playing was more for my benefit than the audience's. I think it was really something I was hiding behind. So when we got Ray he filled the hole that was there. He keeps it all cemented together. We call him the Hitman. Hitman Harvey."
Fans of Rock and Hyde will be able to see the Hitman and company in action on New Year's Eve, in the all-glass splendour of the B.C. Enterprise Hall (formerly the B.C. Discovery Pavilion at Expo 86), where they'll be rocking in the New Year with the help of blues-guitar fiend Colin James. With a combination like that, there should be no real need for the event's midnight fireworks show. There'll be plenty of explosive action on stage.
Rock and Hyde's local appearances are what keep the band in shape between records. Hyde says they plan to go into the studio again around March, either using Vancouver's Little Mountain Sound or recording in England. There's no producer lined up as yet. Hyde doesn't know whether they'll be able to acquire the Midas touch of Bruce Fairbairn, who produced Under the Volcano. Fairbairn may be too busy working on the follow-up to Bon Jovi's mega-hit Slippery When Wet.
But whoever is behind the controls for the next Rock and Hyde album it won't be Hyde himself, although he's built a reputation for himself by producing for such local acts as Spirit of the West, Poisoned, Six Billion Monkeys, and Unit E. "We learned a long time ago that that's not the way to go," says Paul. "I don't care who you are--you need somebody else to produce you."
Hyde is currently handling production chores for local upstart Raymond May, whose record will be released on the new, Bruce Allen-initiated Penta label. "I enjoy doing it," says Hyde of twiddling the knobs, "and I think I'm getting better at it. It pays the rent between records."
A seasoned veteran of the local music scene, Hyde says that what he's seen and heard of the current Vancouver scene is promising. "Because of the hours I keep, I don't get much chance to go out and see bands, but I like all the Nettwerk stuff that's now comin' out--the Grapes of Wrath, etcetera. There are some interesting bands around that appear to be doing okay. And I like Colin [James] of course--I've seen him quite often."
And how does he feel about sharing the stage with Canada's answer to Stevie Ray Vaughan?
"I'm looking forward to it. In fact, we're playing first just so we can get off and party. We wanted to have the rest of the evening to boogie away."