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Canadian Rock News

HAYWIRE

By Keith Sharp

June 1992


     Haywire drummer Sean Kilbride can remember a time when there was something exotically appealing about being a recording group from Charlottetown, P.E.I.

     Their debut album, Bad Boys, went gold on Maritime popularity alone, tours of the Atlantic provinces were guaranteed sell-outs and there was even a quirky curiousity from other Canadian outposts, particularly when Haywire's followup release, Don't Just Stand There, hit the platinum mark on the strength of such radio-friendly fodder as "Dance Desire" and "Black and Blue."

     Cold, hard, reality hit home, though, when 1990's rock-oriented Nuthouse received a cool reaction from the band's diehard supporters. The guaranteed Maritime tours were no longer selling out, other markets were drying up and a much needed U.S. distribution deal was not forthcoming.

     "You could get pretty depressed about those things, but we learned long ago that there are external factors you can't control," notes Kilbride. "All you can do is put out the best album possible and hope for the best." "I mean we're thrilled about the new album, Get Off, we think's it's the best thing we've ever done, but we thought the same about Nuthouse too, at the time. That album didn't go down as well as we would have liked. But it could have gone either way!"

     Admitting that Nuthouse may have been a little too extreme and lacking an obvious top 40 hit, Kilbride feels the new release has enough power rock songs to maintain a hard edge yet is diversified to include a couple of groover-oriented dance tracks (like the debut single, "Get Back To You") and the instrumental "Knuckles," which has been a highpoint of their live performance. The sessions were recorded at Toronto's Metalworks Studios with producer/engineer Mark. S. Berry.

     "There's a sense of spontaneity in this album in that we recorded all the tracks inside four weeks, instead of the two years it took us to do Nuthouse," informed Kilbride. "We just took everything the band has been about since day one and threw it on the record. We weren't afraid to do anything. I think for the first time, we got our live sound down on the sessions. It's a little more diverse than Nuthouse, but just as energetic."

     With four albums under their belts, Kilbride, vocalist Paul MacAusland, guitarist Marvin Birt, bassist Ron Switzer and keyboardist David Rashed are painfully aware that they need to create some U.S. excitement if they are to break free from their CanCon dog collar. It's a fact of life which causes endless frustration.

     "We've come close before, but for some reason it just hasn't happened, which is a real problem when you're trying to create some kind of mystique for the band," allows Kildbride. "It's one thing to go off on a world tour and come back and tour Canada as a major band. But when you're criss-crossing the country just to earn a living, how much mystique is in that? We think we're good enough to win over the U.S. market; we're just hoping to get a proper opportunity."

     Kilbride acknowledges that even in Canada, Haywire is viewed as something of an enigma- a musical chameleon which, on previous albums, has changed both colours and sounds, confusing old fans in an attempt to win over new supporters.

     "But I think people who have preconceived ideas about us should at least appreciate how diverse we can be," Kilbride explains. "We'd like to think that if someone doesn't like one particular track, they could keep on going and find something else appealing. We're an appealing kind of band," he laughs.