Jan 25, 2021

Reposted from: Decade 77-87 - a grown up disco: new wave, punk, postpunk, goth & indie


Canadian new wave outfit BLUE PETER were originally formed by vocalist Paul Humphrey and guitarist Chris Wardman, the band's lineup was solidified when Geoff McOuat came in on bass and Ron Tomlinson brought his drumkit on board.

After moving to Toronto in '78, playing a mix of synthesizer-driven originals and their own take on the standards, they continued on the circuit and were signed to Ready Records in '79, one of the few truly independent labels at the time.

They released their debut ep TEST PATTERNS FOR LIVING later that year after recording all seven tracks in a single day at SouthWest Studios in London, Ont. 

But by 1980 Tomlinson was gone and Mike Bambrick was the new drummer. They released a 45 that spring for "Video Verite," a song about nostalgia for the future, b/w "Radio Silence." 

Rick Joudrey became the band's new bass player, and after forming their own AWOL Records in '81, they released the single, "Chinese Graffiti," which featured cameos from Sherry Huffman (Sherry Kean) of The Sharks on backing vocals and Malcom Burn (ex of Boys Brigade) on keyboards.

By the spring of '83 more lineup changes ensued, with Jason Sniderman taking over on keyboards and Owen Tennyson as the new man behind the drumkit. 

They hooked up with Steve Nye (Roxy Music/Japan) for his production expertise, and FALLING gave them their first top 40 hit with the dance-floor filling DON'T WALK PAST.

The imagery of the promo video for the song was inspired by a pair of sci-fi movies at the time - "The Hunger" and "The Blade Runner" (which also served as inspiration for the "Chinese Graffiti" video).

The song scored them two awards that year - The Canadian Film and Television Associaiton's "Best Video" award, and "Most Popular Video" during Sony's Video Culture Festival. 

It was also the song that got the band's foot in the American market door. It became the first independent Canadian video to be played on MTV. It also garnered decent airplay on several US radio stations, which led to landing the opening slot on several major tours, backing up The Police, The Fix, Peter Tosh, Boomtown Rats, Simple Minds, and The Jam. 

In total, the band ended up on the road for the next year and a half while gaining praise for the fresh, energetic sounds they were breaking ground with.

But just as it seemed the band was ready to finally break ground with a national audience, they split up in January of '85, burned out and exhausted from the rigourous touring schedule and constant trips to the studios. 

The members went on to other projects. However, in 1997, the band saw a resurgance when the 'best of' package ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT hit the shelves, and subsequently the band reformed. 

In 2006, Blue Peter reunited for a concert to commemorate the release of The Best of Ready :: 20th Century Masters — The Millennium Collection.

The following year, the band reissued their catalog as three compilation CDs.The re-release of Falling included 8 of the Vertigo demos as bonus tracks.

Since then, the band has played a couple of concerts a year, including appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009[12] to promote the movie Suck, which featured music by them on its soundtrack. In January 2011, Blue Peter performed at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto as part of Juno Decades: Songs of the '80s.

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