An Interview with Mike Reno of Loverboy

Feature image credit: Ron Pettitt Images

Known for his soaring vocals and a headband that stretched across his forehead at all times, Mike Reno quickly became one of the most recognizable frontmen in rock during the 1980s.

It wasn’t long after forming Loverboy in 1979 with guitarist Paul Dean, bassist Scott Smith, drummer Matt Frenette, and keyboardist Doug Johnson that Reno became a household name.

Fueled by three consecutive platinum-certified records, Loverboy, Get Lucky, and Keep It Up, Loverboy earned worldwide acclaim, with songs appearing on various movie soundtracks throughout the era. In fact, Loverboy was chosen to record the United States Team theme for the 1984 Summer Olympics, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

Reno, in particular, was in high demand.

Reno collaborated with Heart’s Ann Wilson on “Almost Paradise,” which appeared on the Footloose soundtrack. He also contributed to the Iron Eagle II and Dream A Little Dream soundtracks, respectively.

Though Loverboy’s momentum stalled shortly after the release of Wildside (1987), the band eventually reconvened in the 1990s, producing four albums: Six (1997), Just Getting Started (2007), Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival (2013), and Unfinished Business (2014).

Though its heyday is all but a distant memory, and album production has waned, Loverboy remains active on the touring circuit.

During my recent sit-down with Reno, we discussed the band’s forty-two-year history, as well as their latest single, “Release.”

Andrew:
Thanks for taking the time, Mike. Before we dig into your history, I’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the latest single from Loverboy, “Release.”

Mike:
Well, the song came about with Paul [Dean] thinking about what’s happening with the whole COVID-19 thing. A lot of places said, “Don’t go out. Don’t leave your home. Wear a mask if you do go out.” People weren’t going to concerts, they weren’t going to games, they weren’t going to school, weren’t going to work; they were just sitting in the house. And Paul said, “We need a release,” and I said, “That’s a great song title. Let’s work on it.” So, we wrote about our fans — we got a lot of fans over the years that loved us — so we just basically dedicated this song to them; we’re telling them, “We’re the guys that are dressed in black. We know you’re gonna come back. We’re all gonna be on the stage again.” We’re just kind of dying to get back, and we needed to release something. The concert is really the release, right? So, that’s basically why we wrote it. And so, the fans are kind of in our mind with that song.

Andrew:
How long had the song been completed before its worldwide release?

Mike:
We just finished it about a week ago. We kind of were mixing it, remixing it, and mastering it. And then we decided to put a little video together. Did you see the video?

Andrew:
Yes! That leads to my next question. How did you guys manage to pull that off?

Mike:
We couldn’t get together. It was one of those things where our drummer was in North Carolina; our bass player was in Winnipeg, and three of us are in the Vancouver area. We just couldn’t all get together, so we decided just to use some clips of us playing because we have so many clips of us playing everywhere. Paul really did a nice job with that, he synced us together, so that it kind of looks like we’re playing, but in reality, it’s just some live footage of Loverboy over the years. There’s some early stuff; there’s some nowadays stuff; and then some of the stuff that I did in my music room in my house, singing the lyrics, and certain things. Paul did a bunch of stuff at his place, playing guitar. It just kind of happened organically, because of the fact that we’re all supposed to stay home right now. So, we did like good boys — just hung out at the house, and came up with what we could.

Andrew:
The band does a fantastic job capturing the vintage Loverboy sound of forty years ago. Was that the particular blueprint for the song?

Mike:
Well, that’s kind of how we sound when we play. People say, “How do you get that sound?” When we play together, that’s how we sound. It’s great. It’s one of those things I can always count on. You can count on very few things in life, but you can count on us guys sounding like that when we play. The way Matt Frenette plays the drums; Doug Johnson on the keyboards, and how creative they are; Paul is always heavy on the guitar chords and stuff; and then there’s me, just chirping along. The lyrics are important to us in this song because we’re really basically singing to our audience that we’ve had for forty-two years. I can’t even believe I just said forty-two years. [Laughs]. It’s just unbelievable.

Andrew:
I heard rumblings that Paul had originally written that song for another band before you guys ultimately made it your own?

Mike:
I heard something about that, but I heard it from you guys. People were talking about it; I didn’t even know that. I remember Paul and I were working on this song together, and he never mentioned he was working on it with anybody else. But you know, Paul works on a lot of songs, and sends them off to a lot of people, so it could very well be. I didn’t even know that — I’m learning that from you, Andrew! [Laughs].

Andrew:
I’m not sure if you can expand on this quite yet, but is “Release” a precursor to an eventual album?

Mike:
Everything is so “right now” in this world. You’ve got the news as soon as it happens; you’ve got the songs on the radio. I don’t know if they could handle ten to twelve songs in a row; maybe they could. But you know what we’ve been doing is cutting songs every once in a while, putting them on our website, and just saying, “Here you go. Thank you. Have a listen. Enjoy. It’s all yours,” instead of making it a big deal where you have to go buy stuff. Nowadays, people celebrate listens and views; we used to sell albums, where you can hold them in your hand. And now, you can’t hold anything, you can just listen to it. So, we just said, “Let’s just put out a single every once in a while.” I’m not saying we won’t do an album, because to be honest with you, after this whole COVID mess blows over, I’d love to get in the studio with these guys, and just hang in there for a month or two, and come up with a whole bunch of good stuff.

Andrew:
Loverboy will be sharing the bill with REO Speedwagon and Styx on an upcoming tour. What’s the connection there?

Mike:
Over the years, we’ve been hanging out with these guys from REO [Speedwagon], and Styx when we played concerts together all the time. We’ve become friends over the years, and it’s been really fun to know these guys as people. So, it was quite an honor when my manager told us that the boys in both bands called up and said they want to go on tour, and they really would like Loverboy to go. The bands chose us; it wasn’t chosen by the manager or the record company. It was something that the bands did, and that really made me feel good. So, I’m really looking forward to it. Talk about some hits — that first night, you’re gonna hear about twenty hits in a row.

Andrew:
Transitioning to the band’s formative years, how did Loverboy come together?

Mike:
Well, Paul and I met years ago in Calgary. It was one of those things where I just left a band, and he had just left a band, so we were both a little gun-shy of doing anything. I met him by accident; I came out of a nightclub and was walking to my car, and I heard some noise coming from an old warehouse, and it kind of reminded me of an old Marlon Brando movie. I poked my head in the door, and I was just gonna close the door gently and leave, but he was playing away on a guitar and writing some riffs, recording on this little ghetto blaster. In this big, huge warehouse [Paul’s] sitting in a chair with his little amp, and a little recorder at his feet. And he’s the only one in this big room where they used to fix city buses. He actually looked over at me and invited me in. It was really cold out, it was the middle of winter, and I came in there, and we chatted for a minute. I had a song idea and he had a song idea, and we ended up writing two songs together that night. So, that was kind of the start of the whole thing, to be honest with you. We just clicked. Neither of us was really planning on doing anything so soon after leaving the groups we were in, but it just kind of grew. I went and got a job working around town, so I could get a bit more money for traveling. I was gonna head down to see my brother in Los Angeles, and instead of going to Los Angeles, I ended up writing more songs with Paul. And then Paul and I just decided to try to find some musicians to fill the gap. Lo and behold, Loverboy was created.

We had these songs, and people said, “These are great songs.” We ended up starting to play live, and the booking agent would book us as a top-40 band, and then we’d go there, and we didn’t play any top-40; we played all our own songs. Some of these managers in the nightclubs would phone the agency and say, “What the hell are you doing? I thought you said these guys were a top-40 band?” The agency would say, “They’re gonna be a top-40 band, just listen to ‘em.” And he goes, “The good news is there’s a line down the block to come and see ‘em tonight, so they must be doing something right.”

Andrew:
Are you able to recall your first gig as Loverboy?

Mike:
Well, I remember one of the [early] gigs we did as Loverboy; we didn’t even have a bass player at the time. A friend of ours from April Wine was in town, and he kind of came and filled in for us. He didn’t even practice with us, I don’t think. He was like a deer in the headlights; he couldn’t remember the songs until we started playing. I remember walking over and whispering in his ear, “Doo-doo, doo-doo,”“Turn Me Loose” — ‘cause he starts in on the bass. We were in front of seventeen thousand people in the Vancouver Coliseum to warmup KISS, because the warmup act for KISS didn’t get OK’d to cross the border. It was the New York Dolls, and Canada said, “Nope! They’re not comin’ in.” So, they had to find a band, and our manager just said, “This is your first gig.” We hadn’t even done a record or anything — nobody had ever heard our songs — we stood up there and played for forty-five minutes. Thank God nobody threw anything at us, ya know? It was very nerve-wracking, I’ll tell ya.

Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Andrew:
What influenced the decision to sign with Columbia Records? How many labels came to that showcase?

Mike:
We had at least six different record companies come. We brought ‘em to a nightclub, but I think the nightclub wasn’t the right place to see us, so we ended up going to this other place one night and playing. A guy from Columbia Records in Canada saw the band and he just went, “Oh my God this is great! We gotta sign these guys!” So, they arranged for some money for us to do a record. As soon as the record sold a million copies in Canada, the United States jumped on us and said, “Come on! To the states! We’re gonna take you on tour.” And off we went. It was like a rocket ship, to be honest with you.

Andrew:
Describe the creative dynamics within the band in its initial stages.

Mike:
Well, I’d come up with ideas, Paul would come up with a lot of the starts of the songs and we’d finish them together. Doug came up with a bunch of songs and we’d finish them together. We did a lot of practicing and rehearsing. We kind of picked through songs at a rehearsal hall; we just started playing ‘em until we came up with the cool parts. We’d record on a ghetto blaster; it was never very technical. If it didn’t sound great when we were playing it, there’s no way of fixing it, so you have to kind of workaround, and find the right stuff. It was kind of a mixture; it was like a stew of ideas flowing around. But generally, it was Paul and I that wrote most of the songs. Doug wrote up a couple of really good songs. We just played all the time; it was always about playing live performances. When we recorded, we recorded live off the floor. A lot of bands, they record singly. For us, we just bang away until we get it sounding right. Then we just say, “Hit the red button and let’s go.”

Andrew:
Renowned producer, Bruce Fairbairn, headed the first three Loverboy records, which all went platinum. How did Bruce become involved with the band?

Mike:
Well, first of all, [Bruce] was a Vancouver guy, and he had started with a group called Prism. Prism was his first project. It turned out that he just said, “Let’s do this album.” And they had this engineer named Bob Rock, who was also in a band, but he was doing engineering on the side. He turned into a fantastic worldwide producer on his own. And then Mike Fraser, who engineers and mixes ACϟDC albums now, among many other things, he was our second in control of the engineering. He would help with setting up mics and getting stuff for us. Turned out he was sleeping under the console because he didn’t even have a place to live — and now he’s mixing ACϟDC albums. So, we had a group of really fine people, and we were all on the same learning curve. They were just starting out, and we were just starting out, so we basically went in there, and we were all just going for it. It was just one of those things. The magic happened quite often, and when it did, we could all feel it. It was super exciting.

Andrew:
Producers obviously spend a lot of time with the singers. What was your personal experience like working with Bruce?

Mike:
He was fantastic. With me, I just sang and he said, “That’s great.” We didn’t change much. A producer like him, he realized that the band sounded good just the way we were. So, he wasn’t in there to try to change things, he was just in there to keep things organized; keep things moving along; letting us know when he thought it was a perfect take; keeping everybody from getting upset with each other, because the studio can get pretty fiery; a lot of long hours and nights. He was one of these guys that just let it happen naturally, which was really cool because we didn’t need a lot of things changed; we just needed to record. And he knew that.

Andrew:
Loverboy’s second album, Get Lucky, is the band’s most successful effort, going four times platinum, spear-headed by mega-hits such as “Working For The Weekend” and “Turn Me Loose.” What do you recall from the recording process?

Mike:
We actually went into the studio about five days after coming home from the big tours. So, we were still revved up and ready to go, which is the best way to go into the studio; you don’t wanna go into the studio after two months off of hanging out and doing nothing. So, we went right from the road, from the tour bus into the studio, and we were ready to kick butt. And kick butt we did.

Andrew:
You, Paul, and Matt collaborated writing “Working For The Weekend.” Is there an interesting backstory behind the song?

Mike:
Matt got a writing credit on the [song] I think because of the cowbell. A lot of times when you’re recording an album, you have the cowbell just keeping time, because in the beginning, when the song starts, and you have a click track, everyone knows what the pace of the song is. Then as you start playing the song, the engineer would just turn the cowbell down. So, a lot of times when we listened back to what we recorded, the cowbell would come on again. I think Matt said, “We should keep that cowbell in there!” So, he got a writer’s credit.

I changed all the lyrics around. It was originally called “Waiting For The Weekend.” But I just closed my eyes when I was recording, and I just started singing, “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” And everybody stood up and said, “Oh my God, that’s fuckin’ amazing!”

Andrew:
That song has since become iconic from a Pop Culture standpoint. Had you any idea, upon recording, that it would take off as it did?

Mike:
No idea. It was a total surprise, to be honest with you. The whole thing’s been a total surprise. In the beginning, we were just trying to earn enough money to buy a box of beer for the week, and hang out with girls; basic Rock ‘N’ Roll stuff. I didn’t think I’d be playing concerts like this one coming up, with REO Speedwagon and Styx after forty years. But again, a lot of people don’t think that. I never planned any of this stuff, it just happened. Part of it is all about good luck, and the other part is hard work and opportunity. We grabbed opportunities, and we turned them into good things. We got offers to do things and we took ‘em, and said, “Yeah, okay. We’ll do it.” They said, “Do you wanna go on tour with ZZ Top?” I said, “Are you kidding? I’m in! When do we start?”

Andrew:
The song certainly has a relatable message that everyone can relate to. It’s really stood the test of time.

Mike:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s really good. You know what’s happening now? We’re getting a lot of people wanting to use it for things. I heard a rumor — I hope it comes true — Fox Sports wants to use it this year for their sports programs.

Andrew:
Of course, the Patrick Swayze-Chris Farley Saturday Night Live skit fueled the song’s marketability in the 90s.

Mike:
After the concert that night, I was in the hotel room. I like to relax and have a beer and whatever, and I put on Saturday Night Live. I’m packing my bag before I go to bed, because I got an early flight the next day, and we’re flying to the next town, and all of the sudden, these two guys come on and they start dancing, and I’m laughing my ass off. Then all of the sudden, they do a dance-off at the end because it’s a tie. One guy is a total great dancer, cut like a chisel, and the other guy’s got no shirt on and he’s a big, fat slob. And it’s a tie and I’m going, “This is funny.” Then all of the sudden, they break in the “Working For The Weekend.” Well, I nearly pissed my pants. Outrageous. I couldn’t believe it. I laughed my butt off.

Andrew:
What was the tour support like for that album?

Mike:
I think we toured with Journey that year, and it was the most amazing touring year of my life, I think. It was Get Lucky, Loverboy’s biggest selling album, and it was Journey’s Escape, their biggest selling album. Can you imagine Journey and Loverboy going across the country, playing every city, every night? My favorite singer was Steve Perry; I was in heaven. So, we were out there just doing what we do.

Andrew:
Very cool. So, were you able to share any cool moments with Steve amid the whirlwind of the tour?

Mike:
You know something? At the time, there was a lot of pressure on everybody. Steve was a bit quiet and he kept to himself quite a bit. We had a few moments here and there, but it wasn’t as gratifying as I wished it would have been. You know who I did hang out with? The guitar player, Neal Schon. Neal Schon was awesome, and he ended up playing on a couple of my tunes I did for a solo record.

Andrew:
Right around that time, you also teamed with Ann Wilson for the duet, “Almost Paradise,” which appeared on the Footloose soundtrack. How was that collaboration initiated?

Mike:
Yeah, that was kind of cool. My manager came to see me somewhere on the road and said, “Listen to this song I got here.” And I put it in the tape deck in my room and I played it and I went, “Jesus, that’s a hit song.” And he said, “Do you wanna do it?” I said, “It’s a duet, huh?” And he goes, “Yeah, you get to pick any woman you want to sing with.” Before I took two breaths, I said, “Ann Wilson. I’d love to do it with Ann Wilson.”

We met in Chicago in the winter, and we were both on tour; Heart was on tour; Loverboy was on tour. We met at a studio in Chicago called Pierce-Arrow. They called it [Pierce-Arrow] because they used to build Pierce-Arrow automobiles at this place years ago, but they stopped building those cars, and they turned it into a recording studio; part of it, anyways. Keith Olsen, the famous producer, he came up to Chicago and had a bedtrack for the song. We sat in the studio for about half an hour getting to know each other — I think we had a couple of beers — sitting in chairs, face-to-face, looking at each other talking. And finally, I asked her if she knew the song, and [Ann] said, “Yeah, I do.” And I said, “Keith, let’s do it.” So, we stood up, he rolled the track, and we sang it once, face-to-face in the same microphone.

Andrew:
I’ve always found this interesting. Loverboy recorded the song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop You Now,” which was selected as the United States Team theme in the 1984 Summer Olympics. What’s the selection process like for something like that?

Mike:
You know what? I don’t even remember, that’s how crazy that was. They asked us to write a song, and that they were gonna do an album, so we wrote that song, sent it to them, and it ended up on the album. They put out an Olympic album, and that was, I think, the song they used as their startup. It’s crazy, but it was so long ago, that I have no stories about it. It’s one of those things I just kind of blank on. I don’t even remember that. Thanks for reminding me; I forgot about that one.

Andrew:
After three successful albums with Bruce as your producer, you switch to Tom Allom for 1985’s Lovin’ Every Minute Of It. Was there a specific reason that influenced the change?

Mike:
Bruce wasn’t available; I think he was working with Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, or one of the groups that came to Vancouver to use our same recording studio. You know, we started this trend in Little Mountain Recording Studios, everybody wanted to come to town. Everybody we know — The Cult, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi — everybody was coming to Vancouver, so we couldn’t even get in that studio. So, we ended up using the B-Side studio, and we had Tom Allom come, from Judas Priest fame. He was an Englishman, who towards the end of every night, liked to have a nice glass of Scotch. And we were playing away, and after we played one of the tracks, we stopped, and he pushes the mic thing and he goes, “Change nothing immediately, lads!” He was so English; we just loved this guy.

Andrew:
Another interesting fact is that [Robert John] Mutt Lange penned the album’s title track. How did Loverboy land on his radar?

Mike:
There was a time, not too long ago, my friend, when cell phones weren’t around. E-mail wasn’t even invented. So, we had to talk to [Mutt] on the phone. He had been working with Bryan Adams; Bryan Adams was managed by the same manager as us, Bruce Allen. We were cutting a record and we wanted to have one more song, and Bruce came in to see how things were going, and he says, “You know, I’m gonna talk to Mutt Lange. I think he’s got some songs he’d like to give you guys.” So, Mutt Lange fought the studio — and this is how fast it happened because we needed to be done in two days — he actually played the song from his studio. He held the phone up, and from the other end of our phone, we taped it onto a little pocket tape recorder. Then we said, “Thank you,” listened to it, and we just picked apart the song for what parts we wanted to play. Everybody took a part, we went into the studio and just banged it out.

Andrew:
How was the support from Columbia by the time Wildside was released in 1987?

Mike:
It was kind of waning. Record companies were starting to get a little weird. I should even say that they were always weird. It’s kind of like record companies have always been almost like a mafia; they loan you a bit of money to do a record, and then they take a majority of the money off you for the rest of your lives. It’s really a sad situation. We luckily had a pretty good contract, but a lot of bands got ripped off by the record companies. I don’t have a lot of respect for [record companies], to be honest with you. I’m kind of glad it moved away from record companies. People are doing stuff on their own now, and the internet changed everything. To be honest with you, record sales just kind of waned. Nobody really buys them anymore; they just have listens. They have views and listens. How do you have an award ceremony for having five-hundred thousand listens? What is that? I’m glad we sold records when records were selling. I lived through that era. I’ve got gold and platinum records on the wall — and I’m not saying that from being a bragger — I’m just saying that’s how it was for us. And nowadays, I don’t even think that happens. How are you going to get a gold record for one-hundred thousand listens?

Andrew:
From your vantage point, what attributed to the demise of Loverboy?

Mike:
Well, you know what? We just kind of changed with the times as well. We tried a few things then we took a break for a while. Record companies decided they didn’t want any more records from groups like us; they wanted to go with the Seattle Grunge sound. So, record companies shut down for a few years. Radio stations decided they didn’t wanna play it anymore. It all kind of happened in the early 90s, and to be honest with you, I just said, “Fuck it. I’m just gonna take a break. I’m gonna take my son fishing. I’m gonna show him how to hike. This is a good time for me.”

Then, a couple OF years later, we were trying to raise money for a friend of ours, who needed cancer treatment, that the medical system wouldn’t supply to him, so he needed to raise some money. There was a cool, indoor place in Vancouver that held lots of people, so they organized a charity for my friend — Bryan Adams performed, Loverboy performed, Mötley Crüe performed, Bon Jovi performed. I mean, it was a dream for people in Vancouver. So, we went up and did an hour set. We hadn’t practiced or anything, we just kicked open the guitar case — out fell a setlist — we put the setlist on stage, and we played for an hour, and people went crazy. I looked at my manager, as we walked by him all sweaty, and he says, “I’ll book some shows,” because he realized how much fun we had. And that’s how we basically started playing again.

We’ve been playing and having a great time for years. It’s like a fraternity; I think Loverboy is part of people’s DNA. I say this because they remember where we were and what we were doing. They remember. They sing the words and it makes them happy — and it makes me happy. So, it’s a fantastic position to be in at this time in my life. I’m enjoying it like crazy. I’m really looking forward to this tour, too, to get out of the house for a change. We’re gonna go there, play some concerts — back on the tour bus, driving down the road at the end of a concert, adrenaline still rollin’. It’s gonna be night-after-night, too, so it’s gonna be a bit of work but I’m looking forward to it.

Andrew:
After a ten-year hiatus, the album Six was released in 1997, which ultimately proved to be the final one with Scott [Smith]. But then another ten-year gap followed before Just Getting Started surfaced. Was there a particular reason behind the sporadic output?

Mike:
Well, you could see the record sales for everybody were waning, ‘cause it was a change of times. So, there was no big urge, after all the records we sold, to do another one, and have it not really do very well because everything was changing. And when I say that, it’s just so true; the whole thing with records and CDs were fading. So, we just took advantage of playing; we played live, played all kinds of concerts. It took a while to come to our senses after Scott passed away. [Scott] went missing at sea, and I went and looked for him for a week on the coast guard vessels in the Bay of San Francisco. It was a horrible time. There was no way to find him, so it took me a while to figure out what to do next because Scott was such an important guy in my life, and in the band’s life. I still miss him to this day; every time I talk about him I get a little funny. He was sailing, so he was doing something he loved.

We had to find a replacement [Ken Sinnaeve], and we found a great guy. I say, “The new guy in Loverboy,” but he’s been with us for twenty-two years. So, we started touring again, and we’ve been touring ever since. The band is really good live. And I say that because I enjoy playing with these guys. I’m the singer, but they play the music, and they play it really well. It sounds fantastic, so it’s easy for me to sing. I enjoy the concerts. People sometimes say that we sound better than we ever had, and I think it’s just because we play so many concerts. We’re always playing somewhere, doing something. I tell ya, it’s such a fun time. We hit the stage, and play the songs, and we can see everybody standing up, and singing every word. They’re all wearing headbands and having a good ol’ time. That’s all I really wanna do. Making new records isn’t that important to me anymore, but playing live is. And that’s what I really love doing.

Image credit: TM Photography

Andrew:
I’ve seen the band live and you guys sound fantastic, particularly your vocals. What have you had to do differently to preserve your voice after all these years?

Mike:
I changed, about five years ago, to Inn-Ears, so I could really hear everything perfectly. It really helps with my singing technique. I sing all the time, so that also helps. And since we’ve had some time off, I recently bought a mixing board and a microphone, and I decided to practice every day. So, I sing the set in the microphone with my Inn-Ears. Nobody can hear anything except me singing, but I can hear everything in the headphones. I’ve got the band playing, and I’ve got tracks with the band playing, and me not singing. So, I just sing along to those tracks until I’m hot and sweaty, and an hour-and-a-half has gone by, and I’m like, “All right. I did it again.” I don’t know, but I think because I’ve been singing all these years that I actually feel like I’m getting better. It must be from all the practice.

Andrew:
Music from the 70s and 80s has made a valiant comeback in recent years, generating significant interest around festivals. I wanted to hear your take on why you believe the era continues to live on.

Mike:
I’ll tell ya exactly what it says: The 70s and 80s were the best fifteen years of my life. [Laughs]. I loved the 80s. I mean, are you kidding? Boston, Foreigner, ZZ Top, Journey, I can go on and on. And we played with these guys all the time. I think it was the best time for music so far. The best time for music was the late 70s and the 80s. Absolutely. People realize that those are songs that really mean something to them. I think that’s neat; we really created something. And I think that’s why people come.

Andrew:
At the top of our conversation, you mentioned that Loverboy has been functioning for forty-two years, which is an incredible feat in itself. That said, what is it that keeps the fire burning in you to continue on?

Mike:
You know what it is? It’s that these songs have become a part of me, for sure; I know they’ve become a part of a lot of people. I go to these concerts, and people thank us. They go, “Thank you for coming. We just love you guys.” And it’s just something you have to do. I feel like it’s a responsibility to carry these songs on; it’s a privilege to be able to make people feel good. It really is a privilege. I want to respect that privilege, and I want to give them exactly the memory they want.

Image credit: MSchoen Photography

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Andrew DiCecco

Predominantly known for his NFL coverage, Andrew DiCecco is a Pennsylvania-based journalist with a profound passion for Rock music and its illustrious history. What initially began as a childhood hobby collecting CDs eventually evolved into a full-blown absorption into the world of Rock and Roll. An aspiring rock historian, Andrew seeks out every autobiography and documentary on Rock artists imaginable to further his knowledge to go along with a growing collection of vintage albums and magazines. Andrew’s musical preferences include, but are not limited to, Def Leppard, Van Halen, AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Foreigner, and Journey. An innate appreciation for guitar heroes, Andrew cites Vito Bratta, Eddie Van Halen, John Sykes, George Lynch, Dave Meniketti, and Neal Schon as some of his personal favorite players. Andrew is also a regular listener to SiriusXM’s <i>Trunk Nation</i> with Eddie Trunk, his primary source of inspiration.
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4 thoughts on “An Interview with Mike Reno of Loverboy

  1. Wow, Mike’s voice is one of my favorites. Loverboy songs bring back fond memories. I didn’t remember the Olympics tie in. That’s a real tribute. Thanks for the interview. I learned a lot and it’s nice to hear what Mike is up to. 👍

  2. Thank you for the great interview! I was at the Loverboy and Journey concert that Mike spoke about. I still have my ticket! I have all my tickets from concerts I saw back in the day! They were cool back then. The ticket was usually only $10 and it was a pretty pastel color. Someday I want to make a framed collage of my concert tickets. Most concerts I went to were Beaver Productions….(and the tee was also $10). They normally just sold those tees with the long sleeves…we called them jerseys. If you didn’t have a jersey the next day at school then you must not have gone to the concert lol. My first concert without parents was Styx in 1981 Paradise Theater. I’ve seen Styx a total of 4 times. I’ve seen Loverboy a few times….only saw Journey the one time. I had tickets to go see Journey but the pandemic hit and it was canceled. I’ve seen Pat Benetar 3 times. Foreigner I’ve seen 2 times. Def Lepard was super popular when I graduated HS…1983…songs from Pyromania were all they played on the radio lol. I didn’t see them until I was in my late 40s though. I’m 57 now…and I’ve seen them 3 times. Twice with Styx and Tesla and once with Styx and REO Speedwagon. Saw REO 2 times. Sadly I missed seeing Van Halen and Bon Jovi! I did see Motley Crue twice. 2 years in a row. I’ve seen Aldo Nova with Cheap Trick and Axe was there too.
    Enough about me! Again…thank you for the great interview!! Love me some Loverboy!! My mom loved The Kid is Hot Tonight! If we ever went out with her we always requested it for her lol. Mike Reno is awesome!!

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