Hey, America! For every Rush, Celine Dion, Bieber, or Drake there are twenty (or more) artists just as deserving of your attention over the last thirty years. Some have been successful here in Canada but stalled at your border for some reason. I’m here to tell you about some of them.
Some of these artists’ lack of success in the USA dumbfounded me as they are household names here. Kim Mitchell and Max Webster’s and the lack of success south of the Canadian border is a head-scratcher to me. With six gold records, two platinum, double-platinum, and a triple-platinum, Kim has sold a lot of records here in Canada.
Max Webster was Kim’s first band, on Anthem records, with the likes of Rush (who appear on a song on a Max Webster album). Pushed in the UK, the band had a charting single, and a few charting singles in Canada, they put out five gold and one Platinum album (A Million Vacations), which contained the rock radio staple, “Paradise Skies.”
Having failed to break it big in the USA, but garnering enough success in Canada to take control of his destiny, Kim broke up Max Webster, hired his own band, and went solo to even greater success. Three years after, the last Max Webster album, his solo debut, Akimbo Alogo, went Platinum in Canada, but only charted at number 106 on the US albums charts.
Kim’s second single, “Go For Soda,” hit number one on Canadian radio, but still only charted at number 86 on the US Billboard Hot-100, but did hit a respectable number twelve on the US rock chart. Sadly, the lead single, “Patio Lanterns,” off of his second album, Shaking Like A Human Being, charted only as high as 36on the US rock charts failing to hit on the Billboard period.
With three number one singles and three top-ten singles in Canada between 1984 and 1987, as well as three platinum, multi-platinum, and one gold album between 1984 and 1992, it’s safe to say that US audiences missed the boat on Kim Mitchell.
Notable Max Webster/Kim Mitchell songs are:
1) “Paradise Skies”
2) “Go For Soda”
3) “Rock ‘N’ Roll Duty”
5) “I’m a Wild Party”
My second pick this outing is Ryan Dahle (The Age of Electric, Limblifter, Ryan Dahle, and Mounties). I personally can’t get enough of his work in any musical venture he is in.
As the 90s began, and alt-rock and grunge were taking off, The Age of Electric was a hot buzz band in Canada, with five charting singles, and a pair of alternative chart high placing singles the band who were a pair of brothers (Todd and John Kerns along with Ryan and Kurt Dahle) broke up leaving the brothers Dahle to pick up another bassist, rhythm guitarist, and after a mere ten rehearsals, the band records their debut self-titled album, Limblifter.
Between 1996 and 2015, Limblifter continued to attract more buzz, a few alternative charting singles, and a few lineup changes over four albums. During that time, Ryan Dahle also recorded a brilliant solo album, full of unconventional instrumentation for a guy known for a four-piece, traditional rock band.
Following the solo effort, Limblifter returned to action along with the birth of Canadian indie supergroup, Mounties featuring Hawksley Workman, Steve Bays, and you guessed it, Ryan Dahle. The super catchy and all-over-the-map 2014 album, Thrash Rock Legacy, was anything but “thrash rock.” Their most recent album, Heavy Meta, is a nice follow-up, and as the members of the band also have other projects, it may be another five years between Mountie’s albums.
Songs to take note of from the Ryan Dahle catalog are:
1) “Untitled” by The Age of Electric
2) “Remote Control” by The Age of Electric
3) “Tinfoil” by Limblifter
4) “Wake Up to The Sun” by Limblifter
5) “Jumbo Jet Headache” by Limblifter
6) “Agoraphobe” by Ryan Dahle
7) “Shutdown” by Mounties
8) “Headphones” by Mounties
9) “Tokyo Summer” by Mounties
I hope you can find something you like in my musings about Canadian bands that US audiences should know. Stay tuned for future installments, same music time, same music website!
Interested in learning more about the work of Kim Mitchell and Ryan Dahle? Hit the link below:
Be sure to check out the full archives of Rapid Musical Perspectives, by Andrew Earle, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/rapid-musical-perspectives-archives/