When four teenagers from Cornwall decided to start a rock band in the late eighties, they never imagined the success their band, the Barstool Prophets, would gain in North America just a few years later.
After releasing their first, independent album Deflowered in 1993, the band went on to sign with Mercury Records and released their most successful album Crank in 1995 and Last of the Big Game Hunters in 1997. The band had several big Canadian rock radio hits in the mid-late 1990s, and their single Paranoia was included on the soundtrack to the Antonio Banderas/Rebecca De Mornay film Never Talk to Strangers.
During their ten year run, the band toured with the cream of Canadian music at the time such as 54-40, The Headstones, I Mother Earth, and Our Lady Peace, until they broke up in 1999, leaving some faithful followers behind.
The front man Graham Greer went on to release two solo albums in 2003 and 2009, and finally reunited with Barstool Prophets for a 20th anniversary concert of their album Crank two years ago at the sold out Shenkman Centre, where the wheel for the band’s comeback started rolling.
Greer remembers the band was surprised by the success of their anniversary show.
“Even though Shenkman Centre holds around 550 people, we thought mainly our friends and families would show up, so when the show sold out, we were surprised. People were flying in all the way from West Coast and all over the U.S. and we were totally overwhelmed with the response. After the show, we were backstage and the director of Shenkman came to ask if we would go out to sign autographs for all the people who were all still waiting for us in the lobby, and we were all in kind of disbelief.” Greer laughed. “So we went out and we were there for two and a half hours signing autographs and hearing people’s stories about what our music did for them. A lot of them had brought their kids who were into our music now. It was amazing.”
Stemming from the anniversary show, the band had a fair amount of publicity in Ottawa and Ontario, and at the beginning of 2017, started receiving offers for shows, culminating to this Friday’s show at Barrymore’s. Greer says it feels amazing to go back to where everything started.
“When we were about to sign our record deal in the U.S. in 1995, instead of flying there and showcasing, we convinced them to come to Ottawa to see us at a sold out weekend at Barrymore’s. The record company guys were blown away.” Greer said.
Barstool Prophets will be playing at its original lineup consisting of Greer, bassist Glenn Forrester, guitarist Al Morier, and drummer Bobby Tamas. They are also bringing along the multi-instrumentalist Steph McAlear for percussion and keyboards. According to Greer, there may be some other guest appearances, but the fans will have to wait until Friday to find out more.
Greer says the band is not currently actively writing new music, as two of the members live further apart from him and bassist Forrester, who still live in Cornwall, but there are other shows lined up.
“After the Friday’s show, we will be playing hometown shows at La Maison Tavern in Cornwall on June 9th and 10th, which are both selling fast. Both of my sons are in a band called Sevengate, which will be opening for us both nights and that will be really cool.” Greer said.
With his own children pursuing music, Greer has some sound advice for them.
“It’s hard to balance a solid personal life with a life of a traveling musician. You need to be grounded. We were fortunate that we all had the support of our families when we did 250 shows a year. We always tried to go back home to get that dose of normalcy in between tours. So my advice is to have a backup plan!“ he laughed.
By Laura Collins.