Contributor’s Note: 36 years on, that headline above makes the fact all the more impressive. Canadian classic
rockers Honeymoon Suite hope you “Find What You’re Looking For” in this, their newest single — available now!
The newest preview for the iconic band’s forthcoming album, “Find What You’re Looking For” has been eagerly ushered in by fans and critics alike, hitting the Top 30 rock charts in Canada in no time flat. It’s their first chart-climber in 19 years, and follows late 2019’s “Tell Me What You Want” — their first single release since 1992. The two tracks lift the curtain, revealing the latest in what’s to come from the band who’ve long made themselves a household name. Early listens show the release has an unmistakably fresh energy to it, while still keeping true to the classic Honeymoon Suite sound fans have loved for nearly four decades.
First formed in 1981, Honeymoon Suite first broke onto the scene thanks to hit single “New Girl Now” taking the cake in a ‘Homegrown’ radio station contest put on by Toronto’s Q107. Founding members Johnnie Dee and Derry Grehan would soon be joined by Gary Lalonde, Dave Betts, and Peter Nunn, and go on to win a JUNO Award for ‘Group of the Year’, countless nominations, and continued International recognition over their near-40 years. “Sometimes you just know when everything starts lining up, and sounding really good early on,” says Honeymoon Suite. “This new album will be the strongest new music we’ve released in a long time.”“Find What You’re Looking For” is available now. I was afforded the opportunity of a chat with guitarist Derry Grehan for Madness To Creation. Fans can find Honeymoon Suite at the following locations:
Mark Dean: How are you?
Derry: Doing good today, man.
Mark Dean: How are you getting through this difficult time for the world?
Derry: Spending a lot of time playing guitar here, and I'm doing some writing, ride my bike and just
waiting it out.
Mark Dean: And of course, Honeymoon Suite has got a new single out, which is already doing pretty
Derry: We do!
Mark Dean: Does 2020 signify the start of a new era for the band?
Derry: Well, I hope so, it’s been a crazy year so far with everything else, the single coming out in you know, its the first time we’ve been on the charts in a very long time in Canada anyways. And it’s pretty exciting to be back on the radio.
Mark Dean: Yeah, of course. It’s taken from the band’s first new album since 2008, why is it taken so long?
Derry: Well we’re not under any deadlines or record company contracts. I think that the timing is just right where we hooked up with our producer and a new label. And it’s just kind of happened organically where I was writing. I’m always writing songs and sometimes things just start falling into place. We found a new opportunity with Mike Compass and Mercier records, he was willing to jump in and go full force into this. Here we are making a new album.
Mark Dean: So have you started working on that yet?
Derry: Oh yeah. We’ve been at it almost a year, actually, since when we started it in Nashville last year. Now Mike our producer moved to England. So Johnny and I have been over there periodically finishing up. The record is, I’d say it’s about 90% done and we’d almost finished it, but then the pandemic hit, and now things are kind of just on hold and we’re releasing singles in the meantime.
Mark Dean: What sort of sound then are we going to hear on that new album? Is it going to be returning to the classic sound of the band with a little bit of modern twist on it or how is it sounding?
Derry: Yeah, that’s exactly it. If you listen to the new single “Find What You’re Looking For” it’s classic Honeymoon Suite. Big chorus, Melodic Rock, Johnny D singing, but at the same time, it’s got an updated sound to it. It’ss a combination of both. I think it’s really cool.
Mark Dean: I have interviewed recently a couple of other Canadian artists, Kim Mitchell and Rik Emmett. I just wondered, there seems to be a common thing that all Canadian artists have achieved huge success in Canada, but unfortunately that never transferred globally. Is that a Canadian thing? Why has it been so difficult?
Derry: I don’t know. I think Rik with Triumph was quite successful in the U.S back in the day. Kim is
more of a Canadian sound, I would say. We’ve broken out and had a fair amount of success in the U.S and some tours in Europe. I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing, we’re all looking to break out, but it’s just a matter of another market picks up on your sound, if it suits another market. So I don’t know.
Mark Dean: Like many bands of the 80's era, Honeymoon Suite have gone through their fair share of
lineup changes. However you and Johnny have remained the constant. I just wondered if you could briefly outline your relationship with Johnny. How’s it changed? How’s it evolved since you guys first got together?
Derry: We can’t stand each other. I’m just kidding. How’s it evolved? Well, one thing I can say is that they, the original band, are back together, all the members. It’s been that way probably for over 10 years now. We did go through some lineup changes in the nineties. We all kind of scattered. For the last while it’s been Dave, Gary, Johnny and myself and our keyboard player, Peter. That’s a really fun thing. I mean, I much prefer that as far as Johnny and I go,it’s been a friendship of over like 35 years. We just have a good working relationship we’re two very different people. I think that actually helps us, in the music we butt heads, at the end of the day this Honeymoon Suite thing is working for us. When we were still having fun with it. When you press on and keep making music, because we’ve got fans.
Mark Dean: How do you view the use of Honeymoon Suite songs in the wider media, obviously
programs like Miami Vice. You’ve had songs involved in films like Lethal Weapon. Was that a good marketing strategy or was it just luck at the time?
Derry: Well, it’s a bit of both. I’m always excited when our music is used outside of the normal things, outside of radio where somebody wants to pick up a song for a movie or something else. Anything like that to me as a writer is a compliment. It;s exciting for a band it’s just more marketing for you, it just gets your name out there to people who might not have ever heard of you. Then you hear your song in a movie and you gain some more fans that way. It’s all exposure to me just getting the music out there, man, any way you can. I think it’s a good thing.
Mark Dean: Can you attempt to explain the enduring appeal of 80s Rock music or why it's still as popular
today over 30 years later?
Derry: I think it’s just great songs. I think it makes people feel good. When the nineties came along and killed off all the bands from the eighties, the Melodic Rock the business changed, and it went much darker and more depressing for a while. I was not a fan of the nineties music for the most part. I think at some point people just wanted to have a good time again and here Melodic Rock. You’ve got bands like Journey and Def Leppard are doing better now than they were back in the day in some respects because it’s all the music. All of the songs. Great songs that they have. They never get old and they gained a new generation of younger kids because it’s great music to make you feel good.
Mark Dean: Back in 2016, the band used the Pledgemusic platform, how was that experience for you
and given what happened subsequently with that company, would it deter you from utilizing anything similar in the future?
Derry: Are you talking about the record company?
Mark Dean: The Pledgemusic. I think you released an EP through Pledgemusic.
Derry: Oh, Pledgemusic. Yes. Well that Pledgemusic, as we all know has gone down the tubes. That was an unpleasant experience for a lot of people who got ripped off. I think at the time for us, we did the Hands Up album with them. It was a great experience for us at the time because Pledgemusic was doing good. I’ll see a chance to see the power of your fan base, who basically paid for the record. I think it’s a great concept. It worked excellent for us, we got a record out of it. Would I do it again? I don’t know, it’s a lot of work and I think for young Indie bands with very limited funds, it’s a great way to get started out there.
Mark Dean: Do you still have goals, hopes, dreams, ambitions, and what would they be?
Derry: Just to keep on doing what we’re doing, what I’m doing. I’m a lifer, as far as music goes. I’m the main songwriter. I’ll continue to write songs as long as I can. I play guitar every day, that urge, that passion never goes away. I would like to, as far as Honeymoon suite goes, there’s no date on when we’re going to end this thing, you just keep things going as long as it’s fun, as long as we have that fan base out there. We’re pretty lucky after all this time to still be alive and putting new music out and charting. My goal is to just keep making a living in the music business because it’s a tough thing to do. I like the challenge.
Mark Dean: Have you ever had any desire to release some music, maybe a different musical style or
genre. That will challenge you as an artist, but that wouldn’t necessarily fit with HoneymoonSuite?
Derry: I’ve been going to Nashville in the last 10 years. I’ve made a lot of trips down there and met a lot of other writers because as much as I like to work in Honeymoon Suite, a lot of the music I write is different. It doesn’t fit into the Honeymoon Suite mold. As a writer, you got to be really versatile. I’ve worked with Pop writers and Country writers, it’s fun for me to get out of my own box and to expand my horizon and to be versatile. I’ve worked with other people. So I love that part of it. I’ve done a lot of co-writing outside of the band in the last while. It’s really exciting.
Mark Dean: Just the final question-If the roles were reversed and you could sit down face to face with
one of your personal inspirations, who would you like to interview?
Derry: Wow. There’s a lot of people. When I was a kid and growing up, Ritchie Blackmore was my guitar hero. My first one and I just loved him from day one. I would love to sit and chat with him and jam with him a little bit because he’s been so instrumental in my inspiration and my playing and when I started out, you have your heroes and he’s one guy that stuck with me through all these years. I love his playing. I love his music.
Mark Dean: Okay. Just to wrap it up then, obviously this COVID thing has put everything on hold. Do you
have a fixed sort of time schedule for album release or not?
Derry: Well, it’s tough to say because things are just changing every day right now. Like I said earlier, the record’s basically done. We’re just waiting to get back over to England so we can finish up the final overdubs. That might be maybe in September or October. I live in the U.S so I don’t even know if I can get into England right now. We’ll wait and see how this pandemic thing plays out. It’s going to get better. Things will get back to normal. As soon as we can, but I don’t imagine the record will be coming out, until later this year, the end of this year, or probably the beginning of next year. As soon as we can, we’ll get it out there. In the meantime, we’ve released two singles off of it and it gives people a taste of what’s coming.
Mark Dean: Yep. That;s great. Thank you very much.
Derry: Yeah. Thank you. Great talking with you. Take care.
And there you have it! Follow Honeymoon Suite on Facebook and their official website