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Going Hardcore with Paul Dean of Loverboy

Going Hardcore with Paul Dean of Loverboy

In 1989, Paul Dean, lead guitarist of Loverboy, would release his first solo endeavor entitled Hard Core.  Consisting of songs that would not necessarily work with his main band, Dean and producer Brian “Too Loud” MacCloud unleashed a hard rockin’ collection of tunes that set the imagination in flight.  With Hard Core recently reissued digitally and new music well on the way, Paul Dean also remains a compelling force within the long running Loverboy.  Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with the much revered guitarist to find out more about his three solo recordings, a few of the songs featuring within Hard Core, his ongoing passion performing with Loverboy, and a whole lot more!  Read on…

First, in 1989 what made you decide that it was now time to record a solo album?
You know, before I met Mike Reno, I’d have been in 13 bands and the first couple of bands there was no singer, but every band after that there was a singer, and for some reason, it just fell apart, you know. It would be a musical taste, or personal things, or management things, or whatever and I had just got to the point just before I met Reno I said to myself, you know I’m kind of fed up with that, supporting the singer and putting my whole life behind the singer only to have it blow up in my face. I just said, you know what, good or bad, for better for worse, I’m going to just do a solo career, and of course that thought was very short-lived because right after I made that decision, about a month or two after, I heard Mike sing and I thought, oh maybe I’ll just put this on hold for a little while, so let me just give it one more go. So, you know, Mike and I got together. We wrote a couple of songs the first night. We hit it off great. We became great friends. We still are, and then time went along. We recorded a bunch of albums together and I had a bunch of tunes that came my way. Sword and Stone, for instance, came my way through a writing session with some Bon Jovi guys and I presented it to Mike, and he said, no it’s not really my style.

It’s a little too metal for him and I went, OK great and I pitched him a couple of other tunes that I had. Bryan Adams gave me “Draw the Line.” I don’t know if it was before Nugent had did it or not, but I played that for him and he went, it’s not really my thing and a couple more tunes that I had kicked around and he basically said he would pass so, I went, “Well you know what, I think maybe I will do this. You know this is a good time between albums, between tours. I’m just gonna put this record together.” So, I did. I got a little studio in Vancouver and I got together with one of my best friends at the time Brian MacCloud (from Chilliwack and Headpins). Unfortunately Brian passed away quite a while ago, not long after we recorded this album together actually and Brian played drums and co-produced it with me – and so that was kind of it. It wasn’t like I’m going to be a rebel or anything. I just went, you know, I’ve got all these tunes, I’ve always wanted to do a solo album, have a solo career on the side, so let’s go, and I got some great musicians and a drummer.

Brian McCloud played drums on most of the tracks and it was interesting that Brian and I got back together as musicians because Brian was in Loverboy. He was playing drums in Loverboy just before Matt joined and Brian decided that he didn’t want to do it, play drums, he wanted to be a guitar player and to me, his instrument truly was drums, not taking anything away from his guitar playing, but his drumming was incredible.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the Hardcore title?
You know, I just envisioned this album to be harder-edged than Loverboy – especially in the vocals. Whereas Mike is an incredible singer, like he’s one of the top five singers alive or not alive, I mean he’s an amazing singer still night by night he’s just fantastic. So, that’s really the big difference and there are not as many keyboards on the album. There are very, very few keyboards. It’s basically guitar C, same kind of funky grooves with the bass and the drums, but the vocals are the big difference I was really giving at the time. I sing quite different now but at the time I was really going for it singing really high and really hard and kind of inspired by that school more. So, it was just by definition of the songs and the fact that it was more hard-edged crunch guitar and hard vocals.

“Sword And Stone” was co written by KISS.  How did that wind up on the album?
I was in New Jersey writing with the Bon Jovi guys. I had made a connection with Jon (Bon Jovi) and Richie (Sambora). And so, I went out to Jon’s place and we were writing together and we wrote Notorious for the Wildside album together. And halfway through the session, I think I was there for four days, staying at Jon’s place, everything was very cool. And Desmond Child joined us halfway through. And we really didn’t get anything, but I had a lot of respect for Desmond because he has written some amazing songs. So anyway, he gave me “Sword and Stone.” He says “The KISS guys were thinking about doing it. They’re not going to do it, but here you go. Do you want to pitch it to Loverboy? To Mike and them?” I went yeah, great song. That’s where that came from. I pitched it to Mike and he couldn’t hear it for himself, he couldn’t get into that pitch base. And that’s where that came from.

Has anyone in KISS ever heard or comment on that version of your song?
I never did hear a comment. I saw a lot of comments on YouTube. They talked a lot about the KISS thing and the Bonfire did a version of it. Completely different. I don’t know if KISS did – no, I don’t think they did. I think they w