Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Rock Star Rejoins 'Guess Who'
(Guess who's reborn)
Maclean's pg52 29May00 A2
By Nicholas Jennings in Winnipeg
One of Canada's most successful bands is enjoying a new vogue and
hitting the road once again
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA -- Guess Who is reborn and will deliver?
The answer will become apparent when members of the Canadian rock
legend band, Guess Who, reunite for a tour that starts in St. John's,
Newfoundland, on May 31 - and winds up on Craven, Sask., on July 15.
If you think Austin Powers and The Spy Who Shagged Me, you'll hear
the Who's anthem-like American Woman and realize that one of the most
successful acts of the 60's and 70's seems cool again.
Last fall, Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon personally summoned the group to
perform at the closing ceremonies of Winnipeg's Pan-Am Games. The quartet
including Cummings, 52, Bachman, 56, bassist Jim Kale, 56, and drummer Garry
Peterson, who turns 55 on May 26, played only four songs, were embraced as
returning home-town heroes and the seed was planted for a full-scale
reunion. "People sense that it may be their last chance to see this piece
of Canadian music history in the flesh," said Larry LeBlanc, Canadian editor
for Bill board magazine.
Bachman and Cummings have had a history that clashed in the late 60's over
lifestyles. Bachman became a devout Mormon, while Cummings remained a
resolute party animal. Bachman left in 1970, just as the band was hitting
the big time. He moved on to heights of his own with his group
Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Cummings kept the Guess Who going until 1975 when
he embarked on a successful solo career. The two left a trail of jealousy,
resentment and lawsuits over publishing royalties. But time and money heal
The Running Back Through Canada Tour, which is being recorded and filmed
for CD and video release, is clearly a curative and lucrative undertaking.
Each musician repeats the phrase that the reunion can be described as a
"healing process." "It's a chance for the group to tie up unfinished
business," says John Einarson, a Winnipeg schoolteacher who wrote the book
on Guess Who. "If Bachman and Cummings are the Lennon and McCartney of
Canadian music, then this tour is every bit as significant to Canada as a
Cynics see this reunion as a cash grab by aging rock stars. The band
members see it differently. "I don't feel like I'm cashing in on anything,"
says Bachman, father of seven who lives with his second wife, former singer
Denise McCann. "I'm celebrating the hits I've had throughout my career,
both with this band and with BTO," Bachman said. "Timing is everything. If
we had done this 10 years ago, it might have felt tacky. The world wasn't
ready for classic rock. But now, with Neil Young and Santana's comeback,
there's absolutely nothing tacky about this. It just feels right."
Manager Saifer, who oversees rehearsals, sound equipment, accommodations
and merchandise for the tour's two-dozen venues seems to have his cellular
phone surgically attached to his head. "When you see these guys on stage,"
he's calls to someone on the other end of the phone, "it's almost like time
has been turned back." Bachman overhears the comment and adds, "It's true."
"After that, I felt 25 again, that I could conquer the world, go on the road
forever and play guitar 24 hours a day and never sleep. The other guys felt
that, too." "A few years ago, Neil Young told me that the minute we stop
doing this, we're not living our lives as they were intended. And he was
right. This is what we were born to do."