Mel Degan will rock St. Albert
Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 06:00 am
Veteran rock singer Mel Degen has picked up a few tricks during his six decades in the music business. None is more important than marketing and name recognition.
In the past few years Degen has performed throughout the region under the banner of 63 Street Band along with Del Chadwick (bass), John Hanker (lead guitar), Clay White (drummer) and Al Magee (piano-sax).
He’s played with the same group of guys since first launching his career in 1965 as the A&W Lords, one of the hottest local rock and roll bands of the era.
As a name, the 63 Street Band is a funky tag. But his silver-haired fans from the ’60s still remember him from The Lords.
Come Saturday, Oct. 12, at LB’s Pub, the five-piece will play their last gig under the moniker 63 Street Band before switching back to The Lords.
“My fans know me better from the A&W Lords. It’s a more sellable property and we did record with Los Angeles Capitol Records as The Lords,” said Degen.
The original franchise-sponsored Lords erupted onto the ’60s scene after playing on the rooftop of Highlands A&W while teenagers danced in the parking lot. It was controlled rebellion at its finest.
Time never stands still and the teenage band reinvented their sound as The Privilege. By 1971 the rock band was exploring new territory touring Jesus Christ Superstar. Travelling across North America, they performed at big venues such as San Francisco’s Cow Palace and Honolulu International Centre.
“We were the first band in Canada to do it with a symphony. It was actually pretty successful travelling through Canada and the United States,” Degen noted.
LB’s showcase is a more intimate affair, a revisit to the simpler era of rock and roll with tunes such as Richard Harris’ MacArthur Park, Billy Stewart’s Summertime and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls of Fire.
“We like to pick out the popular stuff, but we do changes to update it. We like to use three-part harmonies where the original didn’t have one, and folks seem to like it.”
“We’re out there to have a good time and we hope people will do that to.
LB’s showcase starts at 9 p.m. at 23 Akins Drive. There is no cover charge.