Johnnie Dee formed the first incarnation of Honeymoon Suite in Toronto in 1981,
with original drummer Mike Lengyell, and established the nucleus of the band. They
added 3 other players to roundout the lineup with bass, keyboards and guitar.They
worked hard in that first year but the lineup was short lived and changes were already
in the air. In 1982, Johnnie was introduced to Derry Grehan by manager Steve Prendergast.
Deciding to work together, they re-formed Honeymoon Suite adding Ray Coburn on keys
and then rehan's former Steve Blimkie and the Reason bandmate Dave Betts on drums.
IIn 1983 they decided to enter the Homegrown Contest put on yearly by Toronto's
Q107-FM radio station so Prendergast approached his friend and producer Tom Treumuth
to produce a song for them. Based on the buying public's response, New Girl Now
won the contest and Bob Roper at WEA Canada was so impressed with the song and response
that he signed the band right away.
Although a session player named Brian Brackstone played bass on the album, the band
soon found themselves a permanent bassist in ex-Toronto member Gary Lalonde. Originally
scheduled for release on Valentines Day, the milestone first album was released
in June of 1984.
Throughout 1983 and 1984 Honeymoon Suite toured Canada and the US, consistently
headlining club gigs and opening for such acts as Billy Idol, April Wine, Laura
Branigan, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, and Bryan Adams. In 1984 the band was nominated
for the 'Most Promising Group' Juno Award but did not win.
Propelled by the success of more singles from the album, 1985 saw the band begin
to headline gigs throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. A highlight was the
presentation of an award at the 1985 Junos. By this time the first album had achieved
platinum sales status. Almost 22 years later the album has now sold close to 400,000
units in Canada alone.
Honeymoon Suites second album was released on Valentine's Day 1986. 'The Big Prize'
featured a rare appearance by Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. It went platinum in Canada
almost immediately and started selling steadily in the US. Tours in the States that
year included opening stints for Heart, .38 Special, ZZ Top, Journey, Starship,
and Saga. The band also headlined a sold-out show at the Kingswood Music Theatre
just north of Toronto. Ray Coburn left and was replaced by Toronto whiz-kid keyboardist
Rob Preuss (formerly of the Spoons). 1986 also saw the band win a gold award for
'Best Live Act' at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, the 'Group Of The Year'
Juno and headline more dates in both Canada and some northern States
For album number three, the band went to Los Angeles in the winter of 1987 to record
with Ted Templeman (Little Feat, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen), and while there
Dee was hit by a car at L.A.X. airport breaking his leg in several places and requiring
surgery for a ten inch pin to help the leg heal properly. While recovering in hospital,
Doobie Brother Michael McDonald was brought in to help out with the recording sessions;
he wrote lyrics and sang back up on one song. The results of all the hard work was
'Racing After Midnight', a slightly harder-edged more guitar oriented album that
spawned a European tour with Status Quo and a headlining tour of Canada - but little
interest from the US.
Problems then surfaced with long-time management Head Office and after the group
left the fold, keyboardist Ray Coburn returned to the band in time for WEA to release
a 'best-of' compilation in 1989. Betts and Lalonde then took their leave and Coburn,
Dee and Grehan began writing together again.
The trio returned to the studio in 1990 to craft 'Monsters Under The Bed' with Paul
Northfield producing. The album featured Steve Webster ( from Billy Idol's band)
on bass and Jorn Anderson on drums. Singles like "Say You Don't Know Me" and "The
Road" did well in Canada but once again failed to make a dent in the US. They'd
had songs played on TV's 'Miami Vice' and songs on two movie soundtracks ('Lethal
Weapon II' and 'One Crazy Summer') and had won awards. Things were in perspective
Lemon Tongue was released in Canada in 2001 on Bullseye Records and the Frontiers
label in Europe."
A best of album was released on Warner in Canada as part of their Essentials series.
A new best of Honeymoon Suite DVD featuring all their videos and live concert footage
is also in the works however no release date has been given.
Noteable Entertainment & Events is a Vancouver based booking agency
, party rental, entertainment services and event production
company. If you are interested in booking Honeymoon Suite please contact us