By Steve Newton
Thirty years ago today—on October 27, 1984—Ian Lloyd played the old Georgia Street party palace known as Outlaws. He was performing with his new band, Fast Forward, and doing tunes from their first (and only) album, Living in Fiction.
But more importantly, Lloyd was the funky-voiced guy who sang that awesome 1973 tune “Brother Louie”. You may have heard it more recently as the theme for Louie CK’s TV show, Louie.
It’s the only song I can think of that has a lead guitar vs. strings battle.
I interviewed Lloyd at a local hotel way back when in advance of the Outlaws gig. For all you dozens of hardcore Ian Lloyd fans out there, here’s the story as it appeared in the Oct. 26-Nov. 2 issue of the Georgia Straight newspaper.
Ten years ago a New York band called Stories hit it big on North American singles charts with “Brother Louie”. The song—a cover of Hot Chocolate’s UK hit—made it to No. 1 on Billboard, but despite some fine pop-oriented music on albums like About Us and Travelling Underground, the band soon dissolved and became another candidate for the One Hit Wonder list.A decade later, however, the former singer/bassist for Stories has prepared himself for another shot at rock stardom and chart success. WIth the help of Vancouver producer Bruce Fairbairn [Loverboy, Blue Oyster Cult, Krokus], Ian Lloyd has put together a new band and released a new LP, Living in Fiction. The group, Fast Forward, is at Outlaws cabaret till Saturday, and then heads off on a road tour across Canada and down to the U.S.Living in Fiction is stacked with potential radio hits, several of which were written by local superstar Bryan Adams. The Adams songs are “Play to Win”, “Draw the Line”, “Where Did the Time Go”, and “Tonite”. And Lloyd wanted even more of Adams’ material on the LP.
“Matter of fact,” Ian says, “I almost had ‘Run to You’ on this album. I was really pushing for it, but it didn’t happen. That’s Bryan’s first single, and I know it’s a Top 10 record. I have a great home demo version of it that’ll never be heard by human ears, but my cats love it!”Strangely enough—considering how popular Adams’ tunes are these days—that choice for the first single from Living in Fiction was Lloyd’s version of “What’s It Gonna Take”. It was first covered by southern-rockers Molly Hatchet on their No Guts…No Glory album, but the grinding edge they put on the song has been polished up by Fast Forward. The newer version also employs a gong and a Japanese instrument called a koto, which was treated with a Fairlight synth.
Also included on Living in Fiction is the song “She Broke Your Heart”, a Lloyd composition that first appeared on his post-Stories solo album Goosebumps. It features guitarist Mick Jones and singer Lou Gramm, both of Foreigner, and Peter Gabriel synthesist Larry Fast. It was remixed for the new release by Payola Bob Rock, but is almost identical to the original, the only difference being handclap effects which run throughout the song instead of just in spots.
In their live set, Fast Forward do all of the material on Living in Fiction, a bit from Goosebumps and 3WC, Lloyd’s latest solo album, and new material that “may or may not” show up on the next Fast Forward LP. The band is made up of bassist Jimmy Lowell and synthesist Andrew Kirin—who, like Lloyd, are residents of Manhattan—and Vancouver drummer Ken Chalmers. Swiss guitarist Pat Mahassen, who used to play in the Swiss hard-rock band Krokus.
Bruce Fairbairn, though he’s credited with horns and backing vocals on Living in Fiction, doesn’t appear on stage with the band.
“When we do the next album” says Lloyd, “we’ll incorporate the horn so he has a spot in the show. But for now he’s like our mentor, working out with us live from offstage with the production. And that’s great, because he’s got tremendous ears. And if you look at them,” Ian chuckles, “they’re real big.”
Though he believes that one has to “pretty much live in the present and future,” Ian Lloyd hasn’t turned his back on the track that first brought him recognition with Stories. He still sings “Brother Louie” live.
“It’s like my claim to fame,” he smiles. “And I’m proud of it.”