The DesertersThe Deserters

The Toronto Sun, Tuesday March 29, 1983

Deserter's Rockin' Return

The Deserters
DESERTERS drummer, Canadian Henry DiClemente, deserts his post with considerable style last night in his exuberance. Guitarist Kenny MacLean takes care of business at last night's Massey Hall concert.

     Now out: A punchy post-wave pop album called Siberian Nightlife. it was recorded in Hollywood by a Scots guitarist named Kenny MacLean, a British bassist named Chris Gibb, an Italian-Canadian drummer named Henry DiClemente, and the new boy, a Yankee keyboard player Greg Stephens.Wilder Penfield III
     Together, they call themselves
The Deserters, and last night at Massey Hall, they were playing a concert in what, for want of a better term, they call their home town.
     Toronto can be proud. Enthusiastic, anyway. The show , added a mere fortnight ago when this coming Thursday's event was sold out, drew almost 2,400 fans.
     Where before they reminded reviewers of Squeeze or The Police (the latter thanks to an obvious tribute called
Thought Police), today they are more likely to recall the throbbing textures of Ultravox, the anthems of U2, or any number of hit-bound hard rock 'n' rollers.
     But last night's fierce focus suggested that this international outfit will soon be helping secure Toronto's spot on the music map.


     The Deserters were followed by a band called The Stray Cats.

Deserters breaking with Siberian Nightlife
Peter Martin
RPM April 2,1983

The DesertersCapitol Records have just released the Deserters' album titled Siberian Nightlife. Produced by John Carter, the LP was recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. As a bit of trivia, Carter was the co-author of the 1967 psychedelic classic Incense and Peppermints by the Strawberry Alarm Clock and also produced the Deserters' self-titled debut album, which yielded the singles No Time For Talking, Take It Away and the critically-acclaimed Alien, a single which probably received more airplay in the U.S. than Canada.

The Deserters are presently on a short Canadian tour in support of the new LP as the opening act for another Capitol group, the Stray Cats. Dates include their opener in Kitchener (Mar 25), London, Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto.

Siberian Nightlife features 10 new tracks including a version of the Chris Spedding composition, Wild Wild Women and a Carter contributed lyric on Dancing On The Ceiling. The rest of the material was penned by the band members. The single release from the album hasn't been decided at press time.

The Deserters were born in 1981 as a trio comprising bassist-vocalist Chris Gibb, guitarist-vocalist Kenny MacLean, and drummer Henry DiClemente. MacLean hails from Scotland, DiClemente from Canada and Gibb from England.

The band's most recent addition is U.S. born keyboardist Greg Stephens who can also be heard on the new LP. Stephens is a former member of the Toronto group, The Fictions. Before the birth of the Deserters, MacLean had played with the Hairdressers, DiClemente with the Meat Packers and Gibb with the Roadies.

MacLean explained that the band came together accidentally at a local Toronto bar, although they had been aware of each other through the Toronto music circle.

"The press were calling us the Canadian Police because we were a three-piece band," said Gibb. "The addition of keyboards is a step forward for us."

"It's made a definite difference in the band's sound," MacLean noted. "I listened to the recording of our live broadcast and it was nice to hear the keyboards." MacLean believes the new LP contains a much better production.

RPM asked Gibb and MacLean why they chose Canada.

"I had become fed up with England," said Gibb.

"I was looking for adventure," said MacLean. "If you had lived in England or Scotland you'd know why we came. The reason we all met in Toronto was mainly because we hung out at the same places."

Explaining the Canadian and U.S. interest in British acts, MacLean pointed out that it's the same case in any country.

"England looks towards U.S. and Canadian bands," he said. "Over there they really dig Canadian acts."

MacLean said that they had originally intended to record in Canada at Le Studio but that it was busy. He pointed out that although it's more expensive for the band to travel to America to record, they were offered a good deal with Capitol Studios.

"When we recorded and released our first album we really had to play a lot to sell records,"said Gibb. "This time the fans just went ought and bought it without hearing it. This album stands up for itself. We received a good response on the first LP but didn't sell many records."

"The one question we get asked the most is who we sound like," said MacLean. "Everybody of the street will ask us what kind of music we do. They want comparison. Everybody sounds a bit like somebody."

"I used to think the music scene in Canada was small and narrow-minded but it's not like that at all,"said Gibb. "I think Rush has done a lot for Canada. There is a Canadian identity with bands like the Spoons and Nash The Slash."

"The music coming from Canada is getting a hell of a lot better, " MacLean said. "Canadians still look towards Britain for music but they don't look at home. Maybe it's because no one's doing anything at home. There's some good bands here but they still have to go elsewhere to make it. Just look at the Stray Cats, they had to leave the U.S. and go to England to make it."

Gibb admitted to at first being worried about being billed with the Stray Cats because of the difference in the music.

"I was worried at first but the crowd's a young one and I think it's a good match. They don't want to hear a rockabilly band open up."

After the short Canadian tour, plans are for U.S. dates, but MacLean noted they have to get their visas straightened out first. "Everytime we cross the border we get hassled," he said.

Meanwhile, Surf II, a Hollywood movie due for a June release, will be featuring the Deserters' instrumental A.W. O. L. from the first album.

Set list