Nanaimo rockers reunite decades later

Nanaimo band Steelback popular in 1970s and ’80s stages reunion show

A group of friends and musicians – current and former – plan to head back to the summer of ’69, if only for one night.

A band that was a staple on the Nanaimo and B.C. music scenes in the 1970s and 1980s returns for a reunion show at the Port Theatre.

Steelback played for more than a decade, with a dozen musicians coming and going over the years, before calling it quits.

“Bands change personnel so there’s a few incarnations of the band,” said Jim Lynch, an original member who is spearheading the reunion concert.

Lynch, who played in the band for two years, said the musicians were all members of Nanaimo District Secondary School’s classes of 1974-75.

It was the quintessential band for a group of youth, epitomized by Bryan Adams’s classic tune Summer of ’69, a song about the carefree days of youth playing music.

Brad Ney was a member, and the boys – Lynch, Rob Gawthrop, Mike Roley, Jim Wesley, Dennis Hill and Glen Duly – gathered at the late mayor Frank Ney’s house for practice. Their first gig was at the Patricia Hotel.

“We always had a pretty good work ethic,” Lynch said.

The band headed to Vancouver and became part of a provincewide tour that saw bands spend a week in different communities as part of a circuit.

“Steelback was one of the top bands for 10 years,” Lynch said.

The idea to play together again came during the graduating class’s 35-year high school reunion. A couple of gigs, including one at the Moose Hall, brought back lots of good memories for the crew.

“It was really  nice to play with the guys again,” Lynch said. “We were like a family – we worked really hard together for a number of years.”

Almost a dozen musicians plan to rotate through the band as it plays songs from its era at the Port Theatre July 27.

Also planning to attend and perform are Gary Cayer, Terry Ruth, Gordie Allen, Michael Toth and Gerry Pool.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets $20.

Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com for more information.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com