Brutus (Canadian band)

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Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Rock
Years active 1969–1971, 1973–1978
Labels Quality Records
Associated acts Moxy
Cameo Blues Band
Members Walter Zwolinski, Tom Wilson, Michael Magann, Lance Wright, Sonny Wingay, Bill Rob
Past members Bill Wade, Gino Scarpelli

Brutus was a Canadian rock band formed in 1969 and active, with interruptions, between 1969 and 1978.


The original band consisted of Walter Zwolinski (then billed as "Wally Soul") as vocalist, Tom Wilson as bassist, Michael Magann on trumpet, Lance Wright on drums, Eldon "Sonny" Wingay on guitar, and Bill Robb on sax and trombone. They were the openers for popular Canadian and American acts that were touring Canada, such as The Guess Who and for Chicago at the University Of Waterloo.Their 1970 single "Funky Roller Skates" made it to #7 on RPM's list of Canadian Content songs receiving airplay, although the track did not cross over into the top 100. They were sometimes billed as Brutus and the Assassins (a nod to another Toronto group, Little Caesar and the Consuls).

Brutus disbanded in 1971, then reformed with a revised line-up and new look in 1973. They decided to add a theatrical flair to their stage act, similar to the glam rock bands that were popular in Britain during the same time. With a mixture of heavy makeup, wild costumes, and sexual innuendo, Brutus became popular live, but found few friends with the local authorities or concert organizers. Their live performances reached a pinnacle with a sold out show at Toronto's Ontario Place.

The new Brutus lineup recorded two singles on GRT Records in 1975, with "Ooh, Mama Mama" becoming perhaps in retrospect their most remembered recording—although it failed to chart, it was named top Canadian single in an end-of-year poll by the Montreal Star. Their debut album would follow in 1976, featuring the group's #65 chart hit "Who Wants To Buy A Song", but only one further (non-charting) single would follow before they disbanded.

Four notable guitarists associated with Brutus were Gino Scarpelli, later of Goddo, Paul Dean, later of Streetheart and Loverboy, Jerry Doucette, who has had a distinguished solo career, and John Bride, later of the Cameo Blues Band.



  • 1970 "Funky Roller Skates" / "Flyer" (Quality)
  • 1970 "Duck Pond" (Quality)
  • 1971 "Help Me, Free Me" (Yorkville)
  • 1975 "(Let Me Down) Slow And Easy" / "Tonight, Tonight" (GRT)
  • 1975 "Ooh Mama Mama" / "Ride Cowboy Ride" (GRT)
  • 1976 "Who Wants To Buy A Song" (GRT)
  • 1976 "Ooh Mama Mama" (Pye - UK)
  • 1976 "Sailing" / "Search For Tomorrow" (GRT)


  • 1976 Brutus (GRT)
  • 2000 For The People: The Best of Brutus (Bullseye)


  • Walter Zwolinski (lead vocals, organ, synths)
  • Sandy White (bass)
  • Eldon "Sonny" Wingay (guitar)
  • Bill Robb (sax, trombone)
  • Michael Magann (trumpet)
  • Lance Wright (drums; 1969–1970; 1972–1973)
  • Len Sembaluk (drums; 1971)
  • Bruce Gordon (trumpet, organ, guitar, bass; replaced Magann)
  • Danny Smith (drums; replaced Sembaluk 1973-1978)
  • John Bride (guitar, banjo, ukulele)
  • Frank Ludwig (keyboards; 1975)
  • Dennis Pinhorn (bass; 1975)
  • Doni Underhill (bass; replaced Pinhorn 1975-1976)
  • Chris Brockway (bass; replaced Underhill 1976-1977)
  • Woody West (guitars)
  • Laurie Del Grande (piano, organ, synths)
  • Dave Breckles (drums)
  • Breen LeBoeuf (bass, vocals)
  • Paul Dean (guitar)
  • Bill Wade (drums)
  • Gino Scarpelli (guitar)
  • Jerry Doucette (guitar)