Infidels (band)

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Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres funk-rock
Years active 1990-1995
Labels IRS Records
Associated acts Alta Moda
Past members Molly Johnson
Norman Orenstein
Washington Savage
Jeff Jones
Owen Tennyson

Infidels were a Canadian funk-rock band in the 1990s.[1]

The band formed in 1990 when Molly Johnson reunited with Norman Orenstein, her partner in the short-lived 1980s band Alta Moda.[2] The duo originally wrote a number of songs that they planned to offer to Candi and the Backbeat,[3] but got an unexpected response after sending them to the Canadian division of IRS Records, Candi's label: president Paul Orescan had been a big fan of Alta Moda, and wanted to sign the duo to record a new album.[3] Considering Alta Moda to be a finished project, Johnson chose the new name as a tribute to the Bob Dylan album Infidels.[4] They added Washington Savage, Jeff Jones and Owen Tennyson to the lineup,[5] and released a self-titled album in 1991.[5]

The single "100 Watt Bulb" peaked at #25 in the RPM charts the week of November 23, 1991,[6] "Celebrate" peaked at #12 the week of February 22, 1992,[7] "Without Love" peaked at #30 in the RPM charts the week of June 6, 1992 and "Shaking" peaked at #68 in the RPM charts the week of September 12, 1992. Despite the chart success of "100 Watt Bulb" and "Celebrate", however, the album was only a modest seller, peaking at #74 in RPM's albums chart the week of February 29, 1992.[8]

The band won the Juno Award for Most Promising Group of the Year at the Juno Awards of 1992.[9] Later the same year, Johnson and Orenstein collaborated with Meryn Cadell on the non-album single "Courage", a song about the environment.[10] Written for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the song was released on a split single with The Razorbacks' "Land for Dreams"[10] and its video was filmed at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.[10]

Beginning in 1993, Johnson established the Kumbaya Festival to raise funds for HIV/AIDS charities.[11]

The band recorded a second album in 1995, but were faced with label difficulties.[12] The label wanted them to change their name, due to the existence of another band of the same name from Youngstown, Ohio, but Johnson and Orenstein resisted since they were already too well-associated with that name in Canada.[2] As well, the label was going through financial difficulties at the time. As a result, Johnson decided to dissolve the band, and the 1995 album has never been released.[13]

Johnson now performs as a jazz singer.[13]


  1. ^ "Molly's funky, jazzy, smoky voice is everywhere". Toronto Star, December 20, 1991.
  2. ^ a b Infidels at Jam!'s Pop Music Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ a b "'Diva of Queen Street' brings band to Kingston". Kingston Whig-Standard, December 13, 1991.
  4. ^ "Johnson plays the infidel". Ottawa Citizen, August 15, 1991.
  5. ^ a b "Pair of musical renegades driving force with Infidels". Ottawa Citizen, October 3, 1991.
  6. ^ Top Singles. RPM (Volume 54, No. 25), November 23, 1991.
  7. ^ Top Singles. RPM (Volume 55, No. 9), February 22, 1992
  8. ^ "Top Albums/CDs". RPM (Volume 55, No. 10), February 29, 1992
  9. ^ "Adams, Cochrane battle for Juno honor". Montreal Gazette, March 30, 1992.
  10. ^ a b c "Video puts environment on charts". Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 1993.
  11. ^ "Switching jazz singer Molly Johnson on and off". The Globe and Mail, November 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "Kumbaya road show hits town". Victoria Times-Colonist, October 2, 1996.
  13. ^ a b "'Another Day' Dawns for Johnson". Billboard, July 20, 2002.