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Spoons performing at the 2008 Friendship Festival in Fort Erie, Ontario
|Also known as||The Spoons|
|Origin||Burlington, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||New wave, synthpop|
|Years active||1979-1990s; 2006-Present|
|Labels||Universal, MapleMusic, Ready, Anthem, A&M, Mercury|
|Past members||Rob Preuss
Spoons are a Canadian new wave synthpop band, formed in 1979 in Burlington, Ontario. They recorded several Canadian chart hits between 1982 and 1989, and in 1983, they won Group of the Year at the U-Know awards. Their most popular songs include "Romantic Traffic", "Nova Heart", "Old Emotions" and "Tell No Lies".
Spoons was formed in Burlington, Ontario in 1979. The band initially consisted of Gordon Deppe (lead vocals and guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals and bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synths) and Peter Shepherd (drums). Deppe, Horne and Wickens attended Aldershot High School, and Deppe and Horne (the only constant members of the band) dated in high school.
In late 1979, Shepherd left the band and was replaced by Derrick Ross on drums. Spoons then released an independent single, "After the Institution", in 1980 on Mannequin Records, produced by the band and former member Shepherd. Shortly thereafter, Wickens left the band to release an electronica album as part of the duo Ceramic Hello, also on Mannequin Records, and later became a graphic designer designing album covers for such artists as Peter Gabriel. He was replaced by keyboardist Rob Preuss, who was only fifteen when he joined Spoons.
The following year, Spoons released their breakthrough album Arias & Symphonies. This album spawned three Top 40 hits in Canada: "Nova Heart", "Arias & Symphonies", and "Smiling in Winter". All were dance-oriented new wave hits.
Spoons' 1983 album, Talkback was produced by Nile Rodgers. Rodgers had been approached to produce tracks for Culture Club, but after seeing them in concert, he was unimpressed with that band's reliance on backing tapes — he was, however, taken with the Spoons opening set, and elected to produce them instead. The Talkback album included the hit "Old Emotions", but was unissued outside of Canada, a disappointment for the band after working with a producer of Rodgers' international stature.
Following that, the band expanded their sound somewhat, releasing a two-sided hit in 1984 with "Tell No Lies" b/w "Romantic Traffic", both also produced by Rodgers. The upbeat "Tell No Lies" featured a more mainstream pop sound than was customary for Spoons, while "Romantic Traffic" was a downtempo song with adult-oriented radio-friendly leanings that would become the group's most enduring hit. Around this time, the band also signed a six-figure promotional deal with Thrifty's Clothing Stores, a cross-Canada chain, and were featured in the store's radio, TV and print ads.
Both "Tell No Lies" and "Romantic Traffic" later found their way onto the soundtrack for the film Listen To The City, in which Horne was featured in a supporting role. However, Listen To The City was not a Spoons album, as it consisted largely of instrumental music and was credited solely to Gordon Deppe.
In 1985, frustrated at their label's inability to secure international releases for their material, the Spoons acquired new management and left new wave imprint Ready Records, which promptly folded. While shopping around for a new label through late 1985 and early 1986, Preuss and Ross left the Spoons, and were replaced by Scott MacDonald (keyboards) and Steve Kendry (drums), respectively. Finally, the band signed to the more rock-oriented Anthem Records label. Accordingly, Spoons' 1986 single "Bridges Over Borders" marked a departure from their characteristic sound and showcased a harder rock orientation, as did later single "Rodeo".
Both singles appeared on the 1986 Spoons album Bridges Over Borders, but the release was a commercial disaster as it did not chart in the Canadian Top 100, nor did any of the three singles pulled from the LP. The follow-up LP Vertigo Tango reunited the band with Arias & Symphonies producer John Punter, and was a partial return to the band's new wave roots. The album featured the band's final hit single, "Waterline" (1989), a languid, introspective ballad.
Spoons took a break from recording in the 1990s to allow time to focus on family, but Deppe, Horne, and various other players, reunited for several Spoons reunion gigs in the 1990s and into the next decade. In 2007, Spoons released Unexpected Guest at a Cancelled Party, a collection of previously unreleased material recorded between 1982 and 1985 by the Deppe, Horne, Preuss, Ross line-up.
In 2008, Limited Edition was released. It is a greatest-hits of sorts and was released on the Ready Records Imprint to replace the out-of-print Collectible Spoons.
The band continues to play occasional shows in the Toronto and Hamilton area. In 2010 at the Woodbine Park Summerfest for Vinyl 95.3, the band released its first new studio work in over 20-years - the double A-Side "Imperfekt/Breaking In" which was limited to 100 copies.
In the Spring of 2010, a Spoons lineup of Deppe & Horne, with producer Jeff Carter, began recording their sixth studio album, Static in Transmission. The first single released from these sessions was the limited-edition "Imperfekt" b/w "Breaking In". Only a few hundred CD singles were released with a few being made available for fans. The release date for Static in Transmission was March 29, 2011. To promote the new album, the band toured with Casey MQ on keyboards and Chris McNeill on drums.
On Canada Day 2012, Spoons once again performed at Woodbine Park for Vinyl 95.3's Red, White and Vinyl event. Their newest CD EP marking 30 Years of "Nova Heart" was made available.
In August 2012, the Spoons headlined the Spirit of the Eighties fundraiser concert in Lewiston, NY. They enjoyed their reception so much, that they returned to the festival the following August and shared the headline with Images In Vogue.
On November 13, 2012 Spoons released the 30th Anniversary Edition of their Arias and Symphonies album. This is available in a CD format and in a digital format through iTunes.
In November and December 2012, Spoons played a series of shows with Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross, reuniting temporarily the classic 1980s line-up.
- has a pop rock trio called Five Star Fall.
- his band "The Lost Boys" routinely play the Ivy Arms in Milton, Ontario, Shakespeare Arms in Guelph, and the various Bier Markt locations in Toronto.
- was a programmer for the 1980s music channel on Galaxie digital radio.
- played with Honeymoon Suite on their Racing After Midnight album.
- is the Associate Musical Director for Mamma Mia! at the Wintergarden Theater in New York City.
- collaborated with Kinetic Ideals, Andy McCluskey of OMD, Jah Wobble, William Orbit, Peter Hook of New Order and Martha Ladly.
- has done album cover design work with Peter Saville Associates.
- is a partner in the San Francisco design firm, Ammunition.
- worked with a subsidiary record label owned by EMI Music Canada.
- became Vice President of EMI Music Canada.
- taught middle school science in Hamilton, Ontario from 1998 until 2001.
- resides in Asia with his wife and two children, and teaches in United World College South East Asia Singapore East.
|1980||"After the Institution"||—||Non-album song|
|1982||"Nova Heart"||40||Arias & Symphonies|
|"Arias & Symphonies"||18|
|"Smiling in Winter"||30|
|"Tell No Lies"||34||Listen to the City|
|1986||"Bridges Over Borders"||—||Bridges Over Borders|
|"Be Alone Tonight"||—|
|1988||"When Time Turns Around"||68||Vertigo Tango|
|"Sooner or Later"||—|
|2010||"Imperfekt"||—||Static in Transmission|
|2011||"You Light Up"||—|
- Stick Figure Neighbourhood (1981)
- Arias & Symphonies (1982)
- Talkback (1983)
- Bridges Over Borders (1986)
- Vertigo Tango (1988)
- Static in Transmission (March 29, 2011)
- Listen To The City (1984, Gordon Deppe; two tracks by Spoons)
- Collectible Spoons (1994, greatest hits)
- Unexpected Guest at a Cancelled Party (2007; previously unreleased material recorded 1983-85)
- Limited Edition (2008, greatest hits to replace Collectible Spoons)
- Nova Heart 30th Anniversary EP (March 26, 2012)
- Arias & Symphonies 30th Anniversary Edition (November 13, 2012)
- Spoons Live in Concert (Toronto 1982 & Montreal 1984) (September 12, 2006)