Culture Club may have produced the first album I ever bought, but this band is the first I was truly a fan of. Sadly the embarrassment factor doesn’t diminish a great deal by this fact. A good Canadian boy, I loved hockey, wore a toque, and loved the latest CanCon bands getting too much radio play. Unlike most other good Canadian boys (and most definitely Canadian girls), that did not include Platinum Blonde. I preferred leather jackets to bleached blonde, hair-sprayed hair on my bands, thank you very much.
I recall there being an inkling of clique warfare developing in our small town Kindergarten to Grade 8 elementary school over who was part of the Platinum Blonde fandom and who was, more sensibly and far coolerly, part of the Honeymoon Suite fandom. I, of course, was the most vocal proponent of the latter. I also suspect I might have been a faction of one with perhaps a couple close friends playing along out of sense of duty…or pity. Such is the kindness that could be found in children not yet fully versed in the nasty rules of tribalism that would come in high school.
I loved Honeymoon Suite. Their debut album was one of the first I ever purchased and I listened to it daily. It was the first album where I started listening to B side material and loving it just as much as the A side hits getting all the airplay. So much so, I would even call the local radio station requesting the self-determined B side gems thinking I could help broaden the musical knowledge of the station’s music director by revealing additional greatness to share with their sadly ignorant listening audience. I wasn’t particularly knowledgeable of the inner workings of the recording industry back in those glory days before MP3s and P2Ps bitchslapped the entire industry.
Buying Albums Based on Band Alone
Honeymoon Suite also marked the first time I purchased a new release without ever hearing a song from it. This was a big leap for a guy like me who even as a kid was very conservative with my money. But the very day Honeymoon Suite released their sophomore effort, The Big Prize, I was at the record store buying a copy. I did so despite the sudden panic that overcame me as I perused the album cover and found the once studded leather dressed band members outfitted in New Wave garb and big hair-sprayed hairdos. I’ve rarely bought sound unheard since.
That sophomore album was alright. There’s even a guest appearance by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame, along with his flute, but it paled compared to the debut album. Ironically, the second album was a bigger hit which only strengthened my resolve of being Honeymoon Suite’s first superfan. After all, I knew what the band was really about, long before the stylists and promoters got a hold of them.
That first album is a gem. Sure it’s a little dated now and the songs are hardly legendary, but I still think it’s great. And some of that B side material really is interesting; “Funny Business” was a favourite I kept trying to get played on the radio. I’d happily accept your argument that “Stay In The Light” or “Burning In Love” is a better song, and “Wave Babies” was more fun, at least when watching the video, but this was the song that drew me in to the Honeymoon Suite experience. I can still remember lying in bed at night, lights out, listening to the radio and hoping to hear this song over and over and over again.
About fifteen years ago, while courting my wife, Honeymoon Suite toured through Calgary and she, I, and a bunch of her friends went to see them at The Back Alley, a dingy local rock club. I had never seen them live before. It was a crazy night sitting there seeing a band I loved when I was twelve and remembering all the words to all their hit songs. I didn’t throw my underwear on stage, but I sure had a great time.
So in honour of my upcoming 44th birthday, I’m kicking off the weekend with an homage to my naïve, goofy youth and the song that triggered my first band lover affair. From their self-titled debut album released in 1984, this is “New Girl Now” by Honeymoon Suite.