Vocalist and bassist Jay Semko from The Northern Pikes has a lot of Halifax memories. “From the first time we played here in 1986 at Cheers, it’s always been one of mine and the band’s fave cities in Canada,” he says. He recalls playing at the Crazy Horse, Misty Moon, and The Marquee, hanging with Mike Campbell at The Carleton, and countless other snapshots. “I particularly remember an extremely hot, sweaty night at The Marquee where the audience and the band were one for most of the night,” he adds.
Semko and two of his Juno-nominated band mates, drummer Don Schmid and now-Lunenburg-based guitarist Bryan Potvin, are set to return on October 14 for a concert at Casino Nova Scotia. They’re touring as part of a 30th anniversary celebration for their first big-label release Big Blue Sky. The record was a Canadian hit, building the band’s loyal following—still strong three decades later.
If you listen to any rock radio station, you’ve heard former singer and guitarist Merl Bryck’s great vocal work on “Teenland” along with the wit of the Semko written and sung “The Things I Do For Money,” dozens of times. These two staples of Canadian classic rock still get regular airplay. Semko relishes hearing any music he helped create.
“It is still such a thrill to hear any of our songs on the radio,” he says. “I heard ‘Teenland’ yesterday while I was driving around, it feels great to know that we wrote and recorded songs that have lasted this long. We realized the power of a well written song from the day we started.” Semko promises fans that they’ll hear plenty of those classics at the Halifax show: “We’ll be playing the entire Big Blue Sky album for the first set, then an intermission, then a plethora of other Northern Pikes music for the second set.”
And the Pikes may get back on the road next year to mark the 30th anniversary of another the classic Secrets of the Alibi. “We’ll see what happens,” Semko says. “We’re making plans to record late 2018 into 2019 for a release in 2019. I am very excited about making a new album with The Northern Pikes. These guys are my brothers, both personally and professionally, and cool and supernatural things happen when we get together.”