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Glass Tiger embarks on mini-Canadian tour in midst of '80s 'resurgence'

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TORONTO - Glass Tiger frontman Alan Frew says renewed interest in '80s music has been building over the last decade or so and has now turned in to a full-on revival.

"I've been watching it ramp up. ... I've been performing at festivals looking out at the audiences anywhere from 3,000 to 23,000 ... and at least a third or more of the audience couldn't possibly have seen Glass Tiger the first time around," said Frew, who is embarking on a mini-tour with his bandmates.

"If I'm talking to any kids afterwards ... I'll ask them: 'What is it about the '80s?' Some of them will say they're tired of rap, some of them will say they're tired of the dark stuff, some of them just say they just love the way '80s music was really poppy and positive ... so I've been watching this ramp up to this moment where it really seems like it's a resurgence."

It's been 25 years since the release of Glass Tiger's hit debut album "The Thin Red Line," and though the band has since faded from the charts, the Scottish-born Frew never stopped making music.

He co-wrote the ubiquitous Olympic anthem "I Believe," has penned songs with Canadian country crooner Johnny Reid and came up with the Toronto Maple Leafs theme song "Free to Be (This is Canada's Song)."

And he has continued to perform with Glass Tiger, even though some people seem to be under the impression that the band broke up.

"We always get a chuckle when people meet us and say 'Oh you guys are getting back together again' but it's mainly because ... I've kept the number (of shows) down because I was always doing others things so I told our agent, you know, keep it to about 15 shows a years," said Frew.

"So we've been doing (shows) kind of steadily, certainly enough so we feel very much like a band and we're all together. So for us this feels perfectly in sync."

When EMI approached him about doing an album to commemorate the anniversary of "The Thin Red Line," Frew wanted the product to be right.

"I felt it was really important that if we we're going to do it, there had to be something that said: 'these guys are still happening right now.'"

"The Thin Red Line 2CD Anniversary Edition" contains live songs, b-sides, un-released demos, two new tracks and a cover of the Beatles classic "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away."

Frew says his favourite old tune to play in concert is "My Turn," because it reminds him of Scotland and his late father. The biggest fan reaction, not surprisingly, is generated by "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone."

"I Believe," meanwhile, will mostly likely be out of rotation at the next two Olympics. After all, CTV owns the rights to the song and CBC has landed the broadcast rights to the 2014 Winter Games and the 2016 Summer Games.

Still, Frew says he'd consider offers to licence the song somewhere else in the world. And, although some Olympic viewers have complained that they've heard enough of "I Believe," Frew is convinced that at least a few will be missing it when they are watching the next Games.

"I guarantee you that when the CBC are doing their thing you'll get the odd (person saying) aww, I miss 'I Believe.' It will happen."

Glass Tiger's tour was set to kick off Wednesday in Ottawa and wrap up in Vancouver on Sept. 12.

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