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This article was published 3/5/2016 (1364 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Chris Brett will give local music fans a double dose of retro on Saturday night.
The mainstay of the local music scene since the late 1970s will sing and play guitar as Dash and the Dots headline a reunion show at the Pyramid Cabaret on May 7.
Oh, and he’ll also sing back-up and play lead guitar with the opening act, the Cheer.
Neither band has been active for decades — Dash and the Dots played from 1979 to 1983, while the Cheer played its first show at Wellington’s in 1982 and its last show at the West End Cultural Centre seven years later.
Making the double header all the more impressive is Brett is only a year removed from being told he had lung cancer, having invasive surgery and breaking a more than four-decade-long nicotine addiction.
"Just as Dash and the Dots were about to release our record last spring, I found out I had cancer. I’ve had a miraculous recovery from it for a guy who smoked a lot of cigarettes over 43 years. I was lucky to catch it in Stage 1 and I’ve got a new lease on life," he says.
The album is called Morse Code and will be available at the show in both CD and digital format. (The band also had a song, No Sad Refrain, on a homegrown album sponsored by 92 Citi-FM back in its heyday.)
Brett said the reunion would never have taken place without a not-so-subtle nudge from Kevin Walters, the late organizer of the Manitoba Homecoming 2010 spectacle a few years ago.
"We had so much fun doing it and we said, ‘Why don’t we record some of these songs?’ We recorded five or six and we thought they sounded so good so we said, ‘Geez, why don’t we make an album?’" he says.
Brett admits it’s going to be tough generating the energy required to pull off back-to-back shows, but it sure beats the alternative.
"I’m not the lead singer with the Cheer. That’s Lloyd’s (Peterson) job," he says with a laugh.
"We’re lucky enough we can still play a gig in Winnipeg and pull a couple of hundred people out who have fun."
While the six-piece Dash and the Dots have officially reformed, the Cheer, a four-piece band, is looking at Saturday as more of a one-off. Peterson says when Brett — better known in music circles as "CB" — mentioned they wanted a band of a similar vintage to open up, he figured it was time.
"We haven’t done a lot since we broke up. Just two shows," he says.
The Cheer was one of Winnipeg’s most successful bands in the 1980s. They released one album, Swimming to Work, which contained the single, If You Want Something Done, Get a Busy Man To Do It, and a seven-inch single, Shot With Our Own Guns, which was produced by the legendary Bob Rock. The video spent some time in heavy rotation on MuchMusic.
The gig will also be a trip down memory lane for Brett and Peterson, as the Cheer headlined the venue’s opening night when it was known as the Spectrum back in 1987.
"The ’80s were a particularly challenging time for a band like us. We were swimming upstream. The music we wanted to make wasn’t commercially viable and it got harder and harder to keep struggling," Peterson says. "It’s been really fun getting back together with the guys."
As a nod to the bands’ older fans, the show won’t be a late one. The Cheer will hit the stage at about 8:30 p.m.; Dash and the Dots should be on before 10 p.m.
— Geoff Kirbyson
Updated on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 8:07 AM CDT: Phtotos added.
11:54 AM: Photo added, cutline fixed.