A timely tribute

Sally Cole
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Haywire members Marvin Birt, left, and David Rashed take a break from songwriting. The two are working on material for the band's new album. They expect to try them out on their fellow band members when they arrive in Charlottetown this week to attend the 2011 ECMA Gala awards show in Charlottetown. Haywire will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday night.

When David Rashed got a call from ECMA export manager Shelley Nordstrom telling him that his band, Haywire, was going to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 ECMA Gala awards show in Charlottetown on April 17, he was thrilled.

“It was just a blast to get the news,” says the band’s keyboard player.

Then when she asked if band members were willing to play a 25-minute set, during what has come to be known as the after party, he was overjoyed.

Immediately, memories started flooding back to him.

“It’s fantastic. It’s what we love to do. Anytime we regroup to do a show, it’s really great,” says Rashed.

The ECMA gig is the second time in recent years that Haywire, comprised of Paul MacAusland, vocals; Marvin Birt, guitar; Ronnie Switzer, bass; Sean Kilbride, drums; and Rashed have found themselves being called to the podium for their contribution to Canadian music.

In 2006, they received a lifetime achievement award during the Music P.E.I. Awards.

“That award was really special . . . . But what’s really neat with this one is the timing. Marvin and I are currently writing new songs and getting ready to record a new CD in the next few months,” says Rashed.

Birt enjoys the creative process.

“During our brainstorming sessions, there are no rules. We look at each other and say, ‘What do you think of this? What do you think of that?’ Then Dave and I sit back and listen to the stuff we’ve recorded.

“For the songs to work they must have heat,” he says.

Their reason for creating a new chapter in the Haywire songbook is demand.

“If I had a dollar for every time someone walked up to me and asked, ‘when are you guys going to do a new record?’ I’d be a millionaire,” laughs Birt.

“Because the fans have been asking for new music, we want to give them something,” he says.

So with some band members living off-Island, the ECMA reunion is a great opportunity for the band to get together and listen to some of the new material.

“The thing about writing songs is the band has a unique sound. With Paul’s singing, Marvin’s playing and Sean’s drumming, everyone puts a stamp on it. Right now they are just songs that we really like that could fit various artists. But it’s not until the band actually comes together to play them that they become Haywire songs,” says Rashed.

Fans can expect the songs to be “a little bit of everything, including some rock, some pop and a couple of ballads,” although no titles have been assigned as of yet.

“We’re in that development stage, so things can change. For instance, when we were working on the hit, Dance Desire, it was called Chase the Fire until the very last week,” he says.

Nordstrum, who nominated the band for the award, is delighted to hear that Haywire is preparing to record another album.

“I’m very, very excited that they’re working on new material and I’m looking forward to hearing it as soon as possible,” says Nordstrum, who continues to sing the band’s praises.

“In the 1980s, before there was an East Coast Music Association, members of Haywire were P.E.I.’s rock ‘n’ roll pioneers. They achieved national and international recognition and helped forge a path for the next generation of musicians,” she says.



Organizations: East Coast Music Association, Labatt

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Canada, Iceland Saint John Tokyo

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Recent comments

  • TJ
    April 15, 2011 - 13:14

    I agree.....these guys are a great band!!!! Their sound, style, and music is awesome.....loved the music back in the day and can't wait for new stuff!

  • PEI Gurl
    PEI Gurl
    April 15, 2011 - 11:42

    Sitting here after reading this story, I have goosebumps and an overwhelming feeling of excitement :) I've known the boys since 1985 (with the help of Dave's mom & close friend Ila who used to run the record store in the mall), Haywire was a major part of my life growing up in Mt. Stewart. There are so many memories that I could share and will always hold close to my heart! These guys are amazing, both as a band and as friends. I have a feeling of pride knowing they are receiving this award and being on home turf makes it even more special. Congratulations guys for the much deserved award, you will always be the "Pride of PEI". PS: anxiously awaiting the new tunes .... this is so awesome :)