A timely tribute

Sally Cole scole@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on April 15, 2011
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.




Back at the studio where he is working on songs, Birt wonders what Sunday’s awards ceremony will be like.

“I’m kind of nervous . . . . Getting up on stage and not having a guitar. What am I going to do?” he says.

Rashed looks at his band mate and smiles.

“If you see Marvin grabbing Ashley MacIsaac’s fiddle, you know that we’ll be in a lot of trouble . . . . He doesn’t play the fiddle.”



Haywire history

Haywire was formed in 1981 by Dave Rashed, Paul MacAusland, Marvin Birt and Ronnie Switzer (with original drummer Scott Roberts) in Charlottetown.

The next drummer was Ron LeBlanc. He was replaced by Matt Cole in 1984. Sean Kilbride replaced Cole in 1985, who has been with the band ever since.

In 1984, Haywire won first prize in the Q104 Homegrown Contest — a chance to record a single. Instead, Haywire invested its own money and recorded a five-track EP, entitled Haywire.

In early 1985, Haywire performed in Labatt's Battle of the Bands in Saint John and again won first prize, $10,000. The prize money was used to record more material for the five-track EP. When it was released in 1985, all 5,000 copies were sold.

After shopping their EP around, they finally signed a five-album contract deal with Attic Records in 1986. Later that year, the band’s first full-length album, Bad Boys, was released. Three Top 40 hits came from the album: Bad Bad Boy, Standin’ In Line and Shot in the Dark. Bad Boys sold 100,000 copies and went certified platinum in Canada.

Haywire went back into the studio in early 1987 to record Don’t Just Stand There. Within four months of its release, it went certified gold in Canada. Don't Just Stand There spawned the band's first Top 20 hit, Dance Desire.

Later in the year, Haywire represented Canada in the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo.

In 1990 the new album, Nuthouse, was released. It featured a new sound for Haywire, a harder guitar-oriented sound. Nuthouse eventually went certified gold in Canada.

In 1992, Haywire released its fourth and final album, Get Off.

In 1993, Attic Records released a Haywire greatest hits CD, called Wired — The Best of, which fulfilled the contractual obligations of the label.

In 1999, Haywire welcomed fans at its comeback concert on New Year's Eve.Source: http: haywirecomeback.tripod.com.