|Loverboy is, from left: Paul Dean, Matt Frenette, Mike Reno, Ken Sinnaeve and Doug Johnson.|
"I'll give Mick Jagger a call and I'll ask him his opinion," he said. Like Jagger (69), Reno shows no signs of slowing down. After more than 30 years with Loverboy, he's still enjoying himself immensely.
And why not?
Born in New Westminster, Reno, 57, spent much of his formative years in the South Okanagan, graduating from Penticton High School. But looking back, he admitted he never thought he'd be able to forge a career in a business as competitive as music.
"I never imagined when I was writing these songs, or banging away in the garage in the early years down in Penticton when
I had bands together, that I'd still be doing it," he said.
"I never really though that far ahead," he added. "When you're a kid, you kind of think about the end of the day, rather than the end of the career."
Over the past three-plus decades, though, with the exception of a three-year stretch from 1988-91, Reno and the band have been rocking audiences everywhere with their easily accessible sound. Their big commercial successes came in the '80s, when they charted with hits such as Turn Me Loose, The Kid is Hot Tonight, Working for the Weekend, Hot Girls in Love, Lovin' Every Minute of It and Heaven in Your Eyes. However, they've never really left the airwaves, or popular consciousness for that matter.
With the release of their latest CD, Rock 'n' Roll Revival earlier this year, which included re-recorded versions of their hits along with three new originals recorded with Bob Rock as producer, the band is on the road again. They will perform in Kelowna at Prospera Place, along with Journey and Night Ranger on Saturday.
The band formed in Calgary in 1979, when Reno was introduced to guitarist Paul Dean at a club and later impressed him with his vocals during a jam session. They made their live debut in Vancouver in 1979, when they opened for KISS, but despite initial success, the big U.S. record labels shunned them.
They did however, manage to ink a deal with Columbia Records in Canada, and in spring of 1980, went into the studio with producer Bruce Fairbairn and engineer Bob Rock to work on their first album.
That release, Loverboy, became a hit, ending up selling some two million copies, and launched the band's career. They hit the road, with as fate would have it, Journey, and have been road warriors ever since. Rock engineered the bands first three releases, and would end up becoming a much sought-after record producer.
"He's actually responsible for bringing what we are as a group," said Reno. "We started something 32 years ago."
They won an unprecedented six Juno awards for their 1982 release Get Lucky - the one with those infamous red leather pants on the cover - and have sold a bucket load of singles.
Inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2009, Loverboy is today made up of original members, Reno, Dean, Doug Johnson (keyboards) and Matt Frenette (drums), with the addition of Ken "Spider" Sinnaeve, who replaced bassist Scott Smith who died in a marine accident in 2000.
In the intervening decades, the band has kept at it, getting out on the road and playing what they do best, straight ahead rock with enough hooks to hang a closetful of leather jackets on.
After those heady early days, fuelled by booze and other indulgences, Reno recently decided to clean up his act, dropping more than a few kilos and getting back into shape.
"You don't concentrate on things sometimes and keep track of where you're at," he said. "And I kind of looked down and realized I was 40 pounds overweight, so I decided to pay attention to what I was doing and get back in the groove.
"You fall into habits, but I never really had a problem making the changes and I feel good I did. For me, it made me appreciate all the things I have, the friends I have and the family I have â€¦ it brought me right back to the ground."
And the new Reno said he's able to enjoy the road just as much as before, and it's helped his voice remain strong, especially when he's on the road night after night.
"There's less hangovers," he said. "You start to remember some of the things.
"But everything's been amazing," said Reno from a mid-tour break in the Midwest U.S. "People have been coming early to the shows to make sure they don't miss our show. They've been responding by standing up the whole set, too.
"Night after night, In itself, that's an extraordinary feeling for us," said Reno. "People just love these songs."
He's called Vancouver home for most of three decades now, and only gets up to the Okanagan for short visits with family when he's able to take break from the music business. The Valley clearly made an impression on Reno many years ago, and if not for rock 'n' roll, the Loverboy singer might have had a different life otherwise.
"I'd probably be a plumber," he said of an alternate career choice. "And I'd have a nice cabin on Okanagan Lake."
Who: Journey, with guests Night Ranger and Loverboy in concert
When: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Where: Prospera Place, 1223 Water St., Kelowna
Tickets: $79.50 to $99.50. Available at the box office, online at selectyourtickets.com, or by calling 250-762-5050.