Harry Hess, Pete
Lesperance, Barry Donaghy & Creighton Doane – simply Harem
Scarem belongs in the Champions League of Hard Rock in my humble
opinion. They have been releasing outstanding hard rock albums
for more than a decade now, and somehow haven’t managed to get
their name across outside their native of Canada and gaining a
strong underground following in Europe. Loaded with a brand new
– and once more great – album they try once more, this time with
another approach to things. We have investigated a bit...
As a big fan, I think this release once more proves that you
belong among the best hard rock bands around at the moment. I
feel you are going a bit back to your roots with this one, it’s
not as experimental as “Overload” was – do you agree on this
assessment? And why did you choose this direction with this
Pete Lesperance –
Thanks very much for the kind words and
yes we had a definite direction in mind when we started making
We really split our fan base on the last record some liked it
some didn’t and when we started writing for the new one we made
a conscious decision to make the record for fans of the old
school Scarem sound.
releasing this album on your own, working with various
distributors (NL Distribution in Europe). Why this approach to
things, and what do you hope to gain by taking more control over
Pete Lesperance – It just felt like
time to try something new.
We still have our label Avalon/Marquee in Japan but for the rest
of the world the record is totally independent.
That’s not to say that we won’t end up on a label again but we
thought it would be the perfect time to try doing most of our
business on the internet including selling the CD directly from
One of many
highlights on the album to me is the Queen inspired "Give Love /
Get Love", and I am sure Queen has been a huge influence on you
growing up, but what else has inspired you?
Pete Lesperance – Harry and I have
always been huge Queen fans and when Harry wrote this track we
knew it was going to be a homage to them so we pulled out all
brought some very unique rock/metal acts: VoiVod, Rush, Triumph,
Annihilator on one hand, but has also always had a strong
melodic rock scene with bands like Saga, Alanis Morisette and
Bryan Adams on the other. I am sure that can be said for most
countries, but do you think there a reason to this contrast? And
how do you feel you fit into the mix, is there a small niche for
you as well?
Pete Lesperance – Harem Scarem (or
Rubber at one time) has always just followed its own path and we
always did what we wanted musically but the most important thing
to us regardless of the musical style has always been the song
writing so I suppose we fall more into the melodic rock side
then the metal side.
What do you
consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Harem
Scarem, not necessarily sales wise? What are the strengths and
where can Harem Scarem improve?
Pete Lesperance – I feel that our
biggest accomplishment has to be surviving in this industry for
We always try and deliver good quality records to the fans of
this kind of music.
I suppose and area to improve on could be our live presence, as
we really don’t get the chance to play that often.
How did you get
the name Harem Scarem, is there some story behind?
Pete Lesperance – Harem Scarem was
the name of one of the first Bugs Bunny cartoons ever made.
I know you are
a force to be reckoned with live, do you have any immediate
touring plans? Any chance we might be catching up with you on
the European Festival scenes this summer?
Pete Lesperance – We are starting
to speak to some promoters now and with any luck there will be
some European dates in late spring /early summer.
I was wondering
– could you name an album, person or event that has had a huge
influence on your life - and why?
Pete Lesperance – Early on my
biggest influence as a guitarist was Randy Rhoades and I still
remember in 1982 when he died in a plane crash.
Considering that I didn’t know him personally his death had an
effect on me and I still think of the moment I heard the tragic
news to this day.
albums would you bring on your iPod to a deserted island?
Pete Lesperance –
“Just Enough Education to Perform”
The Beatles -
Queen - “A
Night at the Opera”
have put a big smile on you face and has made you bang your head
Pete Lesperance – “The Black
Parade” by My Chemical Romance was probably my favourite rock
record of the year.
I thank you
very much for participating in this interview and sharing this
information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are
entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off
Pete Lesperance – I’d just like to
thank anyone that has supported Harem Scarem over the years and
I hope you like the new record!
Hope to see you
all on tour soon!