TThe Montreal music scene during the seventies was vibrant and exciting, full of cutting-edge experimentation, lead by California-bred The Wackers. After Ernie Earnshaw returned to California and Randy Bishop began a solo career, Bill “Kootch” Trochim and Bob Segarini soldiered on as The Wackers for a few months with new additions — Leon Holt, Norman Vosko and Wayne Cullen. Segarini, Trochim and Cullen would then form All The Young Dudes in 1974, with original April Wine members David and Ritchie Henman, and future April Wine guitarist Brian Greenway.
They began rehearsing and tossing around some ideas for songs. Fred Heller, manager for Mott The Hoople, introduced the guys to Ian Hunter, who had recorded David Bowie’s track “All The Young Dudes” with Mott. They instantly gained a fan in Hunter and hence the band name.
Within a few months they’d signed a management deal with Heller (Blood Sweat & Tears and Ian Hunter, among others), and were already fielding offers from several labels, settling on CBS Records. The band did some shows in central Canada and got sparkling reviews, particularly in Phonograph Record Magazine in the US.
In May 1975 they entered Le Studio in Morin Heights, Quebec. The result was WE’RE NO ANGELS. Produced by Mark Spector and released in September ’75, it had the potential to be one of the year’s best. Unique to their sound was the drumming duo of Cullen and Ritchie Henman. The band made it no secret they were less than happy with the production of the album, despite its release to huge fanfare.
During the mixing stage, handled exclusively by Spector and engineer Alan Varner, the life was sucked out of every track. It was a mid-range nightmare that drove the band out of the studio when they played it back to us,” Segarini commented. CBS was offered $75.000 of re-mix time on the house by band friend and studio owner Andre Perry if he, his staff engineer Nick Blagona and the band could retool the album, but CBS declined the offer.
On the heels of the release of the Segarini-penned single “I Just Wanna Dance”, the band embarked on an ambitious North American tour, opening for The Bee Gees and Savoy Brown. Other notable tracks from the lp included a pair of David Henman tracks, Fuel Injection” and “Rock and Roll Debutante,” and the title-track, which Segarini wrote with Kim Fowley, manager of The Hollywood Argyles and The Runaways, and “Lylee Lady”, Greenway’s first recorded song. “That was just a song I’d written about a girl I had a crush on – the typical reason for writing a rock and roll song,” Greenway said.
The band was on the road into early ’76. They began working on the next project at Le Studio with Criterion Studios’ Ron and Howie Albert. Later that year the band traveled to Phase One Studios in Toronto for follow-up sessions. The resulting demos turned into several of Segarini’s solo hits in later years, including “Gotta Have Pop” and “City Bred,” rejected at the time by CBS.
Unhappy from the beginning with the finished product of their debut, they drifted off to individual projects. “Oddly enough, The Dudes never officially broke up, to the best of my recollection,” Dave Henman noted. “The whole affair just slowly fizzled out and we gradually got involved in other stuff. There was no point when we actually called it quits. We will always be the band that never broke up.”
Greenway joined April Wine in ’77 and is still there. David Henman would create The Debutantes, then Sensible Shoes along with brother Ritchie, releasing the 4 track OFF ‘N RUNNIN’ in 1984. He again teamed up with Segarini (who’d released 5 solo albums by this point) in Cats & Dogs in ’95. Henman then formed Brave & Crazy two years later.
In 1997, coinciding with a reunion that took place at Clyde’s in Montreal, Pacemaker Records obtained the rights to songs that would have been included on a second Dudes album, issuing a compilation entitled ALL THE YOUNG DUDES, ALL THE OLD DEMOS. The collection also featured demos of tunes that appeared on the WE’RE NO ANGELS lp, including original versions of “Rock and Roll Debutante”, “Fuel Injection”, and “Dancin’ Shoes”, songs David Henman had written while still in April Wine. Other rarities included the original version of “Gotta Have Pop” – the title track to the Segarini solo effort in ’78, a remake of the classic Chuck Berry number “Little Queenie” and a killer version of “Please Mr Postman” (the only way a bunch of white dudes COULD do it) featuring Greenway on vocals. “We had some big plans for that song. It was supposed to be released on the album, but just before we were done the record the Carpenters released it as a single. Bad timing,” Greenway laughed.