When the plug was pulled on The Pumps in 1982, it was after only one album, and after Polydor execs had lost faith in the Winnipeg group becoming the next great prairie find.
By that time however, another popular group was making its way out of the local basement, and making noise along the way – Orphan. With guitarist Steve McGovern (ex of Stryder), Ron Boisvenue on drums, Dizzy Fingers Richards on bass, and Spaceman Paul on keyboards, they were expected to go far, and had even opened a couple of dates for The Pumps. So McGovern hooked up with Pumps frontman and bassist Chris Burke-Gaffney, and with Boisvenue and ex-Pumps keyboardist Brent Diamond, the old Orphan was dissolved, and a new one was born. They picked up where they’d all left off only a couple of months earlier, on the road anywhere there was a stage and writing material.
Recorded at The Power Station with producer Tony Bongiovi, LONELY AT NIGHT was released in the spring of ’83, smack dab in the middle of a million other melodic rock/metal albums at the time. Behind the single and accompanying videos for the title track and then “Miracle,” the record at times wove a spooky atmosphere into quality, radio friendly numbers like “Hello” and “What Kind of Love Is This,” and McGovern’s guitar spruced up Diamond’s occasionally gloomy keys and the record nearly went gold. Other noteable songs included “Saved By The Bell” and “Night Parade,” a pair of tracks left over from the final Pumps writing sessions that were co-written with then-guitarist Lou Petrovich.
But Boivenue succumbed to cancer shortly after the album’s release, so they called on ex-Pumps drummer Terry Taylor to join the fold. Following over a year on the road that included stops with Platinum Blonde, they got back to the writing table to finish working on new material and were whisked off to New York’s Kingdom Sound Studios.
Their follow-up was 1985’s SALUTE, marking the return of the production of Phil Chapman and John Astley. Their resume included Corey Hart, The Who, and Paul McCartney, as well as The Pumps. Critics praised the album prior to its official release early that summer. The lead single “Lyin’ To Me” worked its way up the charts, followed by “Open Up The Skies,” both hovering around the top 30 at home, thanks in part to MuchMusic and MTV both giving the video regular rotation. But a critic’s rave usually means less than stellar sales, as was the case here. Even a guest appearance by labelmate Aldo Nova, or “Uncle Sam Salutes You,” geared to hopefully get a pop on American radio, couldn’t stop Orphan’s descent.
After a road trip that lasted nearly a year, they were dropped by the label by the fall of ’85. The members ventured off to their own projects, briefly resurfacing for a brief reunion in November of 1988. They drifted off and on again until 1991, when Burke-Gaffney and Taylor invented Dead Beat Honeymooners. They found a home at Anthem Records (Rush, Max Webster) released an eponymous album in ’93. The group disbanded, and everyone strayed off again, until near the end of the decade, when The Pumps got back together for a benefit show in Winnipeg to an overwhelmingly positive response.
It wasn’t long before the second Orphan lineup (Burke-Gaffney, Diamond, Taylor and McGovern) decided to make a permanent part-time gig out of playing together, billed as ‘The Pumps and Orphan.’ In 2003, Escape Music re-released the two Orphan albums as a digipak. The best of The Pumps and Orphan made it to a Vatikan Records compilation disc in 2006 called IT’S A MIRACLE … THEY’RE STILL ALIVE!, with three new tracks – “The Pumps Are Back,” “Let Me Love You,” and “Rock Star.”