Not to be confused with the 70’s British glam band of the same name, singer/guitarist Dean McTaggart emerged from high school in Toronto in the late 70’s with the usual dreams of superstardom. But he would leave the business all together while driving truck for a living before re-thinking things with highschool friend and drummer Mike Sloski, whose impressive resume already included Domenic Troiano and Lisa Dalbello. Along with Rob Gusevs on keyboards, Hendrik Riik on bass, guitarist Rusty McCarthy and Earl Seymour (ex of Blood Sweat & Tears) on saxophone they rehearsed until becoming a slick and progressive pop unit.
By the summer of 1981 after changing their name from The Rejects, their covers of mostly r&b classics made them regulars around the local circuit. They took some ideas into Toronto’s Grant Avenue Studios with a shoe-string budget, and ended up releasing “Treat Her Right” b/w “Come On Up” on El Mocambo Records for their 1981 TORONTO CALLING compilation. The next spring the remaining sessions from Grant Avenue Studios were released by Spontaneous Records as the 4-track EP MISUNDERSTOOD, an early Daniel Lanois co-production. The cover of The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” gained enough exposure to carry the band on the road for the next year – developing a refreshingly tight sound and energetic live show across the country.
After hooking up with producer/writer David Tyson, McTaggart overhauled the band. Guitarist Doug Macaskill (ex of the ‘big band’ incarnation of The Stampeders) came in around the same time Riik and McCarthy went out. They were signed to a deal with A&M Records in ’83 and went into Toronto’s Sounds Interchange Studios. Sloski was replaced on drums with Bobby Economou , who’d toured with Seymour and Blood Sweat & Tears. The album featured a virtual who’s who of the Toronto scene including Eddie Schwartz, Peter Bleakney, Foster and Sloski. Other than “Never Be Another One”, co-written by Macaskill, the album was a McTaggart/Tyson venture.
spring and was a slick production of some of the year’s most under-rated pop. Backed by the singles “Meet Me In The Middle”, “Say It Isn’t True” and “Never Be Another One”, the album sold well and the band gained considerable critical praise. The band found themselves in the UK before year’s end, then opening for Chris deBurgh upon returning home. The shows went so well deBurgh brought the band with him for the European leg of his tour that fall. STAND BACK hit the stores the next
With new bassist Glen Olive they returned to the studios the next spring and came out with THE LINES ARE OPEN in ’85. Recorded at Toronto’s Sounds Interchange and Grant Avenue Studios, producer Bob Rock (Payolas, Metallica) did final mixdown of what was one of Canadian radio’s freshest records that year. Another foray into progressive keyboard rock resulted in 3 singles, “Talk Talk”, “Heart Of The City” and the ballad “Chains”. But pressures from management for a breakout hit were causing problems inside the band and they quietly went their seperate aways at the end of the cross-Canada tour in 1986. The Bolland Brothers did a 12″ club remix of “Talk Talk” before year’s end.
Long Island Records released THE BEST OF THE ARROWS as a German import in ’95. Along with the band’s inaugural single and good cross-selection from their 2 lp’s , it also contained another remix of “Talk Talk”.
McTaggart has been the most active since the band’s demise. He co-wrote “Trust Me” with David Tyson for David Soul’s ’97 album Leave A Light On. The two hooked up again that year for Amanda Marshall’s “Dark Horse”, taking home the Juno the next spring for songwriter of the year. He’s also written for Taylor Jordan, Tina Arena .