Formed in Toronto in ’77 at the peak of the punk revolution, The Poles were founded by vocalist Michaele Jordana, Douglas Pringle (ex of Syrinx) on keyboards. The band’s name stems from an Arctic Pole trip the two had just returned from, and the original lineup was rounded out by Michael McLuhan on bass, and drummer Calvin Greenwood (aka Luce Wildesbeest). They began playing around the local art galleries, universities, and other similar venues in Toronto.
But it wasn’t long before personnel changes saw a revised lineup, McLuhan was out, and Ricky Swede was in, and Steve Goode joined on bass. They worked their own mix of punk and new wave into their acts, and in the fall of ’77 caught the attention of famed producer Jack Richardson (Guess Who, among many others). Recognizing the band’s commercial appeal, he signed them to his Nimbus 9 Records. Whisking them off to the studio with producers Keith Elshaw (later a Tango dancing instructor in Montreal) and Jim Frank (Record Plant alumni), the band’s live raw energy was captured in the single “CN Tower.” A tribute to Toronto’s landmark, it was backed with “Prime Time,” and became a mainstay on local airwaves that summer, a top 20 hit throughout Toronto’s radio stations’ lists, and one of the top 50 all time classic songs coming out of Toronto, according to one writer.
With Jordana’s futuristic lyrics, accompanied by Pringle’s synthesizer behind her intense vocals, The Poles soon became trail-blazers of the new wave sound, getting critical acclaim for their anthem-like material including CN Tower,” XRay Robot,” and Cannibal Kids,” which they performed at venues including A SPACE, The Isaacs Gallery, CEAC (Centre For Experimental Art And Communication), OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, The Music Gallery, Innis College, and Toronto Workshop Productions. Club and concert dates soon followed with the likes of Teenage Head, Diodes, and Viletones, at Crash ‘n Burn, CBGB’s, Max’s, The Music Hall, and The DuMaurier Theater, and then rapidly multiplied.
After The Poles ran their course, Pringle and Jordana continued working together, including him producing and co-writing her 1980 Juno-nominated album ROMANCE AT THE ROXY. The Attic Records album debuted at a packed and notoriously raucous live release concert at the top of The CN Tower where Jordana was later presented with the first CASBY Award (then called the You Knows) for Best New Female Singer.
Jordana and Pringle have collaboborated on several significant multimedia projects, including television documentaries, installations and electro pop operas, such as “The Rites of Nuliajuk,” a critically acclaimed theatrical performance based on the time they spent in the High Arctic with the indigenous people. Their rock opera, Storming Heaven” teamed them up again with Ricky Swede. In it, Jordana’s evocative vocals blend cyberpunk science fiction lyrics and dystopian imagery with Pringle’s drivng synthesizers and Swede’s powerful guitars. This multimedia performance art work – which explores man’s desire to conquer a world that does not belong to him alone – was produced for The Power Plant in Toronto and The University of North Carolina in Raleigh.