Shooter was initially known as The Greaseball Boogie Band, a covers band playing hits from the ’50s. Formed in 1970, most of the members had roots in other Toronto area bands, each enjoying various degrees of relative local success.
They developed a following and landed a deal with GRT Records in ’73, releasing a self-titled double album of covers that saw their version of Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop A Lula” make a minor dent in the Toronto charts. This helped earn them a Juno nomination a year later for most promising group, tho they lost out to Rush. Still, they toured nationally with The Guess Who, Sha Na Na, and even Roxy Music, with their biggest show being at Toronto’s Ontario Place, in front of 15,000 people.
Label boss Ross Reynolds took them back to the studios for a follow-up album, recording a cover of Leo Sayer’s “Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance).” It was at this point the band and Reynolds both realized an image change was needed, as the agreed new direction of the music wasn’t going to fit the ’50s greaser gimmick they had going. They changed their name to Shooter Revue, then shortened it to just Shooter, dabbling in a couple of new gimmicks before they settled on a Dirty ’30s gangster image, complete with real guns as props and showing up in a mid ’30s sedan.
Several personnel changes also happened around this time, and by the time the album was in the can, the lineup was now Duncan White on vocals, Ray Harrison on organ and piano, sax player Wayne Mills, guitarist John Bride, Norm Wellbanks on bass, and drummer Sonnie Bernardi (who played with Harrison in a version of Crowbar), with Pamela Marsh providing backup vocals.
Produced by Ralph Murphy at Eastern Sound Studio, their self-titled debut album under their new name was released in the spring of ’75. Not one song was written by a band member, and along with a boogied-down “Long Tall Glasses” as the first single (just prior to Sayer’s own version hitting the Canadian airwaves) b/w the unreleased “Hole In My Soul,” it also included another Leo Sayer cover, “Train,” as well as Neil Sedaka’s “Standing On The Inside,” which became the band’s third single. Other noteable cuts included a groovy cover of Jackie Lynton’s “Jack The Toad,” “Rock on Rockette” (penned by Murphy and Perry Cane), and a pair of songs by Roger Cook – “Beautiful Memories” and “Please Get My Name Right.”
“Long Tall Glasses” reached #6 on CHUM FM’s chart, while “Train” made it to #23, and “Standing On The Inside” failed to chart. Along with cameos by half a dozen other singers, some who’d briefly been official members during the band’s image transition period, including Laurie Hood (Sugar Shoppe, the record also featured original drummer Dave Breckels, and Peter Hodgeson and Tom Fyer on bass, who’d all been replaced during the time in the studios.
While working on a follow-up album, they released the single “Hard Times” in ’76, which failed to make it past #83 on the charts, then re-released “Train” as a single, which failed to chart at all. By this point GRT was in serious financial trouble, and after the label’s demise, they moved over to Casino Records. With a revised lineup that featured Joe Ress as the new keyboardist, Lance Wright replacing Bernardi on drums, and JP Bedard on guitars, they released a pair of singles – “Cherokee Queen” in ’78, and “Flows Like A River” early the next year, both to little fanfare.
Casino closed its doors and the album they were working on, tentatively titled RELOADED, was never released. And after a few more personnel changes, by 1980 the band called it quits, and everyone went on to other projects, became session players, or got out of the business all together.