Dave Barker in-memorium
Singer Dave Barker formed Mustard in 1968, a popular group around the London, England area in 1968 with Ed Furst on guitars. By ’74 Barker picked up the bass and he and Furst were going by the name Dave ‘n Ed for about a year.
Barker then teamed up with singer and guitarist Ricky Keoghan for the Dave Rick Duo, and came to Canada in 1976. They added Gary Blaine on drums, but when Keoghan left for New Zealand less than a year later, Barker dissolved the group and went back to London to recruit Furst. After playing as the revived Dave ‘n Ed Duo for most of ’78, they returned to Canada before the year’s end, reinventing themselves in Dawson Creek, BC as Tower Bridge, and Blaine was back on board.
“I like to think that I suggested we would need a name that conjured up an instant image of London, England – powerful technology, heavy metal, etc, but Dave probably came up with the actual name Tower Bridge,” Furst said.
“We produced a 45 of “Say You Love Me (Say You Do)” /”Barbados,” which we sold at gigs and/or gave away to almost anyone who “knew” someone in a radio station. Gary Chargex was a serious asset as a roadie/sound man for a few months, but we could not really afford him, so he left at about the same time as Gary Blaine. Don’t ask. Musical differences, I tell you. Nothing to do with Ed Furst’s tactlessness at all,” he jokingly added.
Blaine was replaced with Dave Clooten, and they recorded another song called “Choice of Roads,” just in time for Furst’s visa to run out. The band was on hiatus until he returned in May of 1980. Newcomer Joe Villeneuve joined on keyboards and guitars, making the band a foursome, until Furst left for good at the end of the year.
They carried on as a three-piece for the first part of 1981, but by the end of the year Barker moved to Edmonton and reinvented the group. He recruited guitarist Rick Halisheff (originally from Prince Albert, Sask), drummer Bruce Seal, and Rick “Zoos” Chaharyn on keyboards. At the age of only five, Chaharyn would watch his mother play classical pieces on the piano, and would then mimick what she had played.
They built a following while touring the province and honing their chops, until hooking up with manager Rob Hewes, who agreed to work with them. Chaharyn was eventually replaced by Thomas Holt and they continued on the ‘B’ circuit throughout western Canada for another year or so while writing their own material, covering the pop hits of the day.
With new guitarist Lynn Smallwood and Mark Fletcher on keyboards, they cut the self-financed EP called OUT OF MY MIND GIRL in ’82 on Barkfish Records. The four tracks were originals and personified the band’s keyboard and guitar driven power pop style. After releasing the 45 “Perfection” in ’84, they shopped it around to the radio stations while they continued making their rounds on the circuit.
Personnel changes happened tho when Seal left the group in ’86, and was replaced with new drummer Lambros Tsiandos. By the spring of ’87 they’d amassed enough material to shop around for a major label. To help boost the cause, demos were done at Beta Sound Recorders in Edmonton.
They travelled to Burbank, California and landed an indie deal with TAR Records a year later, who released a 45 – “Into Your Heart,” backed with a cover of Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Pt 2,” dubbed “Rock & Roll Pt 3.” By the time they got a government grant from VideoFACT later that year, Steve Satchwell had replaced Halisheff on guitars and Al Schuster had taken over from Tsiandos behind the drumkit. They made a low budget video for “Into Your Heart” in an abandoned warehouse on Boyle Street in Edmonton, which got decent rotation from MuchMusic.
They continued making their rounds through the prairies and BC, mixing more and more of their own material into their sets. Another original, “Perfection,” was also released on 45 and shopped to the radio stations. But Barker had been diagnosed with stomach cancer years earlier, putting an end to the band by early ’88. He succumbed to the disease that fall at the age of 45.