Drastic Measures

albums w/ jackets & lyrics
After a pair of relatively well received EPs in the the mid 1970s, Toronto native Tony Malone left The Dishes and formed the short-lived The Streets. Although they only played one gig, enough material had been written over a few months that it was carried over to his nex project in mid ’77, Drastic Measures.

With himself on vocals and keyboards, the lineup was rounded out by guitarists Howard Pope and Dan Levi, Neils Dahl on bass, and drummer Peter Novak. But that roster was short-lived, and Levi never actually played with them, only jammed with them and showed up for a photo shoot once. He instead found some success years later in The Jitters. A new line-up was built, and with Malone on vocals and keyboards and Novak on drums, the new guitarist was Monte Horton, on bass was Webster.

They were playing the local circuit, having opened for The Stranglers, Siouxshie and The Banshees, and The Knack, when they were asked to appear at on the bill later that year at The Horseshoe Tavern for taping of “The Last Pogo.” The film documented the end of the punk era in Toronto, and their songs “Flowers” and “Mr America” were used for the film, and was later turned into the album, AND NOW LIVE FROM TORONTO – THE LAST POGO.

This caught the attention of executives at CBS Records, who signed them to a deal. They cut their self-titled only album in 1980, and was produced by Keith Elshaw and featured a guest appearance by Nash The Slash. Initially, the label wasn’t sure if the record would even sell, so it was limited to an initial run of 5,000 copies on used vinyl, but a second pressing had to be ordered, and it eventually sold over 7,000 copies nationwide.

The punk influences were toned down, but still prevalent in songs like “I Feel Bad,” “Big Town Boy,” and “Maniacs In Cadillacs.” “Flowers” was re-recorded, and other tracks like “TNT” and “Hotsy Totsy” had a decided experimental new wave feel to them. All the songs were originals, with the exception of the only single, their interpretation of the children’s nursery rhyme, “Teddy Bear’s Picnic,” b/w the previously unreleased “My Car Is My Life.” The single got some local airplay, and made it to #28 on CFNY’s playlist. But in general, radio station programmers across the country couldn’t find a home for the music, and after some more dates around Toronto, the band was dropped from the label.

By the spring of ’81, Malone had completely revamped the lineup, and Bryant Didier was the new bassist and Cameron MacInnes replaced Horton on guitars. They recorded enough new material for a new album, and “It Won’t Be Long,” b/w “Modern Heart” was released on Nash’s Cut-Throat Records label. But the single went nowhere, and the band folded soon after.

Everyone went on to other projects, and a couple of the songs found their way onto compilation albums over the years. Malone formed Wild Boys in the mid ’80s, then Basket Case for a run in the 1990s. Dahl and Pope both passed away in the early ’00s.