albums w/ jackets & lyrics
Throughout the 1970s, Dan Lowe had established himself as one of the Canada’s most well travelled musicians, having served as guitarist and main inspiration for one single with The Shades of Blonde and one album and a string of singles with 49th Parallel during the ’60s. He formed Painter, which produced one album, and then a pair with Hammersmith, and one more with 451 Degrees. Following those stints, he concentrated on producing other acts, including White Wolf, Pretty Rough, and Quest, among others.

He hooked up with managers David Spiegel and Gord Wilson, and with vocalist Doug Riley, formed Prototype in late 1982. Intended to be a studio project only that never toured, the band was rounded out by Brian Island (real name Brian Coweison) on bass, guitarist Brad Steckel, Ted Alexander on keyboards, and drummer Jerry Adolphe.

They scored a deal with Mercury Records in ’83, and went to Thunder Road Studios in Calgary, releasing their eponymous debut album later that year. The album jacket was designed by the legendary British design firm Hipgnonis, who was also responsible for album jackets and inserts for Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Styx, The Moody Blues, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin, among close to 100 others.

Backed by the top 30 single, “Video Kids,” which played on the emerging video game phenomena, the album would eventually become a critic’s rock classic. It also featured other keyboard-oriented AOR tracks like the lead-off “Behind Your Eyes,” “Mean Street,” and the tender “I’m Sorry” and “I Want You.” Written solely by Steckel, it was the only song of the ten that Lowe didn’t have a hand in.

Following the band’s demise, Lowe went back to behind-the-scenes production work, including working with Amin Bhatia and George Fox, among others, as well as composing the music for the movie “The Virgin Queen of St. Francis High” in 1988. His biggest claim in the industry tho was the invention of Q-Sound, a stereo enhancement process that’s been utilized on albums by the likes of Pink Floyd and Madonna, among others.

All the other members of Prototype went on to become steadily employed session players, or got out of the business all together. Island and also worked on movie and TV show scores, and released one solo album in 1988, which featured Adolphe and Lowe, who also served as producer. Adolphe joined Body Electric for their only album, then Boulevard, and eventually Chilliwack in the early ’00s.


BoulevardChilliwack49th parallel451 DegreesHammersmithPainter