Honeymoon Suite


Honeymoon Suite (1981-present): a Hard Rock band from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.


riginally formed in 1981 by Johnnie Dee (vocals/guitar), Brad Bent (keyboards/vocals) and Mike Lengyell (ex-Diodes; drums), by 1983, the line-up changed, with Dee (the only original remaining member) now on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, along with new recruits Derry Grehan on lead guitar and Dave Betts on drums, both of whom had recorded two albums as members of Toronto-based new wave group Steve Blimkie and the Reason. Grehan soon became the band's primary songwriter, and penned the track New Girl Now, which won them an unsigned band contest put on by Toronto radio station Q107.

Various keyboard players and bassists came and went during this time, but on the strength of New Girl Now, 'WEA' Canada signed the band. Ray Coburn was then added as a permanent new member on keyboards as the sessions got underway for the group's debut LP. Lacking a bass player, Brian Brackstone was recruited as a session player. Brackstone ended off playing on the entire album, but it would be Gary Lalonde that was added to the line-up after the album was completed and subsequently appeared in the album's group photos and on-stage live regardless of the album credits.

The band's self-titled debut album was released in June 1984. The album featured four charting hits in Canada in the form of a completely re-recorded version of New Girl Now, Burning In Love, Wave Babies and Stay In the Light. New Girl Now would soon become Honeymoon Suite's first single to reach the top-50 in the United States.

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Their follow-up album, The Big Prize, proved equally successful in Canada with four more hits, Bad Attitude, Feel It Again, What Does It Take and All Along You Knew. Grehan still wrote the bulk share of the band's material, but Dee and Coburn also contributed songs to this album; Feel It Again, a Coburn composition, reached the Top 40 in the US, while Grehan's What Does It Take reached 52, buoyed by its inclusion on the soundtrack for the John Cusack film One Crazy Summer. In 1989, Bad Attitude was featured in the series finale of TV program Miami Vice, played during a Ferrari driving segment that mirrored one from the series' pilot episode, continuing throughout Crockett and Tubbs' final battle.

In 1986, Coburn left, replaced by Rob Preuss of Burlington, Ontario-based Spoons. Also during 1986, the band produced the track Those Were the Days for the Charlie Sheen film The Wraith.

In the spring of 1987, the band performed the title track for the Mel Gibson film Lethal Weapon. In the winter of 1987, the band started work on their third album while Los Angeles, USA. Unfortunately, Dee was hit by a car at LAX airport, breaking his leg in several places and required surgery to insert a ten-inch pin to help the leg heal properly. While Dee was recovering in the hospital, one-time Doobie Brothers member Michael McDonald was brought in to help out with the recording sessions; he wrote lyrics and sang back up on Long Way Back, a forthcoming track for their next album. That album would come in 1988 in the form of Racing After Midnight made the top 10 in Canada.

In 1989, the band released their first greatest hits compilation, The Singles, including two new charting singles in Canada, Still Loving You and Long Way featured on their previous record and both written by Grehan. Preuss left and Coburn rejoined the band in time to embark on the supporting tour.

By 1991, Lalonde and Betts left the band, to be replaced by Steve Webster (from Billy Idol's band) on bass, and Jorn Anderson (from Fludd and Alannah Myles) on drums. The band returned to the studio to record Monsters Under the Bed (1991). Resulting singles from that album, Say You Don't Know Me and The Road, were moderately successful in Canada, but once again failed to make a dent in the US. Coburn left the band again after this album and was replaced by Peter Nunn. Lemon Tongue (2002) followed. The album was released on an independent label and leaned towards a more artistic and adventurous direction than their previous rock releases. The European version was titled Dreamland and featured track changes by dropping five songs and adding four others, including a remake of Still Loving You.

In 2004, Dee released a solo album called Songs in Dee featuring backing by the other members of Honeymoon Suite, along with guest musicians such as Kim Mitchell and Rik Emmett.

In 2006, the band released another greatest hits collection entitled Feel It Again: An Anthology, a 2-CD set featuring most of the band's singles, selected album tracks, and rare and unreleased material.

In June 2007, the band boasted the return of a reunited classic line-up of Dee, Grehan, Coburn, Lalonde and Betts to release Clifton Hill a year later. However, on September 1, 2009, the band had again parted ways with original keyboardist Ray Coburn. Peter Nunn returned to the band's line-up to replace him for the second time.

On 18 November 2016, Honeymoon Suite released a 9 track EP, Hands Up.

February 2017 saw the band announce that they would appear at Rockingham Festival 2017, this to be held at Nottingham Trent University, UK, between 20 and 22 October 2017, the band was scheduled to appear on Friday 20th, but a few months earlier, they cancelled their show to pursue a different opportunity; their slot was replaced by John Parr.

2022 would see Honeymoon Suite perform at the missive Sound of Music festival in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

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Nation Canada
City Niagara Falls, Ontario
Genre Hard Rock
Formations 1
Active Years 1981-
Last Modified 2022-09-27
Diskery ID 2412

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