Chyld was formed in 1982 when guitarist Glen Cunningham and drummer Neal Busby hooked up with singer Rob Villemaire. After a failed attempt with their first bass player, Pete Dove joined the band and completed the line up. The band played all original material almost from their conception and before long had an arsenal of kick ass tunes. The band is currently in the process of recording new material. Watch for new releases in the coming months.
Rob Villemaire: vocals
Pete Dove (Slash Puppet, Harlott): bass
Neal Busby (Slik Toxik): drums
Glen Cunningham: guitars
Interview with Chyld, from Fanzine Steel For An Age, Issue #1, March, 2011
I am sure that most of you will think the New Renais¬sance band from the States with the “Conception” LP. NO, this CHYLD hails from Toronto, Canada and they have released only a private 7”single back in 1986 on their own label. I learned of the existence of this band from our good friend Matthias Wulf some years back and recently thanks to Lady Luck I came in con¬tact with Neal Busby, drummer of the band. He also helped me getting replies from other band members, since it was one of the last to be done for this issue. Anyway, we still think that it will be pretty interest¬ing. Below you can read what Neal Busby (drums), Pete Dove (bass), Glen Cunningham (guitars) had to say.
First of all, how did you get involved with Metal in the first place?
Neal: When I was a young teenager I first got into LED ZEPPELIN and BLACK SABBATH. When I started to play drums in high school I discovered NWOBHM, and once I heard IRON MAIDEN and MOTORHEAD I was hooked on the new style and got heavily into the whole emerging scene. I actually saw MOTOR¬HEAD’s first Toronto concert for the “Ace Of Spades” tour and IRON MAIDEN with Paul DiAnno on vocals for the “Killers” tour.
Pete: For me, it was just a natural progression into music.
Glen: I got involved with Metal as a young kid, I was always attracted to the power and the aggression of that style of music. I used to sneak into my older sisters’ room and play her albums. DEEP PURPLE’s “Machine Head” and LED ZEPPELIN’s first album were the first heavy records I heard. No turning back after that.
What was the band’s first inception? Was CHYLD the name of the band from the beginning?
Neal: CHYLD was the name of the band from the beginning, I think Rob came up with it.
Pete: I was the last member to join; I don’t recall what the band’s original name was.
Glen: The band CHYLD was born in Neal Busby’s basement. Rob and I had met up and clicked. We were the first two members. Rob answered an ad from a musicians classified from Neal. He was looking for a band, we were looking for a drummer. We went to visit Neal and he blew us away that day, the band was born. Rob played bass for a while, we tried out a few bass players without much luck. Pete Dove would join up a few months later completing the power house that was CHYLD. The band was always called CHYLD.
When was the band formed? Were you, Rob, Glen and Pete the original 4 members or some line up changes occurred?
Neal: We formed in 1982. Glen and I met in another band and kept in touch when the band split up. Glen met up with Rob somewhere and the three of us formed the band. After a long search for a bass player, we grabbed Pete from the band HARLOTT when he left them.
Pete: I was jamming down the hall from these guys with a band called HAR¬LOTT which, funny enough, Glen was supposed to be a part of. Some band politics with HARLOTT were going on at the time, so I would go hang out in CHYLD’s room and jam with them. One day I showed up to rehearse with HAR¬LOTT, only to find out that I had been fired, so I immediately joined CHYLD.
Glen: We formed around 1982-83. Rob, myself, Neal and Pete were the only original members from the beginning to the end.
Really, are you familiar with the US CHYLD that had an album on New Renaissance Records?
Neal: I was not familiar with them at the time but through the internet discov¬ered them years later.
Pete: Yes, I do remember the US CHYLD from back then. I believe we had the name first, but I could be mistaken.
Glen: I am not familiar with any other metal band called CHYLD, but there probably are a few out there.
What bands would you say that were the “common” influences of the band members?
Neal: For me it was: MOTORHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, DIO and BLACK SABBATH. I was also into the American bands like: VAN HALEN, DOK-KEN and MOTLEY CRUE (early days). Rob was into DIO, MOTLEY CRUE and DOKKEN.
Pete: I remember Rob was into DIO, Neal was into METALLICA, Glen liked a lot of Metal/rock bands, and I was into TWISTED SISTER, WASP, and DOKKEN to name a few.
Glen: MOTLEY CRUE, DIO, IRON MAIDEN, DOKKEN, VAN HALEN.
What was the band’s early repertoire like? Did you play any covers? From what bands?
Neal: Yes, we did lots of covers of all the bands I mentioned as influences.
Pete: We started with covers from DIO, DOKKEN, MOTLEY CRUE, BLACK SAB¬BATH, etc…
Glen: In the beginning we played covers from bands like DOKKEN, MOTLEY CRUE and VAN HALEN to get booked. As we wrote more original material we would add those originals to the set and remove the covers. In the later stages of the band we were playing almost all original material.
How did the band decide to go for a two-song single in 1986?
Neal: It was my idea to go into the studio and do a demo, I then thought we might as well have something for sale at the shows.
Pete: Don’t remember exactly…probably it was the most economical way to go back then.
Glen: We recorded three songs and picked what we thought were our best two. At the time it was all the material we had. Budget was also a factor. If not for Neal, the single would have never happened.
The label of the single is Chyldysh Records. I guess this was your own label. In how many copies was the single printed?
Neal: Chyldysh records was a made up name to make us look like a signed band, which back in the day was a real big deal for bands. 1000 copies of single were pressed. We didn’t play enough shows after the single was released so not many got sold. The band split up very soon after that.
Pete: It wasn’t a real label, just something we made up for the single. We printed 100? 500? I don’t remember.
Glen: I believe we pressed 600 of those singles. Neal would know for sure.
Why didn’t it come with a picture sleeve? Was this a funds issue or a deliberate choice (f.e. the single being promo for radio, labels etc.)
Neal: It was certainly just a budget issue. Even back then recording and press¬ing records was expensive.
Pete: Probably a funds issue. Picture sleeves were big in Europe and Japan. I’m not sure we were aware of them in Canada back then.
Glen: Funds for sure!
The single included two songs, “Lite the Nite” and “Ye Morlock”. First (obvious) question, what was this “weird” spelling thing for?
Neal: Rob was the lyricist. “Lite The Nite” is more of an American spelling and “Ye Morlock” was based on the creatures from the movie “The Time Machine”.
Pete: Perhaps we were trying to be different….Trying to stick out from the norm.
Glen: Just trying to be different.
Was there any feedback from labels at the time?
Neal: To the best of my knowledge nobody in the business heard any of our material.
Pete: Not that I remember. We did, however, place in the top 25 of a local FM radio station competition.
Glen: Not that I know of.
In my opinion, this single is great, a fine example of mid-80’s melodic Heavy/Power Metal, with the A-side more on the “commercial” side, and the B-side being a fast ripper. How do you see the single after all these years? Do you think that it stood the test of time?
Neal: I actually appreciate the band, music and musicianship more now than I did then. Now I see the chemistry that the band had and the great collective sound that was created by the members. At the time I was personally more impressed by how fast bands could play, how many notes a gui¬tar player could play in a bar and how high a singer could sing. The most important thing is that we could write a good metal song. The musicianship was there, Rob had a distinctive tone which is hard to find, Glen played great rhythmic leads that fit well in a one guitar band, Pete thought as a bass player should and laid down the foundation while throwing in some tasty runs and fills. I wasn’t too bad either!
Pete: I’m way too biased to answer this question fairly. I have always had faith in the bands I have been in and for the music that we wrote and produced over the years. So, YES, I do think the single has stood the test of time. Especially now that Metal fans are discovering CHYLD for the first time outside of Canada.
Glen: I appreciate the band more today then I did then. I took the chemistry we had together as musicians and people for granted. It’s a tough thing to find four good musicians that get along and are also all good people. There were never any fights over who wrote more, who didn’t write more... no one ever said “this is my song”. We split everything equal. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The sin¬gle still rocks, I think it stood the test of time well. It was fueled by youth and raw energy, you can still hear that in the songs today.
How did the local crowds/fans react to the single and the live shows of the band?
Neal: People were always very receptive and showed great enthusiasm.
Pete: We always had a loyal following of fans at our shows. This included friends, friends of friends and even family.
Glen: We always got a really good response from the people at our gigs, the energy was electric!
Really, did the band give theatrical shows or anything like that?
Neal: Not really theatrical, but we did look the part with the outfits and big hair.
Pete: Nothing theatrical that you would see in today’s type of Metal produc¬tion. Pyro was not often allowed in some venues back then, but I remember us discussing the possibility of incorporating pyro someday into our show. We did construct some sturdy framed backdrops to conceal our guitar and bass ampli¬fiers to give our stage a different look and set ourselves apart from other local Metal acts. Funnily, they started copying us. We did stay away from make-up and goofy pink costumes.
Glen: We were a head banging, pedal to the floor hard rocking band. We dressed up a bit but never really got into anything to theatrical.
Were you familiar with the underground tape-trading circuit that was really big and helped quite a few bands at the time?
Neal: Yes, I was familiar with the underground tape trading circuit, we were never involved.
Pete: Yes, absolutely….That’s how I discovered bands like METALLICA, TWIST¬ED SISTER, etc...
Glen: No, we were not familiar with that.
Was there a particular reason that despite being familiar with the underground and its methods at the time, you never sent out promo material?
Neal: Once the band split up I forgot about promoting the single. I was going to school and then started working day jobs. Eventually I made the decision to become a full time musician and went on the road with a band called LEDGEND that toured Canada’s very busy (at the time) cover band circuit.
Pete: I think the single was the first step we took towards promoting the band locally and across Canada. Unfortunately, this was around the time that we disbanded.
Glen: The band split up almost right after we pressed the single. I think we thought that single would have done more for us than it did and I for one was disappointed. I remember trying to sell them at gigs and not many people were interested, we gave most of them away only to find them all over the floor after the show ended. People used them as frisbees. It was very disappointing. After the single we never really tried any more promo. We needed a good manager!
How were things in Toronto for a Metal band at the time? Can you men¬tion any bigger names you shared the stage with? Foreign or local bands?
Neal: It was the best time for metal everywhere I think, but for Canada it was probably a renaissance period. Bands could play shows and build a following by playing original material. There were lots of clubs to play and people were really into going out and supporting live bands. A truly great time. The biggest band we opened for was ANVIL. Back then I was a big fan of Rob Reiner the drummer.
Pete: The 80’s metal scene in Toronto was very cool, in my opinion. We had quite a few live venues that were always busy with live metal shows. The social metal scene was alive & well also and we had many metal tours coming through Toronto. CHYLD was lucky enough to do a support gig opening for ANVIL at Larry’s Hideaway in 1986.
Glen: Toronto was rocking back then, there were a few really good venues for original heavy bands. Our first live show was opening for ANVIL, they were loud as hell, it was great!
How is the situation nowadays in the scene? Really, are you still into Metal and listening to the bands you used to? How about new ones that have impressed you?
Neal: There is still a decent underground scene for metal in Toronto. Not as good as the old days but there is a new generation rising up, of them, I like SKULLFIST and CAULDRON (the drummer of SKULLFIST is a former student of mine) The only thing is that the new bands are not really embracing the songwriting ethic and are concentrating on the look and sound. I think the days of the classic metal songs are not go¬ing to be repeated, from what I’ve heard in my opinion. I don’t listen to any new metal bands I don’t think they are beating out the old bands, this is proven by the fact that so many of the old bands are still out there touring and playing their old hits.
Pete: Obviously now that I’m a little older I don’t get out so much to check out the scene. I know it’s still going on with a new batch of fresh-faced Metalheads. I do still listen to selected bands from back in the day such as KROKUS, ACCEPT and some others. I’ve become very addicted to AC/DC in my later years. So much so that I’ve been performing in an AC/DC Tribute act since 2004. We also have a great hard rock radio station close to Toronto (97.7 FM) that plays JUDAS PRIEST, OZZY, IRON MAIDEN, SCORPIONS as well as newer metal bands. Some of the newer bands I like are DIE MAN-NEKIN, DANKO JONES and BILLY TALENT.
Glen: I’ve been out of the local scene for quite a while so I don’t really have a current take on what’s going on out there these days. I still love Metal but don’t listen to many of the new Metal bands. I still love 80’s Metal and typically that’s the only Metal I listen to. I like a lot of the new stuff the old Metal bands are putting out. The old bands still do it for me.
What’s your opinion on Toronto, Ontario bands like KRAKEN, LORD RYUR, BANSHEE, SYE, SOLAR EAGLE???
Neal: I remember KRAKEN and SYE, maybe BANSHEE. I saw SYE play many times in clubs in Toronto and they were always very good. Pete’s old band HARLOTT was pretty good. There used to be a band called RUE MORGUE who were well known and had a good following. There was a great Canadian Metal magazine back then that reported on all the Toronto bands (CHYLD included) which was called Metalian.
Pete: I used to go see KRAKEN open for ANVIL all the time in Toronto. I was, and still am, a huge ANVIL fan. I actually auditioned and rehearsed with BAN¬SHEE just as they were breaking up. SACRIFICE, ANNIHILATOR and RAZOR were also really good. Toronto has always had a lot of talented bands and musicians.
Glen: I remember KRAKEN and SYE, both were good bands. I saw SYE many times and got to know the guitar player/singer Bernie pretty well. He used to come out to the CHYLD shows once in a while.
Generally, were there any demos recorded? I mean, the band should have more songs. Could you refer to other releases even for promo purposes?
Neal: We only went into the studio the one time. We recorded three songs. The song not on the single was called “Tell Me A Lie”. Originally it was supposed to be the B side but the record manufacturer said there was some technical issue with it and it couldn’t be used. I have since remastered the original mixes from the quarter inch master mix tapes and turned them into mp3’s, including “Tell Me A Lie”. Rob posted these on our website. The quarter inch tape had some damage so the beginnings of two of the songs are flawed, but they sound pretty good.
Pete: We would make our own rehearsal demos while writing songs. Unfor¬tunately, we only recorded one professional studio demo. By the time the CHYLD dis¬banded, we were performing all-original live sets.
Glen: CHYLD only ever recorded three songs. “Lite the Nite”, “Ye Morlock” and “Tell Me A Lie”. By the time the band ended we had quite a few good songs written, we never got around to recording any more of them. We just didn’t have the funds to do it. Too bad really.
Were these three songs the only songs the band had written/composed? You mentioned they are the only recorded ones…
Neal: The band had at least a dozen songs, maybe more. Some were heavy like “Tell Me A Lie” was, classic faster metal with some double bass drums, others were more commercial minded including one ballad. I do have an old video of the band that shows us playing at a club in Toronto and playing lots of our non-recorded songs. One day I’ll get it transferred to DVD.
Pete: No, we had over a dozen songs finished by the time we disbanded and we incorporated them into our live shows to replace the cover songs. We wanted to record all of them. If not for Neal, we may never had recorded in the studio at all.
Glen: There are a few tapes still kicking around. We used to record most of our rehearsals, and we rehearsed a lot. We would play for hours on end and record everything. I know for a fact we recorded our full set list at least once. There are at least a dozen original songs on those tapes, maybe more. Some were very good.
When did the CHYLD story end? What were the reasons?
Neal: The passage of time has clouded my memory but it probably had some¬thing to do with people having to work for a living and not able to put the time and effort into something with so little return. All the members of the band carried on for some years in various bands. Pete Dove went on to form/join another good Toronto Metal/Rock band called SLASH PUPPET and they did some releases. I ended up joining Toronto’s SILK TOXIK in 1989 and we got signed to Capitol records and released two albums and an EP. We had some success in Canada and the U.S.A. selling gold status (Canada) and winning a Juno award for Hard Rock album of the year in 1992. Glen Cunningham had a band called SKY’S THE LIMIT that were close to signing a deal with World Records at one time.
Pete: Mmm, tough one to answer…I don’t remember any one solid reason why CHYLD ended. I think we just drifted apart.