The band got their start as the Pharaohs in 1965. Bruce Ley was playing with The Rising Sons, a Yorkville-based Toronto band. Bruce, Jeff, Ron and Alex began practicing together in Bruce Ley's family garage in Hamilton, Ontario. As noted in the school yearbook from 1965-67, Le Raconteur, they got their start at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton playing at various dances, a few gigs and schools in the area. Later that year, they changed their name to The Gentle Touch, since there was a US band of the same name at the time. They also performed on CHCH TV.
The following year, The Gentle Touch signed with RCA Records and recorded one single, described as "Kinks inspired teen garage double-sider with wild fuzz guitar break": "Visitors Parking Only b/w One Way Ride". 500 copies were pressed. Just a handful of the picture sleeves were printed and sent exclusively to radio stations for promotion. The tracks remain uncomped. Shortly thereafter, they disbanded.
Ron Boyes passed away a few years ago. The whereabouts of Jeff and Alex are unknown. Bruce went on to play with the 'Brass Union', was invited to play at Art Snider's studio in Toronto and later composed and recorded with the disco band 'T.H.P. Orchestra'. He played piano for 'Grand Old Country' with Ronnie Prophet at CFTO-TV and performed on CBC T.V.'s The Tommy Hunter Show. In the following decades, Bruce continued to contribute extensively to Canadian music and culture. He became musical director for Téléfrançais, Polka Dot Shorts, Zardip's Search for Healthy Wellness, Here's How, The Magic Library, Look Up, Art's Place, Join In!, and The Green Earth Club. He wrote catchy tunes at the children's department at TVOntario and wrote the Canadian segments of Sesame Street on CBC.
While continuing to work as a session musician, playing at Thunder Sound, Manta, Phase One, RCA studios and Sounds Interchange, Bruce wrote musical scores for Atlantis Films and The National Film Board including 'The Painted Door', which was nominated for an Oscar in 1984 for Best Short Live Action Film.
Bruce continues to record and compose, forming the blues band 'Trouble and Strife' with Larry Kurtz. They were voted Favourite Canadian Blues Group of the Year at the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards.
"After Bruce's arrival, the band became more musically aware and experimental, exploring more obscure music. With Bruce, we experimented a lot musically. The band learned to ‘groove’ and how to jam, something we really did not do before. Plus, we rehearsed constantly, even when we were playing. We would play until 1 a.m. and we would be rehearsing at noon the next day for three or four hours.” (Cliff Hunt, former member of The Brass Union).
As Bruce says on his site http://www.bruceley.ca/, "the combination of long hours of playing and the freedom to be inventive were foundational to his later work as a composer and arranger."
Ron Boyes: guitars