Bio For Awakened, for Dale's perspective
The beginnings of what would eventually become Awakened was in the latter part of 1991, when Greg Selwah and myself (Dale Lyons) decided to write music together. Greg and I met in High School in October 1990, and we immediately clicked as friends. Greg stayed with me at my place in March 1991, and this is where the genesis for me picking up a guitar can be traced back to. Greg showed me the basics of how to play Metallica's "Seek and Destroy", and I was floored - it was so great that I could kind of emulate my favorite band's music, and playing it was an amazing feeling. Greg and I started playing guitar together in the Summer of 1991, shortly after I received my first guitar. He showed my how to pick, tune, put on strings, and how to play heavy rhythms. Greg was my "guitar teacher" so to speak - he taught me everything I know, and set the foundation for my playing style, forever.
Greg was living just outside of Fredericton in a place called Maugerville - about a 15 minute drive from where I lived. This really is when the band and our music started to happen. By early 1992, Greg and I were writing songs, and playing covers by bands like Sepultura, Kreator, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Obituary. We then went 50/50 and bought a Radio Shack microphone to record our "jams" on my ghetto blaster. Greg literally played on a TV table and a pillow - the table the snare, the pillow the kick - while I played guitar. Then we moved onto the same table but with a real kick drum, turned on it's side. Greg would use whatever we could find for sticks - spoons, spatulas, old broken drumsticks, anything. It was an awesome time. Our first ever original tune was called "Flatlined Fate" - an anti-drug dependancy tune. I wrote the music/lyrics, and Greg and I arranged it. At the time, the band was called Dead Silence.
Within a few months, Greg would frequently borrow his friend Eric Peterson's (yes, his real name) Fostex 4-track machine. Obviously we were very green about recording, but Greg learned quickly how to use it properly. We recorded Sepultura's "Mass Hypnosis", and "Flatlined Fate" - with Greg and I doing everything, and with me doing the vocals. Greg knew I could do the "Death Metal" style of vocals, so I was chosen as our "singer." We then dubbed the band "Dead Silence", and soon we were looking for other musicians to play music with.
In late '92, Greg and I had our first meeting/jam with drummer Clinton Thompson at Greg's place in his upstairs bedroom. The three of us clicked, playing a few Metallica and Slayer covers, then Greg and I showed Clinton our original tunes. I even have this first jam on tape. Clinton knew a bass player named Donnie Robichaud, and he said that Donnie could also sing. So on Saturday, February 13, 1993, Dead Silence had our first jam with what would eventually become the band - Greg on lead guitars, myself on rhythm, Donnie on bass (and later vocals) and Clinton on drums. At this first jam, Donnie just played bass, but near the end of the jam he sang, too. All four of us knew that THIS was what we were looking for. This was the start of a real band.
Within a few days, all four of us were rehearsing while Greg and I were writing tunes. We started playing some covers, and soon we were pretty tight and actually a good band. We sounded good, and had a solid foundation - Greg was a fantastic player, Donnie's vocals were very melodic - just the kind of vocals this band deserved, and Clinton and I helped hold the rhythm section together. By the Summer of 1993, the band had approached me about doing some new covers - by bands like Pearl Jam and Lenny Kravitz. The band wanted to do them, and I wanted to play Metal, so I left the band, on good terms. Terry Evans first took my place on rhythm guitar, then later ______________. The band played two shows without me - the first was at the Oromocto Legion on September 11, 1993, and the second was at Oromocto High School in April 1994 for a Battle of the Bands. During this time, I was writing and playing music with my High School Metalhead friend Manny Peters. We added Greg to our line-up on lead guitar, and that was the first step in me coming back to Dead Silence. After the Battle of the Bands show, I wanted back in the band, so I talked to Greg about it. He got the OK from Donnie and Clinton, and we were back together with the original lineup.
During the Summer of 1994, Greg and I spent all our free time writing and recording new music, and the band was getting quite a large repetoire of songs to play. Here's a typical set list for us back then:
Sepultura - Refuse/Resist, Territory, Troops of Doom
Obituary - Deadly Intentions
Slayer - Seasons, Manditory Suicide, South of Heaven
Metallica - Fade, Escape, Seek, Last Caress
Originals - Reason to Believe, Prelude #1, Silent Ashes, Sorrows of Truth, Blinded By Sleep, Matchless Time...
By this time, we were all unhappy with the band name, so we all went looking for a new one. Greg and I first thought of Serenity, and then Awakened, and the whole band agreed Awakened was the name we wanted. The first show with this lineup and new name was on October 27, 1994 at what was once called The Attic here in Fredericton. We played on "Jam Night" to a pretty responsive crowd of friends, family and customers. We were tight, energetic, and played 50% covers, 50% originals. I feel this show was what really solidified that lineup.
By Spring 1995, Awakened played a few shows, sharing the stage with Canadian bands like Slik Toxic and Absolute Zero at pubs and bars all around our hometown, and we even played an entire night's set at The Attic to a pretty great crowd. In September, Donnie wanted to step away from the mic, so we recruited Pete Schofield on lead vocals. This guy had a great voice like Donnie, and we went about teaching him the tunes. On September 18, 1995, Awakened played in an Oromocto Battle of the Bands as a five-peice, placing a disappointing second. Looking back, that show actually helped tear a bit of the band apart...
Greg was now an owner of a 4-track recorder, so we decided that is was time to think about recording an actual demo tape. In October of 1995 we began tracking what would become our "Awakened 1995 Demo" cassette, recorded on Greg's 4-track in various locations. I am still very, very proud of this recording, and for the time, money and equipment we had at the time, it came out really well! But it was a tough sell - people are notoriously cheap, and since everyone was into CD's and not tapes, the demo fell on pretty deaf ears. I think I made about 40-50 copies of that demo for people back then. The tape had eleven songs, songs that Greg and I still love and adore to this day.
We soon decided to let Donnie go from the band, because, as he put it, "I wasn't happy anymore with the band." That left us bass-less. We actually played two shows in late '95 without a bass player! It was Clinton, Greg, Pete and myself. Without Donnie, alot of the fighting stopped, and I felt the band was really ready to go. During the Winter of 1996, we used to rehearse one night a week - literally from 2AM - 5AM in a rented jam spot in the Industrial Park, all without a bass player. We wrote more original tunes with Pete, all the while searching for a bassist (we tried out a few) and a new permanent practice pad.
In the late Spring of 1996, Pete left the band due to school work and his job, so we were back to only three members - Clinton, Greg and I. This lineup recorded two demos almost back to back, both recorded in Summer/Fall 1996 without vocals. Both came out great, but without a full band, they basically were put on the shelf.
By the time 1997 rolled around, Awakened was basically just holding on for dear life. We couldn't get a singer, and we even had Donnie playing just bass for us for a while. Hell, I even conned the guys into letting me be the new singer/guitarist, with me adopting a "cleaner" vocal style - that lasted for one practice only because, quite frankly, I sucked. Around late Spring 1997, Clinton had also left the band, due to many reasons. That left the band as Greg and I - just like we started. Then in May '97 Greg and I moved into a house together, with the goal of writing new tunes and finding a full band for live shows. In that Summer, our old friend Steve Parker joined the band on drums, and the three of us rehearsed together for about five months. We also added a young female singer named Anthea Plummer. She had an incredible voice, and since Greg and I were big fans of The Gathering, having a female singer was just what we wanted. Anthea was with us for about three weeks, then she moved on.
We attempted another rough demo, which was recorded October 1997, with Steve, Greg and myself at the house Greg and I were renting. The recording turned out well, but we were very disappointed with some of Steve's performances. I can't remember if we let him go, or if he quit, but it was all on good terms. Back to square one again! Yes, we HAVE paid our dues through all these years.
In January 1998, our phone rang one night - it was our good friend Manny Peters. He asked if we were still lookiong for a drummer (which we were), and would we be interested in jamming with him and his friend Steve "Kramer" MacDonald? I was reluctant to jam with Manny because Awakened's music is quite complex at times, and we were looking for a drummer that could play fast double bass and could do intricate rolls. But I also knew from playing with Manny that he was first and foremost a great guy and quick learner. Greg and I agreed to jam with them that weekend. Well, as they say in this business, we "clicked" right off the bat. So we had the lineup of: Greg - lead guitars, Dale - rhythm guitars, Manny - drums, and Steve - vocals. The four of us started seriously rehearsing, and added Steve Parker on bass soon after. By May 1998, the lineup was sounding great, and we were hopeful for the future.
But due to his busy schedule, Manny didn't have the time to practice and rehearse like the rest of us wanted to. So we parted ways on good terms, and soon picked up Rob Gallant as our new drummer. Rob was a much needed boost for the band, and we hadn't sounded better in years. We rehearsed all Summer/Fall, and did a one hour TV show called "Friday Night Rocks" on October 23, 1998 here in Fredericton. Although we played well at the taping of the show, I personally feel that that show was a big reason why the band would change soon after. I felt we were good, but needed alot of work to tighten up and to get better as a band, while some of the other band members thought we played perfectly, and that I was overreacting....
On January 29, 1999, I was unceremoniously fired from Awakened due to personality conflicts within the band. I then formed Fear Absolute, and the rest of Awakened kept going on. Steve Parker soon left after me, and the band had try outs for a new rhythm guitar player. Greg, Rob and Steve MacDonald kept on going, jamming and trying to keep it all together. This may not be the excact time, but around the Summer/Fall of '99, Awakened basically stopped existing as a functioning unit, with each member kind of going his own way.
Greg and I have talked for many years about re-recording all the old Awakened tracks, and that is what we are going to do. Since Greg has his own recording studio, Greg and I are going to track all the instruments, while we search for a good session singer for the vocals, and Greg will be programming his drum machine for all the old songs we are going to redo. It may take a while to complete (possibly years), but Greg and I want to re-record many of the old tunes so we can kind of close that chapter in our lives. We had alot of awesome, awesome tunes, and we want to have them recorded right.