Spoons (band)

Last updated
Spoons (Canadian band).jpg
Spoons performing at the 2008 Friendship Festival in Fort Erie, Ontario
Background information
Also known asThe Spoons
Origin Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Years active
  • 1979–1990
  • 1994–1996
  • 1999
  • 2002–2004
  • 2006–present
Associated acts
Website spoonsmusic.com
  • Gordon Deppe
  • Sandy Horne
  • Chris McNeill
  • Scott MacDonald
Past members

Spoons is a Canadian new wave band, formed in 1979 in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. They recorded several Canadian chart hits between 1982 and 1989, and in 1983, they were nominated for Most Promising Group of the Year at the Juno awards. Their most popular songs include "Romantic Traffic", "Nova Heart", "Old Emotions", and "Tell No Lies".



Early years (1979-1981)

Spoons was formed in Burlington, Ontario, in 1979. The band initially consisted of Gordon Deppe (lead vocals and guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals and bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synths), and Peter Shepherd (drums). Deppe, Horne, and Wickens attended Aldershot High School, and Deppe and Horne (the only constant members of the band) dated in high school. The band got their name as the members were eating alphabet soup at Brett Wickens' home. While tossing around potential names, they all stared at their spoons in union and "there was no turning back." [2]

Early in their history, they would play the work of their European influences. Unfortunately, audiences were not enamored by the styles of Genesis and other progressive rock groups, making the band switch courses for something more "light, bouncy, and...danceable". [3] Band members have cited Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) and Ultravox as influences. [4] [5] This shift in sound gained a larger response from audiences, and the style stuck. [3]

In late 1979, Shepherd left the band and was replaced by Derrick Ross on drums. Spoons then released an independent single, "After the Institution", in 1980 on Mannequin Records, produced by the band and former member Shepherd. Shortly thereafter, Wickens left the band to release an electronica album as part of the duo Ceramic Hello, also on Mannequin Records, and later became a graphic designer designing album covers for such artists as Peter Gabriel. He was replaced by keyboardist Rob Preuss, who was only fifteen when he joined Spoons.

The band's first album, Stick Figure Neighbourhood , was released in 1981, and is notable for being one of the earliest new wave albums engineered by Daniel Lanois. The album was popular on the Canadian University charts, and allowed the group to eventually tour Ontario and Quebec with bands like Martha and the Muffins. [3] Carl Finkle, who left Martha and the Muffins in 1981, would go on to manage the Spoons during their "Nova Heart" fame.

Gaining popularity (1982-1985)

The following year, Spoons released their breakthrough album Arias & Symphonies . This album spawned three Top 40 hits in Canada: "Nova Heart", "Arias & Symphonies", and "Smiling in Winter". All were dance-oriented new wave hits, and the band was awarded a U-Know Award for Most Promising Group. [6]

Around this time, Spoons' higher profile allowed them to become the opening act for bands such as Culture Club, Simple Minds, and The Police. [7]

Spoons' 1983 album, Talkback , was produced by Nile Rodgers. [7] Rodgers had been approached to produce tracks for Culture Club, but after seeing them in concert, he was unimpressed with that band's reliance on backing tapes – he was, however, taken with Spoons' opening set, and elected to produce them instead. The Talkback album included the hit "Old Emotions", but was not issued outside of Canada – a disappointment for the band after working with a producer of Rodgers' international stature. [8]

Following that, the band expanded their sound somewhat, releasing a two-sided hit in 1984 with "Tell No Lies" b/w "Romantic Traffic", both also produced by Rodgers. The upbeat "Tell No Lies" featured a more mainstream pop sound than was customary for Spoons; the song won a CASBY Award for best single. [9] "Romantic Traffic" was a downtempo song with adult-oriented radio-friendly leanings that would become the group's most enduring hit. Around this time, the band recorded commercials for Maxwell's, Pepsi-Cola, and signed a six-figure promotional deal with Thrifty's Clothing Stores, a cross-Canada chain, and were featured in the store's radio, TV, and print ads. [10]

Both "Tell No Lies" and "Romantic Traffic" later found their way onto the soundtrack for the film Listen To The City , [7] in which Horne was featured in a supporting role. However, Listen To The City was not a Spoons album, as it consisted largely of instrumental music and was credited solely to Gordon Deppe.

Decline and hiatus (Late 1985-2009)

Late in 1985, Spoons left their label, new wave imprint Ready Records, which had been unable to secure international releases for their material; Ready Records went out of business soon after. [8] The band signed to the more rock-oriented Anthem Records label and welcomed Bob Muir, former Virgin Records Canada president, as manager. Muir believed that the deal with Thrifty's may have damaged the credibility of the band due to the commercial sponsorship "shifting the public's emphasis from their music to their consumer image". [8]

Around this time, Preuss and Ross left Spoons, and were replaced by Scott MacDonald (keyboards) and Steve Kendry (drums), respectively. [11] The 1986 single "Bridges Over Borders" marked a departure from their characteristic sound and showcased a harder rock orientation, as did later single "Rodeo".

Both singles appeared on the 1986 Spoons album Bridges Over Borders , but the release was a commercial disaster as it did not chart in the Canadian Top 100, nor did any of the three singles pulled from the LP. The follow-up LP Vertigo Tango reunited the band with Arias & Symphonies producer John Punter, and was a partial return to the band's new wave roots. [12] The album featured the band's final hit single, "Waterline" (1989), a languid, introspective ballad.

Spoons took a break from recording in the 1990s to allow time to focus on family, but Deppe, Horne, and various other players reunited for several Spoons reunion gigs in the 1990s and into the next decade. In 2007, Spoons released Unexpected Guest at a Cancelled Party , a collection of previously unreleased material recorded between 1982 and 1985 by the Deppe, Horne, Preuss, Ross line-up.

In 2008, Limited Edition was released. It is a greatest-hits of sorts and was released on the Ready Records Imprint to replace the out-of-print Collectible Spoons.

The band continues to play occasional shows in the Toronto and Hamilton area. In 2010 at the Woodbine Park Summerfest for Vinyl 95.3, the band released its first new studio work in over 20 years - the double A-Side "Imperfekt/Breaking In" which was limited to 100 copies.

Regroup and start again (2010-present)

In the Spring of 2010, a Spoons lineup of Deppe & Horne, with producer Jeff Carter, began recording their sixth studio album, Static in Transmission . The first single released from these sessions was the limited-edition "Imperfekt" b/w "Breaking In". Only a few hundred CD singles were released with a few being made available for fans. The release date for Static in Transmission was March 29, 2011.

On Canada Day 2012, Spoons once again performed at Woodbine Park for Vinyl 95.3's Red, White, and Vinyl event. Their newest CD EP marking 30 Years of "Nova Heart" was made available.

In August 2012, Spoons headlined the Spirit of the Eighties fundraiser concert in Lewiston, NY. This was the first time the band had played in the United States since 1989. [13] They enjoyed their reception so much that they returned to the festival the following August and shared the headline with Images in Vogue. The two bands would then embark on the Rewind the Tape tour the same year. This tour's Toronto date served as the release party for the remastered CD version of Stick Figure Neighbourhood . [14]

On November 13, 2012, Spoons released the 30th Anniversary Edition of their Arias & Symphonies album on CD and through digital download. This was followed by the band playing a series of shows with Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross, temporarily reuniting the classic 1980s line-up. [15] They would reunite again in 2014 for the 30th anniversary of "Romantic Traffic" and "Tell No Lies". [15]

On March 22, 2019, Spoons released the album, New Day New World , on CD, vinyl, and digital release via iTunes and Spotify. New Day New World was the first studio project to be released by the Spoons in over eight years. The first single off the album was "For The First And Last Time". An online contest was held for the release of the second single, “All The Wrong Things (In The Right Places)”, where fans could submit recordings of themselves singing a part of the song’s chorus to be included in the final mix. It is planned to 3 videos produced by Peter Sacco, for the album's singles, "For The First And Last Time", "All The Wrong Things (In the Right Places)", and "Beautiful Trap", that will have a connecting story/theme between the 3 videos. The video for The First & Last Time was selected for 35 film festivals around the globe, winning awards at 10. The “All The Wrong Things In The Right Places” video has already been selected at 15 festivals and won at 6. [16]

On January 9, 2020, it was announced that Scott MacDonald had returned to the band on keyboards. The Spoons are currently celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year with shows slated throughout Canada.

Post-Spoons careers

Gordon Deppe:

Sandy Horne:

Rob Preuss:

Brett Wickens:

Derrick Ross:

Scott Macdonald:


Studio albums

TitleReleasePeak chart
Stick Figure Neighbourhood
  • Release date: February 1981
  • Label: Ready
Arias & Symphonies
  • Release date: October 1982
  • Label: Ready/A&M
20 [21]
  • Release date: October 1983
  • Label: Ready
29 [23]
Bridges Over Borders
Vertigo Tango
  • Release date: October 1988
  • Label: Anthem/Mercury
79 [24]
Static in Transmission
New Day New World
  • Release date: 22 March 2019
  • Label: Sparks Music
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Soundtrack albums

Compilation albums



TitleReleasePeak chart positionsAlbum
"After the Institution"1980non-album single
"Nova Heart"198240 Arias & Symphonies
"Arias & Symphonies"18
"Smiling in Winter"30
"Old Emotions" [25] 198328 Talkback
"The Rhythm"
"Tell No Lies"34 Listen to the City
"Romantic Traffic"55
"Bridges Over Borders"1986 Bridges Over Borders
"Be Alone Tonight"
"When Time Turns Around"198868 Vertigo Tango
"Sooner or Later"
"Imperfekt"2010 Static in Transmission
"You Light Up"2011
"Beautiful Trap"2017 New Day New World
"All the Wrong Things (In The Right Places)"2019
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

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