Alan Frew still tells a great story, whether that be about sitting behind Mr. Hockey at Wayne Gretzky’s wedding or writing another hit song.
It is part of the reason why the frontman for Glass Tiger has helped the band continue to exist for three decades and is showing no signs of slowing down or decline.
“There is this richness in my voice and we are having a really good time with it,” said Frew during a phone interview with the Western News. “I don’t know what the date code on it is, but I can honestly say I am singing the best I have ever been in my life right now. I think behaving myself really helped my voice.”
Early in their career with the world sitting in their hands with hits like Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone), I’m Still Searching and invited as special guests for Tina Turner’s European tour Frew said he would never drink alcohol on show days and would focus on what he was getting paid to do. Something that might sound absurd in the music star world.
“Oh, I made up for it on my days off,” Frew admitted.
With such a colourful past, world tours, hit singles, millions sold, top producers and sharing stages with some of the biggest acts of all time, Glass Tiger’s history would seem complete. However, they continue to play to enthusiastic crowds throughout North America and recently were on tour with Roxette. Frew believes with all the current cookie-cutter music released today, there is nostalgia for the sounds of the 80s.
“It is highly melodic, kind of positive lyrics and positive melody to it and people get caught up in it and attracted to it. It is living proof that when we come out and the crowd is filled with younger people to see us and that is great,” said Frew. “I think the 80s stands out as probably the top era of music that can just keep recycling and resurging all the time. I think it stands the test of time. It is great songs and the band is playing extremely well.”
In 2012 they released an album Then Now Next – Biggest Hits Past, Present and Future with what Frew calls one of the best adult pop songs he has ever written in I Take It Back. Unfortunately it did not get the radio play that they expected. Frew believes the music industry is not based on albums anymore and goes back to a time where singles were king.
“It is a tough market and I write all kinds of genres now and the occasional one maybe cracks through. The classic sense of the album is dead. Yes we are living in a world of singles right now, which is the world I grew up in. But, there is still value in an album between the artist and their fans. I understand what I need it for. I need it to be able to take with me in my travels so when I am performing the people who care get to hear new stuff and the people who care are able to come up and say can I purchase that? In that sense the album is still a very valuable commodity,” said Frew.
When Frew isn’t busy riding this second wave of love for Glass Tiger, writing country songs with the likes of Johnnie Reid and Alan Hicks, he is doing what he does best — telling stories. His career in front of a mic is far from over as he re-positioned himself in recent years as a motivational speaker and best-selling author. Frew has lived life to its fullest as a rock star and he has the stories to prove it. He quite often takes to Twitter to share pictures of Glass Tiger on what he calls Throwback Thursday. This recently included a picture of the back of Gordie Howe’s head that was begging for an explanation. Frew said Glass Tiger grew up around the same time as the Edmonton Oilers and the band became pals with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and the rest of the team.
“It was a lot of fun hanging out with those guys and Wayne invited me to his wedding. It was a blast. There is a funny story actually. They had said no cameras at the wedding and we were abiding by that, but there was this beautiful moment when I was sitting behind Gordie and his wife and I thought I will just keep the camera down and snap it. It will be the back of their heads and that will be all. Unbeknownst to me, it was one of the old cameras and happened to be the last shot in the camera so it went click and you just get this zzz sound and everyone was looking,” said Frew, laughing when asked if he got busted. “I think I sat on it or something.”
Glass Tiger performs at the Barking Parrot on Saturday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the opening act at 8:30 p.m. and Glass Tiger hitting the stage at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $38.