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Fist (Canada) - 2002 Interview with Ron Chenier

INTERVIEW: Fist/Myofist (Apr 2002)
Fist's Ron Chenier gives us a fistfull of heat!!

In The Spotlight - Fist/MyoFist interview with Ron Chenier
Written by: Gdazegod (Apr, 04, 2002)

Fans of late seventies and early eighties Canadian hard rock may well remember the name Ron Chenier. As a member of the Ontario based band Fist, Ron and his musical cohorts released many albums during their heyday. From 1979 through to 1986, Fist not only put recorded product out into the marketplace, but toured relentlessly in support of them. These included albums such as 'Round One', 'Hot Spikes', 'Fleet Street' (or 'Thunder In Rock' as it was in UK/Europe), plus 'In The Red' and 'Danger Zone'. Past members at the time included bassist Jeff Nystrom, keyboard players Ivan Tessier and Ed Eagan, plus Bob Patterson and Ron's brother John on drums, who passed away in 1983.

As the name would imply, the band played a heavy-handed style of rock, with hard driving guitar and keyboards to match. Tours and festivals with the likes of Heart, The Scorpions and Motorhead saw them in good company. Fist had a second life during the nineties, and released a brace of albums on the Magada label. Now, as we progress into the 21st Century, phase three of Fist is about to begin.

Ron is now based in Edmonton Alberta, and has his own studio called Ronch Music. Despite commitments with the studio, Ron is about to launch Fist back upon the melodic rock populace once again. With a new lineup in tow and a new album due before the Northern Hemisphere summer kicks in, things are happening once again. The band reformed in 2001 with a new lineup.

'Yes we did reform and I must say that the band is very together and has plenty of 'Thunder In Rock' ' says Ron. 'With the new line up, we have Jeff Stephen on drums. Jeff is from Estavan Saskatchewan, and he's been with us since March 2001 and has a good solid sound to drive the band'. Ron adds: 'On keyboards is Laurie Curry (ex Slammer). He's from Edmonton Alberta, and has been with Fist for about 15 years now. He sometimes plays the weird keyboard sounds like on 'Fleet Street' and 'Open The Gate' and has an original way of playing to suit the Fist style. Finally, on bass is Jason McDonald. Like Jeff, he's been in the band since March 2001 and he's also from Saskatchewan (Yorkton).'

Fist/MyoFist (circa 2001)
Jason McDonald, Ron Chenier, Laurie Curry, Jeff Stephen

As many readers would have noticed here on GLORY-DAZE, the startling occurence of many classic rock bands from Canada getting a 'second life' so to speak, is remarkable. We've seen bands such as Moxy, Goddo, Brighton Rock, Killer Dwarfs, Honeymoon Suite, April Wine all get new life breathed into them. Now we can add Fist to that collection, but firstly, I asked Ron what was the background behind getting the band up and running again.

'The drummer Jeff Stephen asked me if I could put the band together for two major concerts' explains Ron. 'One on July 16 last year at Craven Rockfest, Saskatchewan, the other on August 5 at Little River Rockfest in Minnedosa Manitoba. They were very big outdoor concerts and I said yes. I wanted to see and hear if we had the chops. It turns out we did, and we went very well. Soon after, e-mails started pouring in and Fist, and the Fist army is now in motion.'

So, are you encouraged by all the other classic Canadian rock bands getting back together and playing again? 'Seeing those other classic rock bands getting back together isn't the reason for me to be back and playing. I think the main motivator is our popularity in Europe.'

Yes, talking of Europe - as far as the bands name was concerned, they've been known as Fist in the North American market, but by the strange handle of MyoFist in the European market. Can you explain that one for us? 'MyoFist was suggested and picked by A&M Canada who we were signed to' clarifies Ron. 'Myo (a medical term for Muscle) was put in front of Fist in Europe, because at that time there was another band in operation by the same name. We thought MyoFist was unusual but the record company said to us that eventually if sales were good that our fans would eventually drop the Myo from the name Fist. They said this 23 years ago.'

Did this dual naming have an impact on the bands identity between the two markets do you think? 'It certainly did' agrees Ron. 'I never used the name MyoFist. I kind of forgot about it for a while and the record company and our publisher, were never ones to keep us informed. It almost felt like they didn't want us to know about the European market and hoped we would break up for good so they could continue selling Fist product until the internet came along. Boy did I smell the coffee - meaning there's another world out there since Fist got a web site. Right now I'm e-mailing everyone I can plug in to Fist or MyoFist - anywhere I can, especially the European music trade magazines and independent writers.'

Looking back, I wouldn't hesitate to say that 'Fleet Street' (Thunder In Rock') is my pick of the bunch. What was the inspiration behind that album? Mores the point, the title track? (which I love BTW) Well, 'Thunder In Rock' was not key-cut the way 'Fleet Street' was, but we had a feeling that the song 'Thunder In Rock' would do very well on the charts. I don't know, it had a hook that was right for the times. Jeff Nystrom and I wrote the 'Thunder In Rock' album in one month rehearsed it and were ready to record. Every song was a song with common things that happen to people but 'Leather And Lace' was the only song where I said the word 'love'. Any other Fist song I sang did not have the word 'love' in it. Every time I hear a song on the radio it has: 'love this', 'love gone', 'love you', 'love hearts' etc - and Jeff and I decided not to write any love songs for that album.'

After all these years, has the style changed any? 'I can honestly say no - but I think we are better now' muses Ron. A&M Canada were onboard for a couple of albums. But also, as it turns out, some of Fist's albums have appeared as bootlegs on some '2 on 1' compilations. What on earth is going on here? 'Fist had three albums released by A&M, they were 'Hot Spikes', 'Fleet Street'/'Thunder In Rock' and 'In The Red'. It's like I said earlier in the interview - they kept us in the dark about the European market' says Ron. 'Regarding those bootlegs, I didn't know anything. The record company and publishers kept it quiet. I just found out a couple of months ago. It was via Fist fans e-mailing me and telling me about the compilations and other releases in Europe. It burns me when record companies makes money from sales of my recording and don't notify me. Jeff Nystrom and I have hired a legal firm to investigate everything and monies owed to us from sales. The action will start during April 2002.'

So, what would you consider to be the definitive Fist album? 'Definitely 'Fleet Street'/'Thunder In Rock' - this is what the band sounds like today and it seems to kick ass' says Ron.

Fist - Fleet Street (1981) US-MyoFist - Thunder In Rock (1981) UK/Europe

The current incarnation is the third phase of Fist's overall existence, and it's recognised that there will be further changes in the wind. 'Yes, this time around Jeff Nystrom and I will be together for the first time in twelve years and we'll release a new album' says Ron enthusiastically. 'It will have a very similar feel and sound to the 'Fleet Street'/'Thunder In Rock' album we wrote back in 1981.'

Your now living in Edmonton. What's the culture like out west for you, in comparison to the metropolitan climate of Toronto? 'I find living in Edmonton far better than Toronto now. Toronto is a very busy city while Edmonton is more laid back. However, if it wasn't for computers and the Internet I would probably be still living in Toronto' suggests Ron.

Since moving out west, Ron has since set up his own studio called Ronch Music. By all accounts it is a very active business, and has had some achievements with it too. 'I've always had a private recording studio since day one and I do all my song-writing there and I also record other bands' says Ron. 'I like to record young bands because I'm right into artist development. Without artist development there would be no industry. I did record the latest MyoFist compilation there, and I produced a metal band called Disciples of Power that is very popular in Canada. Believe it or not I also recorded and mixed two country albums - and in the same year, one took Best Album Sound of the year and the other most promising artist of the year at the Canadian Country Music Awards. Edmonton is the country music capital of Canada. The Americans call us Nashville North.'

Though Ron has his studio in place, he has yet to set up a label, even though the aforementioned MyoFist compilation came out last year. The 'Fleet Street Revival' compilation album is an autographed CD manufactured by MyoFist, but there is no label - call it an indie I guess' says Ron. 'That album was a market test and the results were very surprising to us - we found fans e-mailing us and asking for a new album, so we decided to do just that for a summer release 2002. Watch for it.' Ron also adds: 'As my company doesn't have a label set up yet, I do help artists that I develop, to try and find a record deal.'

With a new album in the pipeline, and tours forthcoming, the next six months will be an interesting time for MyoFist. 'This summer 2002, MyoFist will tour Canada and be on full alert and ready to tour other countries if and when called. I just got back on the scene last summer and I'm trying to find out who's who in the record business - concert promoters and radio people etc. I'm hoping interviews like this can be read by these people and help us hook back up. Any label that signs MyoFist will get a hard working band that sells records with their help.' Ron adds. 'What we would like is a distribution that covers all of Europe and the United States. Connections are developing now but we are very interested in the European market as that's what is #1 for us. Canada will always be our power base to keep the ship floating' Ron admits. 'But by year end perhaps, MyoFist would like a European distribution and a promoter deal that believes in the band. With this combination, I feel it's a win win situation.'

So, some interesting times ahead. If the music is as good as the 'Fleet Street'/'Thunder In Rock' era in which Ron is earmarking the bands sound, then we should be in for a treat. I for one am looking forward to another sonic assault by this legendary Canadian outfit, making a welcome return to the scene.


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