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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Chilliwack - 1979 Breakdown In Paradise
Chilliwack - 1979 Breakdown In Paradise

ARTIST: Chilliwack
ALBUM: Breakdown In Paradise
LABEL: Mushroom Canada
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: Bill Henderson - lead and backing vocals, guitars * Brian MacLeod - lead guitars, keyboards, vibes, drums, backing vocals * Ab Bryant - bass * John Roles - guitars, backing vocals * Bucky Berger - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Communication Breakdown * 02 Trial By Fire * 03 Guilty * 04 148 Heavy * 05 Let It All Begin * 06 So Strong * 07 Last Time * 08 Are You With Me * 09 Road To Paradise


1979 was a year of transition for Canadian band Chilliwack. It marked their eighth release, it would also be their last for Canadian label Mushroom, with whom they had partnered with successfully throughout the 70's decade. In fact, 1979 would see the demise of the label, following the passing of label boss Shelly Siegel, an entrepreneurial young man who died relatively young at the age of 32 due to a brain aneurysm. Despite the falling out with his first successful project Heart, Siegel still commanded respect within the industry, and it was sad the Chilliwack's fortunes seemed to follow suit, as there was no marketing involved for 'Breakdown In Paradise', along with the handful of other Mushroom signed acts, though funnily and ironically, we did see a few of their vinyl for sale in New Zealand during 1979, including Jerry Doucette's LP's. Wonders will never cease! Unfortunately for Chilliwack, the poor promotion of 1978's 'Lights In The Valley' saw the departure of previous members Glenn Miller, Ross Turney and Howard Froese, to be replaced by ex Prism bassist Ab Bryant, guitarist John Roles and drummer Bucky Berger.

The Songs
For the record, the album featured a handful of useful tracks, despite the album placing no tracks into the charts. Bill Henderson's notable tenor is reflected throughout, while Brian MacLeod is relatively restrained when compared to his performances on future recordings. The band lead off with the somewhat bizarre 'Communication Breakdown', solemn sounding sounding keys and vocals, before breaking out by the halfway mark. The synth solo at the 3 min mark borders on new wave wackiness. A victim of the times huh? Getting back to a traditional hard rocking style is 'Trial By Fire'. This one reminds me of fellow Canucks Trooper. 'Guilty' features a heap of vibes and bell-blocks, a good song, it's followed by the airport drama of '148 Heavy', for which I am still trying to work out the lyrics for. 'Let It All Begin' is very typical of the Chilliwack style and they muscle up for the appropriately named 'So Strong', where Henderson dominates with a powerful vocal performance. 'Are You With Me' is equally rocky,with some stinging lead guitar on offer. Two ballads round out the album: 'Last Time' and 'Road To Paradise'. In fact, the album was going to be called 'Road To Paradise' but decided against it as a testament of good judgement considering label boss Siegel's recent passing. Wise move.

In Summary
This being the end of the road of their Mushroom era, the band would return for 1981's superior 'Wanna Be A Star' (signed to Millenium/RCA) where the band would finally strike into the US charts with two minor hit singles. Just a final fling on this LP. It was interesting to read about Chilliwack over at Prog Archives. Why the hell are some of the idiots there bothering reviewing this band when firstly, they are not prog (apart from the first two albums), and secondly, for a majority of their history they've squarely aimed up at the FM Radio/AOR market. Giving the band like one star and saying they're not progressive is kinda obvious don't you think? Sheesh.. rant over.

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#1 | Eric on November 10 2009 00:37:39
Great, great record. I played this to death when it came out along with 'Lights In The Valley'- even had a freebie promo poster of 'LITV' hung in my old bedroom wall back in the day..

Prog Archives- I hear yah. All the prog sites, especially PA are obsessed with the 'is it prog or isn't it' debate. Prog? Not Prog? I've been a fan/ devote of progressive rock since the mid-'70s and I feel more alienated from the scene than ever merely because it's become so rigid, so compartmentalized and so holier than thou when it comes to other forms of music, including AOR. GD is far more open minded than PA will ever hope to be.

Rant over.
#2 | rkbluez on November 10 2009 11:28:02
I really liked all of the Mushroom era albums but Lights In The Valley" was my favorite...the band had great vocals and guitar playing and could write some good songs...I can only wish these would see a release on CD but no nothing about Mushroom Records and any labels that license their stuff.
#3 | jefflynnefan on November 11 2009 19:35:36
Did Festival buy out Mushroom's catalog?
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