For those of you that are local to Southern California, you may be familiar with the music venue known as the “Canyon Club”, which is notorious for having classic rock, metal and rap acts that are long past their prime and on the slow road to the inevitable rock-n-roll graveyard. From playing stadiums in their prime to now playing this small venue right outside the ‘Valley, their heyday has come and gone.
It is not uncommon for the marquis off the US 101 to showcase former monsters of rock, such as LA Guns or Great White. Or 80’s icons Adam Ant, Berlin or The Motels. Yacht Rock- check. Kenny Loggins and Ambrosio are practically in the house band. Heck- they even get hip hop icons like Snoop Dogg or Sir-Mix-a-Lot to spin some records on a good night. But be careful- they sneak in some cover bands from time to time. Watch out- Page and Plant won’t actually show up again when Zepagain hits the stage. Nor will Don Henley or Glenn Frey be showing up as “The Long Run”.
But the 80’s hard rockers that really caught my eye recently while driving past the marquis was that of 80’s hard rock band “Loverboy”. When I say ‘caught my eye’, I don’t mean in the sense that I would actually go to the show. I wouldn’t be caught dead in that crowd. I’m referring to it taking me back to that red leather’d, long frizzy hair, product of the 80’s hard rock flavor. I could hear the driving synth and shimmery electric guitars from their hit song, “Workin’ for the Weekend”.
And in contemplating this memorable band name Loverboy, so indicative of the era, I thought.. “Loverboy”? I thought, what in the lord’s name were they thinking when they were brainstorming over ice cold Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers at the Rainbow Bar on Sunset in Hollywood? I mean, OK- for the late 80’s, Loverboy is perfect. But had they considered what happens in the decades beyond the 80’s? Where do they go with that? How does one evolve as the band known as “Loverboy”?
Did they not see that the glam rock of the 80’s would crash and burn as fast as one could say “Milli Vanilli”? Did they not foresee Nirvana and Pearl Jam waiting in the wings ready to stage dive into the 90’s, and steal the crown for world domination?
What if Loverboy wanted to head in the direction of say, grunge or alternative rock? Or maybe one day they would be inspired to bust into electronic and add a guest DJ? How does one do that as Loverboy? Do they just feature Marshmello and DJ Khaled and call it a day? Do they change their name to L.Boy? Or the LB Band and go more in the jam band direction? People, I just don’t see it. I feel like they painted themselves into a corner.
For those of you history buffs keeping score at home, the true story is that they chose this fabulous name based on a dream their guitarist, Paul Dean had. He came up with the name after spending the previous night with some of the bandmates and their girlfriends, before going to the movies. The girlfriends were browsing through fashion magazines, where the guys in the band saw a Cover Girl advertisement. Cover Girl became Cover Boy, and then became Loverboy in Dean’s dream later that night. True brilliance.
While I respect Loverboy for their music and hard rock hits for that era- I also have to assume they are content in their artistic choice of name, and I can live with that.
But as they unload the gear from their van and get ready for a night of screaming cougars and beyond-their-years metal heads, I wonder if they’ll consider what could have been had they chosen a name just a bit more fluid and timeless than… “Loverboy”.