HAREM SCAREM – “If You Never Go Away How Can I Miss You?”

By Carl Begai


Based in Toronto and known the world over, rockers Harem Scarem released a re-recorded version of their breakthrough Mood Swings in 2013, ending a six year hiatus that was meant to a permanent full stop. They followed it up a year later with their thirteenth official studio album, suggesting Harem Scarem may in fact be back in the game for another long stretch. Vocalist Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance – the latter being Canada’s rock answer to Steve Vai – had shut the band down with every intention of exploring other musical avenues, but it was only a matter of time until they were faced with a good enough reason to take Harem Scarem out for one more go-round. The end result in their latest record, aptly titled Thirteen.

Diehard Harem Scarem will fans will recognize the title of this piece, but it has to be said that the band’s six years off the grid didn’t seem all that long.

“We were really done with Harem Scarem at that time and didn’t see a future for it,” Lesperance reveals. “I think we were just spent musically. Speaking for myself, when it comes to playing guitar in the rock world I felt that I’d said everything I had to say with those first 150 songs or whatever it is (laughs). Me and Harry work together on all kinds of stuff, so maybe that’s why the break didn’t seem that long; we never stopped working together, we just stopped working on Harem Scarem. When the Mood Swings II thing happened it kind of changed everything and opened our eyes a bit, so we decided to try it again.”

It’s hard for someone on the outside to understand how a creative team like Lesperance and Hess can continue working together and not produce music that sounds like Harem Scarem. Going from one style of music to another in their case almost seems as if it happens at the flip of a switch.

“Our band is a weird animal. It’s my and Harry’s project more than anything these days. Obviously we have people that are heavily involved like Darren (Smith) and Creighton (Doane), but it was never really hard to shut down because, like I said, I just felt that we were done. It seemed like the right thing to do. The wrong thing to do would have been to just keep taking label’s money and keep going.” Continue reading HAREM SCAREM – “If You Never Go Away How Can I Miss You?”

CREIGHTON DOANE – Life Without A Harem

By Carl Begai

Toronto rockers Harem Scarem officially called it quits in 2008 after 20 years in the trenches. Co-founders Harry Hess (vocals) and Pete Lesperance (guitars) led the band through two decades of noteworthy hits and best forgotten misses, gaining considerable respect along the way as songwriters, musicians and producers, eventually bringing them to a point where the band didn’t hold enough promise for the future. Maritime-born drummer Creighton Doane – affectionately known as “Where’s Darren?” in reference Darren Smith, whom he replaced in 2000 – understood the decision to shut things down, but instead of seeking out a new band he opted to devote more time to production work of his own. Two years on he has resurfaced with a new one-man-band solo EP, Pilot Error, which showcases his talents as a musician, singer, and above all a songwriter. A far cry from Harem Scarem’s melodic rock sound, it’s an album that inevitably leaves people who dare to dive in wondering why Doane doesn’t release more music more often.

Harem Scarem’s split was “controversial” in the sense that there was no badmouthing or assorted mudslinging, nor was there any exceptional fanfare. It amounted to the band saying “Thank you, good night” and quietly exiting stage left. Continue reading CREIGHTON DOANE – Life Without A Harem