July 4, 1988
A Foot In Coldwater Gets Hot
By Jeff Bateman
In case you’ve forgotten, all those years ago, A Foot In Coldwater is a euphemism for bad luck used by superstitious Brits.
The moniker became something of a self-fulfilling prophecy when the Toronto base quintet parted ways in 1976 following a poorly received album release on Anthem Records.
“We’d been together seven years and things were going downhill,” founding member Alex Machin said recently. “At the time it felt right to split.”
The hard luck continued for vocalist Machin with his mid-‘80’s band Champion, which released its label debut the same week the label in question – Solid Gold – went bankrupt.
Fortunes seem to have turned of late, however. A one-off reunion at Toronto’s Diamond Club last month has generated enough interest to keep the band together for additional club dates in the region. Capitol’s Deane Cameron is investigating a re-issue of the bands recordings for Daffodil (last heard on the 1985 Footprints compilation) and the band’s lawyers are scouting for a record deal.
“There’s a spark again,” says Machin. “We left it alone for so long that it has rekindled itself.”
As for the recent flurry of live activity, “it’s fun out there. We’ve been surprised by the crowds, people out front miming the words and getting off on the old songs.”
The current line-up features four-fifths of the original band. Hugh Leggat, who released Capitol albums with Private Eye and Leggat earlier in the decade, is back on bass. Guitarist Paul Naumann came up from Austin, Texas, where he had been signed to a publishing deal. Drummer Danny Taylor has been skirting around the Toronto scene, often in the company of Machin, who has kept busy singing jingles – (he did Badfinger’s If You Want It for Plymouth TV spot).
The one new face is Rick Lamb (Copper Penny, Hellfield) on keyboards. He replaces Bob Horne, who now runs a pool cleaning company in Las Vegas. Says Machin, “Bob’s life is settled and he’s the only one member of the band who didn’t keep up his playing, so it would have been tough.” While no collaborative writing has been tried as yet, Machin says everyone is keen to tackle new material. “Danny and Paul used to do most of the writing, but Hughie and I have come into our own as writers (Leggat’s White Flags was covered by Blue Oyster Cult), so we’ve got a lot of depth and a lot of material.”
Hitting the revival circuit doesn’t worry Machin at this early stage. “We haven’t played those songs in a long, long time, so it’s not drudgery.” The much anticipated Make Me Do Anything You Want is the sing along favourite; Machin says a 1986 Helix cover has kept the song’s profile high – as does semi-regular gold airplay. “We’ve always been known for our ballads – Make Me Do, Love Is Coming – but we had a heavy side, which I hope is going to attract a younger audience.”
Article courtesy Chris Leggat
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