Having formed in the early '90s, mollys reach are some of the veterans on this year's Together Again lineup. It's been a while since they've played together, but drummer Steve Derpack isn't worried about putting on a good show, especially since they're going to rehearse any day now.
By Cory Schachtel | August 17, 2022
How did you guys meet and start as a band?
Well, our band, out of the locals on the bill, we’re probably the oldest band by far. This is actually more of a reunion show for us. I met one of our singers in 1990, working at a warehouse together, and then the other guys met in university and I started playing with them in 1992. And we played up until about 2001 before we disbanded. We had a show in 2017 and it was the first time in 15 years that all four of us had been in the same room together. So this is going to be our second official show in 22 years.
So there was no huge rock star drama that ended things?
No, the running joke is that we didn’t even disband, we just sort of dissipated. It was just life. Three out of the four of us have kids. Two of us, our kids are in college, university and moved out now. So we just kind of went separate ways. Life just took its toll and when you’re a band for a long time, unless you have a lot of popularity and a reason to stay together, you tend to go different ways.
But now the band is back together.
The happenstance for this gig was I took our guitar player to Together Again the previous summer. And we both had a really good time. And I jokingly texted the producer of Trixstar and said if you decide to do it again next year, we’d love to play. I said it as a joke, but he said “I’m considering this the contract.” So [Trixstar President] Mike Anderson and I are friends, and I’ve worked with Trixstar a lot. So when they started putting this together, I said look at our last text message, with a wink and a smirk. And he said, “I hope you’re serious,” because there was an offer in my inbox right then as we were having lunch.
And how have rehearsals been going?
Well, this may be not so good for me because if it shows up in print, these guys will kill me, but I’m just going to do it anyway: We’ve known about this show since February, but our first rehearsals are next week. And it’s not through lack of trying. We have my drums and our production set in a basement of a musician’s house, because his little kids and his wife were tickled at the idea of us rehearsing there. But I guess this kind of comes full circle to the reason bands dissolve in the first place — all four of us had holidays at differing times and overlaps. So now it turns out we’re actually doing rehearsals two days before the show.
But that’s the benefit of having been in a band for over a decade and playing the same songs together. Playing them is like breathing. We know that we know the material, and everyone’s been practicing the songs off on their own. It’s just a matter of dusting them off together. But I can’t really answer what it’s been like, because we haven’t done it yet.
Do you think you’ll have to dust off the nerves, too?
Once you’re on stage, it’s great. I looked at our guitar player after the 15-year reunion, and he said, “I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun.” And I laughed and said, “Well, that’s interesting, because you hate everybody and everything. You’re a grouch, so that’s a pretty big statement for you.”
We also liked the fact that, you know, we’re literally all between 50 and 52. So we’re up there in age compared to King of Foxes, or Olivia Rose — she’s a baby! And I kind of laugh because, we joke around and act like adolescent boys in the rehearsal space. But we also fit right in on this bill because we played shows in the late 90s with Barenaked Ladies, we toured with 54-40. So I don’t think we stand out on the bill because of our age — we stand out on the bill because nobody’s heard of us for a long time.
So if he’s the grouch, who’s the Diva, and who’s the Funny One?
Well to be clear, he wears “grouch” as a badge of honour — I’m surprised we didn’t call him Oscar along the way. The most flamboyant one, and the most prolific of the band, is definitely Lyle Bell. He’s started other bands, he’s an album and poster designer (Bell has been nominated for multiple Junos for his album-design work), a photographer and videographer. Maybe “workhorse” is the better term.
So does that make you the Cute One?
Oh we’ve never had a Cute One. Or a Popular One. I was probably the Whipping Boy — the high strung guy who has ADHD. I’m very detail oriented and high strung, so I would always be the guy who advanced the show and settled it to go get paid. If I left it up to those other guys, we would never get anything done. They’re brilliant songwriters, but I used to joke that they couldn’t tie their own shoes.
You said in your email that you’re the “resident dad rock representative.” What do your kids think now of you playing in a rock band?
The funny part is that both my kids are musically inclined. And one of them, he’ll be 18 soon, when he picked up the guitar, there were two things that happened: I said, “Hey, do you want me to buy you a guitar chord book?” And he said, “Dad, there’s an app for that.” A few weeks later, I said, “Do you want me to get you a tuner from my rehearsal space?” and he said, “Dad, there’s an app for that.”
But when I told both my kids that dad was going to play a show they can finally come to, the first thing out of the youngest one’s mouth was, “Do we have to?” The oldest one actually has to work that day and can’t make it. But my younger one, him and his girlfriend are coming, and I’m pretty proud of that. I want them to see their dad play a show once.
And what kind of show will they see dad and his friends play?
We look forward to getting up there and playing a tight, energetic, professional 30-minute set. The hope is that, if I was in the crowd, and I saw us play a show, I would be like, “Where have these guys been, and why aren’t they still playing?”
We want to leave a good impression on people. And more importantly, we just want to have fun. We want to take advantage of the fact that we’re playing in front of a good crowd. We want to represent ourselves and be solid, and show we’re proud of the music we made back then.