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PODCAST: Tom Hooper of legendary B.C. music group ‘Grapes of Wrath’

TODAY IN B.C.: Kelowna band hit the stage more than 40 years ago
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Tom Hooper of the ‘Grapes of Wrath’. (Tom Hooper Facebook photo)

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Host Peter McCully chats with Tom Hooper, who along with Kevin Kane and brother Chris played their first gig in junior high school, in Kelowna.

“I think it was 1978. My Grade 7 dance, my elementary school,” said Hooper. “I was in Grade 7 and Chris and Kevin were in Grade 9. We were playing some pretty cool music. Everything from ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ from the Stones to ‘Just what I Needed’ by the Cars; a Matt the Hoople song, an Iggy Pop song. I think the teachers didn’t know what to expect of us.”

The band’s breakthrough came with their critically acclaimed album Treehouse in 1987. The album featured the hit single ‘All the Things I Wasn’t’ and showcased their ability to craft catchy melodies and poignant lyrics.

Grapes of Wrath’s music often explored introspective themes and featured rich harmonies that set them apart from other bands.

Hooper, a self-admitted Beatles nerd, says it was a “pinch me moment” when they were at Abbey Road Studios in London to mix their album These Days.

“We basically were put up the flat, which is attached to Abbey Road (Studios),” he said. “In fact, I was just playing a gig last night and I was telling the story of my bedroom in this flat. There’s a picture of the Beatles hanging out in this bedroom and Ringo standing on top of the fireplace mantel. And that was my room. And my courtyard window opened up to the Abbey Road Studios. It was pretty incredible.”

One of the more successful Canadian bands of the 1980s and 1990s, The Grapes of Wrath are back out playing gigs in 2023.

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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