Origin: Calgary, Alberta (Canada)
st - 1983
- Throughout the 1970s, Dan Lowe had established himself as one of the Canada's most well travelled musicians, having served as guitarist and main inspiration for one single with The Shades of Blonde and one album and a string of singles with 49th Parallel during the '60s. He formed Painter, which produced one album, and then a pair with Hammersmith, and one more with 451 Degrees. Following those stints, he concentrated on producing other acts, including White Wolf, Pretty Rough, and Quest, among others.
He hooked up with managers David Spiegel and Gord Wilson, and with vocalist Doug Riley, formed Prototype in late 1982. Intended to be a studio project only that never toured, the band was rounded out by Brian Island (real name Brian Coweison) on bass, guitarist Brad Steckel, Ted Alexander on keyboards, and drummer Jerry Adolphe.
They scored a deal with Mercury Records in '83, and went to Thunder Road Studios in Calgary, releasing their eponymous debut album later that year. The album jacket was designed by the legendary British design firm Hipgnonis, who was also responsible for album jackets and inserts for Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Styx, The Moody Blues, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin, among close to 100 others.
Backed by the top 30 single, "Video Kids," which played on the emerging video game phenomena, the album would eventually become a critic's rock classic. It also featured other keyboard-oriented AOR tracks like the lead-off "Behind Your Eyes," "Mean Street," and the tender "I'm Sorry" and "I Want You." Written solely by Steckel, it was the only song of the ten that Lowe didn't have a hand in.
Following the band's demise, Lowe went back to behind-the-scenes production work, including working with Amin Bhatia and George Fox, among others, as well as composing the music for the movie "The Virgin Queen of St. Francis High" in 1988. His biggest claim in the industry tho was the invention of Q-Sound, a stereo enhancement process that's been utilized on albums by the likes of Pink Floyd and Madonna, among others.
All the other members of Prototype went on to become steadily employed session players, or got out of the business all together. Island and also worked on movie and TV show scores, and released one solo album in 1988, which featured Adolphe and Lowe, who also served as producer. Adolphe joined Body Electric for their only album, then Boulevard, and eventually Chilliwack in the early '00s. -
- Following stints with the likes of Painter, Hammersmith, 451° and then production duties on albums by Pretty Rough, White Wolf and Qwest, Dan Lowe decided once again to try another stab at a recording career.
Envisioned as a studio project, Lowe brought back Steckler from 451° and built the act around consummate Canadian keyboardist/arranger Doug Riley (Dr. Music) as lead vocalist. Lowe produced their solitary with assistance from the band.
Lowe would later go on to create an innovative studio sound technique called Q-Sound in 1998; Island released a self-titled CD in 1989; Riley died August 27, 2007 -
- PROTOTYPE were founded by guitarist Dan Lowe, a veteran of PAINTER, HAMMERSMITH and 451 DEGREES. Guitarist Brad Steckel is also ex-451 DEGREES.
Lowe also produced the 1982 album by PRETTY ROUGH. Both keyboard player Ted Alexander and bassist Brian Island would session on the 1984 QWEST album 'Dream Zone'. Drummer Jerry Adolphe joined BOULEVARD for a 1988 album. -
- Here's a Canadian band who have acquired a 'near-classic' reputation among the collectors out there. I was certainly interested to see if the hype was justified. You'll have to read on.. The main stalwart of the band was Dan Lowe, a guy who had been sighted in earlier outfits such as <b>Painter</b>, <b>Hammersmith</b> and <b>451 degrees</b>. The latter band also included one Brad Steckel, and it was from this union that Prototype were formed. The band and their one and only album is certainly a stab at 80's AOR, particularly of the pompiest kind. Acts like <b>Russ Ballard</b>, <b>Charlie</b> and 'Turn Out The Lights' era <b>Tycoon</b> are the major comparisons here. The songs are quite varied, and thankfully not one of them sounds similar.
Starting out with 'Behind Your Eyes', this is trademark Canadian AOR, an insistent keyboard attack straight from the 80's. You'll hear all the sound effects on 'Video Kids', the track not really coming to life until the chorus, and coming off like a poor mans <b>Beau Geste</b>, especially those parpy keyboard layers. 'Mean Street' is a great harder-edged effort, like the stuff <b>Russ Ballard</b> cut his teeth on. One of the album highlights is the meandering 'I'm Sorry', the keyboard solo lands it in pomp territory. Riley's lead vocals sounds unerringly like Wayne Nelson of <b>LRB</b>, which is great as I love Wayne's voice. 'Communique' on the other hand, is a heavy and urgent piece, with a determined back-beat and driving chorus. The ending is quite sudden too! 'Live Forever' has the same sort of pompy feel that early <b>Allies</b> or <b>Thrills</b> would contain, though admittedly the chorus was a bit predictable. That's offset by the excellent 'Soldier', the guitar/keyboard interplay on this one is so strong. The other album highlight for me is the melodic 'I Want You', tinkly keyboard effects and enough moments to make it interesting. The pair which finish up the album don't do a great deal for me I'm afraid: 'Any Moment' and 'Money Talks'.
For those of you who have read the erstwhile mag AOR Classics, the guys there gave it a 10 out of 10. I wouldn't go that far, as that would imply by coincidence that all ten tracks on here are superb. Unfortunately they are not. Still a good collectors piece, and I know many of you are trying to track this down. Well, you can easily grab a copy from Pacemaker Records in Canada, the album receiving a CD release in 2001 and is readily available. -