Honeymoon Suite 2024 1

The “Wave Babies” are all grown up, and they’re ready to make a splash at this year’s Essex Fun Fest this weekend, from July 4-7, 2024! Iconic Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite will headline an unforgettable night on Saturday, July 6, bringing their timeless melodies and guitar-driven hooks to the heart of Essex. Get ready to “Stay in the Light” and experience the magic of these legendary hitmakers as they prove once again why they’re one of Canada’s most beloved bands.

Honeymoon Suite’s journey began in the early 1980s when guitarist Derry Grehan and keyboardist Ray Coburn formed the band in Niagara Falls, Ontario. With the addition of lead vocalist Johnnie Dee, bassist Gary Lalonde, and drummer Dave Betts, the quintet quickly gained a reputation for their electrifying live performances and melodic rock sound. The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 1984, featured the hit single “New Girl Now,” which catapulted them to international success. Throughout the ’80s and early ’90s, Honeymoon Suite continued to release chart-topping albums like “The Big Prize” and “Racing After Midnight,” solidifying their status as one of Canada’s most beloved rock bands.


Today, Honeymoon Suite continues to captivate audiences with their timeless music and unparalleled stage presence. The current lineup features original members Derry Grehan on guitar and Johnnie Dee on lead vocals, alongside longtime bassist Gary Lalonde, drummer Dave Betts, and keyboardist Peter Nunn. In 2024, the band released their highly anticipated new album, “Alive,” which showcases their signature sound while incorporating fresh elements and energy. With tracks like the uplifting title song “Alive” and the guitar-driven “Living Out Loud,” Honeymoon Suite proves that they’re still at the top of their game, ready to rock stages across the globe and win over new generations of fans.

In an exclusive interview ahead of Essex Fun Fest, Grehan shared his excitement about the band’s latest album, “Alive.” He explained, “Just naming a record is sometimes the hardest thing, but the song ‘Alive’ has a message that’s really uplifting and positive. It just made sense to call the album that because the whole record is fantastic and captures the energy and spirit of Honeymoon Suite.”

The music video for “Alive” was a nostalgic return to the band’s roots, shot in Niagara Falls where they filmed their iconic “Burning in Love” video decades ago. “Johnny, being from the Falls, said, ‘Why don’t we take some cameras, go down to Niagara Falls, and do it full circle, revisiting the time we did the “Burning in Love” video there,'” Grehan recalled. “We took some cameras down, walked around amongst the tourists, totally unplanned, just to see what would happen. That was a lot of fun, and I think it came out great to revisit our roots and showcase where it all began.”

For aspiring musicians, Grehan offers this timeless advice: “Get your band together, go out on the road, and play live for people. Tour, eat crappy food, and sleep in a van because that’s how you pay your dues. It toughens you up and makes you a better artist. I don’t think that’s ever changed. You can’t become a star from your bedroom. You have to get out there, do it for real, play in front of audiences, and that’s how you’ll figure out who you are.”

Reflecting on the band’s enduring legacy and message to fans, Grehan shared, “I think people will really love this album. For our Honeymoon Suite fans, they love it because it’s classic Honeymoon Suite. It’s got those great, big melodic choruses, and this album fits right in there between ‘The Big Prize’ and ‘Racing After Midnight.’ It could fit right between those two albums because it has that great sound.”

He added, “For new fans, just listen to it. It’s instantly likable. If you enjoy it, it gets the younger kids to go back into our catalog, listen, and start becoming fans of the older songs. That’s how I would assess that.”

Grehan also discussed his signature guitar model, now available at Best Buy. “It’s all to my specs, the body, the neck, the pickups, everything. Godin was great to work with, and the finished product is awesome. I was very involved with the process, very meticulous about it, and they did a great job so far.”

The guitarist’s playing style continues to evolve over the years. “I play pretty much every day. I practice every day. It’s an addiction, but a good one because I still love to play. I think I’m a better player now than I was ten or 20 years ago because I work harder at it and try to better myself. It’s a journey.”

Grehan experiments with new techniques and gear, as evidenced on the new album. “Mike Krumpus is a great guitar player as well, so he and I got along famously in the studio because he had a studio full of guitars, effects, and pedals. We played around with new sounds. I’m always experimenting with tone and techniques, and a lot of funny things you hear are accidental noises that I find. That’s what’s fun about guitar.”

Songs like “Living Out Loud” and “Give It All” showcase Grehan’s guitar prowess on the new record. “I wanted to put some heavier things on this record and stretch as a guitar player, so I’m pretty proud of my work on these songs. Those ones are fun to play because they’re more guitar-oriented.”

Producer Mike Krumpus brought a fresh energy while capturing the classic Honeymoon Suite sound. “Mike was great because he grew up listening to Honeymoon Suite. He knew us, he knew the sound, he knew the songs, but he brought a fresh, updated energy and sound to the tracks. Our album doesn’t sound dated, but at the same time, he captured the classic Honeymoon Suite sound.”

The band’s first two singles from the album, “Tell Me What You Want” and “Find What You’re Looking For,” have been embraced by fans and radio alike, with the latter reaching the Billboard Top 30 after a 19-year hiatus. “To get airplay and chart again was fantastic. The single sounded great on the radio. It was a cool thing to happen,” Grehan marveled.

Honeymoon Suite’s music has been featured in numerous films and TV shows over the years, a testament to their songwriting prowess. “As a songwriter, any time one of my songs gets put in a film, commercial, or TV series, it’s a compliment and a thrill to go to a movie or turn on TV and hear your song. That’s the coolest thing,” Grehan shared.

Reflecting on the band’s diverse catalog of hits, Grehan noted, “With Honeymoon Suite, you can’t put us in a box because we have songs like ‘Burning in Love,’ but then we have another song called ‘Wave Babies,’ which couldn’t be more different, and then ‘Stay in the Light.’ They’re all so different from each other, yet they’re all Honeymoon Suite. I think that diversity has sustained us and made those songs hits.”

Sharing stages with legendary acts has provided countless memorable moments for the band. “Hanging on the ZZ Top tour, meeting those dudes, and touring with Journey. I remember one time Steve Perry was talking to us backstage before one of the shows, and he said, ‘Which one of you guys wrote that “New Girl Now” song?’ I said, ‘It was me.’ He goes, ‘I hate that song because my girlfriend broke up with me, kicked me out of the house, and I had to find a new girl now.’ But he meant that in a good way,” Grehan laughed.

Don’t miss your chance to catch Honeymoon Suite live at Essex Fun Fest on Saturday, July 6, and be sure to check out up-and-coming country singer and Warner Music Nashville artist Redferrin on Friday night. Essex Fun Fest takes place at the Town of Essex festival fairgrounds from Thursday, July 4, through Sunday, July 7. For tickets and more information, visit www.essexfunfest.com.


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