The Northern Pikes
he Northern Pikes formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1984 with an original membership featuring Jay Semko, Bryan Potvin, Merl Bryck and Glen Hollingshead who, a year later, left the band to be replaced by Don Schmid by June 1986.
Under the original line-up, The Northern Pikes released two independent EPs: The Northern Pikes (1984) and Scene in North America (1985) and contributed a track to Saskatchewan After Dark in 1985, a compilation of Saskatchewan-based artists sponsored by the provincial government, before being signed to 'Virgin Records' in 1986. Their first album for 'Virgin', Big Blue Sky, included the Semko-penned track Teenland, the band's first hit. The follow-up album Secrets of the Alibi contained three Canadian hits: Wait for Me, Let's Pretend and Hopes Go Astray".
It was their 1990 album, Snow in June, however, that became their biggest seller in Canada and the US; the album's leading track, She Ain't Pretty, becoming the act's biggest ever hit, and a track still played on Canadian radio to this day. An innovative music video for the song also received heavy play on MuchMusic (Canada'a version of MTV) and was nominated for a Juno Award. Overall, the band has been nominated for, but never won, 5 Juno Awards, Canada's version of the Grammy's.
In 1992, the band released their next album, Neptune. The album's biggest hit, Believe, like She Ain't Pretty, was also written by Potvin but after the subsequent tour, they suddenly announced their retirement and by July 1993 the group split.
In 1999, 'Virgin Records' approached the band members for their input on a "greatest hits" package. They approved and executed a short promotional tour following the release of Hits and Assorted Secrets 1984-1993. The deal was not for a new record contract, so as an independent band, it allowed them to set their own schedule. They enjoyed the tour, and decided to extend it and then re-form the band to complete three independent albums, including Truest Inspiration (2001), It's a Good Life (2003) and the simply titled Live (2000).
In 2005, the band met Les Stroud to begin a musical partnership to perform live thru 2005 and 2006. A six-song EP resulted from this collaboration entitled Long Walk Home in the spring of 2007, and credited as "Les Stroud & The Pikes".