Recorded live at Bluefrog Studios, Colin Arthur Wiebe performs “These Eyes” the classic hit song originally recorded by The Guess Who.

Band includes: (from left to right)

Colin Arthur Wiebe - vocals and grand piano
Peter Sweetzer - Keyboards / Strings/ Organ
Darren Savard - Lead Guitar
Dave McIlroy - Drums
Dave Reimer - Bass
Tyson McIlroy - Rhythm Guitar
Coby Palidwar - BG Vocals
Stephanie Standerwick - BG Vocals

Lead Singer Of The Guess Who

As many of you know I toured with Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive for over 17 years singing all the Guess Who songs that Randy co-wrote with Burton Cummings. A few years ago the original drummer from the Guess Who, Garry Peterson, called me and asked me to join them on a US tour after a serious accident prevented their singer at the time (Carl Dixon)  from completing the tour. I had a chuckle when I got my working papers in the mail - “Colin Wiebe, lead singer of the Guess Who”.  I was honoured to front the band for a time but to me, there is no replacement for the real voice of Burton Cummings. With young daughters at home, and my own musical ambitions, I had no desire to spend months on the road. I am forever grateful to have had that opportunity and I have great stories to share when I perform any of those classic songs.

People ask me how I got started with Bachman.

My band the The Meteors was booked to warm up for the original Bachman Turner Overdrive in the late 80’s. It was New Year’s Eve and after BTO played “Takin Care Of Business” and said goodnight,  I went backstage to the dressing room to pack up my things. The crowd was going crazy, holding up lighters and cheering for an encore. Bruce Allen was backstage and boldly commanded Randy and the band to play an encore. I overheard Randy say “we don’t have anymore songs”. Bruce said, “play American Woman”. Fred Turner who was the lead singer with the big Harley Davidson voice in BTO said hoarsley,  “I can’t sing that song”. Bruce Allen looked directly at me and said . . . “you can sing that song, get out there!” With the crowd on their feet I stepped on stage and sang American Woman with BTO and the actual guy who wrote that famous riff.  Not long after that night I got a call to do a gig with Randy for his solo album because he didn’t have a band. I said when’s the gig, he said, this weekend, I said “when are we going to rehearse”? He replied “We don’t need to rehearse, we’re lip syncing you can learn the song on the plane”. That was in 1991 and I continued to tour around the world with him for nearly two decades.

What’s your relationship with Burton Cummings?

We’ve done a number gigs together over the years but it wasn’t until I spent a few hours with Burton on his birthday that we really got to know each other.  My co-host on Lets Talk Rock, is Marty Kramer who has been a life long friend of Burtons. I was along to interview Burton for a new TV pilot that Marty is working on. We laughed and sang, we all told stories and I got to ask Burton many of the burning questions I’d accumulated over the years about the band and about the origin of the songs.

I told Burton Cummings this story
I was on tour with Randy Bachman and we played an outdoor festival in Indiana that was part of a Veterans convention. I must admit it was a rough looking crowd. Lots of leather and doo-rags, Vietnam vets, bikers and many other Soldiers-Of-Fortune. After singing The Guess Who’s biggest hit record, guys started throwing flowers at my feet and lining up big plastic cups full of beer beside my keyboard. When I came off the stage, guys with eye patches and men with their arms or legs blown off, starting hugging me and crying. I kept saying to them “I’m not the actual guy who sang the song on the record”. Just then a guy in a wheelchair grabbed me and said ” We don’t care who sang it, it’s the song man and you nailed it! We were in the jungles of Vietnam, knee deep in water, with a transistor radio against our ears and too be honest, I still don’t even know what the singer looks like.” As I relayed that story to Burton, I told him it was that day, I vowed to always honour and respect those songs because they represent powerful memories for so many. Burton gave me a big hug and thanked me for honoring his songs and that meant a lot to me.

 

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