Thursday, September 15, 2005


One from the Classic Rock Newswire vaults from Aug 2003. Lightspeed are a very accomplished progressive rock band and their 'Waves' is one for fans of Saga, Rush etc.

Bass player Rod Chappell, along with his brother Gary, formed
Canadian prog/AOR rockers Lightspeed back in 1977 (Rod was previously
a member of Zon, whose early albums are due out on Escape very
soon!). They are about to release their latest album, '3' and for
more on the band check out their excellent website -

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

We (Lightspeed) are currently doing the finishing touches on our
latest recording LIGHTSPEED 3. There are just a few tracks that need
some refining. I'm scheduled to return to Canada in October of this
year. At that time we'll be able to close the door on the studio side
of the project and prepare to have it released. There's been talk of
the band doing some support dates over in Europe afterwards and we're
all excited about that. I love writing and recording new material,
but playing live is where the band shines brightest. Touring is a lot
more enjoyable as compared with the way it was done back in the early
days...nicer hotel rooms, more time between shows, etc

2. What has been the highlight(s) and low point(s) of your career to

The thing about Lightspeed that sets it apart from any other
recording band I've been in is that we've been close friends for many
years. If we didn't play together, we'd hang out with one another.
Over the 20 plus years we've been together we've seen each other
through countless changes - births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and
that really solidifies a group.
As far as career highlights, I think the day we were informed that
our CD "SO...EXACTLY WHERE ARE WE?" hit the charts in Japan was
quite a thrill for me. Another high point was playing The Gods of
Rock in the UK a few years ago. We hadn't played there before and I
wondered how we would do. I was overcome by the response we received.
Can't wait to hit the UK stages again!
I've been racking my brain trying to come up with an interesting
low point, but I just can't think of any. The thing that I love about
Lightspeed is that we just do what we do. If people dig it, that's
GREAT. However, the fun is in doing it. Some things we've done have
been greatly received, some not so. But we enjoyed them all equally.
I suppose if I were to pick a low point it would be back in 1980 when
I decided I didn't want to tour any longer and (temporarily) left the
band. I was in limbo musically for quite some time until I met up
with our drummer Terry and began writing and recording again. This
brought about the reforming of the band and we haven't looked back

3. How did you first get into the music business? Who have been your
main influences on your career to date?

I can't remember a time I wasn't in some kind of band. My brother
and I started our first band before we were in our teens. We played
along with Beatles albums. We sounded great as long as the album was
playing. I got a big break when I was 18. I auditioned for and got
the position in a band from Toronto that was being put together
called ZON. It was a great group and I learned an incredible amount
from Denton who was very experienced. Although I left the band
shortly before the first album was recorded, I had gained enough
experience to be able to put Lightspeed together. I understand that
the ZON albums are going to be re-released by Escape Music soon,
which is great as I wrote a couple of songs on the first album ASTRAL
As far as influences regarding my writing is concerned, I would
say that Jon Anderson is a HUGE influence in that regard. My musical
outlook changed dramatically the first time I heard CLOSE TO THE
EDGE. I wouldn't say that I write music that resembles Yes all that
much, but the idea of exploring songs and themes musically, sometimes
on perhaps an 'epic' scale excited me greatly. Before Jon, my biggest
musical influence would be John Lennon circa Revolver to Abbey Road
days. Go ahead, ask my any questions about the Beatles!!!

4. What are your personal highlights on the band's new
album 'Lightspeed 3' and why?

Lightspeed 3 is our best recording to date in my opinion. I think
we've matured in the studio a great deal and the addition of Johnny B
who engineered most of the pieces added a lot. It helped to have
an 'outside' ear present during the recording of the tracks. Having
said that, I'm sure Terry will be engineering our next recording as
he had done in the past. He has completed the studio in his new house
and has a killer set up. With me living so far away from the boys, I
think it would help speed up future recordings to have Terry running
the recording also doesn't hurt that he's a GREAT

5. What has been the live highlight for Lightspeed so far? How
easy/hard as it been to get gigs and any countries you would like to
play in the future?

It doesn't really matter what kind of gig it is...We LOVE to be on
stage. Back when we toured full time, our motto was "It doesn't
matter if we're playing for 80 people or 8000 people, we put on the
same show." It wasn't just a motto, it's the way we are. We have a
lot of fun when we play and we put everything we have into each show.
I don't think it's going to be too hard to get gigs once
Lightspeed 3 is released. I've made a lot of connections over the
past few years and have talked with several people about having us
play overseas. So far we've been in touch with people from Sweden,
Switzerland and the Netherlands. Nothing etched in stone as of yet,
but the interest is definitely there. And we always put a few gigs
together back in our hometown when we feel like having a big party.

6. Are there any styles of music you'd like to explore in the future?
Any other musicians you'd really like to work with if given the

As a matter of fact, I'm working on a project right now that is
somewhat different than what we do in Lightspeed. I'm recording a
solo CD entitled THE NEXT STEP. It's a concept piece that will
actually be released in 2 parts as there are two CDs worth of music.
The players involved are from different countries throughout the
world...many of whom I've never met except through the internet. The
guitarist Janne Stark is from a Swedish band called Locomotive
Breath. The keyboard player Ram is from the US. His band is Heavy
Reign. Tom from The Muffins is playing sax and flute. Steven from
Starcastle is doing some drums. I have a violinist from the US,
another saxist from Luxembourg, another Swede doing some sitar
tracks...and the list goes on. Although it's not a Lightspeed
recording, the boys in the band are doing some tracks for me as well.
It's been a lot of fun working on this one. It's somewhat
more 'progressive' than what I write for Lightspeed. There are some
very long songs throughout the 160 minutes of music.
As far as musicians I'd like to work with....I had talked with
Roye T. from Nektar when I first started working on it and he had
said he wished to play some guitars on THE NEXT STEP. However,
shortly after we had set things up, Nektar reformed and has been
doing great ever since so he hasn't had the time to get together with
me. I'm hoping that we'll be able to do some recording together in
the future. I'm also doing some lead vocals for Rob from Visual Cliff
(US) right now. He's a great guitarist who normally records
instrumental music, but is doing some songs with vocals on his new
CD. I'm having a great time with this one.
Also, I'm doing a small project with some of the original band
mates from ZON. Pat (one of the original drummers) recently passed
away and we're recording a song I wrote called "CAST MY CARES (to the
Wind)" together after not playing together in 25 years. We're going
to put the song on-line for download and all of the proceeds will be
going to Pat's wife and daughter. We will be in the studio while I'm
back in Canada in October so we hope to have it available shortly
thereafter. Rik Emmett will most likely be doing some guitar work on
it as well as he and Pat were quite close. Pat (The Count) is greatly

7. How do you view the current progressive rock scene? How do you
think the scene has changed over the past five years?

Progressive rock has always been more of an underground scene,
even in its hay day during the 70's. With exception of the top bands
like Yes, Genesis and ELP, most of the bands played to small crowds
in more or less a 'cult' environment. The biggest difference today is
that we now have the Internet which unites the fans from all over the
world into one area. I find this VERY exciting. I don't think that
the prog scene will ever be bigger than it is right now, but by being
able to unite all of the fans worldwide, one can find a big enough
audience to make it work.
As far as bands presently recognized in the world of progressive
music, I listen to a lot of Porcupine Tree, Flower Kings and a new
band from New York called Frogg Cafe.

8. What Lightspeed music would you recommend to a new listener?

It depends upon the listener's particular taste in music. If one
were into mostly straight AOR, I'd say our earlier recordings would
be right up your alley. But if one were into more 'proggy' AOR, you
would find the new CD quite exciting. I think Lightspeed 3 is more
representative of where the band is at these days.

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

Spare time???? I've HEARD of that (laughs) Well, having a family
really changes one's life. I'm lucky in that I've been able to set up
my computer/studio right next to the living room so I can still be
around my wife and kids while I'm writing and recording. If I have a
moment free, I like to watch BAD sci-fi with my wife Cori and watch
the Simpsons with my youngest daughter Juli. I try to spend as much
time with my family as I can...I've got the best kids on Earth!!!!
It's hard having family 1700 miles away in Canada and family here as
well, but we seem to be making this work.
When I do get some actual spare time, I plan to finish working on
my novel THE KEEPER. Part 1 is on-line for free on the Lightspeed
website. It's a fantasy
novel that I started when we were touring as something to have fun
with. I don't take it too seriously, just for fun. Perhaps when I
finish the trilogy, I'll try to get it published. The other thing I
like to do is work on my artwork. Like The Keeper, it's done just for
the fun of it. This too is on the website.

10. Message to your fans...

Many of you have waited a LONG time for the new Lightspeed CD.
Well, your wait is almost over. We appreciate your patience and your
loyalty and guarantee you'll find that it to be worth it. 2004 is
going to be a busy year for us while we promote Lightspeed 3 and a
lot more people are going to get a chance to see us perform live than
in previous years. The great thing about fans of Prog/AOR is, unlike
the world of pop music, the fans stay with you through thick and
thin. Without the fans, there'd be no way we could continue to write
and record the type of music we love and we are so grateful for your
continuous support!


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