Honeymoon Suite Interview

Frontiers Music

Canadian hard rockers Honeymoon Suite just issued Alive, their first studio album since 2008 and first release since 2016’s Hands Up EP. We caught up with guitarist Derry Grehan, the writer of some of the band’s biggest hits including “New Girl Now” and “What Does It Take.”

Chad Bowar: What led to the extended time frame between the Hands Up EP and Alive?
Derry Grehan: We were busy touring and living life. That’s the way we roll… no plan. Always writing songs and one day we said “Hey, these are some cool ideas, maybe we should think about another album.”

You’ve worked with some high profile producers in the past such as Bruce Fairbairn and Ted Templeman, and you’ve also self-produced. What led to the decision to work with Mike Krompass?
I reached out to Mike initially to write and record with my daughter Leah Marlene. Mike was a big HMS fan and he had just started his label. We played him some of our new ideas and he was all in to produce the next album with us.

How did the songwriting process work for Alive?
Johnnie and I would work up some of our stronger song ideas and take trips down to Nashville where Mike lived at the time. The three of us would then spend a couple of days in his studio and work up the ideas into finished songs. It was a great chemistry between the three of us.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
About halfway through working on the album, Mike decides he wants to move to England and build a studio there. He moved in to an old country mansion and Johnnie and I would fly in to finish tracking. Such a great vibe in the old English countryside. The other memory is learning to drive the rental car on the other side of the road. Its a wonder I didn’t smack it up.

What was the biggest challenge in its creation?
I would say Covid. It set everything back. We couldn’t fly to England for a while.

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
No expectations. It’s a different business now. We still really care about the music and we want to put the best songs out there. If its good, people will find us.

What are your upcoming tour plans?
We’ll play a few shows a month during the winter, but come spring and summer, we go full on with festivals and all kinds of shows.

With so much material to work with, how do you go about constructing a set list?
We play all the biggest songs of course, a few cool album tracks, and one or two of the songs off of Alive.

Touring can be a grind, but did the Covid shutdown give you a different perspective or appreciation of live shows?
Yes. It was really hard not playing live for almost three years!

Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
South America and Australia.

With social media, the promotion process for albums today is very interactive and transparent. Do you enjoy that, or do you prefer the mystique of the pre-internet era?
Social media is great for reaching a huge audience worldwide. But the downside is, with so much music out there now, it’s hard to rise above all the noise. I do miss the mystique of the ’80s. It was a cool time for rock.

Compare and contrast the process of shooting music videos today versus the ‘80s.
’80s videos were a huge deal. Big budgets and multi-day shoots. Today you can shoot a quality video on an iPhone if you know what you’re doing, and it doesn’t cost $100,000.

My all-time favorite song of yours is “What Does It Take.” What has been the impact over the past nearly 40 years of its inclusion in One Crazy Summer, which became a cult classic?
Thanks. It’s been a big song for us. And having it in the movie only made it bigger.

What do you think Honeymoon Suite’s most underrated or overlooked album is?
I think Monsters Under The Bed was a great album. But a little bit of a change in direction with some deeper topics. There are some real gems on that record.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I like to watch hockey. And I love to travel.

You’ve played numerous shows with April Wine over the years. What was your reaction to Myles Goodwin’s recent passing?
We were all sad about Myles passing. I had known him from the early days of HMS. He was a great songwriter.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I have a solo record coming out this year. All guitar, no vocals. I’m curious to see what people think.

(interview published February 16, 2024)

Watch Honeymoon Suite – “Alive” Video


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