Canadian garage punk pioneers U.I.C. are reuniting for a one-off performance to pay tribute to the late Mike Shulga of Star Records. The tribute event takes place Saturday Apr. 2 at the Royal Legion Hall in Oshawa, the city Star Records operated in for 42 years. The Royal Crowns, Chalk Circle, Crummy Stuff, Peter Zaremba's Rock Delegation and Bradley Boy MacArthur are also on the bill.
U.I.C. guitarist Fred ‘Slack’ Robinson says Mike Star supported the band right from the beginning. Star played an important role in getting the band American distribution for their debut album, “Our Garage”, released on Fringe Records and hooked them up with people and places across Ontario.
“You have to remember the 80's were pre-internet,” Robinson says in an email interview with SlowCity.ca, “All promotion was word of mouth, sharing vinyl/cassettes, hanging posters, snail mail, long distance phone calls and fanzines. The Mike Star’s, Dave and Rena O'Halloran's (What Wave), Sue Weigand and others (Ear to The Ground), John Westhaver (Birdman Sound) and so many others were spreading the word that there was more than hair metal happening. Og Records played a very large role in getting exposure for many D.I.Y bands at the time. We were fortunate to have connected with these people. We were fans of them as much as they were fans of us.”
You can count The Purple Toads in the mutual admiration column. Both bands shared stages including at the Star Club. It was ex-Purple Toad, Rob Sweeney, who asked U.I.C to play the tribute event, says Robinson.
“I contacted the boys and it was unanimous,” he says. “I think we were all itching to get together again. We are like brothers and have a special connect that goes back to our childhood. It's also the 30th anniversary of the Our Garage release.”
Robinson says they will play several tracks from Our Garage, some of which they haven’t played live in many years. The blisters on his fingers from rehearsal attest to it he says.
U.I.C. formed in Exeter, ON in 1982. Along with Robinson on guitar the other members were his brother Dave ‘Smokin’ Robinson on vocals, Ted T. also guitar, Hack Presczator on bass and Houndog Heywood on drums. They released three albums before disbanding in 1995. Ted and Houndog started Positively Stompin’ and the other guys formed The Chickens. The latter recorded two albums before flying the coop after six years. Three decades later Robinson says it was always just for the passion of playing music.
“I know few artists that traveled in the same scene as us that had dreams of big record deals and mansions on the hill. It was more about writing a cool song, maybe recording it and performing the shit out of it in front of a room full of rock and roll lovers,” he says.
Their passion found an ally in Mike Star. Thirty years later they get to kick out the jams in a room full of rock ‘n roll lovers once again.