Interview with guitarist Pete Lesperance, Harem Scarem (January 16th 2007)

Harry Hess, Pete Lesperance, Barry Donaghy & Creighton Doane – simply Harem Scarem belongs in the Champions League of Hard Rock in my humble opinion. They have been releasing outstanding hard rock albums for more than a decade now, and somehow haven’t managed to get their name across outside their native of Canada and gaining a strong underground following in Europe. Loaded with a brand new – and once more great – album they try once more, this time with another approach to things. We have investigated a bit...

As a big fan, I think this release once more proves that you belong among the best hard rock bands around at the moment. I feel you are going a bit back to your roots with this one, it’s not as experimental as “Overload” was – do you agree on this assessment? And why did you choose this direction with this album?
Pete Lesperance –
Thanks very much for the kind words and yes we had a definite direction in mind when we started making “Human Nature”.

We really split our fan base on the last record some liked it some didn’t and when we started writing for the new one we made a conscious decision to make the record for fans of the old school Scarem sound.

You are releasing this album on your own, working with various distributors (NL Distribution in Europe). Why this approach to things, and what do you hope to gain by taking more control over things?
Pete Lesperance – It just felt like time to try something new.

We still have our label Avalon/Marquee in Japan but for the rest of the world the record is totally independent.
That’s not to say that we won’t end up on a label again but we thought it would be the perfect time to try doing most of our business on the internet including selling the CD directly from our website

One of many highlights on the album to me is the Queen inspired "Give Love / Get Love", and I am sure Queen has been a huge influence on you growing up, but what else has inspired you?
Pete Lesperance – Harry and I have always been huge Queen fans and when Harry wrote this track we knew it was going to be a homage to them so we pulled out all the stops.

Canada has brought some very unique rock/metal acts: VoiVod, Rush, Triumph, Annihilator on one hand, but has also always had a strong melodic rock scene with bands like Saga, Alanis Morisette and Bryan Adams on the other. I am sure that can be said for most countries, but do you think there a reason to this contrast? And how do you feel you fit into the mix, is there a small niche for you as well?
Pete Lesperance – Harem Scarem (or Rubber at one time) has always just followed its own path and we always did what we wanted musically but the most important thing to us regardless of the musical style has always been the song writing so I suppose we fall more into the melodic rock side then the metal side.

What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Harem Scarem, not necessarily sales wise? What are the strengths and where can Harem Scarem improve?
Pete Lesperance – I feel that our biggest accomplishment has to be surviving in this industry for 15+ years.

We always try and deliver good quality records to the fans of this kind of music.
I suppose and area to improve on could be our live presence, as we really don’t get the chance to play that often.

How did you get the name Harem Scarem, is there some story behind?
Pete Lesperance – Harem Scarem was the name of one of the first Bugs Bunny cartoons ever made.

I know you are a force to be reckoned with live, do you have any immediate touring plans? Any chance we might be catching up with you on the European Festival scenes this summer?
Pete Lesperance – We are starting to speak to some promoters now and with any luck there will be some European dates in late spring /early summer.

I was wondering – could you name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life - and why?
Pete Lesperance – Early on my biggest influence as a guitarist was Randy Rhoades and I still remember in 1982 when he died in a plane crash.
Considering that I didn’t know him personally his death had an effect on me and I still think of the moment I heard the tragic news to this day.

Which five albums would you bring on your iPod to a deserted island?
Pete Lesperance –

  • Jellyfish - “Spilt Milk”

  • Stereophonic - “Just Enough Education to Perform”

  • The Beatles - “Abbey Road”

  • Radiohead - “OK Computer”

  • Queen - “A Night at the Opera”

Which album(s) have put a big smile on you face and has made you bang your head in 2006?
Pete Lesperance – “The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance was probably my favourite rock record of the year.

I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?
Pete Lesperance – I’d just like to thank anyone that has supported Harem Scarem over the years and I hope you like the new record!

Hope to see you all on tour soon!
Pete Lesperance

Interviewed by Kenn

Harem Scarem - Human Natura

Album available through
NL Distribution in Europe.

For more info on Harem Scarem - click on the album cover.