Life in RPM magazine, June 16, 1969
|Neil Sheppard (Producer) line up AB|
Michael Ship (Keyboards, Vocals) line up AB
Marty Simon (Drums, Keyboards, Vocals) line up AB
Danny Zimmerman (Bass) line up AB
Jean Pierre Lauzon (Guitar) line up AB
Barry Albert (Guitar) line up AB
Clockwise from top: Danny Zimmerman, Marty Simon, Mike Ship and Barry AlbertNeil Sheppard (real name Neil Ship) was a Brill Building songwriter who was trying to get his songs promoted with a group. Sheppard wrote all of the songs and produced Life’s lone album, released in spring 1970.
In the early 1960s, Simon and Zimmerman had worked together in Montreal group, Marty Simon and The Capris and The Humdingers before forming The Scene.
Formed from the ashes of The Scene, the original line up was completed with Sheppard’s brother Michael Ship on keyboards and lead vocals, guitarist J P Lauzon (ex-Carnival Connection) and former Bartholomew Plus Three guitarist Barry Albert. Lauzon and Albert alternated lead guitar and rhythm on the band’s recordings.
The group’s debut single, a cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”, with an arrangement by Marty Simon, was a fascinating record with jazzy feel and featured Lauzon’s exquisite flamenco guitar solo. However, it did not do much chart wise (entered RPM on May 9, 1970, reached number 83 and charted for 5 weeks). Its follow up, “Hands of The Clock”, featuring Albert’s lead guitar intro, was the band’s only hit, reaching #19 on the RPM chart in August 1969, and charted for 12 weeks.
Life played at the First Montreal Bi-Cultural Pop Festival in June 1969, which was held at the Montreal Forum and featured Triangle, Robert Charlebois and headliner Steppenwolf.
The group’s lone album, which features contributions from Englishman Malcolm Tomlinson on flute from Milkwood, was recorded on four-track and then transferred to the first eight track in Canada by Andre Perry.
Towards the end of 1969, Simon left Life and moved to Los Angeles to work with a new group. The rest of the band carried on as After Life but split up in early 1970.
Simon and Lauzon reunited in Mylon Le Fevre. Simon later moved to the UK and formed Sharks with former Free bass player Andy Fraser.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, January 2009 All Rights Reserved
Many thanks to Marty Simon for his contributions. Hands of the Clock sleeve, RPM and CFCF scans courtesy of Ivan Amirault.
Photo of the band from Marc Denis’ Rock Radio Scrapbook
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CFCF, August 8, 1969
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