A. Spoons is a Canadian new wave band, formed in 1979 in Burlington, Ontario. They recorded several Canadian chart hits between 1982 and 1989, and in 1983, they won Group of the Year at the U-Know awards. Their most popular songs include “Romantic Traffic”, “Nova Heart”, “Old Emotions” and “Tell No Lies”.
he band initially consisted of Gordon Deppe (lead vocals and guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals and bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synths) and Peter Shepherd (drums).
In late 1979, Shepherd left the band and was replaced by Derrick Ross on drums. Spoons then released an independent single, “After the Institution”, in 1980 on Mannequin Records, produced by the band and former member Shepherd. Shortly thereafter, Wickens left the band to release an electronica album as part of the duo Ceramic Hello, also on Mannequin Records, and later became a graphic designer designing album covers for such artists as Peter Gabriel. He was replaced by keyboardist Rob Preuss, who was only fifteen when he joined Spoons.
The band’s first album, Stick Figure Neighbourhood, was released in 1981, and is notable for being one of the earliest new wave albums engineered by Daniel Lanois.
The following year, Spoons released their breakthrough album Arias & Symphonies. This album spawned three Top 40 hits in Canada: “Nova Heart”, “Arias & Symphonies”, and “Smiling in Winter”. All were dance-oriented new wave hits.
Around this time, Spoons’ higher profile allowed them to become the opening act for bands such as Culture Club, Simple Minds, and The Police.
Spoons’ 1983 album, Talkback, was produced by Nile Rodgers. Rodgers had been approached to produce tracks for Culture Club, but after seeing them in concert, he was unimpressed with that band’s reliance on backing tapes — he was, however, taken with the Spoons’ opening set, and elected to produce them instead. The Talkback album included the hit “Old Emotions”, but was unissued outside of Canada, a disappointment for the band after working with a producer of Rodgers’ international stature.
Following that, the band expanded their sound somewhat, releasing a two-sided hit in 1984 with “Tell No Lies” b/w “Romantic Traffic”, both also produced by Rodgers. The upbeat “Tell No Lies” featured a more mainstream pop sound than was customary for Spoons; the song won a CASBY Award for best single. “Romantic Traffic” was a downtempo song with adult-oriented radio-friendly leanings that would become the group’s most enduring hit. Around this time, the band also signed a six-figure promotional deal with Thrifty’s Clothing Stores, a cross-Canada chain, and were featured in the store’s radio, TV and print ads.