Casino Regina Show Lounge
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Streetheart's Jeff Neill knows how to make a performance intense. He's got the scars to prove it. One night, in the middle of a song, Neill hopped onto tables that were in the crowd while playing guitar.
"Stuff happens you know? Just as I was stepping back up onto the stage a guy turned the strobe light on. It threw off my depth perception and I stepped into pitch black," Neill said.
He plunged into the darkness and smashed his chin on something hard. Blood started pouring from his face. To his dismay, his guitar was on the receiving end of his chin. The music immediately stopped and the crowd stood up, shocked.
"I broke my neck," Neill said.
He meant the neck of his guitar, but his friends thought he meant his own neck. Blood was pouring everywhere and no one knew how bad his injuries were. They rushed to help him, but he was more worried about the broken guitar.
It's been years since he sliced open his chin but Neill feels Streetheart still brings that rock attitude to the stage. Every time he shaves he can see the scar on the bottom of his chin.
"We're not prima donnas. We show up and we bring it. We've never lost sight of that. I think our fans recognize that and why they've been so loyal over the years," Neill said.
Streetheart has been playing music for more than 30 years. They are a Saskatchewan band, but their strongest following is in Alberta, Manitoba and in their home province. According to Neill, shows consistently sell out in Regina. Their show at Casino Regina is already sold out.
He attributes it to the level of musicianship, hard work and band leader Kenny Shields' love of singing.
Fans often approach the band after shows with Streetheart vinyl records to get them autographed. It's hard to find Streetheart stuff on CD because most of their albums came out before CDs became popular.
"People will come up to us with albums, or old photos they took with us back in the day. It's great, it really brings back memories," Neill said.
In October, Neill got EMI and Warner to work together, getting permission to put together Streetheart's most popular songs into a two-disc set.
The CD, Streetheart, Read All About It, includes a 16-page booklet with photos and liner notes explaining each song. He said they've put a lot of hard-to-find music in the collection.
Neill wishes the band had the ease of the Internet when they were playing back in the '80s. Their website, www.kennyshieldsand-streetheart.com gets hundreds of hits but back then they didn't have access to the world like they do now.
"Now it's changed. You can get millions of hits in a week," Neill said. "The band originally broke up because management couldn't break us into the U.S., now, if you've got a good song you can go really far."