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Men Without Hats To Play Montreal Jazz Fest

By: Renee Grant

80’s rock band Men Without Hats have an unusual gig coming up… they’ll be performing at the Montreal Jazz Festival. The band has been enjoying quite a resurgence through regular 80’s-themed music tours.

The group will take the stage at Club Soda, co-owned and co-founded by Rubin Fogel, who is also a Montreal concert promoter.

Ivan Doroschuk, the leader of the Hats, has a great story about how it all came about.

“When it all started, like six or seven years ago, I get a phone call and the guy at the other end of the line says, ‘Ivan, how’s it going? I’ve got a friend who’s going to phone you in 10 minutes. His name is Rick Shoor. He’s got a good idea.’ He hangs up. Ten minutes later Rick calls, and he’s the agent for all of these ’80s (tours). First thing he did was put me on the road opening up for the Human League and the B-52s. We tour America and I’ve been on the road ever since, doing shows all over the world.

“So I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that first phone call. And you know who made that first phone call? It was Rubin Fogel. He called me out of the blue. I was a stay-at-home dad in Victoria. For me, my career was over. So I want to thank Rubin.”

The band’s biggest success came in 1983 with The Safety Dance. Doroschuk feels this is the perfect time to revive the band’s career.

“It’s a good time now,” he says. “The demographic is good. Plus, the kids are into it, too. There’s a resurgence of old-school electronic music, and so there’s an awareness amongst the kids today of where the whole thing came from. Then there’s the demographic of our original fans. Their kids have grown up and they have some free time on their hands and they have some disposable cash.”

The Montreal International Jazz Festival runs from Wednesday, June 28 to Saturday, July 8. For more information, visit montrealjazzfest.com.

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