When they joined forces in the Guess Who, childhood friends Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings had grand ambitions.
“We’re together now, 40 years on,” Bachman, 64, notes, “because way back as teenagers we had a dream to be like Lennon-McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Bacharach and David, Brian Wilson — the greatest songwriters of our times in the ’60s.
“And we’re so happy to be here 40 years later and say, ‘Here’s our songs.’ It’s very gratifying and humbling.”
The pair of Winnipeg natives has certainly produced an impressive catalog of their own material, from the Guess Who (“These Eyes,” “Undun,” “American Woman”) through Bachman-Turner Overdrive (“Takin’ Care of Business,” “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”) and Cummings’ solo career (“Stand Tall”). Earlier in the decade they reunited under the Guess Who banner, though a falling out with bassist Jim Kale — who owns the band name but was unable to tour due to what Bachman refers to as “personal and substance problems” — brought an end to that.
But since then, thanks to an induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and a PBS “Storytellers”-style special, the duo learned that they had just as much cache performing as Bachman Cummings.
They’ve released a set of their favorite songs by other artists, titled “Jukebox,” and plan to do a “Jazzbox” sequel.
“We thought there wasn’t any marquee value in (our names). We didn’t know that people knew our names that well,” says Bachman, who’s also planning to release a third installment in his “Jazzthing” series in the near future. “But there’s an awareness of Bachman Cummings. People know who we are, and they know we’re the ones who did all these songs.
“So suddenly this door opened. It’s like starting a new band, a new little band and once we play and people hear two and a half hours, three hours of hit music and it’s kinda like seeing the Eagles or Neil Young, people are like, ‘Wow.’ It’s a fun thing for us. We’re like, ‘Holy cow, why didn’t we do this a long time ago?’ “
Bachman Cummings perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday (June 20) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $32 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call (248) 377- 0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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