Honeymoon Suite Band 2024

Interview – Johnnie Dee of Honeymoon Suite

Fame and fortune may come and go, but what really matters is the quality of the work put in. With a history that dates back over 40 years, Canada’s Honeymoon Suite have been a Rock band which has seen their share of success, with albums such as their 1984 self-titled debut and 1986’s The Big Prize, but inevitability, it has been the songs that have stood the test of time. 
Always moving forward and concentrating on writing the best music they possibly could, the band has explored Rock-n-Roll, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock, among other elements in their sound… and it is ever so evident with their 2024 album Alive. Their first full-length studio album in over 15 years, Alive marks an epic return from the band that has inspired themselves and their followers. A long time coming, Lead Singer Johnnie Dee recently took some time to talk about the wild ride of Honeymoon Suite, their new music, plus much more.   

Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in music for over four decades and have achieved a great deal of success with Honeymoon Suite. Now you and the band are back with a new record in 2024. Before we go deeper, how would you describe your incredible journey in Rock-n-Roll to this point?

Johnnie Dee – It’s just crazy. For a new artist going on at this point, it’s so hard for them. But it’s hard for us too. We’re lucky. Everything so far has been good though.

Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. Going back to the earlier days of the band, in the ’80s, you had success with platinum-selling records and chart-topping singles. You also had a lot of music featured in a list of films and popular television soundtracks; like Miami Vice and 1986’s One Crazy Summer. What were those early days like for the band?

Johnnie Dee – It was great because that was a record label; Warner Bros. We’ve been independent for the longest time now though. That’s been difficult, but that’s all cool. 

Cryptic Rock – Working as an independent artist can be a challenge sometimes. Did the extensive amount of Honeymoon Suite tracks featured on soundtracks help the band a lot in terms of exposure at that time?

Johnnie Dee – Of course. But the music and the songs lend themselves to that, right? If there were tracks, they lend themselves to the sound recordings.

Honeymoon Suite 1984 album
Honeymoon Suite – Honeymoon Suite / Warner Bros (1984)
Honeymoon Suite The Big Prize
Honeymoon Suite – The Big Prize / Warner Bros (1986)

Cryptic Rock – Exactly. Another thing about Honeymoon Suite is that the music has been pretty eclectic through the years. If you look at the band’s discography, you have changed it up a bit from album to album. How would you describe the progression of the music with Honeymoon Suite?

Johnnie Dee – That’s a loaded question. That’s hard to answer. We just keep going, right? We just keep writing the songs that we think are good and put them out there. Hopefully, our fans will like that. So far, it’s been really good with the new album Alive, because it’s been getting great traction.

Cryptic Rock – Yes, Alive came out back in February and is a really energetic record. It also has a modern feel to it as well. It has been a while since you have released a full-length album, but some of these tracks have been ones that you were working on for a while. With that said, what was the writing and recording process like for Alive?

Johnnie Dee – I was just about having the experience from the previous records. It took so long to get this one going. Everything in our guts just came into this record… if that makes any sense. We had some great songs. A band like ourselves, what do you say? We had songs and had put them into a record. 

Cryptic Rock – Well, the songs all work together really well as a cohesive album. One take away from listening to Alive is the very lively sound. It is exciting to hear in a darker time where it seems like we need a little inspiration. Was that on your mind too?

Johnnie Dee – Yes, and thank you. That’s a compliment. That’s where we’re at.

Cryptic Rock – It is a good place to be, and positivity creates positivity.

Johnnie Dee – Yeah, exactly.

Cryptic Rock – With Alive out now, are you going to be doing any extensive touring at all for it?

Johnnie Dee – Oh, geez, yeah. It’s just constant. I was just getting home from Frontiers record company in Italy, and they are asking for a new record already! At the moment I’m just sitting in my kitchen and writing new material right now. I am thinking, already? Anyways, we’re continuing! 

Cryptic Rock – That is a pretty quick turnaround!

Johnnie Dee – Yes. Exactly. The COVID thing has held us back, but now… new songs are on the table already. It’s crazy.

Cryptic Rock – It certainly is. Are you actually currently working on new material in the studio too?

Johnnie Dee – Yes, exactly. My brain is fried. It’s crazy, but it’s all very nice and everything is good.

Cryptic Rock – That is exciting to hear. We are obviously still in the early stages of that, but what direction do you see the new music going? Is it a similar direction as Alive?

Johnnie Dee – Pretty much the same. I just want to get away from all the same stuff though, but you know it’s going to be Honeymoon Suite. It always is, right? I hate to say it again, but my brain is getting fried. (Laughs)

Honeymoon suite - alive.
Honeymoon Suite – Alive / Frontiers s.r.l. (2024)

Cryptic Rock – It will be exciting to hear more from the band in the future. Obviously, fans have the opportunity now to listen to these 10 tracks featured on Alive. You released the EP back in 2017, but it has been a long time since you put out a full-length album like this.

Johnnie Dee – Yes. Those were independent records, just to keep ourselves going. Alive is something huge though.

Cryptic Rock – Right. You mentioned how the band has been an independent band for quite a while now, as opposed to being with a bigger label. That could serve up challenges, but that also could be freeing as well. How would you compare working independently versus being a part of a big record label?

Johnnie Dee – A lot of times when you’re doing something on your own you don’t have that power behind you opposed to working with a label. 

Cryptic Rock – Understandable. When you were with a big label, like Warner Bros, did you have the artistic freedom to take the band where you wanted to take them?

Johnnie Dee – When you’re with the label, they have their issues and we have ours. I’ve been dealing with it for years. It’s all been good though.

Cryptic Rock – It sounds like you have rolled with things very well. You also seem extremely busy at this point in your career too.

Johnnie Dee – It’s just nuts. I’ve got lyrics on my freaking table for a new record and Alive has not really even been out very long yet. 

Cryptic Rock – The positive thing, as you stated, is fans are really responding well to Alive

Johnnie Dee – Exactly, but a record can sometimes take a year or so to get out there. It’s good to see and we’re going to keep going. 

Honeymoon Suite Racing After Midnight
Honeymoon Suite – Racing After Midnight / Warner (1988) 
Honeymoon Suite Monsters Under The Bed
Honeymoon Suite – Monsters Under The Bed / Warner (1991)

Cryptic Rock – Very inspiring to hear. After all these decades, what would you say your main source of inspiration is? Just the love of the music?

Jonnie Dee – Yeah. Oh, geez… that’s a loaded question too. It’s the fans… the people coming to the shows. Every time we play, it’s sold out. It’s just great.

Cryptic Rock – And you mentioned you do have shows going on throughout the summer coming up. Honeymoon Suite are one of those bands that had a lot of success and is a well-recognized name. That said, do you find that younger fans are catching and checking the band out? 

Jonnie Dee – That is so cool for you to say that! We get in front of outdoor concerts, where there are kids in front of me, and it’s so cool. They’re singing the songs with me while I’m singing live and it’s great.

Cryptic Rock – That has to be fantastic to see younger audiences are coming out and recognizing the band. That is going to become even more prevalent because of the fact that the new music is out there now. Going back to Alive, as mentioned, this album is very much Honeymoon Suite, however, does also have a very modern Hard Rock sound. Was this something you were going for?

Johnnie Dee – No. It’s just something that we just started recording. It just worked out. We’re not going in the studio saying – “Hey, we’re going to do this, do that.” It just worked.

Cryptic Rock – Just let it happen naturally, right? You also worked with Mike Krompass; who has worked with other more modern bands such as Three Days Grace.

Johnnie Dee – Yes, but when Derry Grehan and I get in the studio, it’s Honeymoon Suite. It just worked out that way. It’s strange, but it worked. (Laughs)

Cryptic Rock – It certainly does work well. Being around as long as you have, obviously you have earned a lot of knowledge through the years in the industry. Things have changed dramatically with the streaming and everything else going on. A very different world, what do you think are some of the biggest differences with today’s music scene as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago?

Johnnie Dee – You’re going to put me in a different place right now asking me that question. It’s a pain in the ass! It’s just that I can’t be in the studio with the guys… because everyone is so far away. I have to send tracks and go to another studio to do vocals and send and then have them sent back. That is a good question though. It’s just a drag now. You know what I’m saying? It’s so cool to be with all the guys for two or three weeks, or a month or two, in a studio. Those days are over.

Honeymoon Suite Dreamland album
Honeymoon Suite – Dreamland / Frontiers (2002)
Honeymoon Suite Clifton Hill
Honeymoon Suite – Clifton Hill / Koch (2008)

Cryptic Rock – Nothing compares to a bunch of musicians getting together in a room and carving out songs together. That is really important and exciting. Do you think that is possible, or it is just not really physically possible for the band to do that?

Johnnie Dee – I’m going to make it that way, because that’s the way I write. (Laughs) There’s nothing like having somebody come over to my house with a couple acoustic guitars and you just start going. Those days are over. It’s hard.

Cryptic Rock – It is rather unfortunate. To that point, it seems like a lot of more modern albums are almost too perfect in the respect that the human element is taken out of them. 

Johnnie Dee – Yes, that is exactly right. You can write a record in your living room these days on your computer and stuff, right? I don’t know though …. I’m just getting used to the whole thing… just like everyone else is. At the end of the day, it’s like – “How are you going to play this stuff live?” You get on stage, and it’s like, you’re nowhere. Anyways, I don’t want to go there, but it’s tough times.

Cryptic Rock – Very good point. So, what are some of your influences as a musician?

Johnnie Dee – I’d never met him, but Greg Lake. Stuff like Emerson Lake & Palmer and Supertramp. Never met those guys though. All that stuff with keyboards in it, with layering and texture was always very important to me. Yeah, we got songs like that. We got a lot of songs…. but keyboards… I need them. (Laughs)

Cryptic Rock – Right. The Progressive Rock that arose during the ’70s era had a lot of that. Those influences can be heard within Honeymoon Suite.

Johnnie Dee – Well, it’s important to me. It’s got to have it.

Cryptic Rock – It is quite obvious. With Honeymoon Suite firing on all cylinders, which is really great is you have kept the core of the band together as well. 

Johnnie Dee – Yes. So far, it’s the original band and that’s huge to me. It is also very hard. A lot of bands out there right now, I don’t even want to say this, but they call themselves what they are, but there’s nobody in the band that’s in the band. It’s pretty nuts. We’re an original band, so it’s good.

Cryptic Rock – Right. That is very important to mention. A lot of bands are out there just using a name, but do not have many or any original members. When you join a band, it is great at first, but then as times go by, people have different ideas, people go in different directions. To keep that core together for so many years is really a challenge. 

Johnnie Dee – Exactly. It’s a family up there though. We’re all friends, which is hard to find. It’s hard to get and it’s hard to keep. It is about music and friendship.

Honeymoon Suite 2024 Tour Dates:
May 24, 2024 Classic Bowl Toronto ON
June 7, 2024 Great Canadian Casino Coquitlam, BC, Canada
June 8, 2024 River Rock Casino Richmond, BC, Canada
June 15, 2024 Yorkton BC
June 21, 2024 Winnipeg Casino Winnipeg MB
June 29, 2024 Pickering Casino Pickering ON
July 1, 2024 Canada Day Bonneville AB
July 6, 2024 Essex ON
July 19, 2024 Timmins ON
August 8, 2024 Rimbey AB
August 10, 2024 Peachfest Penticton BC
August 17, 2024 Antigonsih NS
August 31, 2024 Picton ON
September 20, 2024 London ON
October 2, 2024 Riviera Theatre North Tonawanda, New York
November 12, 2024 Prince George BC
November 13, 2024 Dawson Creek BC
For more on Honeymoon Suite: honeymoonsuiteband.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

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