Rock 'n' roll roots: They first formed more than 40 years ago, but the Karroll Brothers are coming back

The Karroll Brothers never went away, they just faded into the backing tracks of the rock music industry.

Skintight leathers and long hair - even the hair itself - may be long gone, but a rock band that considers Kamloops home is about to resurface after an absence of 30 years or more.

No one who was young in the 1970s in Kamloops is likely to forget the name of the band that rocketed onto the Pacific Northwest music scene in those years.

"Yes, we're out there and we'll be back," said John Karroll, the happily thrashing drummer behind brothers Peter (lead guitar, vocals), Paul (bass guitar, vocals) as well as the late Steve Balison and Frank Cooper on keyboards.

Karroll makes his living nowadays in artist and event management out of Kelowna. With his brothers, he's planning to open a fresh chapter with the band in 2012.

"The first step is writing and recording. Half the album's recorded right now. There will definitely be a homecoming to Kamloops because Kamloops was instrumental to our careers."

Already pumped by the idea of getting back together again after all these years, John was tickled to see rock journalist Bruce Atkinson enthuse about the band recently in his web column, Under the Lights.

"They were ahead of their time," Atkinson wrote. "In concert, the Karroll Brothers broke the scale and left their audiences breathless."

High praise, but John doesn't mind pounding his own drum.

"That was totally a surprise column and came totally out of the blue. He came across an old record."

They formed the original band northern Alberta in 1970 and the family relocated to Kamloops while the brothers were growing up. Here, they honed a high-energy melodic rock and progressive sound. As they toured, they built a following in clubs in Western Canada and Washington state, and released their first record in 1978.

"We played Empire Stadium in its heyday," John said, recalling a memorable moment. "We were having two or 3,000 people show up at (Memorial) arena.

"In hindsight, the style of music we were doing really merged the synthesizer and rock with these flaming drum solos and whipping guitars. It was like Karroll Brothers meets The Who."

They continued to tour into the 1980s, but eventually gravitated to careers elsewhere in the music and event business.

"I realized because Kamloops was sure a great part of the rock 'n' roll era. Lots of songs and experiences developed in Kamloops. We ended up helping lots of young artists."

John is continuing in that vein with MKM Management, launched last year. The company is set up as a one-stop operation for musicians, offering in-house label, management, artist development, production studio and publicist.

He's also entered into an agreement with Vericorder Technology, headed by former journalist Gary Symons. Symons developed the Vericorder, a wireless reporting technology for roving reporters.

"We thought, 'why not customize it for music video recording?' "

Video production can be a costly and time-consuming add-on in the music business.

"Now he does it all from an iPhone, and he hits send and it goes right to the server."

He and Paul are among directors of 1 stVideo Band Inc., has global rights to the iPhone app and works in partnership with Vericorder Technologies to promote it.

"It's always been music related," he added. "It's the same with my other brothers."

Peter runs Her Royal Majesty's Records, where he's worked with artists such as Bif Naked and Jaydee Bixby.

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