Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – April Wine, the iconic Canadian rock band known for their infectious melodies and timeless hits, has a connection with Cornwall, Ontario. Drummer Roy Nichol, hailing from Cornwall, has become an integral part of the band’s lineup since joining in 2012, cementing his place in rock history.
Nichol’s journey to joining April Wine is a testament to his passion and dedication to his craft. Starting his musical odyssey as a drummer at 15, Nichol quickly honed his skills, becoming a sought-after musician in Cornwall and beyond. Prior to his affiliation with April Wine, he made his mark with various bands, including Sam Hill, the Stacey Thorn Band, Shotgun, Steeler, and Spare Partz.
When the opportunity to join April Wine arose, Nichol seized the moment, recognizing the significance of becoming part of a band steeped in Canadian rock history. April Wine had already etched their name in the annals of rock music with numerous chart-topping hits and a dedicated fanbase, selling over 10 million records and being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Since Nichol’s addition, April Wine has continued to captivate audiences with its electrifying performances. Music fans from Cornwall, Ontario, may remember the band’s epic performance at Lift-Off 2014. The chemistry between the band members, including Nichol’s rhythmic prowess, has been spectacular in concert.
April Wine’s extensive discography includes more than 20 studio albums, with classic hits like “Bad Side of the Moon,” “Roller,” “I Like to Rock,” and “Just Between You and Me” etched in the memories of rock enthusiasts worldwide. Their fifth album, “Stand Back,” achieved double platinum status in Canada, solidifying their status as a national treasure.
One defining moment in April Wine’s history that further demonstrates its significance is the charity concert they played at Toronto’s renowned El Mocambo Club in 1977. The “secret” co-headliner on the bill would be none other than The Rolling Stones. The event, captured and later released as the album “Live at the El Mocambo,” showcased April Wine’s undeniable talent and laid the groundwork for subsequent opportunities, including touring with The Rolling Stones, Styx, and Rush.
As April Wine continues to enchant audiences with their melodic prowess, Roy Nichol’s drumming serves as the heartbeat of their performances. His impeccable timing, versatility, and passion for the music have captivated fans. With Roy Nichol’s presence in the lineup, April Wine continues to tour and remain an integral part of Canadian rock history.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – What inspired you to play the drums, and when did you begin your musical journey?
“I was inspired by my Uncle Joe Harvey, who played drums in a band called The Shuttles. I eventually began playing along to my favourite vinyl, Rush and Led Zeppelin, which was over 50 years ago since I first started.”
2 – Who are some of your biggest musical influences and inspirations?
“Vocally, my biggest influence is Steve Perry of Journey. I’ve played drums and sung in many Journey tribute bands including Raised on Radio, Epic Journey, and, coming soon, Don’t Stop Believing. My biggest drum influences are John Bonham, Deen Castronova, Neil Peart, and Todd Sucherman.”
3 – Can you share any memorable experiences from touring or performing with different bands and musicians?
“Honestly, there have been so many talented musicians that I have met touring with April Wine; it truly is a privilege. Not only do I share the stage with three great band members, Myles Goodwyn, Brian Greenway, Richard Lanthier, and now new vocalist/guitarist Marc Parent, but I’ve also been lucky to meet the members of Boston, Kansas, Slash, Mark Farner from Grand Funk, Trooper, Honeymoon Suite and so many more.”
4 – Can you discuss any specific projects or albums you have coming up?
“Presently, April Wine is working on a live album from the last performance played with Myles Goodwyn in March 2023, as well as a new April Wine song that has just been recorded. I’m also working with my brother Peter Nichol and Mike Tessier on a new country project/band called Southern Frost.”
5 – Tell us about an upcoming concert or tour.
“April Wine is currently touring Canada and the U.S. with 30 gigs currently on the books for 2023. The connection we share with our fans is unparalleled, and the enthusiasm they bring to each show is amazing.”
April Wine is playing a sold-out show on June 10 at the Corona Theatre in Montreal. For more information on April Wine’s tour dates, visit their website.