Still ‘Working’

And loving it. How Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean and his musical posse fuel their longevity.

GREG ARCHER Arts & Entertainment


It’s 4:30 p.m. on a Friday and on radio stations across America, the ’80s rock anthem “Working For The Weekend” blasts through the airwaves. Four lines from the chorus change everything for America’s working class:

Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a little romance
Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance

Sure, Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean and his bandmates, knew they had something special when they first performed the song live in Vancouver back in the early 1980s, but they could have never predicted the song would go nuclear, hit the Top 5 on Billboard’s mainstream rock chart, and fuel a career that would find the group selling more than 10 million albums.

Dean and his rock brethrens, Mike Reno (lead singer), Matt Frenette (drums), Doug Johnson (keyboards, sax, vocals and harmonica) and Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve (bass) — former band-mate Scott Smith died in 2000 from a boating accident — hit Spa Resort Casino Feb. 17. Hits like “Turn Me Loose,” “Hot Girls In Love,” “This Could Be The Night,” among others, should keep the evening festive.

Dean tells Palm Springs Life the inner workings of his craft and the rockin’ creative force behind Loverboy.

Palm Springs Life: After nearly 40 years, your songs are pretty much in the DNA of the group?

Paul Dean: I think we figured out just how to play them, yes. [Laughs] The beauty of the songs, to me, is the simplicity. It allows us all to stretch out. We’re not a rift band. I have always approached my guitar playing as: “I am a rhythm player. Not a rift player.” Everything we do live is pretty much free form. It’s fun for me every night. I’m still trying to push my own boundaries, though. “Turn Me Loose” is different every night.

PSL: Four decades together. Is that mind-blowing?

PD: It is. I was in 13 bands before Loverboy. The longest I was in a band at that point was three years. When I got into Loverboy, I thought, if we didn’t start doing something in three years, we need to start looking somewhere else. But now I look back and think, 40 years—that’s some serious family time and brotherhood we’ve put in. We’ve had our ups and downs, for sure, like most families. But now we’re on an “up.”


Loverboy continues Spa Resort Casino’s “Concerts Under the Palms” outdoor live music series Feb. 17 in downtown Palm Springs.

PSL: What’s the trick to longevity?

PD: Respect. We have more respect now between the players than there ever has been. I guess that’s a form of maturity.

PSL: Were you surprised by its success?

PD: The first time we played it live in Vancouver, we were playing all of our original tunes at a packed bar—a meat market. Before we played the songs, nobody was dancing. They’re just looking around. The third set, we played it and it broke the ice. Bam. That was it.

PSL: What do you love most about performing?

PD: It’s the feeling of communication with the band. Mike’s a real social butterfly. I am not so much like that—more of a behind-the-scenes guy. For me, it’s a social thing. It’s as social as you can get. But that communication with the audience is unique. It’s that level of participation from the audience. They get it. They understand what we’re writing about and how we’re playing. They appreciate that. But for me, I just love to play the guitar. Any opportunity I get to play, I’m there.

Loverboy performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Spa Resort Casino in Downtown Palm Springs. For more tickets and information, visit or