Randy Bachman is touring with fellow Bachman-Turner Overdrive member Fred Turner, having released a studio recording in 2010 as Bachman and Turner. Still, don’t look for an official reunion as BTO, the 1970s Canadian rock band known for such hits as “Takin’ Care of Business” and “You Ain’t See Nothing Yet.”
Bachman, who hasn’t played with the now-defunct group in years, is happy right where he is — even if it never means playing with fellow co-founding members (and siblings) Tim Bachman and Robbie Bachman again.
Of course, it was that quartet that produced BTO’s breakout 1973 recording Bachman–Turner Overdrive II, which included both “Let It Ride” and “Takin’ Care of Business” — a rewrite of a tune called “White Collar Worker” that Bachman had composed years earlier while in the Guess Who. BTO’s 1974 follow up Not Fragile then shot to No. 1 on both the Canadian and American album charts on the strength of “Roll On Down the Highway” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” a chart-topping single.
Randy Bachman left after 1977′s Freeways, though the band — which by then also featured Blair Thornton — continued for two more years after a lineup reconstruction. Bachman-Turner Overdrive then held a series of reunions throughout the 1980s, including a 1985 run as the opening act on the initial Sammy Hagar-led Van Halen tour, before Bachman left again in 1991. Subsequently, a rotating group of musicians toured as BTO through 2004, while Bachman continued as a solo act.
Some five years later, Bachman asked Turner to join him on a recording session, and their rekindled partnership transformed the project into Bachman and Turner. “It’s amazing to be playing with him again,” Bachman says. “His voice is as powerful as ever, and we both rock out big time.”
Turns out, though, that this partial reunion is all fans should expect in the foreseeable future.
“This is the closest you will ever get to a BTO reunion,” Bachman tells AZCentral.com, “because of health and business problems that exist. It’s actually better than BTO ever was as far as music, spirit, vibe and putting the music first.”
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Bachman and Turner, and BTO. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
BACHMAN AND TURNER – BACHMAN AND TURNER (2010): Randy Bachman and Fred Turner reunited for the first time since the mid-1970s and in 2010 issued a record of all new tunes that reside entirely in the spirit of the old BTO, called, simply, Bachman and Turner. Turner’s full throated voice is completely intact, as are Bachman’s massive riffs and chops. For anyone else playing guitar like that, I’d be tempted to call it clichéd, but Bachman invented these much-imitated licks. So why not make it official and call it a BTO album? Blame it on some legal stuff. But it doesn’t take a lawyer to figure out that this is a record by the same masterminds behind one of the most successful hard-rockin’ bands of the Watergate era. This is a welcome return.
BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE – NOT FRAGILE (1974; 2011 reissue): BTO’s brand of meat ‘n’ potatoes, blue collar rock stood in direct opposition of some of the artsy prog rock that was at the height of its popularity at the time—indeed, the title Not Fragile is said to be the answer to Yes’ Fragile. They played up the part to perfection, naming “Overdrive” after a trucker magazine, dressed in regular street garb devoid of sequins, platform shoes and open shirts. With lyrics anybody older than three can understand. That compliment sounds a bit backhanded, but BTO at their best executed the game plan to near perfection, and when they did, they were a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Never were they executing as well as they were on Not Fragile.