Ryan Luchuck Band
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Ryan Luchuck Band


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"Play A Song Piano Man, Ryerson Eye Opener, November 13 2003"

Ryan Luchuck doesn't mind that hardly anyone knows him by name. He's fine with being known as the piano man at The Madison Pub, just as long as you buy his new CD.

It's been just over a year since Luchuck packed his bags and headed for Toronto to pursue a career in music. But his transformation from mild mannered musician to university pop superhero did not happen overnight.

Like most struggling musicians, he found himself broke in the big city and wound up living with his older sister.

He was working at Blockbuster when he found his salvation in the form of a newspaper classified. The advertisement said, 'Piano player wanted for bar.'

Though playing piano for a bunch of drunken university students was not his dream job, Luchuck donned his trademark toque and went to the audition anyway.

He can now be seen pounding out your favourites Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at The Madison Pub. He plays all of the piano essentials like Billy Joel's Piano Man as well as some more unconventional choices such as Weezer's El Scorcho.

Ryan is a favorite among Madison regulars.
Luchuck has been the man behind the piano at The Madison Pub, located on Madison Ave., north of Bloor Street Avenue, for the past two years.

Now he's branched out with his self-titled CD and an upcoming show Nov. 26 at the funky indie club B-side, located above the Fez Batik on Peter Street.

Although most of his time is now spent in front of the piano, the first instrument he learned was the guitar. He didn't even touch a piano until high school, where he taught himself how to play during lunch breaks.

At 24, Luchuck's dreams seem to be taking shape. But make no mistake; it has not been easy. With no manager to guide him along the way, Luchuck has been running a one man show. He has been busy promoting his CD and auditioning members for his band.

"(The CD) was the hardest thing I've ever done," he said.

Released in July, his CD has been enjoying moderate success. Sam the Record Man, the only store to carry the disc, was sold out within the first month. Toronto music magazine Exclaim also praised Luchuck in a recent review.

"There's nothing like a man and his piano," the reviewer wrote.

Luchuck's music is an eclectic mix of upbeat drum beats, catchy tunes and (of course) rocking piano. But be forewarned, you will be singing these songs for days. The CD also gives listeners a glimpse into the piano man's personal life.

"These songs are extremely personal," he said.

Even with all of his success, Luchuck won't be leaving the Madison any time soon. He plans on staying put for at least another year. - by Rebecca Rose

"Eye Weekly, January 29 2004"

Thirty-four years after their breakup, The Beatles are still a top-40 band. But for modern power-pop practitioners raised on AM-radio-gold sounds, pop has become a four-letter word -- it's the domain of guys named Clay and Ruben, pop stars ordered straight off the TV like Ginsu knives and salad shooters (albeit with shorter extended warranties).

Beyond the 1-800-dialled Idols, the sincere, unpretentious melody-maker's chart access is stonewalled by hip-hop caricatures (50 Cent), steel-toed rock Lotharios (Nickelback) and collegiate crooners who are more middle-of-the-road than broken line paint (John Mayer). While the late '90s offered a few summer-of-'74 flashbacks (Hanson, The New Radicals), today such anomalous US radio breakthroughs seem ever more dependent on novelty value; take Fountains of Wayne's 2003 MILF anthem "Stacy's Mom," for example. (Canadian radio, for its part, is somewhat more receptive to classic pop stylings, making heavy-rotation stars out of Sloan and Sam Roberts.) Meanwhile, pop bands residing on the alterna/indie fringes have to make apologies by submerging their sweet tooth under lo-fi murk (Guided by Voices) or buffing it with orchestras and cult attire (The Polyphonic Spree).

Which is to say, guys like Ryan Luchuck and Rob Szabo have got it hard, if only because their MOs are so simple. Both are local artists who self-released low-key (i.e., overlooked) discs last year that are subversive in their modest intent (especially at a time when the latest Nickelback single is trying to pass off lines like "I like the dirt that's on your knees / And I like the way you still say please" as affectionate).

And both could potentially get lost in the void that separates the mainstream from the underground: their music isn't sexy or slick enough to compete with the prefab pop tarts, but it's not rough enough for the indie set either. They don't have big labels behind them to push them on to the radio, nor can they be directly linked to Broken Social Scene or The Hidden Cameras or any other lauded indie supergroup to boost their street cred.

Luchuck at least can lay claim to one definitive quality, if only by ostracization. He's a piano player, which is essentially the rock 'n' roll equivalent of being the class math geek. I'm sure even at this early stage in his career, Luchuck is already sick of Ben Folds Five comparisons, but like Folds' 1995 debut album (before "Brick" turned him into dental-clinic music), Luchuck's self-titled five-song EP pounds away your prissy piano preconceptions with urgent ivory abuse and sardonic storytelling -- "You're a Psycho" finds Luchuck falling for his stalker -- that undercut his soft-pop pedigree (Todd Rundgren, or Elton John, pre-duck suit). Take a song like "Take My Time Away," top it with a wall of distorted guitars and Weezer could make a million off of it, but then outsider anthems always sound best when coming from the fringes.

If Luchuck plays tough to cover up his soft spots, Rob Szabo uses sweetness to heal his sadness. A Battery of Tests, the Plasticine frontman's solo debut, opens with "Watchin' a Movie," and from the sound of things, his VCR must be running a loop of Elliott Smith funeral footage. That this apparent reference point killed himself around the time of Battery's fall 2003 release simply reinforces the album's solitary darkness, as Szabo gently strums through songs of relationships and regret, assuming an almost Radioheadish sense of despair in his lowest emotional ebbs ("The Life of the Party").

But on "I Live for the Summer," he finally kicks his desolation blues for good; like a distant cousin to Big Star's "Watch the Sunrise," it climaxes with a chorus so big you barely notice the song doesn't even have drums. And for that moment, Szabo is transformed into the pop star of his dreams, basking in the stadium spotlight. Even if it's really just the morning sun seeping through the bedroom drapes. - by Stuart Berman

"Exclaim! November 01 2003"

Nothin’ like a man and his piano. Well, a two-person back-up band also, but Mr. “Loo-chuck” and his keys come to the front-and-centre of these five catchy tunes. Reminiscent of a young Joe Jackson, Luchuck bangs and slides away at the ivories, creating fun, melodic and bouncy pop music about life, love and other light-hearted subjects. The “piano-man” genre isn’t something you hear a lot of these days and for this reason Luchuck is refreshing. Clean, uncluttered sound full of XTC harmonies and toe-tapping piano riffs, Luchuck says he “plays piano more like a guitar.” Maybe this could be the start of a new movement of sensitive-guy rock’n’roll to replace drug addled chic in black leather pants. Cheers Ryan for bringing some levity to my record collection. - by Coreen Wolanski

"UMBRELLAMUSIC.com, June 28 2004"

If he’s not anything else, Ryan Luchuck is the most relentless musician I have ever come across...

Without even hearing a note of his work, his face has been burned into my mind’s eye forever more. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get that fucking green toque out of my nightmares because the dude managed to blanket-cover every Canadian publication with no less than three copies of his debut CD.

Given those circumstances (he found my HOME ADDRESS for crying out loud!), I had to give the dude a shot. If you’re willing to go the distance, you deserve it more than some bands that can barely be assed to help the label get their “art” out there.

So…the music. Ok, stacked up against my Slayer and Motorhead collections, the guy’s piano-driven radio pop in a ‘70’s Elton John/Billy Joel vein obviously doesn’t have a hope in hell. He could do with a bit of research into exactly whom he’s panning his work to.

But there’s something in his style that is disgustingly infectious. And pure. There’s not one second on this five-track EP where you question how infinitely he believes in his music. It also shines through on the way he performs with vigour and sincerity. The songs are well-written stories that have a slightly jazzy vibe over their Ray Charles-ish blues/rock progressions. In a day and age where any of the aforementioned comparisons would be seen as horrifying, trust me: they’re not. Every one of those musicians is accomplished, creative and virtually flawless. If Luchuck keeps it up, he could be the Canadian equivalent in no time. - by Keith Carman


"Today's popular music in inundated with bubble-gum punk and hand picked icons with little real talents other than their god given assparts. Refreshing it was to open my mailbox and find the promo-package from Ryan Luchuck. The first song on the his self titled CD is "Gonna Come to Me." For you guitar hoarders out there, this album is piano driven and it rocks! Never mind that the songs seem to offer a negative view on love, it's all done tongue in cheek and it ain't all peachy keen Chuck and Patricia! Starting out in Regina and making his way to Calgary for a few years Ryan Luchuck honed his piano skills playing drinking songs in a college pub. He found he had a knack for this song-writing thing so he moved to Toronto in 2001 and released his inaugural CD in 2003.

I spoke with Ryan Luchuck via the telephone while we both battled bugs in Toronto. In my case, the bug had the upper hand.

Reverend Rob Revolting [RRR]: A rocking piano band? What gives? How did your sound come to life?
Ryan Luchuck [Ryan]: I used to fancy myself being a jazz piano player but found I didn't quite have the discipline. I always loved piano. Burt Bacharach, the Beach Boys and Paul McCartney were big influences of mine. A lot of people assume there is a Ben Folds influence to my music and that's fine because I like him. Anyhow the CD started out of nowhere and lately people have been starting to take notice.

RRR: You played Canadian Music Week [CMW]. How did that go and how did that exposure help you?
Ryan: It went well. Anytime you can play a place like the Drake Hotel to a packed house for something like CMW is really great. We've now got management interest. To be honest, I never really worry about the crowds. My goal is to do well on stage. We keep our booking agent happy but I'm not a party animal. I only have 3 or 4 numbers in my phonebook so we've had to build our fan base.

RRR: What plans do you guys have for the future?
Ryan: We have been recording off an on and my plan is to have it out for the fall, but it will definitely be out by the end of the year. We're heading to Europe in the fall so it would be nice if the CD is ready. Then we'll be getting to the rest of Canada.

Truth be told our man Ryan Luchuck is a man of few words. He lets the music do the talking. He told me he's pretty much a quiet guy and lets it all come out on stage. Through the telephone line I could sense a grin and a hint of a confident chortle. Ryan Luchuck and his band have played to many crowds between Halifax and Toronto over the years and have been winning fans. He has sold 1000 copies of his CD along the way. They have been winning support from such notables as Exclaim and Eye magazines. He recently played at an Exclaim Magazine music/hockey event. Others in the industry have taken notice too. He'll be doing a show for Umbrella Music in North Bay in June and playing in a town near you this summer.

Ryan Luchuck's choruses keep coming at you. That's the strength. They're fun and by the end of the song, you're feet get the message and you're humming right along. Love might be tough for Ryan Luchuck, but fun catchy music is not. You can also purchase Ryan Luchuck's CD from Sam the Record Man. Visit http://www.ryanluchuck.com to find out more. The last song on the CD "Take My Time Away" rocks us out with Ryan bashing away at the ivories. One line in the song, "and there ain't nothing more to say," cleverly suggests the CD is near completion. I do think we'll be hearing more of what Ryan Luchuck has to say in the near future." - by Reverend Rob Revolting

"COAST MAGAZINE (Halifax), March 07 2005"

"Throughout Canadian Music Week 2005, I took in 36 performances at 12 venues. Some were amazing, and others were...not so amazing. Here are my picks for the Top 10 bands/artists of CMW 2005:

10) The Arsoncityscape (London, ON) @ Reverb - These guys are so young, and have so much potential. Keep an eye out for them.

9) Fruit (Adelaide, Australia) @ Holy Joe's - A clear-cut reason why you shouldn't judge a band based on one song. An acoustic trio with more in its aresenal than plain old folk tunes.

8) Mardeen (Cape Breton) @ The Rivoli - These guys could be huge. They have good songs, they're fun, and one of them looks like Jimmy Kimmel. What's not to like?

7) Ben Lee (Sydney, Australia) @ Reverb - He and Claire Danes probably split up because he's so socially awkward, but he's a great musician and a gifted songwriter.

6) The Mark Inside (Whitby, Ontario) @ The Horseshoe Tavern - Ian Blurton, Aaron Brophy and Chris Corless all guaranteed me that I'd like these guys, and they were all correct. All over the musical map, they already have a pretty steady fanbase, and are on the verge of something big.

5) Limblifter (Vancouver, British Columbia) @ The 360 - It's not 1996 anymore, but don't bother telling Ryan Dahle, because he'll show you otherwise. While their latest album isn't as good as their first two, and the band has had more lineup changes than Spinal Tap, they're still a great act.

4) The Sourkeys (Waterloo, ON) @ Club Rockit - The sound for this particular show was pretty bad, especially the vocals, but the show was still great. This band should be huge.

3) Ryan Luchuck (Toronto, ON) @ The Drake Hotel - The fast and furious pianoman sings songs that you'll instantly relate to, no matter which background you come from. His live show is also well-oiled, and fun to watch.

2) C'Mon (Toronto, ON) @ The Horseshoe Tavern/Bovine Sex Club - You can't deny that Ian Blurton is Canada's rock n' roll wizard. Everything he touches is magic, and slapping him in an ensemble with Katie-Lynn Campbell (ex-Nashville Pussy) and Randy Curnew (ex-Blurtonia) will kick your ass every time. C'Mon's the only band that I saw more than once at CMW 2005, and for good reason!

1) The Waking Eyes (Winnipeg, MB) @ The Horseshoe Tavern - There's no denying this one. Hands down, the best performance of this year's festival. The songs that sound so good on recor ("Beginning," "Watch Your Money," "On A Train") are even better live, and they pump 'em out straight from the gut." - by Jon Bruhm

"He Took Our Time Away And It Was Worth It, The Bull & Bear, October 2005"

“I don’t believe in contingencies,” Ryan Luchuck proclaims. “Smart as they may be, the people who make it are the ones that don’t have them. They are so desperate to succeed that they have to.”

With no back- up plan, Luchuck hurled himself full force into making it in the music world; he is beginning to reap the fruits of his efforts. After hammering out requests three nights a week at the Madison in Toronto, the piano man began auditioning members for his own band. Luchuck found drummer Ben Adivi and bassist Jason Eagan, who round out the trio known as the Ryan Luchuck Band.

“Being in a band has a totally different vibe. We’re three guys; we’re kind of like a gang.”
–Ryan Luchuck

Although he got his start playing solo, Luchuck feels that, “being in a band has a totally different vibe. We’re three guys; we’re kind of like a gang. We’re pretty immature and we have a lot of fun.”

They also have a lot of ambition. After playing shows in clubs around Toronto, the band was one of six bands, selected from thirty-five bands, invited to play at “Canadian Music Week” in September. Recently, Luchuck and Band embarked upon a whirlwind tour of Central Canada, which landed him in Montreal at Le Swimming on Saturday, October 16th.

This performance showcased what Luchuck and Band are truly capable of: drawing crowds of listening strangers into a world of best friends, psychos and rocking melodies that make you wish you knew the lyrics so you could sing along.

The band offered a sampling of tunes that will be found on their upcoming album such as “Beautiful”, “Uncool Girl” and “Please Kill Me” – a song that is “about what it’s about.” According to Luchuck, it was penned for no other reason than because he wanted to write a song with such a title.

Long-time fans also recognised the classics: “You’re a Psycho”, “Best Friend” and the happiest song on his album, “Take my Time Away”. The band ended the night in true Montreal artist style: splitting pitchers and popcorn at Le Biftek.

Audience members agreed that Luchuck’s passionate piano-pop offers a refreshing break from the ubiquitous guitar band and the tired old sound rut that so many musicians fall into. This band is characterised by a very distinct sound. Each song has a catchy opening and subsequent melody that is uniquely Luchuck. It is the kind of music that you hear and can attribute to a single great artist, which in the end is what separates Luchuck from other artists who are still struggling to find their own uniqueness.

“This is my future,” Luchuck declares. As much as he loves the Madison, he only sees things getting bigger and better. Next fall, he plans to put the band on the international map with their first European tour.

He also comments on the artistic brain drain in Canada. Many artists head South of the border because it is almost impossible to make it in the industry up here. While the band intends to stay true to their heritage, they cannot ignore the opportunities in the American market and hope to begin touring the States in the near future.

For now, however, Luchuck vows to continue playing at the Madison with shows at clubs around the city. As for us in Montreal, Luchuck forewarns, “We’ll be back, and we’re going to keep coming back.” Well, Ryan, we can’t wait. - by Christina DeVuono

"Chartattack.com, October 15 2004"

In an age where singer-songwriters tend to hit the road with an acoustic guitar, a can of beans and a pocket full of dreams, Ryan Luchuck stands defiant. The Toronto-based piano man refuses to include a guitar in the fold, because he says that the ol' six-string has been done to death and wants to do something a little different.

"I've always wanted to stand out from the pack," he says. "I feel sorry for guitar bands because there's just so many — it's almost impossible to do something unique. Having said that, it all comes down to writing great songs. That's what I'm really trying to do, which you have to admit is kinda different these days."

Luchuck recorded the bulk of his self-titled EP last year on his own, not because he demanded creative control of his songs, but instead because he didn't really have any other choice.

"I played everything on my EP because no one else was around at the time," he says. "Having a band makes everything so much better. [Drummer Ben Adivi and bassist Jason Eagan] are like brothers. These guys have ideas and are willing to fight for them — sometimes that's a drag, but it's always for the best of the music. Also, because I initially got this sound going by myself, the guys came in knowing what they were in for. The band takes off from where the EP started."

Next month, Luchuck and company will begin the recording of their first full-length album at a The Chalet just outside of the big city. But for now, Luchuck has plans to play around Toronto, perhaps with a couple of short tours around the region and he vows to continue his weekly all-request solo shows at The Madison Pub.

"It's a different show every night so it's usually a lot of fun," he says. "It's also not as separate from this project as one might think. I've sold tons of CDs there and developed a crowd that wants to hear 'Take My Time Away' as much as 'Say It Ain't So.' A lot of people see me there first then make their way out to the band shows." - by Jon Bruhm

"He’ll Never Be Our Best Friend He's Just The One We Love, The Bull & Bear, October 2005"

The thing about Ryan Luchuck is that you can’t just like him. You have to LOVE him, in an all consuming – desperation if you miss him on a Thursday night – getting into fights at the bar over who he likes better – crying at the end of the summer—kind of way. And no one entirely knows why.

But there is something about this Saskatoon native that draws crowds and makes them scream for more as the bouncers turn on the lights and hustle people out of the club.

Many of you know him, even if you don’t realise it. I’ve seen you in Toronto at The Madison in the midst of an evening of drunken debauchery, where he tickles, nay, pounds the ivories, three nights a week. You may even still refer to him as, “That piano guy.”

Although you might have had trouble recognizing him without his signature toque and glasses (apparently that look is out for 2004), he still brings the same vigour and sincerity to every song he plays.

This is why the songs from his self-titled debut album are as requested as the ever popular “Tiny Dancer”. Whether you are smashing a pint glass on the piano bar, shouting along to “Cinnamon Girl”, or listening to his five-track EP as you make your roommates scrub the bathroom, his music evokes the same visceral response: you have to rock out.

With a piano and no guitarist, the result is a unique blend of power-pop with crackling energy and infectious lyrics.

In fact, they range from the bizarre, “You’re a psycho and that’s ok, ‘cause I know I am the very same way,” or full of raw emotion as, “I wish I could excite you, I wish I knew a secret. But how am I supposed to keep you, when you were never mine?” from the song titled, “Is Everything Still Ok”.

Whatever it is, this piano-guy has developed a following in Toronto and we are waiting anxiously as he moves on to greater things. With upcoming shows in Ottawa and Montreal, Luchuck is making his move from downtown Toronto and into the world of great Canadian artists.

Luckily, Luchuck is coming to Montreal. On October 16, he will be opening at Le Swimming, along with Torontonian Morgan Finley and two bands from Montreal. He will be playing his signature tracks from his self-titled EP as well as new songs from his soon-to-be-released second album.

With Ben Adivi on the drums, and Jason Eagan on bass, this trio is known to thrill enthusiastic crowds. They have recently been invited to play at the Best of Indie Week Showcase in Toronto.

This show marks the first time Ryan will be playing in Montreal, and it is guaranteed to be a rocking set. Come and check them out, you will not be disappointed.

Whether you have seen Ryan at The Madison in Toronto or you are inspired by this review and curious to hear what he can do, check out his website at www.ryanluchuck.com. You can still find him rocking out every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at The Madison. - by Christina DeVuono


Umbrella Music: "Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles. . .Luchuck could be the Canadian equivalent in no time."

Chart: "The tracks on this E.P. crackle with energy. Luchuck is on the verge."

Exclaim: "Luchuck is refreshing. This could be the start of a new movement. . ."

Bull and Bear: "It is the kind of music you hear and can attribute to a single great artist, which in the end is what separates Luchuck. . ."

Eye Weekly: "Luchuck pounds away your prissy piano preconceptions."

Eye Opener: "You will be singing these songs for days."

Nardwuar: ". . .a fine piece of zit-rawk angst. . ." - [various authors]


A Super Happy Heartbreak Sound (LP): released May 2006
Ryan Luchuck (l-oo-chuck) (EP): released July 2003



"People were starting to doubt we'd ever finish this album," says piano rocker Ryan Luchuck (l-oo-chuck), referring to the nearly three years since his debut EP. "It definitely seemed at times that fate didn't want it to happen; well, too bad, because here it is." After years of songwriting, a failed six month recording attempt with a local producer and a flooded rehearsal space ($10,000 in equipment lost), the guys hit the studio on their own in early 2006 and recorded sixteen songs in three weeks.
"We did it quickly to get a live sound and avoid the tendency to over-produce the tracks," says Luchuck. The result is a riveting blend of raw and pristine, the piano trio sound augmented with keyboard textures, thick vocals and occasionally a string quartet. 'A Super Happy Heartbreak Sound' is the resulting full-length debut from the Ryan Luchuck Band.

The album, like the making-of, is full of emotional highs and lows. While songs like "Beautiful" and "Only Girl" are optimistic, "That's When You'll Know" is the ultimate break-up song. There is also a track dedicated to any girl who refuses to date musicians: "I'm Not Waiting".

Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Luchuck moved to Toronto in 2002 and soon landed a weekly gig playing covers in a college piano bar. Between taking requests, he began to play his own songs to the drunken crowd. To his surprise, his originals became more popular than many rock'n'roll classics. These songs were released on his debut EP in 2003. With no promotional budget, Luchuck managed to sell 1,500 copies and garner rave reviews from critics worldwide.

After recording his EP by himself, Luchuck formed a band originally only for live shows. Ben Adivi (drums) and Jason Eagan (bass) joined and soon became an integral part of the piano rock sound. "I'm not really a solo artist anymore; the guys play such a big role now," says Luchuck. The Ryan Luchuck Band has won fans across Ontario and Quebec with their energetic live shows and was voted the #3 act of Canadian Music Week 2005 by The Coast Magazine (Halifax).

'A Super Happy Heartbreak Sound' was released on May 12, 2006 at the Horseshoe Tavern, followed by a cross-Canada tour.