Cambridge’s Original Rock Stars

August 1975 I am cruising down a country road outside of Hespeler and suddenly on the radio I hear the distinctive sounds of Major Hoople’s Boarding House, ‘I’m running after you” blares out of the speakers and my friends and I grin because, hell, that is a band that we know and to hear them like this was a great feeling. And as I sat down last night with Peter Padalino one of the founding members of the band that song was running through my head.
But before i get into that let’s have a brief history lesson..Major Hooples Boarding House started life in 1967 at G.C.I as a threesome called the Shan-de-Leers, they were Fred”Rockey” Howell,Peter Padalino and Rick Ridell and by the end of ’67 they had added David lodge and were going by the name of Major Hoople’s Boarding House. After they added Gail Selkirk to the band things started to take off as songs such as “Lady” “Beautiful Morning” “You Girl” and of course ‘I’m running after you” were released to the public. The band went through many changes, way too many to list here and Padalino left the band in the late 70’s to pursue other options. He wound up as part of the Lulu House band and today in his early sixties he and two of the other original members, Gail Truscott(nee selkirk) and Rocky Howell are getting back together to perform under the moniker of Rocky,Peter,Gail.
As we sat in the local Tim Hortons Pete reminisced about the past and was very optimistic about the future, we talked about the early day’s of the band, playing Barbers Beach in the mid 60’s as the Shan-de-leers, having to skip his final exams at GCI because there was a limo outside waiting to take him to the airport for a flight to Montreal so the band could sign a contract with Polydor Records. He recalled the thrill that hearing the music for the first time gave him and the friendships that he made that have lasted to this day. And like many Canadian bands of that early generation of rock and rollers they could have been bigger but the management and record company’s were reluctant to really do much to help them. As we discussed his stint with the lulu’s Roadhouse band his eyes lite up as he reminisced about the many acts that he performed with and partied with,John Philips,Wilson Pickett,Gary U.S Bonds and Chubby Checker were just some many hundreds of artists that went thru that establishment.
Under the new band Rocky,Peter and Gail, they hope to bring to both new and old audience a theatrical treatment of not only Major Hooples music but also the sound from that generation, they will be just 1 piano,2 Guitars 3 eclectic vocalists doing an up close and personal theatre style event. Peter was also kind enough to let me know that he has in his possession roughly 30 unreleased tracks from the early seventies version of Major Hooples that he hopes someday will see the light of day, and they hope to be performing at an early Oktoberfest event that will announced soon,and that the Waterloo Regional Museum at Doon Village is interested in doing a display featuring Major Hooples Boarding House. I would say not bad for a Cambridge(Galt) boy, not bad at all.
If you are out and about and see the name Major Hooples,beware, there is another group using that name that has members of the later editions of the band and none of the originals. And as Pete and i got ready to say our goodbyes I asked him one final Question “Why did you leave Major Hooples” to which he replied”I was having a good time and when it stopped, it was time to go, but now we are back and having a good time again”..We can only hope it lasts.

The Classic Hooples Lineup
David Lodge Vocals and bass
Gail Selkirk Keyboards
Peter Padalino Rhythm Guitar
Rick Riddell Drums
Fred”Rocky”Howell Lead Guitar,Vocals.
Pete Padalino

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2 thoughts on “Cambridge’s Original Rock Stars

  1. Hi Jimm

    Thank you for writing the beautiful article on Rocky, Peter and Gail. It is greatly appreciated.

    Gail Selkirk

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