Brian Smith, a longtime Langley resident and co-founder of the Canadian rock band Trooper, will receive the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming Fraser Valley Music Awards.
“I am truly honoured by this news. I have always worked hard and tried to be a good role model within the music community,” Smith said about the win. “I am proud of my accomplishments but I have never assumed recognition, so this is an unexpected but welcome surprise.”
Smith was born in London, England and emigrated to Canada in 1951. After graduating from Vancouver City College with a degree in Arts and Merchandising while cutting his teeth on the guitar at gigs around the Lower Mainland, Smith found his way to the Fraser Valley.
“Our family moved to Langley from Vancouver in 1973. As you can imagine, it was a totally different place back then,” Smith explained. “We soon grew to learn what a special place Langley was. Langley was a wonderful community in which to raise our children. It had a feeling of the country while still having most everything you needed to make a good life.”
Smith co-founded the band Winter’s Green with Ra McGuire in 1967, which eventually changed it’s name to Applejack.
After adding a few more members and getting themselves signed to Randy Bachman’s label – the group officially changed their name to Trooper in 1975, releasing their self-titled debut album that same year.
Eight albums followed, featuring songs like “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time), “The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car,” “General Hand Grenade,” “Two for the Show,” “Raise a Little Hell,” “Oh, Pretty Lady,” and “Santa Maria,” all becoming instant staples on Canadian airwaves.
“Songs have a way of bringing your memory of certain events and times, both happy and sad, back into your mind when you hear them. Many of our songs seem to have a key in unlocking those memories and emotions,” Smith said about his band’s longevity.
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”Trooper is still touring after 45 years and we continue to play those songs to thousands of fans of all ages, which I believe continues to create old and new memories of place and time,” he continued.
The Fraser Valley Music Awards are in their fourth year and have previously been hosted by the Abbotsford Centre, The Stage in Mission, and the Abbotsford Arts Centre; this year’s ceremony will be taking in Chilliwack at Corky’s Irish Pub.
The awards were launched by CIVL Radio and its station manager Aaron Levy to celebrate musical talent from the region, covering a a wide variety of categories like rock, folk, country, blues and jazz to hip hop, electronic, experimental, punk and metal – and now lifetime achievements.
Just because the word “lifetime” have been thrown in Smith’s direction, he told the Langley Advance Times it doesn’t mean he’s planning on slowing down yet.
“I turned 70 in 2019. Despite the fact that most people have retired or are thinking of retiring by that age I don’t see that option in the cards any time soon,” Smith explained. “Travel can at times be hard but the fun and excitement of live performances makes the aches and pains diminish quickly. I have a lot of down time to spend with family and friends here in Langley and elsewhere, so it’s a good mix.”
Looking back at his career and the success Trooper has found across the country and beyond, Smith advised budding musicians takes passion and dedication, but can lead to some remarkable things.
“Follow your heart and life will sort itself out for you. Music, like many professions, has to be a love and therefore a commitment. It isn’t the easiest profession to get started in but with hard work and dedication the rewards and contentment can be enormous.”
The honour will be presented to Smith at the awards gala, Nov. 21.
Tickets for the general public will be available at the door for $10.
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