THE DIODES at Yonge-Dundas Square (Yonge and Dundas), Saturday (June 9), 3 pm. Free. www.nxne.com. Rating: NNNNN
While the official summer of rock reunions moves along lucratively, prodigal Toronto punk children the Diodes are to set write the final chapter of their band's 30-year story.
But unlike those hardly missed megalomaniacs like Sting, Billy Corgan and Phil Collins who are going back on tour, this gig by the original lineup Paul Robinson, John Catto, Ian Mackay and John Hamilton is not a cash grab.
As lead singer Robinson explains, it's more about recognizing where the Diodes stand in punk rock's history books.
"We made an important cultural contribution to music," says Robinson, "and all of sudden a whole new generation of bands has made it clear they were influenced by us and that we should get back together."
Back in 77, when the Diodes were just a bratty bunch creating a scene from scratch, T.O.'s punk community was small at best. But after releasing crude vinyl 7-inches, opening their own club (Crash 'n' Burn) and bringing now-legendary groups like the Dead Boys up to play, bigger hubs like New York and London starting taking notice. Toronto was on the punk map.
"We toured with the Ramones; we brought the Dead Boys up here. It was a small group of friends, and that was the punk scene it grew out of that," he recalls.
Their classic semi-hit, Tired Of Waking Up Tired, carried them to modest success into the early 80s, but as music's landscape changed and Duran Duran-style keyboard-based pop took hold, the Diodes found themselves strangers in a strange land.
Explains Robinson, "Music was changing, becoming very poppy, and we didn't use keyboards. What we were doing started to go out of fashion, and music is fashion."