Queen City Kids - Black Box

Queen City Kids – Black Box


Here’s another Canadian band with its origins sourced from the prairie heartland of Winnipeg. They are the Queen City Kids.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Queen City Kids
ALBUM: Black Box
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Alex Chuaqui – vocals, guitars * Kevin Fyhn – guitars, vocals * John Donnelly – bass * Jeff Germain – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Black Box * 02 Chains * 03 In Your Eyes * 04 Dance * 05 Girls * 06 Crazy In Love * 07 Ripped Off * 08 Looking For You * 09 Rock And Roll Junkie * 10 Bangin’ On The Door



Here’s another Canadian band with its origins sourced from the prairie heartland of Winnipeg. Following in the footsteps of contemporaries Streetheart and Harlequin came the Queen City Kids. The band retained the essence of what made those two bands popular out in the Canadian provinces, containing ample energy, youthful exuberance and a musical approach combining straight-ahead hard rock with a light sprinkling of power-pop.

Probably a good comparison would be Streetheart meets Cheap Trick, though the singer Alex Chuaqui sounds a lot like a young Gerry McGhee (Brighton Rock) at times. After working their way through countless bars out of their hometown Regina and releasing a demo tape, the band eventually found a home at CBS/Epic Records, who were impressed enough to sign them.

Their self titled debut appeared in 1981, the band toured throughout Western Canada and even ventured into the USA. A year later, the band returned for album number two ‘Black Box’. A new producer (Rob Freeman) plus a tighter array of songs combined to make this a closet classic. Musically it’s straight-ahead hard rock, but the songs are rather appealing, even without a keyboard player as was the norm for many Canadian bands at the time.

The Songs

Well, all I can say, if you are fan of Streetheart, then you will love this album. It certainly made it easy for me to enjoy upon hearing it. The title track ‘Black Box’ is a good example, energetic and fun. More subdued is the brooding affair that is ‘Chains’, though the chorus is naggingly good.

‘In Your Eyes’ is more melodic mayhem, a great contender for radio, while ‘Dance’ was set out to achieve just that, a crowd pleaser at their live gigs. ‘Girls’ is mid-paced melodia, not unlike fellow Canadians Haywire but without keyboards. A lovely tune nonetheless. More straight-ahead mayhem but with very melodic overtones is ‘Crazy In Love’. This time there are keyboard parts toward the end of the song.

The heaviest the band get is on ‘Ripped Off’, a superb guitar riff-fest, reminding me of a very melodic AC/DC. The band completely reverse gears on their first attempt at a serious ballad with ‘Looking for You’, And despite the effort, the arrangement ends up kinda messy. Getting their hands and feet dirty on ‘Rock And Roll Junkie’ is more to the bands liking.

The manic power-pop energy sounding like Chicago band Off Broadway on steroids. The album closer ‘Bangin’ On The Door’ is pure 70’s swamp rock, and if some of those Southern rockers from back then appeal to you (a la Hydra, Atlee etc) , then this track will appeal to your time-challenged sensibilities.

In Summary

The album featured a few tracks on FM Playlists throughout Canada, and the band extended their touring run, this time to points in Eastern Canada, and further inroads into the USA. Despite the musical improvement, Epic did not renew its option on the band and pulled the plug.

The band continued on regardless well into the 80’s. A compilation of the two QCK albums was released in 1989, and it certainly is worth searching out as I feel this band are deserving of an honorable mention, and they get it here at Glory Daze. Again, fans of Streetheart are encouraged to check out QCK. Could ‘Black Box’ be the minor classic that passed us by? I think so.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Queen City Kids - Black Box (1982)
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