30 years later, this Vancouver band’s debut is getting the remix it deserves, former music exec says

Kim Cooke never forgot Salvador Dream.

The Vancouver band released their major label debut Ur in 1994. Cooke has good reason to remember the hard rock trio.

The now-retired music industry exec in Toronto signed the band to Warner Music Canada.

There were videos on MuchMusic and a good amount of media coverage. The band toured with Our Lady Peace and Pure. They opened for bands like Sloan.

But Salvador Dream never took off.

“It’s literally grated on me for 30 years,” said Cooke.  

When the dream fades 

Vancouver’s Salvador Dream consisted of singer and guitarist Russ Klyne, drummer Ray Garraway and bassist Toby Peter. Klyne was raised in Saskatoon. Garraway and Peter came to the project via Calgary, where they were playing in a reggae band. 

Salvador Dream began rehearsing and recording demo tapes at a time when alternative rock had been thrust into the mainstream. Record companies were desperately searching for the next Nirvana. 

LISTEN | A forgotten band with roots in Saskatoon, is about to get another shot: 

Saskatoon Morning8:32A forgotten band with roots in Saskatoon, is about to get another shot

The CBC’s Danny Kerslake takes on a journey of the band Salvador Dream, who had a deal with a major label back in the 1990s. Now they are getting a second chance with the reissue of their album Ur.

Klyne said his songwriting epiphany came after seeing the industrial metal band Ministry. He recalled saying to himself, “Hey buddy, you’ve got to put more intensity into your music.”

The result was a three-song demo sent off to Warner Music Canada in 1992 where it landed on Kim Cooke’s desk. At that time, it was Cooke’s job to find new bands. For Cooke, Salvador Dream offered something unique.  

“First off, the punishing rhythm section,” he said. “Love the rhythm section…then Russ, loved the way he played guitar, loved his tone.”

The demo tape sparked a bidding war between record companies, but Cooke won the trio over with promises of artistic freedom, something Salvador Dream valued greatly. 

Two men sit in a room, smiling.
Russ Klyne and Toby Peter are looking forward to the re-release of their album, 30 years after they recorded it. Their bandmate, drummer Ray Garraway, died more than a decade ago. (Julia Simmons)

“I think we were a tight band. We were ready to play and everything. We just didn’t have the audience that we needed,” said Klyne. “But we were getting there and I think if we would have stayed on tour, then that record and what we did would have made a lot more sense.” 

When the record didn’t sell, though, backing Salvador Dream no longer made sense to Warner Music Canada. The company chose not to continue investing in the band. 

“When we lost our record deal, I knew the band was over,” said bassist Toby Peter. “We still played shows and made recordings, but there was no way to release the music.”

Getting it right  

Kim Cooke, now 71, could have let the Salvador Dream disappointment go – after all, he’s enjoyed some incredible success in the music business.  

Cooke points to his work with Aretha Franklin’s music as a career highlight. He worked to gather the songs, remaster the tapes and assemble her 30 Greatest Hits album. It is considered to be the definitive collection from the “Queen of Soul.”

“It was very, very well received, critically, at a time when there was a lot of music coverage in newspapers and the press could ignite record sales,” said Cooke. 

A man in a blue collared shirt leans against a wall.
Kim Cooke, a retired music industry executive, remixed and remastered Salvador Dream’s album Ur. (Heather Pollock)

Time and musical trends have passed, years blending into decades. But Cooke has always included Ur on his digital playlist, and every once in a while, a song would pop up on shuffle. He always loved the music, but not the way it sounded.

“Our brains are funny things,” Cooke said. “Out of the blue one day, I kind of sat bolt upright and thought to myself, wait a second, I own a studio.”

Cooke approached Kristen Burke, the new president of Warner Music Canada, and asked for access to the raw Salvador Dream studio tapes. Much to his surprise, Burke agreed. 

Cooke began remixing and remastering Ur. His motivation was to right a perceived wrong.  

“I always thought it was out of step with the market at the time, which was part of why it failed, but it still sounds very, very fresh and bracing to me 30 years later,” he said.

“Finally, it sounds much closer to what I originally imagined in my head.”

The remix was done in collaboration with Klyne, but it came too late for one band member. Drummer Garraway died more than a decade ago. Peter, the other half of the rhythm section, thinks his bandmate would be thrilled.

“Ray was a pretty easygoing person,” he said. “I think he would feel good about the music having another chance to be heard and enjoyed.” 

Another chance to dream

Cooke’s work on Ur arrived in time for the 30th anniversary of its original release date. Based on the feedback he received on the remix version, he returned to the Warner Music Canada offices with another idea. 

Why not release the updated version? Again, the label agreed. 

The plan is to put out a digital version. There is no official release date yet, but Cooke hopes it will be out on streaming services late this summer. This time, there are no big expectations from Cooke, the band or the record company. 

“I would be delighted if, you know, there was some positive press coverage that just talks about ‘Hey, how the heck did this happen? And boy, this record sounds good.'” 

Klyne and Peter say they are taking it all in stride and are grateful for what Cooke has done to bring the record back to life. 

So will Salvador Dream hit the stage again? 

“Why not? You know, if I can sing and play those tunes and we can rip it down the same way we were doing 30 years ago, I’m all in,” said Klyne. 

“Let’s just do it.”


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