By Alex HudsonCanada has lost a celebrated drummer, producer and Juno winner in Billy Bryans, a founding member of '80s pop outfit the Parachute Club, who died today (April 23) after losing his battle with cancer. He was 63.
The Montreal-born, Toronto-based Bryans had been suffering from lung cancer, and just recently, some musically inclined friends like Alex Cuba and Jane Bunnett came together for a fundraiser last week. Bryans was undergoing palliative care, and reportedly died in a hospice while surrounded by family and friends.
Bryans honed his skills as a drummer and record producer throughout the 1970s, playing in such bands as the Government and the Bop Cats, before getting his big break as a founding member of the Parachute Club in the early '80s. The band's hit song "Rise Up" won a Juno Award for Single of the Year, and they also charted with the songs "At the Feet of the Moon" and "Love Is Fire."
The band broke up in 1989 and eventually reformed to play shows in recent years. They have been inactive since 2008.
After the initial breakup of the Parachute Club, Bryans continued on in the music industry, most notably as a producer and engineer. He worked with artists like Raffi, the Downchild Blues Band, Dutch Mason and Lillian Allen, among othres.
Bryans was also a DJ and a devoted proponent of world music.