When Geoff Tebbutt and Dennis DeRoos were room-mates in a downtown Toronto loft last century, they started playing music together – Geoff on Guitars and Vocals and Dennis on Drums and Percussion. Geoff kept a pen and a notebook handy at 3 in the morning on weekend nights when profound statements would frequently tumble out of Dennis’ mouth.
Geoff had graduated from the Music Industry Arts Program at Fanshwawe College in London, Ontario a few years earlier with a Diploma in Record Production – which he was dying to use.
Down the hall from their loft was a small recording studio owned by a friend – Ron Weiss. Attached to the studio was Ron’s groovy apartment complete with a Baby Grand Piano and 2 walls of floor to ceiling windows overlooking Downtown Toronto.
Geoff would occasionally shuffle down the hall in his bathrobe and fuzzy slippers with his morning coffee and play the piano while enjoying the view of his city. One morning, while playing one of his own songs, someone popped his head out of the attached studio, where he was recording a commercial. His name was Greg Vitale, a very talented singer with many years training, cousin to Canadian Rock Legend – Domenic Troiano.
Greg stuck his head out of the studio and said, “That’s a beautiful song – I want to sing it!” With that, Gregory had joined the band. The fact that he was the Perfect Front-man for the music – a good-looking guy with a fit body and a full head of wavy hair was not lost on (not a front man) Geoff.
Soon after that, Dennis came home one night with a date – and they told Geoff the story of how at the exact same moment that Dennis was handing her a Rose – she was giving him the statuette of a Knight.
“That’s it!!” Geoff exclaimed. “That’s the name of our band – Knights of The Roses!!!”
In the split second after hearing the story, Geoff remembered once seeing the name Dennis in a baby-name book and recalled it meant ‘Knight’. Dennis’ Dutch last name, DeRoos, could be loosely translated to ‘the Roses’. Knights of The Roses.
Into Ron’s studio they went, inviting some talented friends to join them on vocals, guitars, bass, etc. They recorded a four song EP one instrument at a time (it was a very small studio) and sold a few copies to friends and family, and eventually put the recordings on-line for the world to hear.
They ended up playing one live gig together – for the second annual ‘Celebrate Toronto Street Fest’. But then Life happened to all of them and each went their own way, but all continued with music in some fashion. Geoff made sure to keep in touch with both Dennis and Greg over the years.
Geoff kept writing songs and dreaming the dream, and eventually went back to Fanshawe College to study recording again at the world-famous Music Industry Arts Program. Technology had changed so much in 20 years that his skills as an Engineer and Producer had seemingly become out-dated.
In 2004 Geoff became the only person to ever complete the MIA program twice (20 years apart). Most of his teachers were the same – including Legendary Canadian Record Producer – Jack Richardson (The Guess Who, Bob Seeger). He then went on to do another year studying sound for film and TV. While at Fanshawe, he invited Gregory to come to London to record vocals in Fanshawe’s state of the art studio for ‘Run Out of Dragonz 2 Slay’, the demo for the title track for this project.
Geoff now had a unique set of skills – old school (cutting a two inch tape with a razor blade to edit music) and new school (Recording at home in Pro-Tools on his computer). He would combine both schools of thought while recording – for example passing the microphone signal of a saxophone (on ‘Run Out of Dragonz 2 Slay’) through the record and playback heads of a two inch tape recorder before recording into pro-tools – using tape saturation to smooth over the ‘brittle’ sound of the saxophone in the digital realm.
Geoff also began working with Corby in his studio, finally using his training to do some Sound Design and mixing for a few TV commercials, while getting used to working in Corby’s studio with an eye to the future.
After many years of reaching for the brass ring, he finally saw a chance for the music of Knights of The Roses to receive some recognition. Geoff was re-energized and spent the summer of 2017 recording demos in his home studio, one of which was his first new song in over 10 years called ‘Dust on My Guitar’.
When Geoff listened to all of his recorded songs from over the years, he realized that they had written enough quality material to record a full CD under the Knights of The Roses banner with his former band-mates – Dennis and Gregory.
Fans on-line have described the sound of Knights of The Roses as “Pink Floyd as sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young”. It is a mixture of acoustic and electric guitars, hand drums and percussion, flowing strings and haunting harmonies using old and new-school recording techniques. Their music is a mixture of Folk, Rock, blues, Psychedelic rock, Classical and country.