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Cut to the late ’80s…. a talented group of young rockers called the Nu Hippies (nee Maudlin’s Eleven) is tearing it up. Singer/guitarist/frontman John Paul Pasinato and keyboardist extraordinaire Ian Howells enjoy line-ups at Willy Woggs, a Y108 contest victory and opening spots for Nazareth and Moist. They have a rehearsal space next to the space used by another local band… Dopamine Flood, featuring a young and hirsute John Hish on guitar. Johnny shreds it up! The two bands know each other well and play shows together, making great music along the way. What a time to be a music fan in the Hammer! Talent, sacrifice and hard work sees both groups succeed. However, as often happens, time goes on and all good things come to an end. All the lads stuck around the area and life went on…

2006 rolls around, and J.P. and Ian start thinking of putting something together again. The music bug is a hard one to shake, and the boys still wanted to play. J.P. runs into former musical comrade Johnny at Hamilton’s own Lloyd D. Jackson Square, and the duo is suddenly a 3 piece. Add in Ian’s friend Kyle on bass, and the new group lacks only a drummer. John hears of a friend of his cousin playing in the acoustic outfit, Mr. Slate. One visit to a brutal gig at a biker bar, and Mat Miller gets a shot at the drum seat in this new group. Harassing John about his military-style cap earns the band its name: FIDEL. Ian tries to tie it more to the FIDELity of good music than to the Cuban dictator, but people seem to care more about the music than the meaning. Good thing.

The first FIDEL show goes down at a now-defunct restaurant on the main drag in I3eamsville. All 10 people in attendance can hopefully say they had fun. We got through the sets, and did minimal damage to ourselves and the venue. Rehearsals at Ian’s were frequent, and the setlist built up. The boys gained some momentum, and played, and played. Great nights in Hess Village were early highlights, with some tumbleweed sightings at Lesley’s Chaps in Burlington keeping us grounded. Change is a con-stant, and Kyle Reimer gave way to the very musical Matt Benning on bass. Matt himself bowed out, leaving the low end to the freakishly talented Raf Michelli, and forming the modern FIDEL lineup. Some of RM’s sonic contributions appear on recordings by local artists: Tiny Bill Cody & The Liquormen, Strat Andriotis, Dave Hind, Kori Pop & Alisun Dawson.

With changes in the lineup, rehear.’ space, gear, and setlist, one thing has remained the same for FIDEL – a love of music. Thanks to a lot of very supportive friends, who come out and see us no matter where or when we play, we’ve been able to keep at it for a while now. … and we hope there’s no end in sight.

John, J.P., Ian, Mat and Raf