On the day after Valentine's day, Pop Machine will take centre stage for Ride to Conquer Cancer DANCE PARTY at the Gordon Best Theatre. We had a chance to sit down with Jean over a piping hot americano at one of our favourite local spots, Karma's Cafe, to chat about her upcoming show, the many iterations of Pop Machine, and the campaign to conquer cancer with her cycling team, the Peterborough Derailleurs.

Ride to Conquer Cancer DANCE PARTY was created because of an inspirational overlap between fan requests for a larger venue and the annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, which raises money for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Pop Machine was able to develop a loyal fan base playing monthly gigs at The Black Horse for over 10 years. To change things up, the 5-piece band is giving their audience’s elbows a break, so fans can spread out and boogie on a spacious dance floor.

Event Sponsored by Collective Arts Brewing

As the name suggests, Pop Machine embodies the ultimate dance party band, playing hit after hit spanning every decade of modern pop music. Founded in friendship over 24 years ago, the band has gone through various iterations and band names from Repeat Offender to Sweet Blindness to Heatwave before throwing a coming out party as Pop Machine at the Gordon Best in 2009. The current lineup of band members are Cal Coons on guitar, Dave McLeod on drums, Mike Pickett on bass, Harley Payne on keys, and of course Jean Greig on vocals.

Pop Machine is particularly excited to play for people who aren’t part of their normal audience. Jean also commented that the event is an opportunity to introduce people to the Gordon Best Theatre.

“We are going to pull some people into a venue and space that they may not otherwise go into. We are very fond of the Gordon Best. I like that aspect of things.”

Beyond playing a bigger show, the Ride to Conquer Cancer has become an important cause that Jean has gained sensitivity to. It will be Jean’s second year riding with the Peterborough Derailleurs.

“I am at a particular age. It is a bad wave right now in the 50's age group where a lot of people are struggling with cancer. I am way more sensitive to it now too after doing the ride last year. So this year that is more of my motivation.”

Starting out with the Derailleurs was serendipitous in the way our small town of Peterborough provides. Last year, Jean was approached by a cyclist on the team, asking if Pop Machine could do a fundraising show for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Unfortunately, between life and cluttered calendars, the band was unable to find a date for the show in 2019. Jean then thought, “Oh, maybe I should ride. I have never done a long ride like this. That would be a way of contributing to the cause because the band can’t find a date to play.”

Jean Greig, centre stage at the Gordon Best Theatre

She contacted the Derailleurs asking to become part of the team. 

Meanwhile, Jean had been volunteering at B!KE, Peterborough’s beloved community bike shop. It took her a few weeks to realize that fellow volunteer Kate Siena was actually the Derailleurs’ founder and captain. 

Jean shared how Kate came to start the Derailleurs after her own battle with cancer. Kate was diagnosed in 2013, with a dire prognosis. Fortunately, she was able to join a trial for a new drug. Seven years and 113 treatments in, Kate is currently classified as NED - no evidence of disease. Starting the Derailleurs and joining the Ride to Conquer Cancer was a way to give back. The Derailleurs have contributed more than $170,000 to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre over the last five years.

For the 2020 Ride to Conquer Cancer, the team is comprised of 15 riders. Several riders have survived cancer themselves. The team is on course to raise an additional $37,500 to donate this year.

Jean admits her initial reason for joining the Derailleurs was to go on a cool ride in support of the cause. A year later, Jean’s drive to contribute and support cancer research has heightened.

“I am at a particular age. It is a bad wave right now in the 50's age group where a lot of people are struggling with cancer. I am way more sensitive to it now too after doing the ride last year. So this year that is more of my motivation.”

Now as a member of the Derailleurs and the singer of Pop Machine, Jean has made this fundraising show happen at one of her favorite venues to play in town. It’s funny how the things we love in the world intersect.

For further information about the Derailleurs or Pop Machine, please contact Jean Greig at: jeangreig12@gmail.com

If you are unable to make the show on February 15th, 2020, donations can also be made on Jean's personal fundraising page.

Learn more about the event on the Gordon Best event page: Ride To Conquer Cancer Dance Party.