Remember the band – The Pinups?
A Montreal group which did the nightclub circuit in the late seventies – early eighties? Clubs such as the Maples, the Moustache and the Pioneer evolving into the band members’ second homes.
In that band was a female bass player who went on to become a Juno award winner and a multi- platinum selling artist. Her name is Sass Jordan and unlike many of her contemporaries, Jordan is still rockin’ at the top of her game …
The current forty- nine year old former resident of Westmount ,Qc and native of England – is embarking on a new journey with a bunch of guys. Men who aren’t exactly the type of musicians normally associated with Jordan. Then again, nothing has been ordinary in this raspy, sultry – voiced singer’s life.
” I love life …!” Says Sass from her home in Hamilton, Ont., Canada. A place she has called home since 1997. A comfortable place where she lives with her fifteen year old daughter and her husband of sixteen years – Derek Sharp. Sharp is one of the most respected Canadian musicians on the circuit, having played with Alannah Myles, Pat Travers, Red Rider and the late Jeff Healey.
“It’s amazing how fast time goes …?!” Jordan asks almost in awe. ” When I was a judge on Canadian Idol, my daughter was five. Now, when the staff I worked with back then see her – they can’t believe it! I mean – hello? It’s 2012 …!”
Jordan was on that show for six years beginning in 2003. It was the second time she had been asked to judge a singing contest and if the money was not right – there was no way she would have done it.
“I received a call from my agent one year prior to the start of Idol. It was a similar show and they wanted to pay me something like $9,000.00 for months and months of work. The last thing I was interested in was judging a singing contest and to not really make money doing it was absurd.”
Jordan says the music business is lucrative but not as lucrative as one thinks. With this in mind – Sass practically jumped out of her skin when the people from Idol came calling.
“Even though it was not my thing, I could not turn down the amount of money they offered me. It was a daunting task to sit there and watch so many singers sing a capella every day.. If not for the cast and crew – I would have gone insane”.
Jordan says the entire show is about making a television show and not necessarily about the singers. She does not condemn it and believes it is a great idea to bring people together.
” The whole thing was like ‘summer camp goes to the circus’ for my fellow judges, the crew and I. What is amazing about it is it galvanizes people. Young and old, black or white – everyone suddenly comes together to support a particular artist. It’s a social experiment which succeeds brilliantly.”
Ironically for Jordan, an element of the show brought her back to her younger days on Burton Ave. in Westmount and an encounter at that time with a ‘brilliant’ young man.
” Some friends and I were at a club and we met this eighteen year old kid from England. He was down on his luck and he had no place to stay.” Sass says. “So we say – you can crash on the couch in my basement. Everytime he came into town he stayed in my basement.” Laughs Jordan.
That eighteen year old kid turned out to be Simon Fuller – the producer of Canadian Idol and the originator of the ‘Idol’ franchises including the extremely popular American Idol. Fuller also manages the Spice Girls, David and Victoria Beckham, Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood to name a few. His company manages the Elvis Presley estate, Muhammad Ali’s business affairs and many other ventures including a partnership with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
Sass received the job as a judge on Canadian Idol without either Fuller’s knowledge or Sass’. The pair were equally and pleasantly surprised to discover one another.
“He is a very successful man and the funny thing is – even when he had nowhere to sleep, he would always tell us that one day he is going to be a prominent producer or manager. His journey is an amazing one!”
Sass herself knows something about incredible journeys having been on one since the age of eighteen. A ‘solo’ trip which started with the album ‘ Tell Someone’ in 1988.
“It was my only release on vinyl and casette” Laughs Jordan. ” It was all CDs after that!”
A Juno award came next in 1989 for most promising female vocalist and a move to the U.S. followed in 1990. The daughter of an English actress and French professor then recorded Racine in 1992. That album sold 450,000 copies – 50,000 short of gold record status and it is something Sass does not think would have happened if she had not packed up and headed to the States.
” As a smart Canadian, moving South of the Border was the only choice if you wanted success. Especially in 1990. If you wanted a career it was the only thing to do.” She continues. ” We ( musicians) used to have a joke back then. We would say Canadian audiences would clap ‘north of the applause line’. It’s not like that anymore. Canadian audiences are much more enthusiastic than they once were. Not as polite …” Adds Sass with a laugh.
Sucess started to come in bunches for the young woman who once sang back- up for the popular Quebec group ‘The Box.’ In 1992, the blonde – haired beauty recorded a duet with Joe Cocker for the film The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The song – ‘Trust in Me’, has sold more than 27million copies world wide.
Jordan has also played with or opened for the likes of Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.
So far, it has been a long journey since Sass played with her first band in High School. A group named Sweet Thunder. A trip which is taking a new direction with the band S.U.N ( Something Unto Nothing).
This new band’s destination is anyone’s guess. Especially since the guitarist in the band is better known as the drummer for the band Whitesnake and Foreigner.
Hey! Who says Sass Jordan is boring?
Please stay tuned for part two.
- S.u.n ( Something Unto Nothing ) (keenemusic.wordpress.com)
- SASS JORDAN Appointed Honorary Colonel Of The 417 Combat Support Squadron (bravewords.com)
- SOMETHING UNTO NOTHING Signs With ROBO RECORDS (blabbermouth.net)
- Canadian rocker Sass Jordan to be made honorary colonel in Cold Lake squadron (calgaryherald.com)
- Justin Bieber in concert at Oakland’s Oracle Arena (photos.mercurynews.com)