See Spot Sit … But Not For Long!

See Spot Run is the best possible name for guitarist Randy Bowen‘s music group.

Why? Does he have a pooch who nixes the idea of standing still? Does Randy spend his days observing the non – putrid pooch?

Not quite.

The Pointe Claire resident’s name should be Spot because Randy is always on the move and he would not have it any other way …

” My first cousins, my second cousins and what seemed like generations in my family were all musicians. I remember seeing a drum kit and amps for the first time – it was like ‘wow’, I gotta do this!”

‘Do this’ was exactly what Bowen did and judging by his success, the guitarist’s choice of playing music was the right one.

Channeling childhood idols such as Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Mick Ronson of David Bowie’s band, Randy – like a lot of teens, played in a couple of cover bands. It was at the age of twenty – one, playing in a band by the name Inner Germ, Bowen crossed paths with singer and bass player Chris Brodbeck.

“Chris’ band was falling apart and so was mine.” Says Bowen. ” I said to Chris why don’t we kinda merge and make a band …? Chris was more of a rock guy and I was into New Wave stuff. Somewhere in the middle – we realized a shared taste in music. I remember we played ‘Message in a Bottle’ by the Police. It was a song everybody in the band had played and we knew we were meant to be together.”

Along with Brodbeck ‘s brother Tom on drums and Paul Moore on guitar; the first incarnation of See Spot Run was born and it didn’t take long for the band to get some gigs.

” I believe our first show was at a high school, Father McDonald or something like that. We also played downtown Montreal in clubs such as Station 10. I still remember Chris and I hitchhiking to and from the city back to the West Island with our gear. It was very hot!”

See Spot Run’s first break came in the form of a two month tour opening up for a caucasian rhythm and blues singer by the name of Wayne Nicholson. The band had signed a contract with a new label; Loggerhead Records.

That cross – country jaunt was the band’s introduction to the music world. A realm which they were about to be part of – in a big way …


The Hits

The group’s second ‘coup d’etat was landing Gary Moffet as a producer. The former April Wine guitarist brought everything he had learned with April Wine to See Spot Run’s virgin songwriting. According to Bowen, Moffet saved the day if and when himself or any member of the band locked horns with Brodbeck over one of his songs.

“Chris writes everything and then he introduces what he has to the group. We then take it and play with it – add our own ideas. Sometimes we don’t agree and that was when Moffet stepped in. To arbitrate.”

Bowen continues …

“Chris and I never came close to screaming and yelling – we were never that far apart in our view. Moffet was a calming, trustworthy presence. He was just what the band needed to bring us to the next level. Moffet had already been to that ledge and he showed us how to climb.”

After a non – commercial, no hit album named Traces introduced the world to SSR, the globe suddenly became that much bigger with their second album; ‘Ten Stories High’. A record which introduced the group to the world of videos and the reality of the music business.

“We were doing a video for the song ‘Au Natural’. It was filmed in an old dance hall in Wasaga beach. A place which we returned to twice – once with the band Moist and the other time we were on tour with I Mother Earth. We would shoot some footage and wait for an hour. Shoot then wait, shoot and wait … All day we did this and it was sooooo cold! I asked myself this is fame …?” He laughs.

“TEN STORIES HIGH” may have garnered the band fame. Their third album and single ‘Weightless’, shot them to stardom …

Since those releases; See Spot Run has had 5 charting singles and 5 videos played on MuchMusic. They have crossed Canada with seven tours and appeared on multi Canadian and international television shows.

The album “Weightless” made Canadian recording history. The disc’s title track was certified by BDS as being “the highest charted independent song on the rock chart since the inception of BDS”.

   The single “Weightless” reached number nine on the rock chart, six on the Top 40 Chart and peaked at five on the all Canadian chart. The French translation of Weightless, Decoller – was number one on the Quebec charts. The follow-up single “Terrified/Terrifié” also climbed the Canadian CHR charts in both languages.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters gave See Spot Run the “Breakout Single of The Year Award” and the band was awarded the “Concert of the Year Award” by Wired Magazine shortly thereafter.

” When Chris played the beginnings of Weightless to us, I thought it was a very good song. I never thought it was going to be a huge hit. I just thought it was a little better than the rest he ( Broadbent) had written. I had no inclination of what would happen next …!?”

What happened was the band started playing with some very big names in music. Opening up for the likes of Bon Jovi and Kim Mitchell to name a few.

Another brush with greatness in Bowen’s views came when SSR was playing in Winnipeg. The group was on stage, doing their thing in a small club before a couple of hundred of people. In walks Stevie Wonders’ drummer James Allan and Dennis Davis – one of Bowie’s drummers from the seventies.

Gary Moffet

The pair joined Randy and his mates on stage which blew Bowen away. Randy, however was more impressed with what happened later.

“Following the show, those two guys joined us in the basement for some coffee. We all just sat around drinking coffee as musicians. There was no pretense, no egos from anyone’s part. Just a bunch of guys with the same vibe drinkin’ coffee. It was very cool …!”

Around that time, Chris and the band members re-located to Toronto. A city where the band is based, a city where Bowen travels to and from every week from his hometown in Quebec.

” This is my home!” Says Bowen about Pte. Claire ” Ever since Chris moved there, I drive up to Toronto where I have a place. Sometimes I feel that’s all I do … Drive, park and drive some more …!” He laughs.

SEE SPOT RUN released their third CD “Gonna Getcha” on August 28, 2007. The album is on Rocket9 Music distributed by DEP/ Universal Music. It is the band’s first record without Moffet involved as a producer.

The first single and title track, “Gonna Getcha” was selected by “Degrassi: The Next Generation” to be a feature song in their 2008 season. Leaning towards the band’s rockier side, the album is a result of collaboration between See Spot Run and producer Ed Krautner (Sum 41). Featured on the disc is drummer Josh Trager of the Sam Roberts band.

“Josh actually played with us in 2004 for less than a year before he left us to join Sam Roberts. In that time, we didn’t gig very much (one small tour) so we never had time to really gel as a band. He was already established with Sam Roberts when we asked him to come back and play on the Gonna Getcha record.” Bowen continues.” He played on seven of the twelve tracks on Gonna Getcha. Davide Direnzo played on the other five. Josh gave us as much time as he could but obviously had large commitments with Sam. It was during the recording of Gonna Getcha that Fudge and Aaron came on board. Josh played with us before Sam Roberts and came back to help us following the success of his band.

According to Bowen, that C.D; Gonna Getcha may be the last one.

“The music industry crashed right out. Nobody buys C.D’s anymore, it’s about buying a song at a time on ITunes. We won’t say for sure but one single at a time seems the way of the future!”

The group’s latest single; ‘Let it Go’ was released it 2009 and joins 2007’s ‘My IPod killed my girlfriend’ as the latest ability of the band to stay near the top of catchy alternative rock songs.

Since the days of meeting Chris in a basement, See Spot Run’s line – up has changed. Chris and Randy remain the two constants. The band’s current formation consists of Fudge on drums and Aaron Little on guitar since 2007.

Paul Moore and Tom Broadbent played on the first album Traces. They were followed by Reg Bennett on guitar and Bruce McQueen on drums for the albums Ten Stories High and Weightless. Mark Homer and Bryan Duffy then played on an album which was never released.

All the members left on their own terms for various reasons and all members, past and present – get along very well according to Bowen.

The group is also in discussion of possibly having a documentary made of their career. Talks are ongoing and a decision should be made shortly.

One of the nicest stories ever heard, will be a huge part of the documentary; as told by Mr. Brodbeck …

“We did a command performance for a young girl who’s last wish it was to see See Spot Run in concert. The young girl was from East Angus Quebec and had terminal cancer. The Child Wish Foundation contacted us in the spring while we were on tour out west and told us she only had a few months. So they sent a film crew from a local TV station to shoot us live and send it to the young girl in Quebec.
We were scheduled to return to Montreal from out west late summer so they asked if they could book a date in East Angus in the unlikely event that she might still be with us. We agreed and as the story goes she lived 4 months longer just to see her favourite band and then passed away shortly after. The entire town came to the show and their family has never forgotten. We still play East Angus once every year!”

You never know what can come from a basement meeting …

Watch My IPod killed my Girlfriend Here!


Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar

The following is an excerpt from Sammy Hagar’s book;

When I was growing up, Fontana, California, was all orange groves, grape vineyards, and chicken ranches. I could eat oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines all fucking day if I wanted. I had to walk through an orange grove just to go to my next-door neighbor’s house.

There really was no neighborhood.

It was long before tract homes. At the corner of each of the long country blocks, there were these big, ten-foot-tall cement tanks with open roofs on them, called water weirs, which fed water to the houses from clean, clear Lytle Creek in the foothills.

The water weirs had a float on them, and when the water got too low, the float would kick on and they’d fill back up like a toilet. Each one had a ladder going up so guys could ser vice them, and kids would drown in them all the time. We always heard a rumor that some kid got polio from one of them. But it was our drinking water and it was ice-cold. In the summer, we used to jump in and swim. Not swim, but dunk down, get cooled off, and climb out.

I don’t want to say we’d piss in them, but we did. My dad moved to Fontana because he heard the steel mill was hiring. When I was born in Monterey County Hospital in Salinas, California, Dad and Mom had been picking lettuce in the fields and living in a camp where everyone else was Mexican. The Kaiser Steel Mill—the first steel mill west of the Mississippi— pretty much made Fontana.

Growing up, every kid in Fontana was just trying to get through high school to get a job at Kaiser Steel. We thought it paid great. Originally, you didn’t even need a high school diploma, but, as Kaiser Steel built up, and other plants opened up, making pipes or big beams, you needed a high school diploma. Unless, of course, they got a big order and needed the people. Then they’d hire anybody, and lay you off when they got the job done. But everybody was happy to go there and make whatever they were paying.

It was a brutal job though, working at a steel mill in a 160- degree heat, pieces of hot metal flying out at you. My dad worked in the open hearth, the hottest, hardest work in the plant, where they pour the ingots into big troughs and make steel. Molten fucking steel. He came home with his clothes drenched from sweat, and he used to take salt tablets every day before he went to work.

He had probably the lowest job on the totem pole, and they moved his schedule almost every week. He would go from swing shift to graveyard shift to day shift. Sometimes he’d come home at mid- night and go to work again at six in the morning. He got burned real bad one time—the side of his face was completely taken off.

Just from the heat. It wasn’t steel hitting him. It was that he got too close or there was a flare-up or something and it just fucking ripped the skin off his face.

My dad’s parents had been migrant farm workers who came out from Kentucky on a covered wagon. They’d picked cotton all the way through Texas, and my dad was born in Texas. Two kids were—that’s how long they were in Texas. They had thirteen kids.

He had a younger sister, but he was the youngest boy. My dad was handsome and athletic, but he was a bad little fucker. He would beat the shit out of his big brothers. My uncle told me my dad chased his big brother, my uncle Charlie, up a tree. My dad sat there, smoking a cigarette, waiting for him to come down to beat his butt. Charlie slept in the tree rather than take an ass-kicking from my dad.

My mom, Gladys, was born in Los Angeles. Her dad came over from Italy when he was eleven years old and never learned to speak, read, or write English. He and my grandma—she was Italian, too— never owned a house. They lived in a trailer and were always on the move. He was a chef and he went where the work was. He cooked in Yosemite and went up to Klamath when the salmon were running.

He would hunt and fish and work only when he had to. During the winter season, he would cook in Palm Springs, make these huge buffets at the lodge where President Eisenhower stayed. But when the season was over, he’d pack up, take all his money, steal every- thing he could out of the restaurant, and take off in the middle of the night. The guy was a complete thief—a real crook, my grandpa, and a prick, too. Once in a while he was nice. I’m named after the fucker, Sam Roy. They raised my mom and her sister that way. She grew up in a tent and didn’t finish seventh grade.

Mom and Dad got married when she was fifteen. Mom always said all the girls liked him in high school. My dad had dreams. He wanted to be a big-shot kind of guy. He liked hanging around big shots. Bob Hope used to let him caddy on weekends, when he was growing up in Palm Springs. She was sixteen years old when she had my oldest sister, Bobbi. Practically the day she had the baby, as soon as she came home from the hospital, she got pregnant again with my other sister. My sisters Velma and Bobbi are nine months apart.

My father could beat up anybody. I was so proud of that, growing He was such a bad-ass. When he was younger, Bobby Hagar fought bantamweight. He won his first eight fights by knockouts.

He was a little guy, five foot eight, same size as me, but that son of a bitch could hit—he could have been something. But he got drafted during World War II, shortly after he’d gotten my mother pregnant again with my brother, Robert.

My father shipped out as a paratrooper.

He’d never even been in an airplane and suddenly he’s jumping out of them. On his first jump, over a battlefield in France, his parachute went way off course. He tangled in trees and smashed his face into a tree trunk. He had a Tommy gun and, as he was coming down, he was scared, so he sprayed the ground with bullets. He banged into the tree and broke his jaw. He cut himself down. He dug a hole, and stayed in a foxhole for a few days. His jaw was killing him. He was disoriented, obviously all banged up from hitting this tree, but he had his gun. Nearby was a German soldier, also separated from his unit, and they played a fox-and- mouse game until my dad killed him in a shootout. I think it really screwed up his head. Killing someone one-on-one isn’t like shooting people you don’t know. My dad lived with this guy for a couple of days, sneaking around, not sleeping at night, really not wanting to mess with each other, but every now and then, taking a potshot.

When he returned to his company, he was crazy. He was freaked out that he shot the guy. Plus he was a bad-ass anyway. He emptied his magazine in the ground in front of his commanding officer.

Told him to dance. That earned him a dishonorable discharge, to say the least, and by the time he came back to California, he was a complete alcoholic and madman. The war had really fucked him up. My mom said when he got home from the war, he used to jump up from bed in the middle of the night and shout, “Where’s my Tommy gun? Where’s my Tommy gun?”

I was born a few years later, on October 13, 1947, and by that point we were bone fucking poor. But even as I got older, I never knew just how bad off we were. My mom was a great cook and she could make do with things, so we always ate good. I went around hungry a lot because I never had any money. If I wanted to eat, I had to go home and either wait for Mom or cook something myself. I was cooking for myself when I was eight years old. I saw what my mom did. I could boil spaghetti and take canned tomatoes- or fresh tomatoes out of our garden. I could make tomato sauce. It didn’t seem poor to me. My mom was clean as a pin.

Our house was spotless. Our clothes were always laundered. She ironed them, stayed up until four in the morning doing ironing for other people and then ironed our clothes.

My mom always had a chicken coop and we always kept chickens.
Whenever we moved (which was a lot), we took the chickens.

We never owned a house, and we were always leaving my dad be- cause he was a terrible alcoholic who beat up my mom. When my dad would come home drunk, we’d sneak out of the house in the middle of the night and go sleep in the orange groves. Mom hid blankets wrapped in plastic bags, a flashlight, and little stashes of water and food out in back, ready for the times we had to jump out of the window in the middle of the night.

It was always on payday. He got paid on Thursdays, and when he wouldn’t come home directly after work, Mom would begin making plans. He’d come home drunk, start yelling and screaming.

He never beat us kids, but he’d thump my mom around. Everybody in the family hated my dad, but they were all scared of him. My sister Velma hit him over the head with a baseball bat one time, because he had my mom on the ground. She came up behind him—she was about twelve years old—and bashed him in the head and bloodied up the place bad. My mom got up and we ran. We got out of there.

So we’d leave my dad, and once he was left alone, he would lose the house. He’d stay there, wouldn’t go to work, and wouldn’t pay the rent, until he’d get kicked out of the house by the cops.
He usually got thrown in jail. That was the standard end result of his binge. Sometimes he’d get in the car and get thrown in jail for drunk driving. We’d have to go find a new house every time and move, or my mom would borrow a trailer that her father owned.

But somehow we’d always end up with my dad again. Right before I was born, my mom had a miscarriage. She didn’t want to get pregnant. She hated my dad by then. She knew he was crazy and didn’t want another kid. She just wanted to raise the kids she already had and get the hell out of the marriage. She had known that for a long time. She had a miscarriage and immediately got pregnant again. She was bumming. She didn’t like to tell me that, but later on in life she pretty much told me. “You’re lucky to be alive, boy,” she said. “If I’d have had that other baby, if it wouldn’t have been a miscarriage, I never would have had you.” I loved my dad, but he was crazy.

For some reason, my dad was tough on my older brother, Robert. Dad would call him “flea-brain” and my brother would start crying, which only caused Dad to make more fun of him. “Wahhhhh,” he would say. “You sound like a damn siren, you little shit.”

He hated my sisters, too. When they turned into teenagers and started seeing boys, that was when the whole thing blew out. He got so drunk he beat up one of my sister’s boyfriends. That was the end of the deal for him and my mom.

I was his favorite. I was the king. I was “muscle-brain.” He called me Champ, like I was the next champion of the world. He would introduce me to his buddies. “Hey, here’s Champ,” he would say.
“He’s got a left hand on him.” He was going to make a boxer out of me. Every day, I’d come home from school, and if my dad was there, he’d make me train. He’d make himself a BLT—he was a big BLT man—and sit there in his work clothes, ready to go to work.

“Put on the gloves,” he’d say. It wouldn’t matter if I’d brought a friend home; my dad would say, “Put on the boxing gloves with your buddy here.” He’d make my brother get on his knees to box me. He made me box every day. He’d put on the gloves with me, and teach me. He would take me to gyms and make me hit the heavy bags. “Step into it and twist your body,” he would tell me.

My dad was left-handed, so he could pop you totally unexpected, like southpaws can. Even if you know how to fight a little bit, lefties come backward at you. Plus, he was a hard puncher.

Some boxers have that gift. There are just guys who can punch. There is something to the magic of timing, how you put your weight, and all these things. Being a southpaw and knowing how to punch, he just knocked people out. He was a one-punch wonder.

Because my dad hit so hard, I learned how not to get hit. By the time I was eight years old, I was getting really fast. I would stand on the outside and move in. He’d try to hit me once in a while and
I’d weave. He loved that. He used to really brag it up about me. My brother was bigger than me. He could hit harder. I didn’t want to get hit by him, either, so I just kept becoming faster. In and out, in and out. I had a great left jab for a little kid. I used to beat up my neighbors, my buddies. I’d give them bloody noses and my dad would give me a quarter.

Sammy Hagars’s book is available at most book stores …

Carolyn Fe – Blues Collective; Collectively Yours …

Sometimes – it is not about the money.

Such is this case with a bunch of blues musicians who have come together from different areas of the globe.

According to bassist Oisin Little of London, England; no matter how much he loves the blues – it would not be the same if he did not also love his bandmates.

“They are truly great people …!” Says the transplanted Brit. ” We can all count on evolving our music because we are all on the same page.”

Little was originally into punk rock back in England when a concert- going experience changed his views.

Punk – Not for Little

Blues was my first love and I started to lean towards punk. I was at a show and some guy – out of nowhere, just wound up and sucker punched some guy in the head. I thought this was not they type of thing I wanted in my music or personal life.”

Although drummer Dan Legault never dealt with the same experience, a different background is something he can relate to. The forty – one year old Pointe Claire,Qc.resident grew up a fan of heavy metal. Zeppelin, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden were more his speed. This eventually led to a gig in a band named Ecclestone. A job which had Legault’s former band open for Nazareth.

Since those days, Legault plays in two other cover bands which make money and that is the reason for it. In Carolyn Fe – Blues Collective, it is about the love of the blues and a little more;

” One of the reasons we ( Carolyn ) and I hooked up nine years ago was because we both wanted the same thing; blues with an edge.”

Photo courtesy Litratista.com

Following an initial hook- up through music message boards, Carolyn and Dan together wrote and produced the bands first EP titled; 100 Percent. A six song disc which included the songs; Curse, Indigo Heat and Trumpet Man Blues. A trio which placed Carolyn Fe on the blues map with long runs on Chom – fm and Planete Jazz.

Original Sin, the band’s first full length c.d. was a smashing success upon it’s release in 2011. Not only was it nominated in the following categories; Best Female Artist (Canada), 2012 Nominee for Quebec’s Lys Bleus Best Blues Album (Canada), 2011 Nominee for Best International Release by Blues(USA)- the album displays the versatility in the band.

Legault’s Levon Helm influence, Little’s absolute worship of Peter Green ( founding member of Fleetwood Mac ), Carolyn’s love of Big Mama Thornton, keyboardist Tim Alleyne’s Booker T influence and the newest member; guitarist extraordinaire – Rami Cassab’s love of Jazz fusionist Scott Henderson.

All of these mixes combine to make Original Sin a blues album with a definate edge.

Cassab, originally of Egypt – loves playing jazz and funk. Something which is remarkable considering he did not have the opportunity to listen to any of these styles growing up. Once he arrived in Canada – Elvis, Deep Purple and Gentle Giant became his musical education.

A schooling which blends nicely with keyboardist Tim Alleyne. A Montrealer who started playing acoustic guitar and saxophone but stopped because it interfered with his keyboard playing. Alleyne’s education began at the age of eight with a Montreal teacher who had gained notoriety in the late sixties. A man by the name of Trevor Payne.

Collectively, these guys and a woman – bring a lot of experience from a lot of different backgrounds.

Carolyn is a multi – talented artist. Originally from the Phillipines – as a professional actor, Carolyn has been gracing the stage and camera in various theatre productions, TV and movie spots.   Altera Vitae Productions is her own theatre production company, a non-profit organization where each theatrical presentation is partnered with a community organization whose mandate is similar to the theme of the play. Altera Vitae Productions aims to assist the community organization with its public awareness program.

As a singer, Carolyn co-founded the band DD Swank where – under the pseudonym of Mama B, she sang in French, English and Spanish.

If the new CD is an Original Sin, it is a good thing that seven more deadly ones will follow …

Carolyn Fe Blues Collective is playing June 8 at the House of Jazz. ( please see upcoming shows on the main menu for details ).

Visit Carolyn – Fe.com for more information on this fabulous lady and her talented band.

Stay tuned for a review of the cd and show

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This Day in Music History …

1959, Bob Zimmerman graduated from high school in Hibbing, Minnesota. Zimmerman was known as a greaser to classmates in the remote rural community, because of his long sideburns and leather jacket.

1964, The Rolling Stones played their first-ever live date in the U.S. when they appeared at the Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, California.

1968, The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared on the Dusty Springfield TV show filmed on ATV, in London, England.

1971, Grand Funk Railroad smashed the record held by The Beatles when they sold out New York’s Shea Stadium in 72 hours.

1976, The Who, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Feat, Outlaws and Streetwalkers appeared at Celtic Football Club, Glasgow, Scotland. Tickets cost £4 ($7).

1977, Alice Cooper’s boa constrictor, a co-star of his live act suffered a fatal bite from a rat it was being fed for breakfast. Cooper held auditions for a replacement and a snake named “Angel” got the gig.

1979, blues legend Muddy Waters (aged 64), married Marva Jean Brooks on her 25th birthday.

1983, during a 48-date North American tour U2 played at Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver. The show was recorded and released as U2 Live At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky.

1990, American punk rock singer Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys and The Lords of the New Church died after being hit by a taxi in Paris, France. For more on this, see This Day in Music Spotlight.

1993, Country singer Conway Twitty died from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He had the 1958 U.S. & U.K. #1 single “It’s Only Make Believe.” Until 2000, he held the record for the most #1 singles of any country act, with 45. He lived in Hendersonville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, where he built a country music entertainment complex called Twitty City.

1993, Mariah Carey married the President of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola in Manhattan, guest’s included Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and Ozzy Osbourne. (The couple separated in 1997).

2007, Sir Paul McCartney released his 21st solo album, Memory Almost Full on the new Hear Music Starbucks label. It was later announced that all copies sold through U.K. Starbucks would not be eligible for the U.K. charts as the 533 stores were not registered with the Official Chart Company. The album was being played non-stop in more than 10,000 Starbucks outlets across 29 countries.

Born on this day:

1946, Freddie Stone, guitar, Sly and The Family Stone
1947, Tom Evans, bass, vocals, Badfinger
1956, Richard Butler, vocals, Psychedelic Furs
1971, Mark Wahlberg, Marky Mark, New Kids On The Block

Charlie’s Good T’ night … What about Ronnie?

Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood celebrates his 65th birthday on June 1.

‘The new Stone’ made his official debut as a member of the Stones with 1976’s ‘Black and Blue’ album, having already established himself as a formidable presence through his work with the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces.

Since then, Wood has contributed an impressively varied tapestry of guitar work to the band’s records but his legacy will remain as the joker in the band. The guitarist with a sense of humor that saved the Stones from exctinction.

Rod Stewart and Ron Wood

Wood was the go – between for Richards and Jagger. In one of the craziest relationships between two musicians; Ron Wood managed to keep things light. Eric Clapton recently attempted a good – humored stab at Wood, citing the fact he was asked first to join the Stones in 1975 and he was a better guitar player than Ron. Clapton stated the music would have been better. Wood’s response is typical of his nature;

” Yes Eric … But you wouldn’t have survived a week with these guys.!”

Ronnie Wood is an accomplished artist. His work consisting of his bandmates, musicians and film stars from every decade. He also has an impressive resume when it comes to painting the animal kingdom. Wood caused headlines in recent years when he left his wife for a seventeen year old Russian girl. A relationship which ended with domestic abuse charges against the Stone. Charges which were dismissed.

Wood is in and out of rehab with his drinking problems and purportedly has been broke more than once during his time with the Stones. All reports recently speak of a clean and sober Wood as the Stones prepare for their fiftieth anniversary tour and album.

Rick Keene with Ron Wood’s Guitar

Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts, turns 72 on June 2.

The last of the original Rolling Stones members to join the band, Watts’ entry signaled the beginning of the band’s ascension into rock stardom. Though many are crediting 2012 as being the band’s 50th year, Ron Wood recently stated that technically it would be 2013 if you take into effect Watts’ start date. The group has reportedly been discussing doing something next year to mark the occasion.

With the Rolling Stones on a break this year, Watts is spending this year with his jazzy side project the A, B, C and D of Boogie Woogie. They have late June and early July dates in New York.

Charlie Watts along with Bill Wyman were always known as the ‘quiet Stones’. Of the pair,Watts was the winner hands down! Wyman may have been low-keyed on stage and as far as drug go, yet it is the Stones’ former bass player who lays the claim to most sexual adventures.

Watts, on the flip side of the rock coin; has been married to his wife Shirkey for over fifty years.

Charlie’s claim to fame is keeping the Stones’ sometime erratic playing grounded with a solid beat. Keith Richards wanders very frequently in front of Watts’ drum kit to pick up the drummer’s unequaled tempo among other things;

“Charlie Watts is my absolute favourite. He has all of the qualities that I like in people. Great sense of humor, a lovely streak of eccentricity, a real talent, very modest.”

The Stones’ drummer breeds horses and is an avid civil war gun enthusiast. These two loves don’t quite touch his love for Jazz.

Originally a Jazz drummer, Watts has always turned to this passion when not pounding out a Rock n’ Roll beat for Mick and Keith. He has had moderate success over the years with his own bands – most notably; the Charlie Watts Quartet. A foursome which included Stones’ backup singer Bernard Fowler.

Charlie’s sole drug problems arrived a little late …

“I was lucky that I never got that hooked, but I went through a period of taking heroin. I fell asleep on the floor during [the recording of] ‘Some Girls’ and Keith woke me up and said: ‘You should do this when you’re older’. Keith telling me this! But it stuck and I just stopped along with everything else”.

Just prior to the release of A Bigger Bang in 2006; Charlie Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer. The Stones were entering the studio to record the album when they received a phone call from Watts. A message which made Mick and Keith think …

“Suddenly we were faced with the prospect of losing Charlie. What do we do? We asked each other?” Keith continues. “Mick played drums for the new songs and got quite good at it. When Charlie came back – he came back stronger than before. Death alters everyone’s thinking.”

According to Richards; “Charlie Watts is the Stones … !”

 
 

 

Top Ten Reasons why Van Halen are Tired

An enigma. Not an Enema

Although both are a pain in the ass …

This is what Van Halen have become. A bunch of rock stars who cannot seem to play together for any period of time.

The band – a term loosely used to describe the foursome – recently cancelled thirty shows due to ‘fatigue’. What could possibly have caused these men to be so tired?

Here are those reasons;

10. All the squinting to see the babes in the front row? Physically draining …

9. It’s not easy ‘ Running with the Devil’ all these years.

8. Eddie Van Halen’s son and bass player Wolfgang keeps everyone awake past ten with his ‘rock star’ shenanigans!

7. Ever since David Lee Roth cut his hair … Getting chicks requires more effort than he thought.

6. Eddie Van Halen? Ditto …

5. Roadies quit! Forcing the boys to carry their own Metamucil!

4. Roth’s swinging of his arms on stage? An exhaustive maneuver to say the least.

3. All the hot teachers from the past …? Vastly overweight yet just as insatiable!

2. Ever sit on a plane for two hours twice a week?

And the number one reason Van Halen is tired?

1. Due to cutbacks; each band member had to remove their own brown M&Ms … !

Happy Birthday to …

1938, Peter Yarrow, guitar, vocals, Peter, Paul and Mary
1948, John Bonham, drums, Led Zeppelin
1952, Karl Bartos, electronic percussion, Kraftwerk
1964, Scotti Hill, guitar, Skid Row
1964, Darryl McDaniels, rapper, Run-D.M.C.
1965, Steve White, drums, The Style Council
1980, Andy Hurley, drums, Fall Out Boy

When The Road Bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan

You cannot walk straight when the road bends 

roman proverb

When Johnny Depp gives a testimonial for a film, a musician or a toaster oven; people listen. In the documentary: When the road bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan, people are there to listen and listen some more…

The film follows an eighteen show American tour with Gypsies from four countries. It is fitting the show opens up with th e line; “Don’t worry, she’ll follow the lights! They don’t call her the Queen of the Gypsies for nothing!”

Fitting because the darkened walk towards the lights is symbolic. The general public watching this film are led toward costumes and music most have never listened to – or seen.

The Queen of the Gypsies begins to sing. Aside from the language – she could be an older Celine Dion with an added few pounds. An older Celine Dion without the fake emotions. The Queen sings with profound conviction. What arrives from her diaphragm is lived. Picture your grandmother who gave birth to eight kids and raised them alone. This is the depth of experience which sets the tone for the film.

A tone you do not catch at the corner bar. Not in America anyways.

The film’s and the organizer’s intent is to bring people together though music. It must be through music as many of the performers don’t speak the same language.

Farat

Romanian is one of those languages spoken and it is by the founders of the tour. A group of stringed musicians who support their village with the funds raised by their music. They are called Farat and are responsible for actor Depp’s involvement.

Mr. Depp met these guys during the filming of the movie: The Man who Cried. It seems Depp shared a small trailer with these men for two months. A time spent playing music for hours with wine exchanging hands. The music was the means of communication – along with eyeballs and hand gestures …

Depp’s mission is obvious.

He pleads for the public to re – learn their ignorance of the myth of the Gypsy. A stigma attached over the years through the very medium which made him famous – film.

In Depp’s words; the Nazis perpetrated a genocide on the Romanian people. The murder of thousands of woman and children. Killings which left the inhabitants to roam. Also in the actor’s words; the Gypsies will not steal your socks or whatever. The sad thing? A weight these people, these beautiful people – carry with them everyday.

The real star of the film is the positive vibe in the music and the characters. A script could not be written to portray these people accurately.

Beginning with the Queen of the Gypsies to the old man who funds school fees to young musicians in his village, this documentary provides hope to the downtrodden. Music keeps the spirit alive.

In each song from another of the touring acts from India, the group Maharaja tells stories. Something the leader can do through his own personal experiences.

Maharaja

His mother died from cancer when he was a boy and his father soon followed; death by drinking his pain away. The young man was left to care for his younger siblings. Something he does though music and dance.

Director Jasmine Dellal continues her quest to tell the tale of Gypies through Flamenco – another of the movie’s many influential sounds. Dancing, vibrant colours and equally vibrant characters. A great mix for the open – minded music fan.

Four musical acts – four types of Gypsies.

The road keeps bending. It’s up to the viewer to make things straight the next time they think of the word Gypsy.

* This film is available on DVD at Pointe Claire Video.

The Gary Hornbeck Story

Once upon a time …

Lee Hazzard was put together in order to bring that distinct sound of classic rock music to fans of this music genre. Lee Hazzard consists of Gary Hornbeck on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Dalamore on bass and lead vocals and Scott Dalamore on drums and vocals.

The band was formed in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada and was working on a new CD when something horrible happened. Something to the founding member; Gary Hornbeck.

Hornbeck originally started his music career in the central Ontario region of Canada …In the town of Peterborough.

Learning a few chords at the tender age of eleven, Gary did not have thoughts of rock and roll stardom or even playing music for a living. At the age of nineteen Hornbeck was taught a pentatonic blues scale and was fascinated. Thus began an incredible love for the guitar and music.

A Musical Journey

After playing in several rock bands around Ontario, Hornbeck moved to Orlando, Florida and teamed up with Riff West,[Molly Hatchet, Foghat] to form the band “Third Degree” The highlite of that band’s career?Playing onstage with Molley Hatchet in Altamont Springs Fla.

Hornbeck moved back to Ontario where he co founded the band Sleight of Hand with good friend and song writing partner; D. J. Bingham. Dave Bingham had a taste of fame as the lead singer from The Ugly Ducklings in the late to early seventies. Bingham penned the #1 hit in Canada called “Gaslight”

Sleight of Hand received plenty of attention in the central Ontario region and were winners of several homegrown c.d. compilations including Q-107 in Toronto, CKPT in Peterborough and CKLY in Lindsay.

After losing band members, Hornbeck was offered a position as lead guitar with the legendary Ronnie Hawkins. With Bingham’s blessing, Hornbeck jumped at the opportunity.

First class, prime rib and cognac was truly the rock and roll life style, but the gigs were coming few and far between so Hornbeck ended his tenure with The Hawk which culminated in shooting the video “Days Gone By” at Levon Helm‘s studio in Woodstock N.Y.

“That was a great time hanging with Levon!” Says Hornbeck in a slow voice. “Ricky Danko and Garth Hudson from The Band and John Sebastian all dropped by to say hello and offer their services.”

The video can be seen at the end of a full length concert DVD ‘Let it Rock’. It was in celebration of The Hawks 60th Birthday shot at Massey Hall in Toronto with guests The Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Jeff Healy to name a few.

Hornbeck says “The Hawk was so much fun to play with, he truly is a witty, silver – tongued devil”.

Following his stint with Hawkins – Hornbeck landed a gig with “The Heroes” out of Austin Texas, featuring Sam Sheeler and Doug Robb ( a camera man at Austin City Limits].

“Great band, mostly Black Tie affairs. It was a tribute to all the Rock and Roll greats, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Stones, The Beatles”.

With his Visa expired, Hornbeck returned to Ontario and put together the Gary Hornbeck Band. Along with Greg ( Goddo ) Goddovitch, Hornbeck was asked to help judge a Jack Daniels’ sponsored guitar wars competition in Peterborough.

The winner was a young Bass player by the name of Shaun Williams who was quickly recruited by Hornbeck. Gary then enlisted the services of J. L. Avis. A young fiery drummer who just happened to be Levon Helm’s godson. After recording the first c.d. “Love and Hate” they received airplay on radio stations in central Ontario and were the opening act for such notables as The Band, Paul Rogers, Nazareth and Edgar Winter.

The Hornbeck Band was quick to support many charities including Five counties Children’s Center in Peterborough, Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto and The Ride For Sight where they shared the stage with Goddo and helped raise $500,000 for the R.P. Foundation.

One of their favorite places to play was the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto where Hornbeck received best guitar player of the year award by the central Ontario magazine “The Wire”. Gary Hornbeck then took a hiatus to help produce other artists and raise his young children.

The guitar player returned with a new band called Lee Hazzard and was promoting his new C.D. entitled Lee Hazzard. Three songs from their first cd were used in a movie called Savage Island starring Don Davis from Stargate SG-1. The movie is currently being viewed in over thirty five countries around the world through Blockbuster USA and has won several first place finishes at major film festivals.

Hornbeck says “If we can make just one person forget about their troubles by listening to our music then we feel that we have accomplished something!”

Wrong Ending

One night, Gary Hornbeck fell off his balcony. Some say he was pushed. The guitarist plunged six floors to the lawn below. He was found three or four hours later at six in the morning by a person on the way to work.

He was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital. He was comatose …

The doctors called his brother and sister to say goodbye. The end? Inevitable …

Gary and ‘Em

Following a month with his family at his side, his eyes opened. According to his sister; he smiled. Day by day – he became himself without speech or the ability to walk. His sister brought him to Peterborough to recuperate with love and familiar surroundings.

Slowly, with the help of a physiotherapist, Gary learned to walk and talk slowly. He started to eat on his own once more.

A benefit was held to raise money for medical bills. Many musicians he had known over the years played in his home town to show their support. During the show – Hornbeck surprised everyone and took the stage. He was handed a guitar. He strapped it on and began to play some blues chords.

“He smiled” Says his sister …

http://www.mykawartha.com/news/news/article/830691