Rick Keene Music Scene – Brian Greenway Talks April Wine’s 50th Anniversary and Rock for Dimes

I like to Rock …

Brian Greenway joined April Wine during the summer of 1977. Right before the band reached enormous success internationally. The album Nature of The Beast put the band into places they had never been before, although before was nothing to sneeze at.

The new guy – Greenway is still touring with April Wine as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary . Not bad for the second longest member of April Wine and a forklift driver?

Please listen below to my chat with Brian. Hear April Wine tales and information about Rock for Dimes

Rock for Dimes

April Wine

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Rick Keene Music Scene -April Wine’s Co-Founder Jim Henman Has Had Enough of School Shootings and Is Doing Something About It !

Children are the future …

Imagine how the world will appear in ten years? Imagine there is no safe zone at all? Homes and schools – the two places where kids should feel safe. A pair of sacred turfs now affected more and more by gun violence in the United States of America.

One of the co – founders of April Wine, Jim Henman , has been affected by the senseless shootings south of the border. He was so profoundly moved by the acts of violence – he wrote a song.

The song ‘Some of These Children’ is a poignant and stirring take on events that have affected everyone. Parents, teachers, relatives and the entire world.

Uncomfortable numb as they walk and continue their lives in shock and disbelief.

Jim Henman is donating fifty percent of all sales from the song to The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Halifax. This is a start to not only help the kids in Nova Scotia – to also send a message globally that us humans have had enough.

Please listen below to my chat with Jim and hear the song ‘Some of These Children’. Please share this as much as possible …

Click on the link below and buy the song.

Making a difference and sending a message can do something.

Buy

Some of These Children Here !

Visit Jim Here !

Visit April Wine Here

Visit BackTraxx Here !

Booking Information and Audio Video Here !

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene -April Wine’s Brian Greenway; Part of Canadian Music History

What you hear on stage is only

the tip of a musician’s iceberg.

Starting with Mashmakhan , guitarist Brian Greenway has had a very colorful and fruitful musical career. The Wackers , The Dudes , April Wine and now two new entities to keep Brian’s musical chops fresh and alive .

Brian Greenway’s Blues Bus and Brian’s Attic Dust Solo Show.

Please listen below to my chat with Brian about all the above and discover where you can go see and hear the music live for charity!

Brian? What’s Up?

Correction *The West island Blues Festival is June 16th – apologies.

Visit April Wine Here

Visit The Blues Bus Here

Visit The West island Blues Festival here !

Visit BackTraxx Here !

Booking Information and Audio Video Here !

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – A Song for Markov, The ‘Mooch’ and Jack Black Recites Carl Sandburg

Everyone needs a break once in a while. Noise pollution is not good for the musical soul.  

 

 

Please enjoy some real tunes in the meantime. Rick Keene Music Scene will be back before you can say Andrei Markov !

 

 

 

Listen to my interview with Lawrence Gowan of Styx below !

 

 

 

Visit Styx Here !

Visit Strangers in the Night Here !

 

 

Visit Jarrett Lobley Project Here !

 

The Flying Joes – Old School Rock n’ Roll !

The lead singer of The Flying JoesSyd Bedard, is having fun !

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His band has a new album titled ‘Let It Out !’ and they are commencing their first tour …

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Please listen below as Syd explains his band, the album, the tour and why it may not be such a good idea to be a drummer in his band.

Syd?

 

 

Visit The Flying Joes Here !

 

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Juno Award Winner Steve Hill Talks Volumes!

 Steve Hill has come a long way …

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Starting with his Solo Recordings Volume One out of necessity, Steve’s one-man band mentality has become the talk of the country. 

 

Please listen below as Steve talks about his latest offering Solo Recordings Volume Three, his new-found success and his guitars of choice.

 

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon !

 

Steve shows

 

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Buy Tickets Here !
Buy Tickets Here !

 

 

 

Best of Rick Keene Music Scene Part Two – Mitch Ryder, Christie Healey, Kim Churchill, Pat Metheny, Devin Cuddy and Jerry Mercer

Talk is cheap …

That is why most musicians put their music where their mouths or hands are. After all – talking about their craft helps yet unfortunately, does not pay the bills.

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Please listen below to excerpts from some of my conversations in the past three years. Make sure to visit archives and listen to these interviews in their entirety.

Stay tuned for many more interviews on Rick Keene Music Scene. Please advertise and help me to keep real music alive and kicking!

Thanks for listening! Talk soon …

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene Presents; ‘ This ‘ 70’s Show!

The 1970’s were a strange decade but a good one.

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Mood Rings, Pet Rocks, Disco, CB Radios – it was a definable decade of different dimensions.

Leisure suits, shag carpeting and waterbeds. Trends which were all the rage while listening to The Carpenters, Heart, The Eagles, Peter Frampton  and hundreds of bands and solo artists who made their mark in that ten year period.

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It was also a strange decade for commercials. Whether it was Barbara Streisand ( yes – Barbara Streisand) doing politically incorrect TV spots or little kids singing about Bologna, the 1970’s were – at the very least, entertaining.

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Please listen below to some tunes and some clips from the ‘decadently’ delicious decade known for ‘Glam’ and ‘Punk’ Rock and everything in between.

 

Jarrett Lobley Project Click Here !
Jarrett Lobley Project
Click Here !

 

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David Henman – ‘ Me and Cousin Jim Wrote Our First Song When We Were Twelve …’ Part Two

David, Jim and Ritchie Henman – along with Myles Goodwyn; formed April Wine.

 

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Following stints with bands such as Prism ,The Dudes, and The DebutantesDavid Henman has never stopped playing music.

Please listen below in Part Two as David speaks on many things.

Stay tuned for part three.

 

 

 

 

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Click Here!
Click Here!

 

Click Here!
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David Henman – ‘ Me and Cousin Jim Wrote Our First Song When We Were Twelve …’

David, Jim and Ritchie Henman – along with Myles Goodwyn; formed April Wine.

Following stints with bands such as Prism ,The Dudes, and The DebutantesDavid Henman has never stopped playing music.

Please listen below as David speaks of his last two projects.

Stay tuned for part two.

 

 

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Click Here!
Click Here!

 

Click Here!
Click Here!

 

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As Dave the Bartender; Plagiarism​,​ the Best Country Artist of All Time, Blues Guitarists and Brian Greenway

Dave the Bartender does not talk much …

 

He’s far too busy listening to questions sent in by listeners of Rick Keene Music Scene.

Have a question for Dave?

Send them to Rickkeene2@gmail.com

Dave? The Bartender?

 

 

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Rock for Dimes Montreal; Raising Eyebrows and Money for Great Causes!

Rock for Dimes Montreal is entering it’s eight year. By the amount of money raised so far – it would appear to be in it’s 20th incarnation.

A lot of money raised in a short time means two things; Montrealers are generous and Montrealers love to Rock n Roll!

Jerry Mercer
Jerry Mercer – April Wine

Rock for Dimes is a charity evening which places ‘cover’ bands in direct competition with one another. In a friendly way – of course. The winners get to gloat for one year until they return to defend their crowns and pride.

A year long reign as the Kings of Rock n’ Roll!

Please listen below as Marc Dore; the chairman for Rock of Dimes Montreal – explains everything involved for the evening. He speaks of the origins of the March of Dimes and how Brett ( The Hit Man) Hart and William Shatner are involved …

Marc? Rock me Baby …

Visit March of Dimes Here !

*Please note Jerry Mercer of April Wine is not appearing.

 

Donate Here!
Donate Here!

 

Buy Tickets Here!
Buy Tickets Here!

 

Click to see all Evenko Shows
Click to see all Evenko Shows

 

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Ask Dave the Bartender; Episode Eight

He knows where you’ve been sleeping, he knows who you’ve been sleeping with … He knows if you are naughty. He knows if you are nice.

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There is not much he does not know, hear or see. Then – he goes to work behind the bar

He isDave the Bartender …

Got a Question for Dave the Bartender? Rickkeene2@gmail.com

Click to see all Evenko Shows
Click to see all Evenko Shows

 

Buy Tickets Here!
Buy Tickets Here!

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Gary Moffet – Former April Wine Guitarist … The Future is Bright!

Gary Moffet Joins April Wine!

In 1971, Gary was developing a band for AQUARIUS RECORDS called ALLISON GROSS.
He  had been working with the band as their producer for about a year and a half. Working  on their arrangements with them in their rehearsal space and  using his portable recording rig to cut the band track. Then he would work on the vocals with the singer and finally do a rough mix. In 18 months – the band  had assembled over 25 songs in demo form.
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The group was about to sign with Aquarius and cut their first record, when APRIL WINE suddenly needed a new member to replace original member Jim Henman. They quickly snapped up the lead singer from ALLISON GROSS, who was also the main writer and bassist of the group. His name was JIM CLENCH.
Without Jim in the band, ALLISON GROSS was rejected by Aquarius and subsequently broke up.

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Jim Clench

Eighteen months after JIM CLENCH joined AW, with a strong vote from both JIM and AQUARIUS,  Gary was brought in  along with legendary drummer JERRY MERCER, as one of the new members.

After AW broke up in 1984,  Gary  returned to full time producing, which he did until his  retirement in the year 2000.

The Present and The Future

 

Bianca and Gary were introduced by their  mutual friend ROB HEANEY. He thought they would go well together.

ROB is the CO-PRODUCER and ENGINEER for the project

Visit Rob Here!

 

10632739_10152780924666874_3058557863778490500_n“The  idea was to create MINIMALIST arrangements behind Bianca’s voice …” Says Moffet; ” One acoustic guitar, drums and bass.
Our intention in doing that was to be able to play all our songs as a DUO, TRIO or QUARTET line up and also leave the door wide open, with lots of space, for a musical guest.”
On the album, all the songs except for one have a guest on the track.
The name ALTO CANTINA reflects the  concept of a virtual PLACE, a small cantina, where musicians can go to create with others.
Two examples of these musicians guests would be JIM ZELLER and NANCY MARTINEZ
The great JIM ZELLER appears on a BOB DYLAN track using Dylan’s original zellerinstrumentation (acoustic. harmonica, bass, drums and voice) but with an radically up dated arrangement.
This is a virtuoso piece for JIM on the HARMONICA and he guests on vocal as well.
Gary and Rob are still beaming from the guest shot put in by NANCY MARTINEZ on the song CRYING IN THE RAIN
This is a full VOCAL duet featuring Bianca and Nancy. Our new arrangement reflects how the song might have sounded if the writer CAROLE KING had recorded her own version.
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The final touches of Alto Cantina are being created …. Visit Gary for all the updated information …

Gary Moffet Guitars

 

 

Thanks for Listening !

 

Rick Can Be Heard Thursdays at 6:15pm with Sean Mckeogh on k103.7fm

 

 

This Week on Rick Keene Music Scene …

Just like a household with nineteen children …

There is a lot going on Rick Keene Music Scene.

Kick off your shoes, disconnect the telephone wire and discover a whole bunch of stuff including a couple of new songs and some words from Jerry Mercer of April Wine fame.

Join Sean Mckeogh and myself live on k103.7fm this Thursday @ 6:15pm

We welcome Gary Moffet – formerly of April Wine as he is joined by a special guest to play some tracks off his latest album.

Thanks for listening … talk soon!

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 Play 4 Keeps will be at Annies this Friday @ 8Pm!

The Stone Doctors ( Rolling Stones Tribute) are at Chez Maurice Saturday Night

All Proceeds go to Palliative Care – Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

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The Damn Truth are at Cafe Campus Thursday Night

email Rickkeene2@gmail.com to win Tickets!

Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind press pic HQ

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Pssst! April Wine Rocks! (Just Between You and Me)

The year was 1981 …

Hockey’s New York Islanders won their second of what would become four Stanley Cups. Actress Natalie Wood died in what was an ‘apparent’ and questionable drowning. The film ‘Cannonball Run‘ – starring Burt Reynolds, was enticing people everywhere to race the world disregarding rules and general etiquette.

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On the music front – MTV began its sucessful run giving music another medium to display its wares. ‘Video Killed the Radio Star‘ by The Buggles; credited as the first video on a show which was the pre-cursor to shows such as ‘Friday Night Videos‘ and ultimately; ‘American Idol’.  Among the hoopla, a huge fact in the immense history of Canadian music took place. An overlooked fact – which then, made perfect sense …

A Canadian group by the name Of April Wine were exploding all over the airwaves. Their album; Nature of the Beast – not only sending classic songs like ‘ Just between You and Me‘, ‘Sign of the Gypsy Queen’ and ‘ Wanna Rock’ into living rooms everywhere – the disc  was the first April Wine album to reach platinum status internationally and it set the stage for the band to embark on a mammoth tour. A tour which etched lasting memories into the minds of their fans …

“Just Between You and Me” was a Top 10 hit in Canada and reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also gained a line in music history. Becoming the first song by a Canadian artist ever played on MTV.  A simple fact which – simply, cannot be altered by the sands of time …

Thirty-two years later, in a history which includes a split up, a re – acquaintance, the loss of a bass player due to lung cancer, various personal changes including the loss of the extremely popular Jerry Mercer on drums – the band ( Myles Goodwyn and April Wine) returned to Montreal. For many – it was as if they never left …

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One thing remains constant with April Wine. The songs …

Goodwyn’s songwriting ability remains timeless. Starting with ‘Fast Train’ from 1971 and ending with ‘Just Between You and Me’ from 1981 – everything in between: ‘Electric Jewels‘. Electric guitar solos. Electric lyrics which everyone seemed to know at The Virgin Corona Theater on a rainy Saturday night.

Elton John’s ‘Bad Side of the Moon’ and the group Hot Chocolate’s ‘ You Could Have Been a Lady’ ( two staples which helped to propel Wine into the upper levels of fame in the 70s ), commenced the party. Compared to new songs from bands such as The Sheepdogs and The Lumineers (songs which either distort melodies or lull the listener to sleep), April Wine reminded the audience what Rock n Roll is supposed to sound like. What Rock n Roll does sound like …

Myles Goodwyn and Brian Greenway‘s guitars, primed with oil from a different time. Juiced with the energy of a twenty-something version of themselves. Trading solos in 21st Century Schizoid Man, trading licks in ‘I like to Rock’ and trading smiles all night. Two partners in crime ensuring last night was ‘A Wonderful Time to Fall in Love’ with April Wine once more.

After all – how many bands, Canadian bands – especially in the 1970s, have been aw2asked to open for The Rolling Stones? Something which April Wine accomplished in 1977 following hits such as ‘Weeping Widow’, ‘Lady Run Lady Hide’ and ‘ Oowatanite”. The former a composition by the late Jimmy Clench and the latter – an encore staple for many years  – including last night.

A look around the Corona, a glance into the past. Seldom now – in an era where the youth have ‘seen everything and done that’ via the internet, do ‘air guitars’ and ‘air drums’ dominate the panoramic musical landscape. The crowd, predominantly of the Montreal Forum days and dotted with the Bell Center crowd, rockin’ in their seats. Singin’ and pounding their imaginary drums into submission.

Myles Goodwyn – Canadian Rock n Roll’s most underrated songwriter, vocally still in his early twenties. Astounding given his age and recent health issues a few years back. His appearance has changed – the voice as identifiable as ever. Greenway – the same bounce in his step as the days when he entertained Montreal with a band called The Dudes just prior to joining April Wine in the mid -seventies. The hair may be grayer for these two, the wrinkles as ordinary for anyone their age but there exists no wrinkles in the playing or the energy.

The year is 2013 ….

Jim Henman Still Has That ‘Same Old Feeling ‘ …

It has been a long time since Jim Henman recruited Myles Goodwyn to play in a band which became known as April Wine

new_cover_All these years later, Mr. Henman – a pioneer in Canadian music, has a new album and it is a return to his roots. All the music he loved growing up – returns to haunt the musician along with his many fans. Thank the Lord – Henman has a great memory.

The Singing Brakeman”, Jimmie Rodgers and ragtime guitarist/singer Blind Blake layered the roots for Jim Henman.

‘Same Old Feeling’ was released in 2012. A  collection of his many loves. It is a treasure of tunes which makes every listener  feel at home …

Track One; ‘ Slow Down’ – is a song Jim loved as a kid but always enjoyed playing more as  a country blues tune. Originally written by Larry Williams and recorded by The Beatles among many others, the opening chords of Jim’s version, all of three seconds, proves Henman is a likeable fellow. This song and this type of music can do that to a fellow or woman. The chorus sets the hay straight in the back of the truck and Henman, as the driver, ensures just the proper amount of bumps are hit at the beginning of this joyous ride. Country blues are not meant to sound smooth – live or recorded. Henman’s lifetime experience is aware and delivers it on cue.

‘You Can Have My Heart‘ – the second song, delivers Henman’s heart right on a golden platter via Hank Williams. “This is my Hank song.” says Henman. “Not to sound vain but I can picture Hank singing this.”

The song is a gentle introduction to Henman’s songwriting prowess that commenced along with Myles Goodwyn’s back in the mid – sixties with Woodie’s Termites. “It feels good and it’s a true story for me.” Admits Henman. In this day and age where television shows, movies and music seem to pump out hatred by the minute, it is easy to forget that great songs contain stories. Great songs contain melodies which provoke whistling. This Henman gem does just that …

The title track; ‘Same Old Feeling’ is a remarkable song and a play on words … or feelings. Henman has carried this song with him for forty years. He started writing it in a cottage, completed the process many years later in a cottage and guess what? The song is about a cottage … go figure? Henman finds the finished product happy and laid – back. He had a good time writing it and hopes a listener will as well. No doubt as once more Jim provides comfort. Jim enables us to ‘walk in the warm, warm rain’ and not get wet.

‘Could be Heaven’ – according to David and Ritchie Henman’s cousin – brings out his ‘old rock n roll’ self. Written in ten minutes – Jim loves the solo and the end of the song which bookends the fifties – style guitar riff to start the song. Reminiscent of  old April Wine songs … Coincidence? Nothing complicated – just old-time rock n roll. The kind of stuff that got the Silver Beatles hoppin’!

‘Thats The Way It Goes’ is a tune about a beach.  A sandy piece of land which is close to where Henman resides. Martinique  is the name of the beach and ‘Baboo’ is the name of the cat. A combination which makes a great tune.   A tasteful, delightful romp led by John Appleby’s mandolin playing and followed by Jim’s next – door – neighbor – style vocals. Great songs lead to whistling. This song includes whistling. A great song to listen to by the water while your feet dangle in nostalgia.

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Ritchie, David and Jim Henman

‘That’s All I Got’ is Jim Henman’s autobiographical song. It is important to listen to the words on this song which could have been easily recorded by The Band. It reels the details of Henman’s rise to fame with April Wine and his ‘would be ‘ demise if he had stuck around to watch it destroy him. A musical sense throughout the song dictates happiness yet a skylight remains open for a feeling of doom to chase the Halifax native along.

‘Walk Right In’
“It feels like this song has always been in my head.” says Henman of the Gus Cannon tune “I have played it for years at home .. I like this feel and what Charlie Phillips did in the solos … Love it! Chuck Buckett on drums really did it for me when he added his  drum ideas!”

‘I Don’t Have No Blues’ was written 15 years ago by Henman and wrote itself according to Jim. His appreciation of John Sebastian‘s songwriting comes out in this tune. Jim is telling us “I don’t have no blues’ and we kinda believe him. “It’s a blues tune that is not a blues tune ..” Says Henman. Whatever it is – it is a toe tapping acoustic number ripe with a century of artists’ souls and acoustic playing which gently stokes a flame long ago extinguished by hip hop and rap.

The last track is not final.

‘Shame Shame Boogie’ is a fictitious song about a guy in Waverly where Jim lived as a teen. A small town story and a tale which could be about ‘many people’ concludes Henman. The club they ( many people) went to was named Creeque Alley in Dartmouth, N.S . “For anyone who knows what I mean by Shame Shame Boogie …. they get it!” Adds Jim. ” The audience loved to sing along with the chorus .. I love it when that happens!’

Henman is doing a full band version of this song with a certain Myles Goodwyn on electric guitar. It will be released as a single. It is due out in a few months.

Hmmm … Myles and Henman playing together once again! I bet they get that “Same old feeling!’

http://jimhenman.com/

©rickkeene

Old ( er ) Musicians Never Die – They Play with their Sons …

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The above photo was sent to me by Mr. Wayne Cullen.

Wayne – along with Ritchie Henman ( the original drummer in April Wine), were the two drummers in The Dudes, one of the best bands to play in Montreal in the 1970’s. The group included David Henman and Brian Greenway of past and future April Wine fame respectively.

Wayne is pictured above in his second appearance with a band called Livewire. It is the first time Wayne has played with his son Jeff, a bass player.

As tight a rhythm section you will find …

Please tune in at 5:15pm on k103.7fm to hear me discuss my week’s adventures … Thanks!

All the Young Dudes; Part Four

Wayne Cullen – one of the drummers in the 70’s band; ‘The Dudes’ – continues the saga of the demise of a band.

A fate which should never have happened …

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Cullen - Now

Cullen’s band – Bacchus, reached it’s demise around the same time Wayne’s favourite group, The Wackers, played their final gig. Cullen approached Bacchus’ booking agent (who also booked the Wackers) and asked for Bob Segarini’s phone number. Wayne wished to find out if Segarini planned to start a new project.

Wayne explains how he received the number and became part of a band. Part of a legend …

“Armed with the number and steeled nerves, I dialed the number. I introduced myself to Bob and popped the question. Indeed a new Wackers aggregate had been gestating and they were currently auditioning drummers. Kharma? I’d have to say so.”

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Bob Segarini

He continues.

“When I arrived at the rehearsal space, there was another drummer being auditioned. He was really good but did not seem to fit musically. He was more jazz and soul oriented. Then it was my turn to sit in. With my knees wobbling and teeth chattering, we launched into a Wackers’ tune or two. For me, at the time, this was almost the equivalent of auditioning for The Beatles. In fact it was Bob, Kootch on lead guitar instead of bass, Leon Holt on piano and Norman Vosko on bass.”

One after another, the band asked Cullen if he knew such and such a song and Wayne responded affirmatively. He knew their repertoire almost cold.

“They seemed impressed and as Bob has often attested – he hates rehearsing. I was a very handy solution and I was asked to join my favourite band in the world!”

Cullen estimates this event took place in November 1973. Their first gig together was a two-week stint at The Mustache over Christmas and New Years’. Cullen believes it was February 1974 when he dropped out of university to play full time.

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Brian Greenway

“My first experience in a recording studio ensued and produced a high beyond anything I had experienced to that point in my life. We released a single – All I Wanna Do Is Love You b/w I’ve Got A Feeling (not the Black Peas horror, obviously). Somewhere along the way and all-in-all we lasted about six months. Bob and I drove to Toronto to try to drum up (pun intended) some label interest in The Wackers.”

It became obvious to Wayne that something exceeding the reputation of the previous Wackers would be required. On the drive back to Montreal, Bob and Cullen hatched the idea of “supergroup”. An incorporation of Kootch on bass, Leon on keys, David & Ritchie Henman (whom the duo had seen perform several times in Silver) and Brian Greenway – recently a member of Mashmakhan. The idea of two drummers intrigued Wayne and the drummer loved David Henman’s songs.

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Ritchie Henman and Kootch

“I was excited. Things got organized and we began recording the infamous demos before anyone fully committed to the project. It didn’t take long for everyone to see something special was happening and once the name was chosen -we were a band. The name could have been Seventh Heaven as far as I was concerned. There was some sadness about the final wind-up of The Wackers as an entity and losing bassist Norman Vosko.”

According to Wayne, The Dudes’ story is very long and complicated …

Stay tuned for part fI’ve…

Ritchie Henman; The Beginning and End of the Dudes

Before disbanding in the fall of ’73, AW took the summer off for everyone to clear their heads. The band had toured almost non-stop since fall ’70.

” I went camping and fishing with Claire ( my wife) for a few weeks and when I got back I was contacted by a band from California called “The Wackers“. They were living and working out of Montreal and their drummer had broken his left wrist in a diving accident. I filled in alongside Ernie until that group disbanded in October.” Explains Ritchie Henman – the original drummer of April Wine.

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At that point David and Ritchie Henman  started “Silver” with Danny Ceaser on bass and George Mack on keys. George had played with the brothers and Jim Henman in “Prism” in ’68-’69.  Silver and the new version of the Wackers (with Bob and Kootch from the original group along with local drummer Wayne Cullen and Brian Greenway on guitar), began jamming at Smitty’s, a country bar in NDG.

Says Ritchie;

“The bar allowed us the run of the place on Monday nights. Neither band was accomplishing much on its own and it wasn’t long before the principal songwriters got together on the notion of joining forces.” He continues. “We originally called the group “All The Young Dudes” to draw a lawsuit from Bowie’s company. Thereby drawing attention … ”

The stragedy sort of backfired when the band was notofied that Bowie loved the name! Nonetheless, the members shortened it to “the Dudes” which had always been the plan.

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“We quickly became the number one unsigned band in all of North America and spent several weeks in the Twilight Zone entertaining obscene offers from almost all the major U.S. labels.” Explains Henman.

” Finally, with New York Attorney Nat Weiss (the former partner of Brian Epstein) doing our bidding, we signed a historical contract with CBS in New York. We ate, drank and made merry while leaving the production of our debut LP to one Mark Spector, a terrific guy personally (very personally) selected by the current head of CBS.”

According to Ritchie, Mark was in way over his head with that band and the LP tanked.

“We did that one magical tour with the Bee Gees…  nicest guys ever, and had some great gigs and get – togethers with our manager’s other acts. Groups such as Blood, Sweat and Tears and Ian Hunter.”

By the fall of ’77 the group saw no point in carrying on. They did one last set of recordings at Le Studio with the top engineers from Criteria Sound in Miami. It was a study for CBS to decide what should be done with the band and the resulting recommendation was that they should have been self-produced from the start.

“CBS took a pass and cut us loose and we went our separate ways. I started a few original projects for the next two years and had some great experience, enough to keep my hopes alive for one more “career” group.

Late in ’78 I was asked to join a local group called Lyrock who had an eastern tour booked but were losing a few members. I went to see them play and saw for the first time Don Beauchamp on keys and some vocals as well as old acquaintances Wally and Tom Rathie who had been in Frames, our fave opening act during the Dudes period.”

Interspersed with Lyrock’s cover songs were several originals by Don and Wally and Ritchie was blown away. This was the music he had looked for.

” I took the tour gig but as soon as I got back to Montreal I got in touch with the Rathies and managed to get an audition for their new group.” Continues Ritchie. ” They chose a local jazz drummer over me and I was quite devestated but a few weeks later I was called back. It hadn’t worked out and I was in!”

As Ritchie had expected, the group’s music got immediate attention and they organized themselves with an indie label and local production Guru; Guy Rheaume.

” Our first LP, ‘Rollin’ With The Times was an instant in-trade hit.” Says Ritchie.

“The entire Canadian radio industry seemed to adore us. Unfortunately, our manager, fearful of financial ruin refused to sign off more than 5,000 units for our first pressing. This – despite urging from people who didn’t even have a stake in it, to guarantee at least 20,000 units.”

He goes on.

“Incredibly, just as we were charted with heavy rotation on 52 stations coast to coast, our distributor went bankrupt. It took our manager six weeks to find a new distributor and during that time the available pressings sold out. This forced the stations to drop it..Crash and burn … another one-hit wonder.”

Ritchie had been through this type of thing before but for the other four members of Cruiser ( this being their first real crack at the high-end of the entertainment industry), Henman believes they were devastated.

“Don left town shortly afterward and Wally, Tom, Ed and I did some studio sessions together but it was never the same and we drifted away from it by ’82.

Says Ritchie; “Even for me the project remains both the best and worst I have ever experienced.”

The first LP was finally released on CD three years ago as was the never-released second LP, Strange News.

” And I’ll go on record as saying they are both masterpieces!” Adds Henman. “To this day, the best players I have ever worked with are Ed Stevens on guitar, Tom Rathie on bass, Walter Rathie on keyboards and Don Beauchamp on vocals”.

For this statement, Ritchie Henman does not have to clear his head …

Jim Henman – The Man who Placed Myles Goodwyn in April Wine

If you want to make it as a Canadian rock star – Upper Canada Village is the place to be …

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At least that was what April Wine co – founder Jim Henman thought in 1969.

” I do recall wanting to quit university and approaching my cousin David with the idea of starting a band and try to make it.” Says Jim from his home in Nova Scotia.” David came up with the name and asked me to try to bring Myles Goodwyn on board.”

He continues.

“I went to Antigonish where Myles was living at that time and told him our plan. I thought he might want to join but I was not sure until about a week or so later.”

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Seven days later, Myles did join and April Wine was born. It marked the second time Jim Henman and Goodwyn played together. The duo were once part of a group named Woodies Termites between the years 1965 – 67. It was in that band, Jim and Myles wrote  songs together for the first time. It was not the first time for Jim however.

“I had been writing songs since I was 12 or 13.” Says Jim. “I don’t know when Myles started but we both wrote for our old band and we collaborated with one of the other members … ” He continues. “I still have that tune on tape. It reminds me of the Animals’ sound.”

It was around that same time when Myles wrote “You Won’t Dance With Me” – a hit for April Wine later on.

Jim Henman grew up a bIg fan of country music and the blues. All types of blues …

“In the 50s, I was listening to country on the radio. Jimmy Rogers and the Singing Brakeman, which was white country blues from the 20’s and early 30’s. In the 60’s – I was mystified by the McCartney / Lennon and Richards / Jagger compositions. I lalso enjoyed the Loving Spoonful and especially John Sebastian’s writing.”

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As the 70’s commenced, Jim discovered the likes of Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Neil Young and Arlo Guthrie. He also uncovered some real blues from the 20s and 30s. As the 70’s commenced, Jim also discovered the bad side of music …

” I was very attracted to the dark side of rock and roll life … the destructive side. It was dangerous for me and I developed problems very young. I really was not serious about having a “career” as a working musician nor did I have the first clue on how to do it. The party side and a poor work ethic worked well together. After 2 years of that I was lost, depressed and confused. The only way to fix everything was a job and geographical change.”

After stints playing in three bands – Prism, Termites and Wine, Jim left the music business and went into Medical Laboratory work, the furthest thing from songwriting. After all these years, he holds Myles Goodwyn in very high esteem.

“I respect what Myles has done with his talent.” Says the father of two full grown children. “He lived his dream and did it well. If I had stayed I would have died. I have no regrets about leaving.”

Jim Henman married in 1977 and has lived near Martinique Beach on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia since 2001. He is very close to his cousins David and Ritchie. He also was close to the late Jimmy Clench, the bass player who took his place in April Wine. Wine’s former drummer, Jerry Mercer, is also a close friend since 1970 and Jim has known Brian Greenway since 1977.

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Henman, since 1990 – has stayed with old blues as his music of choice. The Delta and Piedmont styles mostly. He played bass out of necessity in the old days and was a self- taught and simple player. Over the years, he has played bass in studio sessions and with a few small dance bands but sees the acoustic guitar as his instrument now.

Henman’s proudest musical moments have come more in the past twenty years. More specifically – his proudest songwriting moments.

I wrote a song called “I Will Get Over You” for Jeannie Beks CD “More Than My Share ” in 1992. “Journey”, a tune from the Musical I co-wrote in 1999 called “Death The Musical ” which has gone on to take on a life of it’s own.”Down’s Really Up” which I co-wrote for the Special Olympics, and “Starting Today ” a tune that was a single released in 2008 for a local band here in Halifax. I have a few of my own compositions on my new CD which are simple but I like them melodically and lyrically.”

“Say Hello” and “Just Between You And Me” are two of Jim’s favourite Myles Goodwyn songs and he is very good friends with Myles. The two are close to being the Canadian version of Jagger and Richards in terms of longevity. Myles and Jim met at the age of fifteen. The only other Canadian artists with a long span are Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush along with Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings from the Guess Who.

“I once challenged Burton Cummings to an arm wrestle while I was drunk.” Adds Jim. ” I lost …”

Myles, according to Jim was supposed to play on his recent cd; “Same old Feeling”.Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned. The pair of “Woodies Termites” exchange emails, phonecalls and visit after shows whenever they can.

If only they could meet in Upper Canada Village. That would be poetic, just like writing a song.

“Just between Jim and Myles” …

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Please visit Jim’s site. jimhenman.com

The CD; Same Old Feeling is available at iTunes and through Busted Flat Records

Photos courtesy of Jim and David Henman

David Henman; The Man Behind the Wine – Part One

Once upon a time …

In a galaxy far, far away from iPods.

Two cousins sat down in the Old Mill Tavern in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The year was 1969. They ordered a pitcher of beer and complained of the lack of momentum their music had gathered.

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They thought of putting a new group together. A band which would consist of the brother of one of the beer drinkers on drums and the other; a former member of the other ale quaffer’s band.

They ‘stole’ the singer / guitarist away from his band in Cape Breton, started rehearsing in one of their parents’ basements in Sackville and – just like that, one of Canada’s most successful rock bands were born …

The men in question were David Henman on guitars and vocals, Ritchie Henman on drums, Jim Henman on bass and Myles Goodwyn on vocals and guitars. The name of the band …?

April Wine

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” Myles agreed to join us, and we had planned to start out as a cover band. That all changed the moment Myles played us a couple of songs he wrote.” Says David Henman. “All of us have slightly different memories of how we formed but these are the basic facts.”

According to David ; Myles, long known as the leader and principle songwriter of April Wine, took control from the beginning in the songwriting department.

“He very quickly established himself as the most gifted and most driven musician and songwriter in the group. No one questioned that fact.”

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April Wine hosted a lot of their own shows in the early days and one of the very first gigs Henman remembers was for a theatre group. The band had became involved with the actors at the Neptune Theatre and wrote music for a 13th (?) century play called; “The Lion in Winter.”

Aside from particular items like the above, Henman’s memories of the first four years of the group are vague. He does remember being obsessed with writing songs and recalls why he and Myles were worlds apart in their songwriting ideas.

” Myles was more commercially – oriented and I was more experimental.” States Henman on the two very different approaches to songwriting.”I was also into music like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa while Myles was into r and b and blues.”

Goodwyn’s technique is apparent from the start of Wine’s career. ‘Fast Train‘ was one of the first songs Myles wrote and evolved into the band’s first hit. A song which to this date – remains David’s all time favourite April Wine song.

A fast train was what April Wine was now on in the music business. The year was 1970 and things were going quicky …

“We signed with Terry Flood management and Aquarius records.” Says David . “We recorded our first album; ‘April Wine’, with Bill Hill producing. The second one – ‘On Record’, was produced by Ralph Murphy and it marked the first without my cousin.”

Jim Henman, one of the founding members – left and was replaced by Jim Clench.

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As the band were recording their third album; ‘Electric Jewels‘ – David and Ritchie left the band in a mutually – decided split.Myles was now the last original member when he and Clench decided to keep the band going …

“I was invited to join a reformed April Wine but my brother wasn’t.” Says David . “Ritchie and I have always been pretty loyal to each other, so I decided to abstain”. All these years later, David Henman has no regrets for his decision to not rejoin the band just before they hit it big.

“No. No regrets. I was young and given to temptation. My sense is that I ‘d have ended up a casualty ( of rock ).” Declares David.

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Despite the split, David and Ritchie have kept in touch over the years with Myles. David says they are, in many respects – a family.

” I have been a fan and an admirer of Myles Goodwyn from day one. We often run into each other and these past couple of years he has invited me to join the band on stage.” An offer which Henman took with a smile.

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Ritchie and David Henman’s departure from one of the-soon-to-be iconic Canadian Rock Bands did not dissuade the duo from carrying on.

The brothers formed a band named ‘Silver’ following their departure and the band played constantly for a couple of years. The music was a mixture of covers and David Henman originals. Once that music formation ran it’s course, the brothers discovered themselves playing with a familiar name to April Wine fans;

‘All the Young Dudes’, the brother’s new band which performed all originals during it’s year of existence, featured Bob Segarini and a young guitar player named Brian Greenway ( Brian eventually landed with April Wine in 1977 and remains to this day).

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In 1976, David then struck out on his own with ‘The Debutantes’.

Between then and now – bands with names like; ‘Sensible Shoes’,’ Dancer’ and ‘The Business’ came and went.

Finally, in 2003, David Henman starting recording and playing under his own name. Something he continues to do in his basement studio in Bolton, Ontario.

In a galaxy far,far away from turntables!

Please stay tuned for part two and more of Henman’s story ….

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Photos courtesy of David Henman

Just Between Jerry Mercer and Me – Part Two

Pierre Senecal, Brian Edwards and Rayburn Blake first met in 1960 in Montreal. Their drummer did not show up one night for a gig, so Jerry Mercer was brought in and ended up joining the band. Brian Edwards quit the band and they continued playing under the names; the Phantoms, Ray Blake’s Combo and the Dominoes.

By 1965 they were calling themselves The Triangle. R&B singer Trevor Payne was the singer and they played for an additional four years until being discovered by record producer Bob Hahn. Edwards rejoined the band and they changed their name to Mashmakhan, after a variety of hashish sold by a local dealer.

‘ As the years go by’ was the band’s biggest hit and Jerry remembers getting off the plane in Japan to thousands of screaming fans.

” It was like we were the Beatles or something …! At home – we were playing before two or three hundred people. We sold 400,000 copies of the song in Japan. There were 10,000 Japanese people waiting for us!” Mercer laughs.

Mashmakhan was lucky enough to be part of The Festival Express. A gig that toured across Canada with some of the biggest names in rock music. The Grateful Dead, the Band and Janis Joplin all travelled with Mercer and his mates on a train.

” I think we were in Winnipeg. It was pouring rain and the train was leaving.” Says Mercer. “Janis was still wearing her stage clothes and was standing in the rain, leaning against a chain link fence. Being Janis, she was pretty drunk with a bottle of Jack Daniels in her hand. We all tried to convince her to get on the train. She said she would not leave until her manager came. Well, the manager never came and the train ( including us ) left the station without her. A small plane picked her up and flew her to the next town.” Mercer frowns. ” It was sad to see such a big star like that …”

During that tour, Jerry marvels at the memory of what went on.

“All the bands did not stay within their groups. I would hang out with Levon Helm for a couple of hours and next thing – I am with Mickey Hart of the Dead. I was lucky to pick up stuff from those guys. It was a once- in- a -lifetime  event!”

The only sour note for Mercer is years later, in 2004, a documentary was released about the tour. Mercer and Mashmakhan were mentioned briefly. A point which Jerry does not believe is right as he put a lot of effort to get the film made.

“Mashmakhan was just as much a part of that as anyone!” Says Mercer. ” To feature the ‘ big names ‘ and not us is a shame for everyone involved.”

Realizing the domestic success was not happening, Mashmakhan broke up shortly after the tour which led to Mercer becoming a session guy for a while. Jerry played drums with Roy Buchanan – a man who Eric Clapton was once referred to as ‘ the greatest blues guitarist ever’ and a band by the name of the Whackers.

It was then, along with Steve Lang, Brian Greenway and Garry Moffat – Mercer auditioned and got the job as a drummer for the band April Wine. The foursome along with founding members Myles Goodwin and Jimmy Clench – went on to international fame …

To be continued …

Jerry Mercer will be playing Friday night, May 18 2012 at Calistoga Grill in Pointe Claire.

He will be joining John McGale and Breen LeBoeuf of Offenbach fame. A band which played together in the late eighties as The Buzz Band !

Just Between You and Me – Part Three and a Bit …

So there I was…

As I stood in front of a mahogany bar that was painted ever so slightly by the morning sunlight,  a smile appeared on my face. I had met some of my childhood idols, enjoyed a lustful evening of rock n roll and was pumped to enjoy a day of waitering. A few dollars in my pocket followed by an evening of blues … what was there not to be happy about !

One of the waitresses was behind the bar and preparing her station for the forthcoming events. Suddenly, the door which led from the bar to the adjacent terrace opened . With the sun and the maple boards as a backdrop – there stood a figure that was at once recognizable. A silhouette that graced hundreds of stages around the world. For the second time in less than twenty – four hours,  I was in the company of Mr. Jerry Mercer.

A Coincidental Coincidence

I had worked with this waitress for two months. I never knew her father was the drummer for April Wine. It was probably a good thing. If I had known – the poor girl would have had to endure many hours of questioning. Once I was done – the Spanish inquisition would have come across as a segment on a poor talk show.

Like a teenage boy receiving a glimpse of a girl’s underwear under a short skir,  I said hello to the icon with a huge smile on my face. Mercer recognized me from the previous evening and appeared equally amused to see me. He introduced me to his daughter (formally) and the pair let it be known that Jerry was dropping something off  the younger Mercer had forgotten. I told Jerry that I had thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was an immense pleasure to make his acquaitance for the second time. He thanked me,  kissed his daughter goodbye and was just about to make his exit – stage left , when a thought occurred to me.

I asked him if he would be interested in doing an interview.

Mr. Mercer replied in the same fashion as did Brian Greenway the night before.  ” Been there – done that ” was the sentiment the members of the band ( Myles excluded ) seemed to be riding –  full steam.

” Has anyone ever done a story about you ? ” I inquired with an inquiring mind.

” You know …” I continued. ” An interview about what makes Jerry tick outside of April Wine ? Your likes , dislikes etc…”

I was aware that I had the man ‘s curiosity by the neck. He stopped and stood for a moment. Save the smoke emitting from his ears – it was easy to tell the man was thinking….  Hard!

After a few minutes of trepidation – Jerry replied almost surprised. After all the years of playing with bands such as the Triangle, Mashmakhan, April Wine and the Buzz Band. All these seasons of playing with or around the likes of Trevor Payn ,  Roy Buchanan,  Janis Joplin, the Band,  the Grateful Dead and many more … Mr. Mercer realized that no one had ever sat down and spoke to him about his life experiences and his viewpoints.

I was to be the first and we made arrangements to meet the following week. 

To be continued …

Just Between You and Me – Part Two

‘Say Hello …’

This was not my first venture into the decadent world of groupies, hangers – on and various forms of life. I have been to a Toronto Maple Leaf game after all …

I have been fortunate to go backstage at a Jeff Healy, Luba, Offenbach and Michel Pagliaro concert prior to this. Although the above foursome are not exactly the Who , Led Zeppelin , Stones or the Guess Who and this was not the sixties –  backstage with musicians remains  – backstage with musicians!  Sex is sex, booze is booze and a few puffs from a marijuana cigarette will increase the urgency to rape and pillage small bags of potato chips.

Brian Greenway appeared to be holding center court as I entered the crowded room. The space was no larger than the den of a suburban bungalow and the ‘disciples’ surrounded Brian as he preached the ‘word of Rock ‘. I neared the aging guitarist to get a feel for the discussion and to open the opportunity of introducing myself to this man of wealth and taste. The gist of his conversation lay somewhere between the past and future as Greenway did his best to erect a bridge between the generations that stood before him.

I listened for a bit. He spun tales of debauchery – details of which, considered not for the faint or adventurous, omitted on cue. This was not the first time Mr.Greenway told stories of his youth and he was well prepared .

The ensuing minutes passed quickly for someone with an inquiring mind or a penchant for times far away. A diminutive chapter of a rock star’s life was being printed before my eyes. The words of which – firmly planted onto the pages of his fans’ memories. Words that will one day – truthful or not, be regurgitated from generation to generation with additional embellishment along the way.

Speaking with Greenway …  Sweet !

When my moment drew near– I approached Mr.Greenway and uttered the necessary introduction.” I am a big fan …nice to meet you …blah, blah, blah…”

Suddenly – without notice, recognition exchanged between the two of us.

Obviously  I had seen him many times yet I somehow doubted, in my incarnations as a fan and with my obvious good looks – Mr.Greenway’s ability to siphon my identity out of thousands of spectators in the Montreal Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens or the Civic Center in downtown Peterborough.

We departed the room together. Brian tossed variations of places and people my way in an attempt to discover his determination of our congregation. After concluding that a Rum and Coke was my beverage of choice and generously pouring two for the both of us – Mr. Greenway  and I concretely stumbled upon our common ground.

It is reasonable that Greenway should forgive me for letting our past reunion slip through the fingers of my mind. The pair of us narrowed the time of our rendez – vous between the years 1979 – 1982. That placed me directly into the era I now refer to as ‘the experimental one ‘. In 1979, I was fourteen and thus began my preparatory lessons into the world of ‘Drugs 101’.

Was I There …?

During that time , in a galaxy far removed from Twitter – there was a band by the name of Sweet

Ballroom Blitz is the name of their biggest hit and the moniker that most people are familiar with. That song continues to be a staple at parties around the globe and I am fortunate to have witnessed its formative years as the tune began its crawl through the corridors of rock history. Are you ready Steve …? Andy …?

For reasons known solely to man or the group’s manager, the band or several members of – were residing at a house in Kirkland, QC. It was my hometown and somehow (it was the experimental years), I managed to end up in the ‘house of the rising sun’ on an evening when the inhabitants were smack dab in the middle of ‘sex , drugs and rock n roll ‘. As I flipped through my past darkly – I did recall ‘taggin’ along with my niece’s boyfriend that evening. He was seven or eight years my senior and for a brief moment – a huge influence on me.

Pete‘ was a favorite of mine. An older brother I never had. He was in a band, he loved sports and most important on the list of Big Brother candidates – he dealt drugs. ‘Pete ‘gave meaning to the phrase ‘money for nothing and chicks for free ‘far before it became fashionable. Pete’s forte, among other weapons, was acid or L.S.D.for the uninitiated.

Mind – altering substances that – according to my Mom, would irrevocably have me behaving as a chicken and thus – launching myself out of windows. The result ? A slow painful death offered from the pavement below. My remains ? Scooped and placed in a bucket for the world of science to dissect and placed on an expedition. ‘A tour ‘ so all teenagers around the globe could witness the ill effects of drugs. (My Mom – if anything  , had a fantastic imagination. Bless her depression – era heart!).

Brian Greenwaywas not sure if he accompanied another member of April Wine to the party that night. I – on the other hand, cannot recall whether the acid was pink, purple or blue microdot. So – his recollection of a fourteen year old – strung – out –on – acid was a tad ‘sketchy’ and my memories of the evening remain a bad episode straight from the DVD collection of I Love Lucy . Yet – who was I to argue with a famous guitarist? If anything –Brian’s yarn gave me a new story to tell. After all – tales of moped rides in hockey rinks, runaway bananas and jeans dancing to a Pink Floyd tune on top of a guitar case will only get you so far…

Business is Business

As I attempted to detach myself from the masses (and TimothyLeary), I informed Mr.Greenwaythat I was not just ‘a pretty face on acid ‘and my current incarnation was that of a rookie journalist. I wondered aloud if an interview -comparable to the one my friend was carrying out as we spoke, could very well be on the horizon for the pair of us. He paused and in a way that made me feel unique – he informed me he was not interested. Apparently, the process had run its course in the life of Brian. It was nothing personal (he was quick to point out) and apologized for the timing of his decision. Nevertheless – I managed to spend a few interesting minutes alone with this man. I discovered – apart from the Sweet incident, backstage in the seventies were what most of us had heard and only a few could imagine.

I deposited my email into his hand in the off chance that one day – his mood would be of a different type. I shook the remaining one and thanked him for his generosity and time. I watched with a hint of jealousy as a blonde woman led him out of the room. Their arms wrapped around one another as they departed under an umbrella of laughter.


I had now crossed paths with two members of a group that had opened for one of the greatest rock bands of all time – the Rolling Stones. Two people that brushed shoulders with my idols and I said nothing!

“Oh well, two down – two to go…”  I reasoned as I downed my drink and poured another.

  “He Was Like a Marionette! “

Tommy Lee , the one – armed dude from Def Leppard  and the ten year old who bangs pots down the hall from me aside – most drummers seem approachable. Appearance –wise, JerryMercer of April Wine lies somewhere in the middle.

When Mr.Mercer is on stage, delivering one of the most recognizable drum solos in Rock n Roll, there is no one that makes a concert more fun and fan friendly. On the other hand – Mercer appears in the image of a biker gone bad.. A shaved head and biceps larger than a small country only lend credence to the type of man that may eat raw meat for breakfast. As a youngster – I recall my original reaction as I analyzed the photo that graced the back cover of Apri l Wine’s Nature of the Beast album.

All of the members – Myles, Brian, Steve Lang and Gary Moffat came across like your ordinary run – of – the –mill rock stars. Myles in a Habs’ jersey; Brian looking every bit the Canadian version of Peter Frampton and Gary and Steve posing in their … well… rock star poses.

Then there was Jerry…

Imposing was the polite way of referring to this mass of drumsticks. He was a cross between Charles Mansonand the wrestler Mad Dog Vachon. An experiment in cloning that included the genes of a Gorilla mixed mistakenly with a mountain man.

An Unexpected Expectation

As I completed my way through the backroom mazes  of Le Spectrum– it was therefore with great consternation that I approached one – half of the battery section in April Wine.

Surprisingly – Mercer is not very tall. I knew that television adds ten pounds to whoever is appearing on it yet it was a revelation to discover that any form of media seemed to inject a foot onto the drummer’s height. He remains intimidating on the first encounter – his torso and arms much the same delirious size as they materialize in photos. His chest seemed content. Ready to deliver murderous bear hugs to anyone that tests its strength.

Mr. Mercer was removing the sweat off a well-deserved performance as I happened by the area in which he dressed. Deer – like, I wedged my suddenly small head into his room and in a tone resembling Pee- Wee Herman – I said hello to the man at the rear of the hard driving sound of April Wine. He did not say good –bye.

Instead of snapping my appendages like dry twigs – Mr. Mercer was as inviting as a Grandmother sitting on the porch on a hot summers ‘ day. The first thing out of his mouth was to warn me that he only had a few minutes to talk as his wife was waiting for him. He motioned for me to come and sit while he continued his post – concert procedures. Part of me was relieved while my other fraction was scared silly of this man. I wanted to have a word yet the fear of ‘pissing him off’ and the repercussions that would surely develop led me to a silent vigil as I sat on the wooden chair.

It’s Only Rock n Roll ( but I like it …)

He asked if I had enjoyed the show and inquired my name. Salutations removed – my nerves settled to the point where words commenced to flow in a more natural state. This time – my questions pertaining to the Stones were on the front burner and I was unwavering when it came time to receive the recipes regarding their success.

I informed him of my status as a huge Stones fan and asked him to decipher his experiences with them. April Wine opened for them in 1977 at the El Mocambo Club in Toronto. It was previous to the Stones releasing their soon – to – be number one selling album Some Girls and its release co – existed with Wine’s most successful album – Nature of the Beast.

Mercer was more than pleased to spin the tales of his brush with greatness. He informed me that he did not speak with Mick, Keith or Ronnie Wood. He did exchange words with the Stones’ drummer and bass player –Charlie   Watts and BillWyman. He went on to say that the pair came as advertised.

The duos were very gracious with Charlie and him exchanging the names of influences.Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Mitch Mitchell were a few names admired by both.

These men were heroes to Watts  and Mercer while Stones’ bassist Wyman chimed his agreement. Jerry explained that the Stones had a lot going on. There were people coming and going – the members of the legendary band whisked from room to room. In a way – Mercer gave the impression that being a Rolling Stone was not for him.

The sole time that Mercer and his band mates had any contact with Mick Jagger was before the Stones sound check. April Wine were sitting in their dressing room and preparing for the night’s show. There was a knock on the door. The Stones’ lead singer popped in and placed a basket filled with fruits on the small table placed elegantly in the middle of the room. He thanked the band for being the opening act and as swiftly as he appeared – he was gone. Still – Mercer seemed generally pleased that Mick Jagger found the time to do something nice like that.

As for Mr. Keith Richards– Mercer informed me th at various times throughout the day, the Stones’ guitarist could be seen wandering about. According to Mercer‘s first hand account; “Keith was like a marionette! Just when he looked like he was about to fall down – he would pick himself up again! “Mercer went on to say; “Keith certainly lived up to his reputation!”

Ronnie Wood also lived up to his status. Mercer says that Ronnie was constantly on the move – beer frequently in hand and smiling all the time. “He was very much the court jester and if you saw him andKeith together, you could not help but wonder if they were able to perform later on…?” 

It was later on when Jerry discovered a tremendous appreciation for the Rolling Stones.

“We (AprilWine) were sitting in the club and watching them (the Stones) get ready for their sound check. Everyone except Mick Jagger was on stage and it was just chaos! Missed chords, sloppy changes, you name it – it was bad! Then – Mick arrives!  He walked onto the stage and said something to his mates . To this day – I have yet to see a band come together so fast and tight! I have so much respect for them after witnessing that! Fun was fun but when it came time for business – the Stones outdo everyone. There is a reason why they have outlasted most of their contemporaries!”

Jimmy Clench

I gained so much in the few minutes that I spent with Mr. Mercer I felt as if I had made a friend.

Jerry has a way of doing that…” I was informed later on in the two brief minutes that I spoke with the band’s bass player Jim Clench.

Clench was on his way out when I met him in the hallway. At first – it was depressing knowing that I would not be able to get any more Stones quotes. Then I realized that Clench was not with the band at the El Mocambo gig. He had quit the band in the  seventies and after stints with Randy Bachman’s group BTO and an appearnce on Brian Adams’ debut album – Jim re – joined Wine in their newest incarnation. Little was I aware –  ten short years after meeting the man – Jim Clench would be dead from lung cancer at the age of sixty – one.

I found my friend sitting outside the club and we exchanged stories over a few drinks at another bar. By the time I got home- the kids were crying and not even Muddy could soothe their woes. It was six o’clock when my eyes shut and in three short hours – I would have to go to work.

Somehow – it all seemed worth it …

To be continued ….

Have a band or want publicity as a solo artist? Contact me at keenerick@hotmail.com

Just Between You and Me

 Le ‘Set – Up ‘

Toting a box of beer up a flight of stairs on a Saturday morning led to an encounter that would shape the rest of my life. Who knew?

 

Ste Anne de Bellevue – In the Summertime…

I was toiling as a waiter in a restaurant named Cajun Blues. The establishment was the ‘outcast ‘among the several bars and restaurants situated in the picturesque town of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC. The reason for the leper – like treatment? The business did not possess a terrace on the waterfront and that absence left a void in the town’s visitors as they arrived to eat.

Ste. Anne be Bellevue is a community that thrives on the promise of the summer sun. The view of the sun’s rays reflecting off waves rooted by the variations of ships and boats is an integral part of the town’s survival. The countless photo -ops are a welcome sight for the lunch and supper crowd that flock to the boardwalk. A ‘luxurious dock ‘ that lays nestled on the western – most tip of the Island of Montreal and remains an attractive location for families , lovers and loners. For some – a mixture of all three. If Mama Nature cooperates, the customers grin while money rains directly into the pocket books of the establishments’ owners. If the matriarch of green decides otherwise – the terraces are as vacant as the property owners’ gas tanks.

            Regardless of the Cajun Blues’lack of such a beautiful image, Saturday night at the eatery was jumping.  Aside from Cajun food staples such as

All Night Long …

Louisiana Mud Pie, Chicken Creole and Jambalaya – the singular item that enticed visitors to fill the clubs’ cozy atmosphere was an eclectic selection of live music.

As the stars and the moon danced high in the darkened sky – invited musicians orchestrated the pairs’ celestial moves with a catalogue of grooves both real and imagined.  Blues was on the dessert menu one evening while an additional soiree wound up crammed with the crisp sounds of a drummer – a ‘ cat ‘ as cool as a northern breeze keeping time among a trio of Jazz musicians as they delivered ‘ last  call ‘ to welcoming applause.

The subsequent week – Reggae was the ‘le soup du jour ‘. The clubs’ patrons would drain their ‘bowls ‘and in the process, fill up their palates with love and joy. Once the main course of unity was completed, the partiers made love to their drinks while the sweet sounds of Marley and Tosh provided a message of hope. The sort of memo that passed spontaneously throughout the crowd and a post – it note Mr.Marley would have permitted.

Rock – a – Bye – Muddy …

It was a unique three months for me as I spent evenings creating new friends and  mornings producing friendship with my two small children .Francesca Emerald Amanda and Owen David Randall remain the beneficiaries of a Father completed by his love for music. Not a day passed without their Dad cooing them to sleep. Lyrics penned by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Louis Armstrong became our lullabies as the virgin eyes on their softened faces closed into dreams of innocence.

These are the memories that stay firmly planted as seeds in the lawn of my soul .Landscaping created for a new generation. Seeds that will spread from my kids – to their very own.

–  Le ‘Show ‘-

        As my head ached and my ears called for silence, I carried the bottles of beer from the basement and placed the crate upon the bar. Standing there, I recalled the previous evenings’ adventures with a smile. This made my head hurt even more …

I had attended a concert by the Canadian rock band AprilWine. A friend and fellow journalist had invited me to join him. ‘ Tagging ‘  along meant the opportunity to not only see the show – a backstage visit was part of the itinerary as my friend was concocting an interview with lead songwriter and singer  – Myles Goodwyn.

The group was one of my many favorites as the suburbs of Montreal nurtured me from adolescence to teen. You Won’t Dance with Me, Oowatanite , Roller , Rock n Roll is a Vicious Game and Just Between You and Me were staples of my teen years and just a few of the hits by the legendary rock band.

April Wine – Then …

I had seen them live a handful of times between the ages of fifteen and twenty and once – I was fortunate enough to enjoy their arena show three times in one-week Toronto on Saturday, Peterborough on Wednesday and Montreal once more on the following Saturday. It was a threesome of the non – sexual type yet sensually pleasing.

The trio of shows wrought envy from the mouths of all my male fellow rock n rollers in the late seventies and for a brief moment in time – I was the coolest person amongst my peers. The boys were jealous yet the ‘chicks ‘dug me. Rock N Roll may be a vicious game but sex is the ultimate trophy to the victors!

So here I was – all these years later, with an opportunity to sing along to the tunes of my youth in the small confines of Le Spectrum .It was an exit on the highway of music I would notbe missing.

An Intimate Engagement

Wine – circa 2001

Time had passed since the days of the band selling out the Montreal Forum. The group had actually broken up for a few years in the late eighties only to re-form in the nineties. They continue touring on a smaller level as they play their music to loyal fans in Canada and the United States. The hits are no longer written by the formerly – proficient Goodwyn yet an arsenal containing songs such as Say Hello , I Like to Rock , Sign of the Gypsy Queen and Weepin Widow were more than enough to carry these former teenagers into the twi –light of their lives and career.

The show and tunes that evening were what I had come to expect from the foursome. High-octane rock performed with conviction at decibels alarming to some. Hit after hit brought grown men and women to their feet. Powerful anthems punctuated by tearful ballads lay witness to a new generation as they writhed in appreciation of the band’s efforts. The line – up consisting of Myles on guitar and vocals , Brian Greenway  on guitar , the late Jim Clench on bass and the powerful Jerry Mercer on drums – did not disappoint the most cynical concert go – er. It was a wonderful summer evening under a cloud of nostalgia.

‘ A High Roller Baby …!’

The show ended with an exclamation point. The song Roller, arguably the band’s biggest hit, was the encore and it whipped the predominant forty – something crowd into frenzy. Everyone it seemed knew the song and there was not a quiet voice in the house as the band elongated the distance of their watermark tune.

The song finished and the group exited the stage to deafening applause. The words; ‘She’s a high roller baby ‘were sung in unison as the throng of people made their way past the exits and onto the streets of downtown Montréal. The lyrics’ High roller baby ‘continued as they echoed through vacant buildings and began eking out a new found existence in a city they once owned.

It was now the time for me to get excited.

A behind – the – curtains visit was not only exciting for the privilege of meeting rock icons, the rendez- vous was also an opportunity for me to discover a few words from the men that had met my idols – the Rolling Stones.

“Going back stage is exciting. Regardless of how many times it has happened. “Annie Liebowitz

 

The entrance alone is usually long and dark followed by a door or curtain guarded closely by a security guard or personnel. A flash of a pass, a nod of a head and suddenly you have elapsed into unknown territory. You are privileged. Depending on the star or stars, thousands and sometimes millions of people are separated from you .Physically and emotionally you have obtained a realm that some may only dream of reaching in their paramount fantasies.

Once, twice or a hundred times – the heart always beats a little faster when a crowd is left behind the curtain at a Rock n Roll show.  Terrence Mann may have had the same awareness as he approached the cornfields in the movie adaptation of the novel Shoeless Joe. Field of Dreams is the name of the film and is there a better way to identify the feelings of disappearing back – stage? Not quite …

Behind the Scenes …

On this evening – a curtain in lieu of a door was my gateway to knowledge and (if lucky) – a few beers. As my partner and I navigated the maze of rooms and people, we remained on the look – out for the subject of my colleague’s interrogation. We discovered Mr.Goodwynin a concrete room conspicuous with its absence of color. He was speaking to a couple of young women as he rested alongside a table outfitted with food. My friend introduced himself and promptly thanked Myles for the opportunity given to not only him – myself as well.

Just Between Myles and Me …

Myles Goodwyn

Myles was aloof and maintained a tone of aristocracy as I extended my hand to his. Habitually, I own the ability to garner good judgment of people. I did not like Myles in the first minute of our meeting and if my children and dog were by my side – I remain confident they would have had the very same feeling. Regardless if Mr.Goodwyn had shaken my hand – my feelings would not have changed.

Arrangements between my friend and Goodwyn to disappear into an atmosphere more fitting for a one – on – one discussion were completed. The lead vocalist informed me to help myself to whatever beverages and food I discovered. Since he made no mention of the women – I assumed they were also ‘up for grabs ‘!

I  asked him where I could unearth the remaining members of the band and he pointed down the hall, toward the loud noise. The ‘ noise ‘was the sound of the many ‘back stagers ‘who seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot more than I was. The fact that I was soon to be part of their ruckus –  made the departure from my friend much more tolerable.

The 1970’s – Comfortably Numb

As I watched the two disappear, I understood – from this point forward, the evening could possibly conclude in many variations. It depended on which choices I would make in the ensuing couple of hours and just how much I wanted to re – live the late seventies. Since I do not recall much of the late seventies, I walked down the hall with an ear toward a sinful evening.  The ‘good angel ‘and the ‘bad angel ‘had quite the ‘heated discussion’ as they sat opposite one another on each of my shoulders . I entered a room and approached the walls of people …

To be continued …