The League of Rock Montreal; And a One … And a Two …

They say, practice makes perfect.

If that is the case, then no-one is perfect because even guys like April Wine’s guitarist Brian Greenway keep practicing ….

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Greenway is the first ‘Rock Star’ coach to participate in The League of Rock Montreal’s first rehearsal which took place this past Wednesday at Studio Musico Practik in Verdun.

An initial meeting of the instruments ( and minds) …

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Under the watchful eyes of Montreal President Gary Johnston, the boys and woman – were locked away inside four beautiful studio rooms on de L’eglise Avenue for a night of hard work.

With Brian Greenway making the rounds and spending time with each group,’ lessons learned’ and ‘lessons earned’ became the catchphrase for the night.

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Local guys such as Ed Booth, a player who just past middle age, decided to live his dream and start playing music. Suddenly, he is knocking elbows with Greenway and loving  the learning  of it.

Josh Van Sprang, Martin Jaz, Murray Rappel, Gregory Gallagher and Jordan Gosselin – just a few of the musicians from various backgrounds, playing levels and ages, together at The League of Rock Montreal. All with one common goal. To become one with their band-mates whom they met for the first time last week.

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Greenway, upon completion of the last session, exited the studio room with a smile larger than Lasalle. The April Wine guitarist clearly energized by the vibes taking place among virtual strangers a week ago.

“The beauty of the League of Rock is not knowing what will arrive from the nine weeks of rehearsing and a couple of gigs leading to the final showcase. ” Says League President and CEO Gary Johnston. ” That’s why it is important to focus on a couple of songs right away. Too many choices will not allow for any song to be performed and developed properly.”

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Heavy Metal could be heard from one studio. A cover of a Rolling Stones’ tune from another. The only thing not heard in the first ten minutes may have been ‘Smoke on the Water’. Surprisingly ( or not)  – Deep Purple’s iconic song, too simple for the bands (?)

An indication this batch of musicians are advanced in their playing or not fans of Deep Purple. Either way, nothing caught fire.

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The second rehearsals are taking place this coming Wednesday. The guys and gal have no excuses left to not put their fingers to the chords and their feet to the bass pedals. All intros are over. All nerves should be settled and not ‘torn and frayed’.

It is time to get down to some serious business at …

The League of Rock Montreal !

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To buy pictures from The League of Rock Montreal’s first rehearsal –

Visit James St Laurent Here !

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !  

 

 

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

Mathew and Jill Barber Keep Family Values Alive With New Album

Mathew and Jill Barber are brother and sister. 

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Both – possessing very solid solo careers on their own but face it, family is family …

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All these years later, the pair of siblings have finally recorded an album together and it is a feel good story. ‘The Family Album’ combines folk music with sentimental values – the album is an open door to heartwarming lyrics and melodies.

Please listen below as Mathew explains the album and his relationship with his younger sister.

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon !

 

Please visit Mathew Here !

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !  

 

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

Justin Rutledge – Former Juno Award Winner is Heading ‘ East ‘.

Justin Rutledge – at one point, wanted to be a writer.

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A Juno Award down the road, things have not gone Justin’s way. Or – have they?

 Please listen below to hear some new tunes from Justin’s album East and hear his thoughts on bar-tending?

Justin? What’s up?

Visit Justin Here !

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !  

 

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

What’s The Talk on The Turnpike ? The Word on the Street ?

As usual – a lot happening in Montreal !

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The Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge got underway last night and The League of Rock started  it’s first Chapter in Montreal !

There are a lot of shows coming – the Jazz All Year Round Series and Evenko are busy as usual and a bevy of local acts are playing everywhere !

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Please listen below to what is coming on Rick Keene Music Scene and hear some great tunes !

Talk Soon !

 

 

Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !  

 

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

Adam Karch; Designing ‘Blueprints’

Following a tutelage under the watchful ears of people such as Jeff Healey and Colin James – Blues-man Adam Karch is right at home with his new album – Blueprints.

Ironic because within the album are covers originally penned by the men whose blueprints set the stage for what Adam and many others have done since the early sixties. Carry on the tradition of the Blues.

Please listen as Adam explains his roots, his history, his struggles and satisfaction …

Adam?

 

Visit Adam Right here!

 

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Watch “The Hi Fins at k103.7fm singing The Hollies” on YouTube

Saturday Night 25th of January at Le Club West Island. 205 Alton Drive, Beaconsfield. All proceeds go to Starlight Foundation. Starts at 5:30pm. Nine cover bands!

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Rod Argent and The Zombies. Rock History – Part One

“I  think it’s great they lasted this long – after all they never stopped did they?”

With these words, Rod Argent,  co-founder of The Zombies – one of the bands considered  part of  The British Invasion, displays his affection for a group which lasted ‘slightly’ longer than his own …

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“I remember seeing the Stones when they first came out with the song ‘Come On‘ when nobody knew about them. I went to a club with about seventy-five people and of course they were sitting on stools because they were pure Blues players at that time. I remember being totally knocked out about them and more than I really have been after that.”

Although Argent has not seen any group which ‘blew him away’ since, he does think that The Rolling Stones owe a lot to The Beatles. A group who actually formed one year  following The Zombies.

” When The Beatles would come out with a record like ‘I Feel Fine‘ with a particular way of playing guitar, a particular way of ‘riffing’ the guitar – the Stones would come out with something like ‘The Last Time‘. A song that would have the same ingredients …” He laughs. ” I’m not putting the Stones down for this. By the time it channeled through their creativity, it came out as their own sound and they always sounded great. All of their records were always great and continue to be so …”

zombiesEven though his band was part of a bigger picture that will forever be linked to music history, Argent and his mates – Colin Blundstone, Paul Atkinson, Hugh Grundy and Paul Arnold did not associate with other British groups. Nor did other British groups associate with them. Bands such as The Animals, The Kinks and The Who along with The Stones and Beatles – never once picking up the phone and talking with their countrymen.

“We never had time – really …” Says Argent from his home in England. ” We were so busy back then! It was like a whirlwind really – one day we were kids with dreams in our heads and the next we are flying off to America! It’s funny. It’s only in the last ten years or so that I have spoken to some of those guys from other groups. Just last week I was speaking to Alan Price from The Animals and we were reminiscing a bit about those days.”

‘Those days’ were 1964.

Chris White had replaced Paul Arnold on bass and the group came out with one of their biggest hits. ‘She’s Not There’ catapulted the band to stardom and eventually – American soil. Their following single, White’s ‘Leave Me Be’, went over well ‘live’ in England yet did not make a mark on the British charts.  ‘Tell Her No’, the band’s third attempt, became a Top 10 record in the U. S. but once more failed to hit big in Britain.

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“It was funny.” Says Argent. “Here in England, people did not get us like they did overseas. Germany and the States loved us but in our own country – we were nothing except for the song ‘She’s Not There’. I always wonder if that song would have been big without George Harrison‘s help …? He was a guest panelist on a television show we were on called Jukebox Jury. He loved the song and of course – George’s influence was enormous!”

The band came to America touring with other performers such as The Shirelles, Ben E. King, The Shangri-Las and The Nashville Teens.

“I still remember like it was yesterday!” Adds Rod. “Here ( England), we played before 1,500 people who I believe was the biggest audience we had to that point. We get off the plane in America – there are 10,000 screaming girls waiting for us! We thought we were The Beatles or something like that!”

Argent’s own influences when it came to songwriting consisted of The Beatles – a group who Rod adamantly repeats ‘influenced everyone’. The Zombies and Argent relied heavily on harmonies in their songs. They probably rank right up there with The Beach Boys when it comes to a perfect blend of vocals.

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“The Beach Boys influenced us a bit later on.” Admits Argent. ” Around 1966 -67. They were great but by that point, we had already established our style and we worked well together. If I had to pick one artist and one song which influenced my particular songwriting style – I would have to say Elvis Presley and the song Blue Moon. When I first heard that, it was breathtaking really… Even now when I listen to it – it inspires me and I get that same feeling I had back when I was seventeen or eighteen years old.”

The Zombies continued to be successful in the U. S but at home in Britain it was the same old story. The songs ‘I want You Back‘, ‘She’s Coming Home‘ and ‘Whenever You’re Ready’ were not as popular in the States as their older songs and in Britain – a disaster for Decca. The band’s record company.

220px-She's_Not_There_single” People think we broke up because of poor record sales.” Explains Argent. “The band was not doing as well as before but we were getting decent royalties. We broke up more because Chris and Paul wanted to make more money. They wanted to start families and needed more income. That is why we broke up really. It had nothing to do with our quality of songs or animosity within the group.”

A few months later, the album ‘Odessey and Oracle’ was released. Critics and fans thought nothing of it at the time. One radio station in the U. S. started to play the song ‘Time of the Season’. So often that it hit number five on the U. S. charts and suddenly The Zombies were more popular than they had ever been. That album has become known as one of the all time best albums. The Zombies version of  ‘ Pet Sounds’ or ‘Exile on Main Street’. It ranks  number sixty in the top 100 albums.

A staggering statistic considering the band was no longer together even though record companies were willing to give ‘big bucks’ for the group to re – unite. Something that makes Argent sometimes wonder ‘what if ‘ …

Not often though.

“I am a very positive person and I always think to the future. ” Says Argent. ” That is why I formed Argent  in lieu of a Zombie reunion.”

Please stay tuned for Part Two of my interview with Rod Argent.

The 80’s … WTF?

As we stride through the recesses of our music memory banks, it is relatively easy to place songs and artists into distinctive categories.

aThe 1950’s – a decade ushered in with Jazz, Big Bands and the birth of Rock n Roll. The 60’s? A spawning pool for the Brits to grab American Blues and introduce it back to the Americans. A movement which invented modern-day music as we know it. This decade was also rich in R and B and Motown.

The 1970’s saw the British Invasion reach it’s pinnacle and an anti – anti – establishment in the form of punk rock arrive with nothing but contempt for everyone including the punks themselves. It was also a decade which tossed outrageous clothes, Disco and Funk into the musical history book.

The decade of the 90’s returned popular music to guitar rock in the form of Grunge. A revival for rock n roll in its purest form. Towards the end, a return to R and B in the form of Rap and at the same time setting the table for the new millennium in the form of Hip Hop

aWhat’s that …? What about the 1980’s?

Feather your hair, place your pastel blue jacket on your open shirt complete with fake tan. Grab your synthesizer and unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the 1980’s …

Gary Numan – Cars 1979

Talk Talk – It’s My Life 1984

Duran Duran – Hungry Like a Wolf 1984

Culture Club – Do You Really Want Hurt Me 1982

Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now 1984

Billy Idol – Dancing with Myself 1982

Devo – Whip It 1980

Tears for Fears – Shout 1984

Soft Cell – Tainted Love 1981

The BugglesVideo Killed the Radio Star 1979 ( Included in the 1980’s because it was the first video to be played on MTV.  MTV, at that time – was what crack cocaine is to the youths of today back in the 1980’s. Back in the Twilight Zone.)

Stay tuned for Part Two …

Listen to Gary Numan’s take on nostalgia bands .

The Hi – Fins; Everyone’s Cup of Tea

A record collection contains many gems.


The Dave Clarke Five, the Kinks, the Monkees, the Who, the Stones and the Beatles. Six groups which make up a good contigent of the British Invasion. Now – if it were possible to sit and listen to all these bands plus a few more in one night – LIVE, would a music fan sit at home? Of course not  …

Montreal group the Hi-Fins, provides exactly that. A taste of the British Invasion right in the neighborhood. An evening without the kids or the headaches of daily life. Paul McCrowe, the bass player, explains how the band achieved it’s name;

“Spy ( the guitarist ) and I have known each other since we were twelve. Spy was heavily into crosswords and we were trying to come up with a name. So there was a word that he came across “hyphen”. We both liked the word and came up with “Hi-Fins”, which – if you read between the lines, the symbol hyphen is there plus Hi-Fi.” He continues.” Hi -Fi is 60’s technology for  noise solution. All in all the name is a play on words. We thought we would be clever enough for someone to maybe figure it out when they see it! Some have …!” He laughs.

One thing which is simple to figure out is the band is blessed to have Mitchell Field on board as the drummer. Field grew up in England and was one of the fortunate few to have watched the Beatles play at the Marquee Club in London. Long before the band gained cult status.

“I was nine.” Says the fifty- seven year old Mitchell. ” I saw them all back then. The Kinks, the Who – it was a lesson which made me passionate about music and right then I decided to be a lifetime musician.” Mitchell left school and started to live his dream and played drums for Johnny Lee Hooker at one time. He then went on to play  with a band called Hellfield in the late seventies in Toronto. That band obtained moderate  success and opened up for bands such as Foreigner, the Cars and Kim Mitchell.

“Ya – we are very fortunate to have Mitchell in the band.” Says Paul. ” It is a funny story of how he joined.” He laughs. ” We put an ad on Craigslist and he answered it. When he came for the audition, he said ‘ Okay boys – show me what you got …!’ Spy and I looked at each other for a second and said ‘um…why don’t you show us what you got! We are auditioning you …!”

From the get -go, these three guys hit it off and following the second song in ‘the audition’ – a certain chemistry existed. They did not have to work too hard at achieving their very own ‘wall of sound’. ” People come up to us all the time and ask whether we have taped music playing in the background.” Says Spy. ” Or – they ask if we have a guitarist hidden somewhere. The sound is all in the way Paul plays bass. It becomes like a second guitar and the band’s sound is fuller.”

That must be the case. In a recent show at Le Pionnier, the room was packed with all ages. The kids in their early adulthood seemed to really dig the music that their parents grew up on. They were boppin’ and dancing all night long. Right along with their parents to ‘A Hard Day’s Night ,’ Satisfaction’, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘My Generation’.

A concert with the Hi – Fins contains many gems…

Listen to the Hi -Fins here

Please stay tuned for a more in-depth interview with Mitchell Field and the boys ….