Rick Keene Music Scene – Making America Great Again ! ( Through Music ) 

Ah … America !


The land of the free and the home of the brave … or is it bravado?

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Unites States are a lot of fun to watch and learn from.

This election brings craziness like it has never been seen before. Some, wish for the days of old, when America was great ! Or – is it selective memory? Was America great before?

Listen below to some great tunes and poignant lyrics from The Uptown Jazz Orchestra.

Make America Great Again ?



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John Lennon’s Life Through Words and Music

John Lennon left a legacy to the world. One filled with hope, love and tragedy. 


Daniel Taylor, straight from Liverpool,  is carrying on the words and songs of Lennon. Not a Tribute show, more of an insight into the life of a man whose songs sometimes carry too much of the weight behind a very complex individual.


Alongside piano player Stewart D’arrietta, Daniel provides the tales of Lennon from the beginnings of Beatlemania to the end of Lennon’s life.

Please listen below to find out somethings you will discover about John Lennon  if you attend

Club Soda on the 25th of Oct

Talk Soon !


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Ask Dave the Bartender; What is the Best Single by an Actor or Actress?

Sometimes – everyone is lost …

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Everyone with the exception of Dave the Bartender.

He is cool as a cucumber, hot as a dash of Tabasco and smoother than a fine, aged wine. Dave the Bartender hears everything, sees everything and passes this information along as best he can.

Or – does he?

Dave? The Bartender?



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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.


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

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Lookout Taylor Swift – Bella is Coming!

Most people at the age of fifteen – haven’t a clue what they want to do when they ‘grow up’.  Most people with the exception of Bella Galasso …

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In a very short time ( with a little help from some friends ), Bella is quickly making a name for herself in the Montreal music scene. Writing songs appears effortless and she is far removed from her ‘prime’.

Taylor Swiftare you listening?


Buy Tickets Here for November 8th to See Bella!


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Ask Dave the Bartender …

Google is not enough …


For answers to be answered properly – it is important to seek the truth. Climb the highest mountains, swim the deepest seas and reach the keeper of knowledge …

Dave the Bartender …


Questions for Dave the Bartender? Send to rickkeene2@gmail.com

( Drinkers, Wait Staff, Busboys and Passerby’s were not injured during the filming of Dave the Bartender)

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Montreal Radio Legend Marc ‘Mais Oui’ Denis Remembers The Beatles!

Once upon a time – Montreal radio was the place to be …

Heck, once upon a time, music was the place to be. Especially in the early sixties when The Beatles took the world by the scruff of the neck and made radio fun again.


Please listen as Marc gives some anecdotes  on the eve of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles playing in Montreal.



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All You Need is Police Protection! Fifty Years Since The Beatles Played in Montreal; Part Two

How time flies …


The Beatles took the world by storm. Creating a sensation which – to this day; remains unmatched. What was it about these four lads from Liverpool? Their hair? Their suits? Their silly English accents combined with even sillier humor?

All of the above for sure yet without an amazing ability to create timeless tunes, sing-a-long melodies and poignant love tales; the imagery meant nothing. Face it – even cute puppies grow up!


Please listen as John Oriettas and I discuss The Beatles as well as John’s upcoming performance on Sunday September 7th at Oscar Peterson Hall. An occasion for his group; REPLAY – to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ only two shows in Montreal. An occasion to mark history …

John? Paul? Geoge? Ringo?


MBD9 Final


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Rick Keene Music Scene- 2013 Top Ten Interviews

I have been blessed …

Combined with a little bit of elbow grease and in the pathway of many talented artists who make their way into Montreal – I was fortunate to have many insightful conversations this past year.

Far too many to put a list together as the best. Each one of my talks – informative about music, the music business or the character of whomever I am speaking with. To say these conversations have not changed me as a person would be a gross understatement …

Each person teaches something new through life experiences. A unique perspective that is truly theirs and no one else’s. I am privileged and appreciative of the time musicians give me. My first reward for promoting their show is the opportunity to hear and see them play. My ultimate reward is to meet and shake their hands. It is not monetary, it is not to pose for pictures. They work hard at what they do and so do I.

I sincerely believe the reason I get to meet so many is my ability to treat each one as a person and not a star. After all – they are only people like us who happen to possess gifts of music.  

Without further ado – here is my list of the 2013 Top Ten Interviews. As you check out each one – I hope you will be as fascinated as I was.

10. Glen Matlock – Bass Player; The Sex Pistols

How often does one get the opportunity to speak with someone who hung around with Sid Vicious? Matlock was one of the original Pistols and was replaced by Vicious as the group’s bass player. The composer of ten  songs on the 1977  album; ‘Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols’. One of the original punk rockers and a part of music history. I spoke with Glen on the phone and for an hour following his show with Scott Kempner of The Dictators.

Read the interview here!

9. Vinny Appice – Drummer for Axis, Derringer, Black Sabbath, Dio, John Lennon and Heaven and Hell.

Did you know that Vinny Appice – by chance, played drums for John Lennon at The Record Studio in New York? Or – his brother Carmine (also a drummer) co -wrote Rod Stewart’s ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? Neither did I until I spoke with him on the phone from California and once more in person before and after his Drum Wars show with brother Carmine. The guy played drums for John Lennon for Pete’s sake!

Read the interview here!

8. Lee Rocker – Double bass player for The Stray Cats and solo artist.

Lee and I spoke over the phone from his home in New York as well as about a half an hour in person before his show. We had a delicious conversation about the roots of Rockabilly and Rock n Roll. A very open guy who just loves to make sure everyone respects Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore. His tale of Keith Richards laying down a track on Rocker’s solo album – priceless!

Read the interview here!

7. Holly Cole – Canadian Jazz Singer

I spoke with Cole for an hour on the phone from Toronto. She spoke candidly of her recent album ‘Night’. The tale of her riding her Father’s shoulders on a foggy night in Nova Scotia-  ‘so many moons ago …’;  a sheer delight. An honor to speak with this Canadian legend …

Read the interview here!

6. Ian Mosley – Drummer for Marillion

A gentleman! Mr. Mosley gave me an hour of his time on the phone and I was very lucky to spend two nights backstage following Marillion’s shows at The Olympia. Mosley lives in England yet his daughter lives in the West Island of Montreal. A drummer who got his start/ lucky break by going to the washroom? Check out this kind man’s story …

Read the interview here!

5. Joe Louis Walker – Blues Guitarist / Teacher

Mr. Walker hung out with Jimi Hendrix and roomed with Blues legend Mike Bloomfield. Currently he hangs out ( once in a while ) with Ron Wood of The Stones. Walker gave me two hours of his time on the phone and another hour in person before and after his show at L’Astral. Say what you want – reading about the history of The Blues and talking face-to-face about it; two very different things. I was blessed for two evenings!

Read the interview here!

4. Gowan- Keyboardist / singer Solo and with Styx

Lawrence Gowan donated an hour and a half of his time to speak of everything from his beginnings in music to his ( then ) upcoming show with Styx. A very intelligent guy with opinions which make you go hmmmm …

Read the interview here!

3.  Wanda Jackson – Queen of Rockabilly

Not everday one gets to speak with one of Elvis Presley old girlfriends. Not everyday you get to speak with a lady who toured with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash … Need I say more? I spoke with Wanda on the phone for an hour and again for another half hour at her show as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Read the interview here!

2. Rod Argent – Keyboardist with The Zombies and Argent

Rod Argent spoke with me for an hour to promote a new Zombies’ album! That’s right and he was so pleased and appreciative that I took the time to speak with him about it. Very insightful conversation of the old days and the history of The Zombies. The Zombies were part of the British invasion. Need I say more …?

Read the interview here!

1. Buddy Guy – Blues Guitarist

My conversation with Buddy Guy was limited to ten minutes on the phone by his publicist. In that ten minutes –  Guy spoke of his new book and how important it is for everyone to know the truth about the Blues. Mr. Guy invited me backstage before his show where I was fortunate to spend  forty-five minutes once more – talking about The Blues. Mr. Guy promised me a glass of wine on the phone and preceded to give me heck when I did not have one in my hand upon our meeting. A legend and a class act …

Read the interview here!

Many, many thanks to all the musicians I spoke to over the past year! I have learned so much from you guys and looking forward to many more!

Please scroll through the archive section to read interviews with so many talented people!

Happy New Year!

John Lennon in Montreal? Yes and No …

Marcus Cahill was born far from Liverpool. It did not matter …

” My Father was a guitar player and a Beatle fan.” Says Marcus Cahill (aka John Lennon).” To make me go to sleep as a child he would sing ‘Rocky Raccoon‘ or ‘ Yellow Submarine‘. He would do it every night. As I grew up – I would start playing his records. Because I was born after The Beatles broke up, I had all their albums. I did not have to wait for The White Album to come out or something like that …”

john lennon
Marcus Cahill

Cahill – from Dublin, Ireland, is not a fanatic.

He does not pretend to know everything about John Lennon or The Beatles. He does not know the names of their Moms, the places where they ate their dinner as young lads or what size pants they wear. What he does know – their music and the legacy is something which is amazing to him on so many levels.

“The music? This is where I am good …” Explains Marcus. ” I studied all the records, I know all the sniffles, the pauses and all the nuances. When kids were outside playing ball or something – I was in my room studying The Beatles’ records. I started at around five years of age. It was not just Lennon or the Beatles, I knew the complete ‘Band On the Run‘ record when I was five. All of McCartney‘s solos, George’s and Ringo’s.”

Marcus wants people to know, especially the true Beatles’ fans – he IS NOT John Lennon and he is not pretending to take his place. Normally, most people he meets, accept him for what he does yet there was one occasion when ‘a fan’ took exception to Cahill’s portrayal of the dead Beatle …

Marcus explains ….

” I was at The Cavern and I had just finished playing a set … I went outside and this huge guy, about six- foot -five comes up to me … WHO do you think you are? He says … You think you are John Lennon? You are messing with history …! I thought I was dead! I mean this guy really wanted to beat me up! Thankfully – I managed to calm him down and we had an ale together … what a fright that was …!”


Imagine; The John Lennon Tribute – is a combination of the Beatles’ catalog and Lennon’s. Each half of the show, divided up as such. A compliment to both Cahill and Producer Richard Beaucage. The pair were careful not to become ‘just another Beatles tribute band’ …

” We are doing a few songs off of ‘Double Fantasy‘” says Cahill. ” The first half – we are careful to not do all the great Beatles’ songs because Lennon’s catalog does not compare. We do not want people to be let down in the second half although if you know John’s songs – it is hard to be let down. ”

He continues.

“We also have great images which will be projected around the Theater during the show. The cool thing is – I have had a lot more time to rehearse than John did. It is something I am proud to do so well. Fans will not be disappointed!”

Marcus Cahill plays all instruments. Not at once on stage, but he plays guitar and piano during the show. The first song of the first set ( a surprise), will kick off the show in the right way. A memorable moment which will set the mood for the evening’s entertainment. It’s a Beatles’ song that Lennon sings and wrote the lyrics for. Combined with Cahill’s uncanny resemblance and an eerily Lennon-esque voice – Marcus will make believers out of everyone.

Far from Liverpool …

The show takes place at The Rialto Theater on Oct. 11th.

Imagine the fun …

Visit the Rialto Theater for tickets and details

Tune in to k103.7fm on Friday @ 5:15pm as Sean McKeough and I will have two tickets to give away!

Joe Louis Walker Knows The Blues! Part One

Joe Louis Walker could have easily ended up like several of his friends …


Passed on to that musical graveyard in the sky. A place which houses so many of not only his contemporaries – some of his closest pals. Jimi Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield to name but two. Musicians who – according to Joe, were tempted by the excesses of the music business and youth.

JLW-Hellfire“No doubt about it …” States the sixty-four year old student of the Blues. ” If I had gained stardom and success when I was a younger man, I would not be speaking to you right now. People forget the fact that when I talk about guys like Mike, Jimi and Stevie – I lost my friends man. I lost people who were close to me. It is a painful thing to lose someone we love.”

For those keeping track at home – Mike is the legendary Mike Bloomfield. A man who Joe lived with for several years. A man whose demons would not allow him to grow up – or old. Bloomfield succumbed to a heroin overdose in 1981. An unfortunate ( or fortunate for Joe) event which momentarily displaced Walker’s career as one of the Blues’ most talented guitar players.

Walker departed  the Blues scene as quick as he had entered.

Enrolling in San Francisco State University, a place where Walker achieved degrees in Music and English. Truth be told – Walker enrolled in a classroom to further his education and to further his longevity …

“It was not so much Mike’s death ( that was part of it), it was to get away from the whole music business and what comes with it.” Says Joe. ” There’s a lot of dangerous stuff in there and it has destroyed many people. It is the type of business which can show a person’s real character. I always say – it’s not how you handle success, the times when you are on top. It is how you handle falling and starting again. That’s what shows true character.”

He continues.

” Look at Jimi ( Hendrix) … He was a gentle soul with so much character. If he had surrounded himself with the right people, people who cared about him – he would still be here. Jimi had such a gentle soul and that is one thing which people don’t realize about him. A general misconception is that his best songs are full of fire. The truth is Jimi’s strength was in writing ballads. That’s where his talent was and it is a shame that many people don’t get that. Of course – that’s the fault of the business side which pumped songs like ‘Foxy Lady‘ and ‘ Purple Haze‘”


Another guy whose reputation remains flawed is Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. A man ( along with Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts ) who Joe has forged a friendship with over the years. A guitar player who Walker believes is the only man in music who has stayed true to himself. A guitar play who throws no punches …

“Keith is one smart guy!” Explains Joe.” He is one of the most well read people in the business. One of the most well read people period. Have you seen the Stones’ shows when Keith does his part …?” Asks Walker. “The f*cking place goes nuts! Every time! You know why that is? Because people recognize who Keith is and what he has done. I mean that guy cannot lie. He lives and breathes music. He won’t lie about anything! You want the truth about Mick Jagger? Ask Keith. You want the truth about the Blues? Ask Keith. If you ask any musician from any type of music, a musician who really knows his stuff – they will tell you, their ain’t no Motherf*cker more true to music than Keith.”

He goes on …

” He (Keith) and the rest of the Stones could easily play a lot harder stuff. Keith has always been capable of playing leads – good leads. That’s the beauty of the Stones – they never put the instruments ahead of the songwriting. The songs were the most important element and still are. There is a reason why they have lasted fifty years. The Beatles – same thing. Their music is just as popular today as when they were ‘four brothers.’ The songs came first man ….”

Walker admits it is painful to watch The Beatles’ film; ‘Let it Be’. Joe thinks the lads from Liverpool were just becoming a great band when they went their separate ways. Directions which contained many factors including Lennon’s hatred of record companies and the music business.

Various - 1967” When you see them playing on the roof – their final concert …” Explains Walker. “You can see the smiles – the general happiness. Don’t forget, for years they did not play live and I think they lost the joy that comes from that. On the roof, they gained that back. John and the rest of the boys were supposedly talking about doing another gig after that. Unfortunately it did not happen. Imagine where they would have gone.”

Joe concludes it was all about the simplicity. Especially for John Lennon

“Look at his last album …( Double Fantasy)” Says Walker. “Three and four chords. Take away the production and that’s what it is. That’s what is always was with The Beatles. Simple. A lot of reason for their success was their success in the studio. Nobody mastered the studio like the Beatles and a lot of that goes to the Producer (George Martin). The Stones and The Beatles kept it simple …”

Walker also laughs when he hears young guys today ( musicians) complain of little details. Details that himself and guys like B.B. King and Buddy Guy – did not even have to deal with …

” Young bands today will get on stage and complain they cannot hear their monitors. Are you f*ckin’ joking …?” He laughs. ” The Beatles played at Shea Stadium without any monitors. They couldn’t hear a damn thing! Anything! The Stones – same thing at the Cow Palace in my hometown ( San Francisco). You can’t hear the monitors …? Baby – that’s the least of your problems …..”

Please stay tuned for Part Two

Joe Louis Walker is performing at L’Astral in Montreal on Friday night

Click here for show times and ticket information!

Visit Joe’s Site here!

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The Rialto Theater – Upcoming Events


dfYUK YUK’S CABARET: Renowned Canadian comic, Dave (Kids in the Hall) Foley headlines the inaugural week of Montreal’s newest stand-up comedy club. English shows Thursday through Saturday (2 on Sat.) with an all-French line-up every Sunday. $25. Doors open at 7pm; show time 8pm. Saturday shows at 8 & 10:30pm.514-770-7773 or http://www.ticketpro.ca


Oct. 5 – CUBAMANOS: From Manzanillo, the cradle of Cuban music, comes a new, high-octane 16-member group, including dancers, specializing in Rumba and Salsa. With authentic instruments, vocals reminiscent of Celia Cruz,
and contagious energy, it’s the best night out in town. Dinner show or show only available. Dinner at 6:30pm; show
time 8pm. Video sample. Various ticket prices: 514-770-7773 or http://www.ticketpro.ca.


Oct. 7 & 8 – MASTER CLASSES with MIA MICHALES: The Emmy award-winning 300.michaels.mia.lc.110609choreographer who has worked with Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Prince, Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil and more, returns to Montreal to give two classes:
Intermediate/Advanced Oct. 7th at 6:30pm and Pre-professional/Professional Oct. 8 at 10am. Dancers $40/class.
Observers $15/class. Video sample. 514-770-7773 or http://www.ticketpro.ca.

Oct. 13 – OPERA TANGO & GRAND BAL: Quebec composer, Denis Plante, brings Argentinian J.L. Borges’ story, The Forbidden Library, to life in a tango opera. Jutra-winner, Sébastien Ricard, plays 7 characters to music by Tango
Boréal (Denis Plante on bandonéon, David Jacques on guitar and Ian Simpson on bass). Opera at 7pm. Introductory
Tango lesson 8:15pm. Tango Ball with open dance floor & featuring guest exhibitions and previews of upcoming
Tango shows at 9pm. Video sample. Various ticket prices: 514-770-7773 or http://www.ticketpro.ca.


Oct. 10 – CLAUDETTE DION SINGS PIAF: Claudette Dion, sister of celebrated Celine, along with four musicians and two singers, pays tribute to the great Edith Piaf on the 50th anniversary of her demise. Jean Sebastien Lavoie is the
featured guest for selected duets. Dinner show or show only available. Dinner at 6pm; show time 8pm.

ticket prices: 514-770-7773 or http://www.ticketpro.ca.


2Marcus Cahill revisits the 60’s and 70’s through the music and life of the iconic
singer-songwriter, John Lennon, performing everybody’s favorite Beatles and Lennon hits. Dinner show or show
only available.

Dinner at 6:30 pm; show time 8:30pm. Various ticket prices: 514-770-7773

Drum Wars; The Beat Goes On …

Seriously …

When is the last time you heard the Flintstones theme played out with drums alone? For that matter, has anyone ever performed the iconic song with percussion alone?


Vinny Appice, drummer for John Lennon, Derringer, Black Sabbath and Dio, along with his older brother Carmine (Vaniila Fudge, Cactus, Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne), ventured into the land of Bedrock last night as the drum playing duo took part in their ‘Drum Wars’.

Part clinic, part soloing, part vaudeville and all heavy metal rock  n roll.  Their show – not for the faint of heart ..


“Sure I’ve been to Montreal many times…” Says Carmine. ” I was here first in 1969 with Vanilla Fudge. We were busted in our hotel room after the show for possessing certain substances. Back in those days, taboos were not broken. The cops were still out to get us.”

Good thing Carmine was not ‘put away’. The Brooklyn, N.Y native went on to co – write one of the biggest songs ( commercially ) for both the seventies and Rod Stewart’s career. ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy‘, was number one for four straight weeks practically all over the world and has sold million of records ( most of all proceeds of the song have gone to charity).

imageI was Rod’s drummer and I came up with a riff and Rod liked it.” Explains the elder Appice ” We sat down and worked on it and eventually came up with the song as everyone knows it. Everyone at that time was dipping into ‘Disco’ music. Because of the success of Saturday Night Fever and The Bee Gees, us rock guys thought our time was over. Rod was pretty smart coming up with that song at that time. It allowed us to ride the wave until it collapsed…”

Drum Wars is a rare event.

The brothers take their repertoire and commence taking turns individually and as a duo – pounding those songs without mercy into a mostly head banging audience. A group of metal heads consisting of all ages.


‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ was performed with a metal twist. No disco, no Studio 54 here. The sole recognizable ingredient – the sing along chorus and preceding ‘ah ah ah ah ah ah … ‘

Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ – an upbeat version complete with Ronnie’s symbolic devilish hand – gesturing, complimented correctly with Osbourne’s ‘Bark at the Moon’ and of course – the monstrously successful; ‘Crazy Train’.

In between, the brothers, who arrived on stage with introductions reserved for wrestlers on a WWF card, taunted and provoked each other as sibling rivalries will.


The entire production carried out as if some spaced out studio executive decided to join The Banana Splitz with The Sopranos and create a reality concert in lieu of a show.

Seriously …?

Drum Wars is off to Ottawa following a Toronto and Montreal stopover. Carmine is off to LA for Andy Johns’ funeral, a man who Carmine worked with during his time with Stewart and a man who both the Appice brothers hold in high esteem.

“It is very sad.” Says Carmine. ” He was a brilliant man in the studio. All you have to do is look at the bands he worked with. He was highly sought out.”

Carmine will also be performing, aside from Drum Wars, with his two original groups; a reformed Cactus and Vanilla Fudge.

Vinny, aside from Drum Wars, will be touring with his new band Kill Devil Hill.

Vinny Appice; All in the Family – Part Two

Meeting and playing with John Lennon did not open doors for Vinny Appice.

“Not really …” Says Vinny from his home in California. ” It was more of being in the right place at the right time. Rick Derringer heard my tapes from the studio and liked what he heard. The John Lennon thing was great but it was just something I did.”


Vinny played with the group Axis previous to Derringer and that is the music the legendary American guitarist heard. ” Axis and I were in in Shreveport, Louisiana when we hooked up with Derringer. Danny Johnson and I joined his band for three albums before we returned and re-joined Axis. One day – I received a call from Black Sabbath’s tour manager. Hey! He says …  we are looking for a drummer! You interested? ”

Vinny flew down and met Tony Iommi, who just happened to have a couple of Axis albums under his arm. The pair of Heavy Metal enthusiasts hit it off and Appice auditioned for a place in the legendary rock band.

“We all hit it off …” Says Vinny.”I was younger than the guys. I was intimidated but I just got on the drums, pounded it out and fell into a comfortable spot. They asked me to join and we all got along great. ”

Appice continues.

“The plan was for me to replace Ward until he regained his health. As we know now – Ward decided to not come back right away and I ended up staying longer than originally planned.”

Vinny toured with the band and played on ‘The Mob Rules’ – his first Sabbath album but not his last.


‘I got back with the boys ( Tony Iommi, Geezer Buttler, Ronnie James Dio) on 1992’s Dehumanizer album and again in Heaven and Hell. I was happy to play with Dio once more ( 2007) before his death. He got a lot of negative publicity because of his music ‘beliefs’ yet there was not a kinder person off stage than Ronnie. It was a sad day when he passed.The thing that bothers me the most, is all the great music and experiences we could have had. ”

Appice’s appetite for destruction, drum-wise, began early.

” I always liked heavy music.” Says Appice. “Even when I was young. Carmine was more into feel and groove. He taught me a lot but I just loved to pound the skins …”

These days, aside from his Drum Wars with his older brother – Vinny has a couple of projects ‘on the go’.


” I got a new band called Kill Devil Hill. It includes Rex Brown from Pantera. We did one album and a couple of tours – we opened up for Alice Cooper. Now we are recording album two  and it looks like it’s going to be a killer album. We’ll get that wrapped up and do some more touring. I also got the original Dio band back together with Vivian Campbell on guitar and  Marty Friedman is going to sing his ass off! . We have a  festival in Europe in August and we will play Ronnie’s music for him.”

Vinny and Carmine Appice will be in Montreal on May 9th for their drum wars. In case Carmine is unfamiliar – how about this resume?

First, Carmine Appice rose to fame as the drummer with the 1960s psychedelic band Vanilla Fudge. He then moved on to form  Cactus before landing with Jeff Beck in the power trio Beck, Bogert & Appice Rod Stewart‘s backing band came calling in 1977, and Carmine co-wrote songs such as “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and “Young Turks“.

poster_01b.jpg“Looking forward to the show in Montreal.” Says Vinny. “After the show we do a meet and greet, sign things and I hope that everyone comes down. It’s a lot of fun …”

If  meeting John Lennon did not open doors, Appice has made sure they have stayed open over the years …




Vinny Appice; All in the Family; Part One

“I was always banging on things …” Admits legendary drummer Vinny Appice.

” I started at around ten years of age.  My brother Carmine, who is eleven years older than me – showed me some things but he was, at that point,  always on the road. I took lessons from the same guy that taught him.”


Vinny and Carmine Appice are drum playing brothers from Brooklyn, New York. There may have been a few years between them yet their paths in life collided with rock star status. Lately, the pair have collided in the same room as they travel around with their Drum Wars / Clinics. Something, says Vinny, that is both fun and competitive …

” We started to do drum clinics together but that turned into drum duets. Then we realized that was not enough and we wanted to play. That led into introducing music into our show and a tour. We decided to play four – five songs from my history and the same from Carmine’s. We do Dio and Sabbath from my repertoire and Ozzy, Cactus and Rod Stewart from Carmine’s past. We play eleven or so songs, then a duet.  You don’t usually see two drummers, so it is really exciting.”


Vinny – according to Vinny, plays louder and faster than Carmine and his brother plays with more feel. There are things Vinny does that Carmine  does  not do and the same the other way. There is also a lot of comedy involved – which makes for a great night of entertainment.

” If there are musicians in town that we know, like Rick Derringer or something, we get them on stage.” Says Vinny. ” It can turn into something real cool.”

What is really cool is what happened to Vinny when he was sixteen years old. Something that very few drummers can claim fame to…

vinny1“What happened was that I ended up playing in a band in 1975 in New York. The guitar player knew Jimmy Lovine, the producer, and he brought us into his studio where he worked to rehearse. Him and Roy Cicala ended up liking us and gave us a management deal and a room in The Record Plant Studio*  to rehearse. ”

The Record Plant Studio, a place where Aerosmith recorded ‘Get Your Wings in 1974, was the place where Lovine  showed up one day looking for guys to do hand-claps for a couple of  fellows that were rehearsing nearby. Two guys that were … somewhat ‘famous’.

” Jimmy said he was looking for about nine guys to add some sound for Elton John and John Lennon who were working in another room. It was like ‘wow’ – there’s John Lennon! We did not get to meet him then but a couple of days later, he heard our band playing and asked who we were. Then he started coming up and hanging out with us. We were playing pool and everything. I ended up doing a few gigs with him but at that time he was producing Yoko’s song or album. It was pretty cool for a kid like me.  Something I won’t forget …!”

Another thing the younger Appice does not lose from his memory are the guys who influenced him growing up. Guys aside from his older brother Carmine who was and is – a huge influence …

Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Coghland were the main guys.” Says Vinny. ” Really – those are the guys who I studied to death!”

Following his ‘stint’ with John Lennon, Appice joined forces with Rick Derringer. A guitar player who Vinny had the opportunity to play with on three albums. ‘Derringer’ in 1976, ‘Derringer – Sweet’ in 1977 and ‘Derringer – Live‘ in the same year.


Appice then joined the band Axis and followed that up on Ray Gomez’ disc – ‘Volume’ in 1980. Then, the fun started …

” I met Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. He had heard me play and asked who I was. Someone told him that I was Carmine’s younger brother and he asked me if I wanted to play with Sabbath.

“Well … ya ….!”

Stay tuned for Part Two!

A Conversation with Chloe Charles …

Ontario – born singer, song-writer and poet Chloe Charles is related to Julian Lennon.


Her Father, John Charles, married Cynthia Lennon ( Julian’s Mom) when Chloe was fifteen years of age. Julian – who was good friends with Chloe’s Dad, introduced his Mom to the elder Charles. Chloe was pleasantly surprised when the couple announced their marriage plans. A ceremony which took place in Toronto.

Chloe Charles, because of the Lennon connection, is asked all the time about being the stepsister to Julian – son of ex-Beatle John.

“It really doesn’t bother me.” says Chloe from a restaurant on Queen street in downtown Toronto. ” I don’t tell people myself because I do not want people to feel I am not my own person. I am doing what I do on my own and my way.”

In Chloe’s case, her own way is very similar to her Mother. Chloe’s Mom is also a poet and a guitar player. Chloe grew up listening to her Mom and her Aunt singing and playing great tunes in the family living room.

chloe4” I was very shy as a child.” Admits Chloe. ” But you think I was shy? My Mom was ten times worse!” She laughs. ” My Mother is a fantastic singer  and poet. She has never been able to get over her shyness to be able to stand and play in front of people except family and close friends. She has written a few books also that – one day,  I will make sure are published.”

Chloe herself always knew what she wanted to do.  Music was in her mind from an early age. Before any ties were joined with the Lennon legacy.

“I always have written poetry and playing guitar was my sanctuary. It was kind of like Yoga …” She laughs. ” It was always a place to go mentally and spiritually to get away from things. It’s something I have always loved doing.”

Chloe’s parents divorced when she was just over a year old. Chloe and her Mom at one point lived with Chloe’s maternal Grandfather. A man by the name of John Richmond. Through this man ( who sadly passed away recently),  it is obvious from what side of the family Chloe’s artistic genes are strongest. Richmond, among other things, is the man responsible for the huge murals on both Maple Leaf Gardens and The Air Canada Center in Toronto.


” My Grandfather was such an independent spirit. He published books and magazines and traveled all over the world following his intuition. He (previous to his death) was in Mexico learning and practicing the art of that country. He was a huge inspiration and I miss him dearly. Life is short. We must appreciate every moment …”

Following a short stint in school studying Psychology, Chloe returned to music and realized it is what she’s supposed to be doing. Chloe’s Father was very supportive and gave her the opportunity to reflect on things following her exodus from school.

” I was introduced to and pushed ( in a  nice way) into the black genre of music. I was singing R and B, Soul – that type of thing. It bothered me to sing other people’s music so I decided while in Germany to set a goal for myself. I was not returning to Canada without twelve songs written!”

That was in 2005-06. Chloe did write those twelve songs yet none  are on her debut album. A disc which will be released on the 13th of February in North America. An album titled; Break the Balance.

“It has been released in Europe and I am returning to Germany to continue touring shortly after the CD launch party in Toronto.” Says Chloe. ” Right now, there are no dates set in Canada yet I believe I will be playing in Quebec and Ontario somewhere around June.”

‘Break the Balance’ is an album which carries the messages of Chloe’s psyche. Songs on the album  which deal with things that – according to Chloe; most people cannot deal with …


” People are afraid to deal with certain truths. They cannot handle looking inside for fear of what they may find. This album deals with things from the past few years of my life. There are very dark and depressing songs on this album and a year from now – I will understand them better. I will be able to look back and see clearly what was going on in my conscience at the time …”

‘Break the Balance’ was put together in under a year although the whole process of producing and the business end – put the launch date further back. It has been released in Europe and Chloe is so happy with her ‘guys’ overseas.

chloe71-450x278” I have toured Germany for almost two years non – stop. I love it there and it shows the difference between North American and European mindsets. Over there, if the crowd likes a song or an artist – they just like it! Here, people will listen and turn to their friends and ask ” Do you like it? I like it – do you like?” Society here is so much about acceptance. In Europe they are more free.”

Chloe loves Canada and North America. She also loves all her friends – most of whom either play on the album or contributed with arrangements. Chloe’s favorite song on the disc is ‘My Child’. It is a song written with her Mother in mind. The type of song which instills the feeling of her Mom singing a Lullaby to a young Chloe.

” I was touring in Milan, Italy …” Explains Charles. ” I was having a rough time and called my Mom. I spoke to her for what was probably way too long yet she comforted me. “My Child’ came from that conversation.”

Another tune which ( if she had to choose another favorite song from the cd) is fond to her is ‘ Refrain from Fire’. A song about ‘wanting something you should not’. A lyrical and musical odyssey of ‘trying to keep away from dangerous places’.

Julian and Cynthia Lennon
Julian and Cynthia Lennon

“If I had to say what message I am sending out with this album through my words and music – it is simple. To be different …! Not try to be someone who you are not! ”

Even if your Step-mom is Cynthia Lennon. A very kind, wise and loving big sister …

Even if every once in a while you get together with Julian Lennon and NOT talk about anything to do with music


Top Ten Christmas Songs

There are a lot of great Christmas songs. Whatever floats your boat …

Here are mine! Merry Christmas !

Father Christmas   The Kinks

Run Rudolph Run   Chuck Berry

Merry Xmas Baby   Bruce Springsteen

Rockin Around the Christmas Tree   Brenda Lee

Happy Christmas (War is Over)     John Lennon

The Christmas Blues  Bob Dylan

Merry Christmas ( I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)  The Ramones

All I Want Styx

Please Come Home for Christmas   The Eagles

Christmas Blues   Canned Heat


Cd Review – Colin James; Fifteen

Colin James is … Colin James.


Older, maybe a bit wiser. He remains – a great blues guitarist. He remains – Canada’s great blues guitarist.

His latest album is a pleasure to listen to.

There are some discs ( face it – most discs) which contain great tracks along with annoying ones thrown Into the mix. Not James’ latest title; Fifteen.


The entire project is non threatening. Commencing with the first track – ‘ Sweets Gone Sour’. It’s a love song hidden in a tune about bees. Apparently – James heard a story of cell phone signals messing up bees’ signals and the bees are dying because of it. The music is standard blues fare a la James and it is the second collaboration with Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason fame. The song introduces the listener to James and what is to come.

‘I’m Diggin’ rocks. James’ guitar has a definate edge on this track. Its as if the B.C native is using the power and experience of his note playing to ‘dig for not only a woman’s love but the listeners as well. Colin is so talented, it is easy to forget how talented he is. A genuine rocker which should be a mainstay on rock stations everywhere.

‘Fool for You’ is the CDs first ballad. Its a throwback to a late eighties – early nineties sound. A slow blues riff maintains a voice which has aged gracefully. Colin is Canada’s musical answer to MicheaI J Fox – the two remain youthful in appearance. On this track James remains youthful vocally with a slight raspy annotation. Play it again Sam er … I mean Colin. A nice little Samba shuffle makes it easier to do so.

‘Shed a little light’ is as sweet as song anyone can find on the airwaves in this day and age. A sweet song with piercing guitar notes. It is a tune written by Foy Vance – an Irishman who spent some time living in the states before returning to his country. Filled with gospel – induced sounds, James’voice punctuates a melody which any music professor would be proud of …


The next song is the first collaboration with Gordie Johnson. Its a shame these guys have not gotten together before. A hard edge rockin’ tune which delivers a constant ‘slap in the face’ riff throughout the song. It brings it back to a time when rock, blues and r and b were the only game in town.

‘Love for life’ is a ballad, a country-ish ballad. The type of song which makes James’ truly appear like a teenager. Close your eyes, sit back and an eighteen year old kid who chummed with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Keith Richards appears serenading the listener to oblivion.

The following two tunes are covers. A pair of tunes written by two very different people. Alain Toussaint and John Lennon.

James was a big fan of Robert Palmer’s first few discs and this song; ‘Sneaking’ Sally Through the Alley’ was on one. It is a song most people have heard but do not know the title. Deep rooted in funky New Orleans’ style, James adds his distinctive trademark guitar to a song written on the walls of history.

Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ – is in hommage to the former member of the Beatles and the leader of the Plastic Ono Band. The track remains true to the original with …that’s right. James’ guitar jumping in the drivers seat. Somewhere, Yoko is smiling …

‘I Finally Wrote a Song for You’ is frightening. Not because it is bad. It is scary because it is a time warp. A mid- eighties song with a beautiful chorus. The idea came to James when he was riding his bike. Did it have a banana seat Colin and if so – where can I get one? A nice ride …


‘No time to get there’ was recorded the same time as ‘Fool for You’. It’s obvious. The same feel grooves into the veins and dispels any rumours we are in the year 2012. The weakest track on the album – yet the best track on any up and coming blues artists’ disc.

One must wonder if The Black Crowes and the Rolling Stones were present during the recording of ‘Stone Faith’. The Crowes borrowed the Stones’ sound, the Stones borrowed Chuck Berry’s style among others and now, Mr. James borrows from them all on this track. The Stones have outlasted everyone and by channeling the iconic group – James may do the same. In Canada.

The best track on the album. ‘Oh Well’ transports all of James experience and adds a modern rock feel. Just a fantastic song to dance around the living room in underwear. No Risky business on this tune. Colin’s guitar is at it’s best and most provocative here.


‘Shoulder to Cry On’ ends the record wistfully. Inspired by Ron Sexmith , the albums’ prominent collaborator, the ballad takes the listener to a nice land where acoustic and classical guitars rule the meadow. Romantic and pure – a song which inspires a quick kiss by a garden gate …

Not a bad way for James to leave the audience.

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