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 ….


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) …



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.


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.


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.”


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.


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 !



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

Visit James St Laurent Here !



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. 


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


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 !



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.


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 !



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 !


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 !

Montreal is a great music city cropped-logo-e1470902389800.jpg


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 !



Jason Rockman is Not ‘Horse’ – Slaves on Dope’s Latest Album Feat. Lee-La Baum of The Damn Truth

If you enjoy Rock music in Montreal – Jason Rockman is your man !


Aside from his duties at Chom – Fm , Jason is also the front man in the local band-done-good, Slaves On Dope.

Twenty-three years ago the band was  formed and shortly after, signed by Sharon Osbourne to Ozzy’s record label. It’s been an up and down career culminating with what is probably

Slaves on Dope’s finest album. 



Please listen below as Jason talks about the history of his band and also the making of the new disc.

Jason? What’s Up?


Visit Slaves on Dope Here !


Visit The League of Rock Here!





Visit Evenko Here !  


Visit The Hi – Fins Here !



Next Week on Rick Keene Music Scene

Looking for stuff to do ….?

Angel Forrest has a CD launch at Bistro a Jo Jo tonight. Monkey Junk are playing at L’Astral. John Beaudine is at The House of Jazz tomorrow night and Monday. Just a couple of things to hear in the next couple of days.

Please listen to a couple of tracks from some of these people as well as a few others I will be interviewing next week. Should be cool.

Thanks for stopping by …talk soon!

Photo Courtesy Richard Burnett
Photo Courtesy Richard Burnett


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.

Top Ten Interviews of 2012

Next up on my list – two people who helped enormously in putting Canada on the map musically …

4. Sass Jordan

I spoke with Sass, not once – twice for a couple of hours each time. She is warm, sweet, funny and tough. A trooper who helped pave the wave for Canadian rockers in the States …


3. Frank Marino

Frank Marino was a guitar God before the phrase became fashionable. He spoke to me generously and from the hip. No b.s from Frank – not now, not ever! A great teller of the truth within the music business …


Sass Jordan; Transplanted Montreal Girl Does Good – Part Three

Sass Jordan does not sit still …

“I just got back from Las Vegas …” She says. ” I was helping out Jake. E. Lee on his new album. He is such a fantastic player who has massive legions of rabid fans! It was an honor to sing with him!”

Who is Jake E. Lee? Sass explains…

Jake E. Lee

” Jake was in a band in the late eighties called Badlands and is probably most known for playing guitar on Ozzy Osbourne’s very successful ‘Bark at the Moon’ album. He replaced Randy Rhoads and was on two albums with Ozzy. I had such a good time working with him. Robin Zander from Cheap Trick is doing a song and the producers are Ron Mancuso and Kevin Churko . It will be a great album when it is finished as each song will designate a different singer.”

Sass is currently preparing to leave for L.A for the album launch of her latest project with S.U.N ( Something Unto Nothing). Whitesnake’s drummer and bassist Brian Tichy and Michael Devin join Sass along with Tommy Stewart from Godsmack as they officially launch their c.d on the 20th of November. They are playing at the Key Club and Jordan is hoping for the best …


“We have done two live shows so far …” Says Sass. ” The Viper Room. and another club called Vamp in Los Angeles.The reception we received was very good considering it’s a new band and no-one is aware of us. One gig, there were fifty people but you have to start somewhere …”

Jordan hooked up with Brian Tichy following a long period of not seeing one another. Tichy was the drummer on Jordan’s album Rats – way back in 1994. Sass admits it was long overdue …

“We had a connection even back then and always said we should do a record. We ran into each other in 2011and said – ‘Let’s do it!”


They recruited the other members and off to the desert in New Mexico they went. The video for the song ‘Nomad’ was filmed in a similar setting in California. Jordan loves the openness of such places.

“It is such s freeing experience. It does something to your soul being out there – alone with nature. It makes you write and come up with ideas from a very pure place.”

The foursome of musicians believe they have recreated a sound from the early 1970’s and purposely avoided music which was ‘trendy’. For Jordan – easy to do since bands like Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones were her favourites growing up in Montreal.


“Obviously – we (S.U.N ) would love to embark on a huge tour playing to as many people as possible. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. People have to like us first and then instill a demand for us. It is up to agents and promoters where we go … not us.”

At forty – nine years young, Jordan does not get nervous before a crowd and really – never did. She does admit that every once in a while, anxiety does get the better of her and she does not know why …

“I guess I am no different than anyone else.”She says.” Everyone suffers from panic attacks once in a while. You just go with the flow and ride it out …!”

It’s hard to believe anything would make Jordan nervous. She has worn many different ‘masks’ and performed on a variety of different stages since her first album in 1988. It’s been a long journey since leaving Montreal in 1992.


She has released seven solo albums and charted as high as #9 with the song ‘High Road Easy’ in 1994. She was a judge on Canadian Idol from 2003-09, she sang in front of 500,000 people at the S.A.R.S concert in Toronto in 2003 and she has opened for or played with everyone from Cheap Trick to Aerosmith.

Her songs have also been featured on numerous television shows, including Melrose Place, Party Of Five, Baywatch and Knightrider.

That’s just her singing career …

Sass starred in a Broadway play titled Just Janis. It was a tribute to the life of Janis Joplin and Jordan played the singer as the world knew her. Jordan had the vocal capability to pull it off yet it almost ruined her vocal chords.

“I had to sing every night for six nights a week. It was very hard on my voice.” Explains Sass. “Luckily – I hooked up with a vocal coach by the name of Don Lawrence. I was referred to him by Dimo Safari – a photographer who works with the Stones and U2. He was able to train me to sing in a way which not only allowed me to sing longer – he also made me a better singer in the long run. I am lucky to have got to know him.”

Jordan had also dipped info the acting world. She made guest appearances on NBC ‘s television show Sisters and starred in Winnipeg’s version of The Vagina Monologues.

In 2010, while performing for the Canadian troops in Alert, Nunavut – Sass was asked if she wanted to be an honorary Colonel in the Canadian Air Force.


Normally, RCAF honorary colonels were ceremonial titles handed out to retired Canadian military officers to foster “esprit de corps” within the unit. Now, the titles are handed out to people in the position to increase the exposure of what the military does.

Sass recalls her response when the title was offered to her …

“I said sure —what is an honorary colonel?”


Stay tuned for part four …

Top Ten Duets You Will Never See

It seems nowadays – everyone does a duet together …


From Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett to Carlos Santana and Rob ( whatever happened to him?) Thomas. Yes – the unlikeliest of pairs unite.

Was it Michael Jackson who started the trend when he hooked up with ex- Beatle Paul McCartney to sing ‘ Say, Say , Say‘? Or – maybe it was Stevie Wonder who commenced the duet trend when he and McCartney sang ‘ Ebony and Ivory’.

Hmm … McCartney’s name comes up alot!


Regardless, there are certain people in the world of musical notes who will never hook up. No matter the amount of money offered.

They are …

10. Janet Jackson and Bob Dylan.

9. Madonna and ANYONE under fifty!

8. Sting and David Cassidy

7. (Insert name here) and David Cassidy

6. Adele and Billy Idol

5. Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber

4. Katie Perry and Iggy Pop

3. ( Insert name here) and Iggy Pop

2. David Lee Roth and Cher

And the number one duet you will never see or hear ….?

1. Taylor Swift and Marilyn Manson!


Slaves on Dope; ROUND TWO

What would you think if you saw a dude in line at Starbucks. His arms are filled with tattoos and he has a shaved head.

Assume he is a skinhead – type guy with an attitude? Smile politely and keep a distance due to your ignorance?

Many would …

How bad would you feel once you discovered the individual was a DJ on CHOM? How discusted would you feel inside if you found the fellow in front of you was on a National news program once a week? Then, if that was not enough – a discovery was made the man in question was part of a band that was the first to be signed by Ozzy Osbourne‘ s record label?

Go to the corner now! Come out in five minutes after you feel shame …

Meet Jason Rockman. Co – founder of the Band; Slaves on Dope.


Along with Avrum Nadigel and Kevin Jardine, Slaves on Dope started in 1993 and won the CHOM L’espirit contest shortly thereafter. A victory which opened doors for music which was seeking a home …

Slaves on Dope were part of a new genre of music called NU Metal. A style which was not ‘in style’ in the city of Montreal at that time. Nu Metal is closely related to Rapcore – a genre of music which evolved from punk and not metal as most believe. Bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit are considered to be leaders in the Nu Metal genre.

In 1995 – original drummer and bass player Patrick Francis and Lenny Vartanian left the band. New guys Frank Salvaggio (bass) and Robert Urbani (drums) joined Jason and Kevin in a heavier version of Slaves on Dope. A version which ended up in L.A.


Salvaggio and Urbani took off on a six day trek to get the band’s name out there. Says Rockman; ” Following almost a year of playing out there and showcasing our music, one day we get a call from Sharon Osbourne asking us if we could meet. We became the first band to sign with Ozzy’ s record label – Divine Productions in 2000.”

That year was busy for the band. A full length album titled ‘ Inches from the Mainline’ was released. It went on to sell 70,000 albums and being a part of Ozzfest was a big reason for that.


” My parents came to the show to watch us play.” Says Jason. ” Sharon Osbourne brought them into her private box to watch the show. Instead of being in the crowd, they were just off the right of the stage. It was pretty awesome!”

The next four years was filled with touring and craziness. Through all that – Rockman stayed sober. Something he is proud to say has been for twenty years now.

In 2004, shortly following the release of the band’s third album ‘Metafour and amid a three month tour of Europe -Rockman decided he had enough. He left the band he helped create to fulfill his family duties.

His girlfriend was three months pregnant at the time and Rockman’ s sense of duty took over.

” I just did not feel right being on the road. I wanted to be there – hands on!”

Jason returned to Montreal and worked for a transport company as well as the Sunglass Hut while his children grew. His relationship ended but his loyalty to his two children remained. The Montreal native who grew up listening to Zeppelin, the Stones and Jane’s Addiction – got a job working for CHOM, the very station which helped Slaves on Dope get discovered in the early nineties. He credits longtime DJ Tootall and his current wife for guiding him along.

Slaves on Dope returned to Jason’s itinerary in 2009 thanks to Patrick Charles.The Virgin announcer took Rockman’s demo and re- introduced Montreal to the band through a five song EP. Rockman and longtime partner -in- music Jardine were back along with new members; Sebastien Ducap ( Bass ) and Peter Tzaferis ( drums) .


Songwriting partner Jardine had been running his studio since Slaves on Dope disbanded. That five year gap proved to be a blessing in disguise. Being back together displayed a maturity that might have been missing in the past.

Says Rockman; ” I wrote the songs and in the past – if Kevin attempted to give advice or add something, I would have snapped his head off!” He laughs. ‘ Now – we write together.”

Slaves on Dope have just released their fourth album; ‘Over the Influence’ and are hitting the road for a mini – tour to promote their new seventeen songs along with an impressive back catalogue.

” My kids are more important than music. I’ll go on the road but not for long …!” Says Rockman as he and his mates prepare to hit the pavement for three weeks.


Apart from the album, Slaves on Dope have also recently released a digital – only ep titled ‘ Careless Coma’ and Rockman et al are looting through old concert footage to piece together a documentary.

Jason can be heard on Chom – FM every week MONDAY TO FRIDAY from 8pm til 12 am. He can also be seen every Friday at 3:20 pm on a CTV Toronto news program called ‘the blitz’ with Todd Van der Heyden. It is a pop culture panel discussion show.

Slaves on Dope can be seen and heard on their website along with MySpace and YouTube.

The next time you grab a coffee and see a guy with tatoos and a shaved head in line, you may want to ask for an autograph. After – all, how many guys do you know shook hands with Ozzy Osbourne?

Slaves on Dope – Discography

Studio Albums

One Good Turn Deserves Another (1998)
Inches from the Mainline (2000)
Metafour (2003)
Over the Influence (2012)


Sober (1994)
Klepto (1999)
Careless Coma (2011)

War Pigs , Black Sabbath Cover, appears on Japanese release of Nativity In Black II: A Tribute To Black Sabbath (2000)

Look What The Cat Dragged In , Poison Cover, appears on Show Me Your Hits: a Tribute to Poison (2000)

Go (Demo) (2002)

Drain Me (Demo) (2002)

All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) (2011)