Rick Keene Music Scene – Paying Homage to Eddie Van Halen.

There are guitar players and there are guitar players.

If I had to choose one Van Halen song. One tune which I recall as the first I heard from the original lineup. Runnin’ With The Devil, for me,  best exemplifies the sound of Van Halen and the distinct guitar playing of Eddie.

There are many bands with more hits and a greater creative catalogue. Once Roth left  – inconsistency was Van Halen’s middle name. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing; the lone rock in a sea of unflattering roll.

When Van Halen hit the scene – it was a shot of adrenaline to Rock n Roll. Eddie’s piercing riffs and solos reminded everyone how important an electric guitar was and could be. Chuck Berry made everyone want to play guitar. Jimi Hendrix made everyone want to play with a guitar. Eddie Van Halen made everyone want to do both and loud.

Without Eddie Van Halen – the entire 1980’s invasion of arena rock and hair bands would not exist. Roth’s look and sound, no doubt, very instrumental in the creation of a new Rock movement as was the entire package known as Van Halen.

Like Jagger without Richards. Daltrey without Townshend, Mercury without May and Billy Idol sans Steve Stevens … A Rock n Roll band is nothing without a distinct guitar leading the way. A canvas for a vocalist’s paintbrush.

Eddie’s energy was infectious. His talent matched by few. His appearance contradicting the evilness, the seduction of his six string weapon. Eddie unleashing a power over both friend and foe alike. A raw talent that left noone indifferent.

Rest in Peace Eddie Van Halen.

1955 – 2020

Marshall Chess Speaks About Chuck Berry’s Funeral

Special submission. 

Author not Rick Keene 

Legendary music producer Marshall Chess revealed to Billboard details of the late great Chuck Berry’s funereal. The father of rock and roll died on March 18 2017 and his funeral was held on April 9. Chess revealed that 800 people attended the funeral, including 200 members of Berry’s family, to pay tribute to one of music’s brightest stars.

Tributes came from a broad spectrum with Chess reporting that Congressman William Lacy Clay read a letter by former President Bill Clinton during the service. Berry had played at Clinton’s inauguration in 1993 and reelection celebrations. Gene Simmons of Kiss made an unscheduled speech at the funeral and teared up a few times during his own tribute. 

Marshall Chess recounted how he first heard one of Berry’s songs in the car with his father Leonard Chess, founder of Chess Records. According to Chess, his father was ecstatic that the number one white station in Chicago had just played “Maybellene”. Chess himself met Berry in 1963. He told the congregation that the week he met Berry was also the week that Berry would record “You Never Can Tell”, “No Particular Place to Go”, and “Nadine”. After that first meeting Marshall was assigned by his father to accompany Chuck Berry on the road where he got to know him well.

During his article for Billboard, Chess stated that he was disappointed that Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Eric Clapton didn’t make it to the funeral. Chess believes that “they owe Chuck everything”. While Richards didn’t make it to the funeral, he did compose a tribute in the music magazine Rolling Stone. In typical rock and roll fashion he started the article by recounting how Berry gave him a black eye after Berry caught him playing his guitar backstage. Richards noted that in the early years of the Rolling Stones they would frequently play Chuck Berry songs with “Around and Around” being a favorite. Richards also paid tribute to the influence Chess Records had on Berry, citing “when he was at Chess, he was playing at the best studio, with the right players, with Willie Dixon behind him.”

Chuck Berry’s influence on not just the music industry but popular culture as a whole cannot be underestimated. The godfather of rock and roll has influenced everything from films, noticeably Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, to online games dedicated to the Rock N’ Roll genre on slots platform Betfair. This influence has even spread to consoles with the PlayStation game Mafia II featuring two of Berry’s songs: “Nadine” and “No Particular Place to Go” on its soundtrack. Chances are that whatever rock and roll song you’ve heard over the years, it has a reference or melody that was either created or inspired by Berry. 

Speaking to Billboard, Marshall Chess also spoke of Chuck Berry’s kindness towards friends. The last story he told about Berry at the funeral was about the last time he saw the star, Chess revealed how he thanked Berry for changing his family’s life. Berry took his hands and said “don’t you know? It’s the same for me.”

Ladies and Gentlemen – The Rolling Stones in Quebec

Keith Richards can no longer play guitar like the Richards of old.

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Any Rolling Stones review post – coconut tree (shrub) incident must include this fact. Stones’ fans know it, newer fans and people seeing the band for the first time must be educated. A combination of arthritic fingers / memory loss and / or years of living dangerously have left Keef a ‘moonlight mile’ from his former self.

Why is this important information for a ‘Zip Code’ Tour that has generated rave reviews leading to the finale in Quebec City?

Believe it or not – The Stones were better when ‘the engine’ operated on all cylinders. Believe it or not – The Stones are currently better than bands half their age who are operating on all cylinders. The Stones are ‘ that good’ .

The 2015 touring Stones whose four members’ collective ages reach a high decibel of 282 years, put on quite the spectacle in Quebec City on Wednesday, July 15th on The Plains of Abraham as part of Le Festival d’ Ete . As part of history.

Setting an attendance record is one thing. Setting a record at their age – a tip of the ‘tongue’ for the boys who are commencing their 52nd year as a band ( Charlie Watts joined in 1963 and for the band, the official start of their career).

Several factors ( aside from the songs) make the Stones as popular as ever879bc02607d427cd8cc4740919adfd5d

Their legendary mystique continues to add more and more generations of fans with every tour. Everyone must see the Stones at least once and with Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles and Older Siblings passing the message along, a Stones’ show is always going to be filled with excitement. A sense of anticipation that no band can generate like The Rolling Stones.

Here’s the funny part.

That sense of danger. That increasing heartbeat. That insatiable desire to be fed raw unadulterated Rock n Roll has been with the Stones for fifty years. It was there on their first tour of America in 1964 and has festered in every show since. When The Stones are coming to a city, the urban buzz precedes and predates the concert by weeks. An uncanny sense of rebelliousness sets in because ‘the Stones fought the law and the Stones won’ – why cant we? Every city and every citizen welcomes the ‘pirates’ of music with open abandonment and for a couple of sinister weeks, generations have carte blanche to live vicariously through the Stones and their ‘satanic’ mentality. Generations create an invisible mutiny against their bosses, spouses and government.

That sense of ‘kicking authority in the teeth’ – front and center in 95,000 music fans’ fantasies on Wednesday night.

From the opening Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff, Jagger et al hooked the ‘virgin’ and seasoned punters. It’s one thing to tire of the tunes on disc but hearing it live makes it important once more. Hearing the ‘ancient art of weaving’ as Wood and Richards challenge one another within the structure of a song is unique and priceless. Weaving with open tuning is the Stones. Part Blues, part Country and all their own.

Charlie Watts’ Jazzy crisp snare and a nanosecond removed from Richards’ relentless rhythm is also the Stones. A sound once again unique and definitive of the Stones’ ragged musicianship.

Jagger’s unchallenged  talent of vocal mimicking. Blending Soul, Blues, Country, R and B and every style he has ever enjoyed into drawls and connotations which cannot be mimicked by anyone else.  The ultimate showman and the unchallenged front-man of Rock n Roll.

Together – an initiation into the Stones’ ‘club’. The entrance fee? Your soul …

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Everything is never rosy in a Stones’ show. Organized chaos has forever been their motto and the band can never be accused of choosing perfect set-lists. Lately, one or two songs are altered on any given evening. For a Stones’ fan – boring. For a new (er) recruit? Blissful. A ‘Beggar’s Banquet ‘ of sounds supplicated live.

What ‘Start Me Up’ does to open things, the sophomore song ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ could easily stop the excitement in it’s guitar strings. Never a great song live as  the song only allows Richards’ weaknesses to shine through. A glorified Berry riff void of it’s studio cousin’s charm. A rhythmic warm-up for the band – nothing more.

Then – things get interesting …A pair of songs written in the basement of a former Nazi headquarters in the South of France. 

‘All Down the Line’ and ‘Tumblin’ Dice’ from the Stones’ most complete album; Exile on Main Street. The real Stones start to emerge within the rawness of the former and the groove of the latter. Disjointed sloppiness gives way to the classic pocket of a Stones comfort. A feeling which ‘once upon a time’ gave title to their ‘Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World’ moniker. A title which in 2015 remains intact.

‘Street Fighting Man’ – the request song of the evening introduced in the past few tours via internet as a fan friendly ‘ keep up with the Jones’ gimmick, remains a no-frills Rock song. No ad- libs by Sir Mick. No flashy solos by the  ‘almost out of tune’ guitars. A relentless repetition of chords which increase intensity as the tune echos Jagger’s lyrics and Watts’ hard pounding metronome. The Stones have nothing to do but to play in a Rock n Roll band so why fight the simplicity of what any garage band does when their managers and record executives are looking away.

‘Wild Horses’, the only ballad of the evening, was shocking. With eyes closed, it was Mick in the 1960’s with Marianne Faithful on his arm.  His voice on the Plains of Abraham as fresh and crisp as a man half his age. The entire evening was proof of Jagger’s amazing vocals yet somehow, Wild Horses from the album Sticky Fingers was special. The song, on a cool Wednesday evening under the stars, was transformed to a turntable in front of 95,000 basement party guests. To steal a Pink Floyd title; the guests were ‘Comfortably Numb’ and the band became the evening’s dealers.

Throughout the Stones’ career, they have obtained legendary status based on their unmatched circus-like live shows. Over the years, a myth has spread that they have always been great musically on stage. To set the record straight, they can be the worse band one night and the best group the next. This is the legend of the Stones. The band that never acts or attempts to fit into preconceived ideology of how a band should act.

‘Bitch’ was the Stones at their worst on Wednesday night as the Sticky Fingers’ song defined sloppiness. Jagger’s vocals losing their way in choruses and the horn section while Wood and Richards fought to keep it all together. The tune sounded like a riff looking for a home on a Stones ‘ album but could not make the cut. A bootleg which demonstrated Richards’ 2015 weakness on the guitars and perhaps – proving former sax player ( deceased) Bobby Keys’ absence is profoundly missed by the band and his partner-in-crime Richards.

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‘Honky Tonk Woman’ came next and in 2015 – the song is a conundrum. An audience ‘guilty pleasure’ and the ultimate party -with-chicken-wire-around-the-band song. Richards’ can still perform his trademark riffs and the opening of ‘Honky Tonk’ makes the hairs on anyone’s neck take notice of the ‘gin soaked bar room Queen’ about to take the stage. Sadly – in recent years, the song has become too generic. Too clean for Rock n Roll’s original punks and their decadent fan base. It starts as a journey into a crack-house but quickly becomes a corporate reality show.

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Ladies and Gentlemn – the home run trot now begins ….

Commencing with the band introductions and a chance for fans to say thank you through applause, it is also the introduction of Keef’s opportunity to shine. The generic ‘two song’ showcasing of Rock’s most elegantly wasted human being.

‘Before They Make Me Run’ and ‘Happy’ took center stage on Wednesday evening amid cries of adulation, respect and pride. The prodigal son is alive and standing with cockroaches within earshot of Richards’ maniacal laugh.

Two songs which define Keef more than others. An insight into kicking his heroin habit and authority away. Happy’s ‘never kept a dollar past sunset’ and ‘ always took candies from strangers’ biographical lyrics frightening in their reality of a survivor’s ability to stand true. Riffs uniquely Keef-isms. Riffs as pleasant as they are unpleasant. Defining moments on display of the reason the Stones remain apart from every band. Once more – garage band stuff littered with oil (blood?) stained hands. Richards walking before he ran …

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In Quebec, ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Get Off of My Cloud’, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, ‘ ‘Cant You Hear Me Knocking’, Love is Strong’, ‘Fool to Cry’, ‘Angie’, Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Star Star’ were not played. Nor were some of the greatest songs in the past five decades displayed. Not many bands can leave the very songs which defined the decades of their success on the sound-check floor. Unless …

Midnight RamblerMiss YouGimme ShelterJumpin’ Jack FlashSympathy for the DevilBrown SugarYou Can’t Always Get What You Want and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction are part of the soundtrack of humanity for the past fifty years. In the words of Jagger; ‘people want to hear these songs live and we can’t displease our fans …’

If any song in the Stones’ arsenal proves undeniable they are the best of all time – it’s Midnight Rambler. No matter the decade, the stage or state of the band, Rambler combines everything into one epic story of the history of The Blues blending into modern day Rock. It allows a journey from Robert Johnson’s crossroads through Sonny Boy Williamson’s harmonica and into Muddy Waters’ Checkerboard Lounge.  It allows Richards to demonstrate no nonsense riffing and Jagger’s only ‘pure’ character to emerge from within his may personas. It allows an insight into why Mick and Keef met at the Dartford train station and to this day – remain on the same train. Rambler also unites the crowd into a mass of unsolicited focus. The demonic presence of the Stones and / or the demonic presence which watches over the Stones takes control. In every Stones concert since that fateful day in Altamont California, ‘Rambler’ means the Stones are getting serious.

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‘Miss You’ – the band’s biggest commercial hit, makes  the most demur sisters dance. A non fan dragged to a Stones show against their will starts to groove. Jagger, the original ‘prince of darkness’ struts his feminine / masculine self across and into the crowd like the piper he is. The wettest of rats will survive Jagger’s emotional rescue as Mick sets the tone for how people will behave. Like a magician in satin sheets, Jagger controls if, when and how the orgasms will play out. Rambler and Miss You – Michael Phillip Jagger’s wands of magic and manipulation.

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‘Gimme Shelter’ not only showcases Lisa Fisher’s vocal talents and enables her to get work outside of the Stones with ease, it is also a defining moment for many punters in attendance. No song within the Stones’ artillery belt ( Paint it Black a close second) represents the closeness of evil versus good. Richards’ opening ascending riff combined with Jagger’s warning of impending doom symbolic of every generation being ruled through fear. Consciously or unconsciously, the Stones created a timeless tune which hovers above any musical act with a sense of irony, realism and fear of the political monster that gives no shelter but promises safety. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and sadly society has not changed. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and gladly for the people in attendance, the Stones’ message has not changed.

The rest of a Stones show is gravy on top of a delicious piece of steak.

‘Flash’ and ‘Sympathy’ are covered in Brown Sugar. Each timeless ‘drink and shout’ party song belongs to someone in the crowd. Energetic songs with riffs unmatched. As pleasing to a seventy year old’s ears as to an eighteen year old. Sing-a-long choruses as simple as smoking a joint or sipping a hidden drink inside a tongue-adorned flask. It’s no genius behind the Stones’ most loved songs. It’s a relentless in-your-face sound which grabs the primal instincts and awakens the dormant demons. Masks are discarded and it’s a gas, gas, gas …

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In Quebec, the Stones delivered a two hour and fifteen minute show which would have been longer if the good folks of Le Festival d’Ete could / would have lifted the curfew. The final pair of songs, the encores, left everyone content. All smiles as the 90,000 plus left the Plains of Abraham anything but plain …

‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (sung with Le Chœur des Jeunes de Laval) was  a pleasure. Once more Jagger conducting his orchestra, the crowd and a timeless message. Witnessing Jagger alone on the catwalk with a noir backdrop and sporadic glimmerings of light is historic. The Stones and Jagger somehow have managed to grab the pulse of every sick aspect of society, all the hopes and dreams which never change and capture the imagination of anyone and any age. Under the stars in Quebec, Jagger and the Stones ‘tried’ and the fans got what they needed including ‘ satisfaction …’

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Satisfaction was sung in unison by 95,000 people to end the night. A remarkable thing. It was not sung for pleasure. It was not sung because the crowd could. It was sung with a forcefulness and conviction. It was a crowd, five generations of people and a Rock n Roll band agreeing on a simple fact of life. No matter how hard people try, satisfaction is never obtained.

Maybe one day – the Stones will be as satisfied as the 95,000 people who saw them for what may be the last time on such a grand stage.

Doubtful or the Stones would not have been in Quebec on Wednesday evening driving around the world tryin’ to meet some girl …

 

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Jarrett Lobley Project Click Here !
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Lee Rocker; Like Talkin’ to a Stray Cat !

Lee Rocker is quite aware from whence he came  …

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Commencing at the age of seventeen into the crazy world of Rock n Roll with his band; The Stray Cats – Lee never strayed far from his roots.

Now – over thirty years since The Stray Cats re -introduced Rockabilly into the mainstream, Rocker continues his love of what once was …simply …Rock n Roll …

Lee?

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Number One International Interview of 2014

Don Felder just finished a tour with Styx and Foreigner.

 

don2For the former member of The Eagles – that means a small pause then right back on the road doing what he loves. Playing guitar.

It has been a long and winding road for Felder, beginning with playing in a band with Stephen Stills and ending up many years later as the co – writer of one of the most famous songs in Rock history.

Please listen to my interview with this legendary performer. An insight into the present, the past and the future.

An insight into the Hotel California. An insight into the number one international interview of 2014.

Don?

 

 

 

 

 Please Visit Don Here


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A Very Merry Christmas with Gary Moffet and Laurie

On December 17th, 2014Gary Moffet and his dear friend and former band mate Laurie; joined myself and Sean McKeogh on k103.7fm.

It was an honor to have two of the cornerstones of Montreal music to not only play Christmas songs, to also discover some of the history of music in Montreal.

Merry Christmas everyone! Please listen below and enjoy …

Gary? Laurie?

 

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Bands for Baskets – Coming Faster Than Chevy Chase on a Sleigh!

Not everyone is okay at Christmas …

Some folks need love, some – need food.  Some folks need both.

That is where Bands for Baskets comes in …

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Dec. 7th at Calistoga Grill

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Music for the Needy in the West Island.

Be There or Be Square. It’s That Simple.

Please listen to a few tracks from some of the bands that will be playing to raise money for food baskets.

Please share the heck out of this!

Thank you.

Visit Bands for Baskets Here!

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John Fogerty Review – Montreal 2014

What’s with these old guys anyways?

th (2)First, their ‘throwback’ songs set the bar too high for every young musician to reach, then – as if matters were not worse for the next ‘Mick Jagger’ –  the old guys’ concerts are as high as the tunes.

John Fogerty, he of  Woodstock fame – played at The Bell Center last night. The year was 2014 not the year of our Lord ’69. Good thing music is timeless. Good thing Fogerty is also …

Following a very well put together biography on Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival on the big screen, the audience was well prepared. The young folks – schooled in  the importance of Fogerty. The older folks? Reminded. For those at Woodtsock? Perhaps  seeing and hearing Fogerty for the first time last night.

Yes – Woodtsock was that awesome!

Born on the Bayou, one of CCR’s signature tunes, introduced the th (3)crowd to a unique sound. Fogerty, as head of CCR or on his own – distinct with his vocals and his riffs. One of very few Rockers on the planet who is instantly recognizable. Instantly dirty …

The type of songs and where Fogerty comes from – a big part in the raw, almost ‘out of tune’ sound emitted from this Rock n Roll legend. It’s a swampy thing for sure …

Good Golly Miss Molly ensued. A song rich in early Rock n Roll. A song rich in a combination of a Chuck Berry / Little Richard duet. Feet were tappin’ and relief by the ‘over forty’ age group in the crowd – swept through the Bell Center like a broom on a dusty floor. This was going to be a Rock n Roll showit was, that obvious. In your face as  ‘Up Around the Bend‘ and ‘Down on the Corner‘ testified. Court was now in session. Fogerty – no Jester …

The singer ripped through the songs  with conviction, his vocals, somehow preserved in 1969. Eyes closed – it was ’69. A time void of metal detectors at concerts ( see Montreal, Fogerty, 2014). A time of peace and love.

Fogerty himself, last night,  telling a tale of Woodstock as CCR hit the stage after ‘The Grateful Dead ‘put everyone to sleep.’

GRATEFUL DEAD“It was 2:30 in the morning”. Explained the former frontman of Creedence …” I looked out in the crowd and everyone was the same as me. Except they were naked. Naked and asleep. “

He continued.

“I tried my best to get things Rockin‘. Nothing. The first rows were fast asleep. Then, in the distance, I saw a lighter being held in the air. A voice followed and I heard that voice. It said; We are with you John!’

With that story, that simple tale, John Fogerty circa 2014 set the mood for the Bell Center. The crowd was his. Just like that one guy in 1969.

‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ was written for that guy and it is the song which – once more, either shocked or pleased a Montreal crowd ripe for nostalgia. Some bands arrive in town from the 1960’s and they play songs like it is the new millennium. John Fogerty plays his songs like it is the 60’s and – everything is so right with that.

Just ask Suzie Q …

If Fogerty was ‘born in the Bayou’, Suzie Q gave birth to him.

That riff, that nasty, sweet and messy opening riff.

Injected into a vein th (4)opened by Fogerty’s love of music  which started at the age of eight. Playing piano to Jerry Lee Lewis, an early lesson in life which drove him to the point where he had to ‘put out’ or ‘shut up’. Suzie Q would not allow him to shut up.

Night Time (is the Right Time) ‘- that old Rosevelt Sykes tune made famous by Ray Charles came next. Fogerty and his band, paying homage to the music of the past. Many bands these days include a Sykes’ song in their shows and Night Time is the right time to do so. The only thing missing  in Fogerty’s version? The horns and women back – up singers.  Fogerty and his guitar – more than compensating. 

CCR’s Sweet Hitchhiker, from 1971’s Mardi Gras album was a low point. Not because it was performed poorly. Not because it is a non hit. A low point because it sank into generic rock territory. Fogerty’s vocals need attention. Amid the standard rock fare provided by his band – Sweet Hitchhiker was lost amid the noise .

Next – back on track. 

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Organist, keyboardist and accordionist Bob Malone commenced with an accordion solo. Who does accordion solos anyways? Only guys secure in their musical roots (like Fogerty), hire guys like Malone to merge sounds of the South. Sounds of the swamp. Malone’s intro long enough to heed notice, short enough to appreciate.

‘Looking Out My Backdoor’ – another CCR classic, took center stage. Once more shoving everyone in attendance back to ’69. Guitar chords so raw, a medium rare order at a steakhouse, embarrassing ..

Midnight Special ( Leadbelly), New Orleans ( Gary U.S Bonds) and I Heard It Through the Grapevine ( Smokey Robinson) aside – the rest of the evening was all about CCR. Almost …

unnamed (12)Fogerty’s attempt to mist the eyes of the crowd failed miserably with ‘Joy of my Life‘, a song he wrote for his wife. THE INTENT was there, the soft acoustic guitar was there – the soul was not. A legacy of Rock songs will do that to a guy. Kudos for trying John – don’t give up your day job!

Of the four remaining non – CCR Songs (aka John Fogerty solo), two stood out and the test of time. Centerfield and The Old Man Down the Road, two songs which gave Fogerty a comeback in the 80’s, could well be CCR tunes. The devilish riffs – present and accounted for along with the nasally – tinged vocals which made Fogerty a legend. The other pair of solo songs performed last night; ‘Mystic Highway’ and ‘ Hot Rod Heart’ – sadly clumped into the generic rock group. No hooks, bridges or nuances to make them stand out. Great jam but not for the faint of ‘hits’ …

The stretch run contained CCR at its filthiness …

‘Bad Moon Rising‘, Fortunate Son’, Have You Ever Seen the Rain‘ and ‘Proud Mary’. A Four song home run trot’ ripe in history, ripe in riffs and just plain ripe …

Few bands can pull a foursome of songs which carry their weight almost fifty years later. The longevity reason? Partly due to the songs, partly due to the use of these songs in movie soundtracks – mostly because they posses a haunted, underlying theme. A sound of danger. A sound of changing times.

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A sound fit for every decade and the political themes which cause rebelliousness. A sound known as Rock n Roll …

Watch Fogerty Here !

Tune in Wednesdays at 6:15pm to k103.7fm

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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!

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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.

 

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Guy Belanger; His ‘Turn’ at The Blues …

Quebec city born Guy Belanger knows a little something about The Blues.

Now – he knows a little bit more.

From his humble beginnings with guys like Bob Walsh up until a recent brush with greatness in Chicago, Guy has been schooled.

Now – it’s his turn to teach …

Guy?

 

Visitez Guy Ici!

 

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The Stone Doctors; Got Live If You Want to Raise Money for WIAIH

Over the years, the Rolling Stones’ cover band; ‘The Stone Doctors’ – have raised over 160,000 for various charities in Canada and the United Sates.

That’s a lot of good happening …

Please listen to Liam Chapman, Francine Boyer and Tim Thomas give three viewpoints of all three parties involved for this  Saturday night’s latest fundraising effort.

Please attend and help the good folks at WIAIH obtain ‘Satisfaction’ …

Liam?  Francine? Tim?

Take it away …

 

Please Visit WIAIH Here!

 

Tune in to k103.7fm Thursday at 6:15pm – I have two tickets to give away to see The Trews Saturday night …

Wanda Jackson – From Elvis to Jack White

Wanda Jackson dated Elvis Presley. Not bad eh?

Following forays into Rockabilly, Rock n Roll, Country and Gospel music – Mrs. Jackson is still going strong into her sixth decade. Her latest endeavor? Working with Jack White and Justin Townes Earle.

Please listen as Wanda explains her experiences.

All part of music history …

 

 

 

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Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind iTunes cover copy

 

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Brazil, Alex Lifeson, Jann Arden, Ask Dave the Bartender, Jim Cuddy and The Mandevilles .​.​.

Things are picking up …

Following a lull in the new release category – a flock of CDs have arrived at my doorstep. Good news for the listener and better news for the artists if the CDs are purchased …

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 Have a listen to what is coming up this week on Rick Keene Music Scene – including a song with Rush’s Alex Lifeson !

 

Don’t Forget ! Have a musical question for Dave the Bartender?

Send it to rickkeene2@gmail.com

 

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Jarrett Lobley; The Doctor is in The House- Literally ! Complete Interview !

Jarrett Lobley asked a lot of questions as a kid …

So much so – his Father limited them to a list of fifty a day to keep his son’s thirst quenched and his own sanity intact.

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Those questions paid off. Following stints as a homeless guy, talking with the homeless and travelling the globe in search of truth, Jarrett eventually settled down and became a doctor.

Despite his practice, Jarrett also works with addicts to enable their hopeful return to society.

Please listen to these crucial tales  of helping people and later – in part two; Jarrett’s music and the process of creating disc number two …

Jarrett?

 

 

Visit Jarrett Here!

 

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The Beatles and All That Jazz!

What’s coming this week on Rick Keene Music Scene …

 

 

Tom Harris
Tom Harris

 

Nick Angelo ( The Four Frenchmen)
Nick Angelo ( The Four Frenchmen)

 

Hayden Rabinovitch
Hayden Rabinovitch

 

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Rockabilly Ain’t Dead – Neither are The Hellbound Hepcats

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Johnny Cash, Elvis, Wanda Jackson, The Stray Cats and …

The HellBound Hepcats!

Five  musical acts, hellbent on keeping the true roots of Rock n Roll alive.

Please listen as Alexander Brown discusses his band’s recent activity and what are the plans for the future …

 

Visit The HellBound Hepcats Here!

Tune in to k103.7fm on Thursday at 6:15pm for a chance to win Tickets!

 

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 Missed an Interview?

Click here for a WHOLE BUNCH

 

The Slacks; Montreal’s Oldest / Newest Rock Band

Once upon a time …

Men like Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley were dominating the musical landscape. They were the ‘kings’ of Rock n Roll.

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Teenagers were screaming, crying and tossing various items of clothes toward stages filled with energy. Parents were appalled. Priests tossed their hands into the air to combat the ‘devil music’ which possessed so many teenagers.

Fast forward a couple of decades …

 

The Stone Doctors raised $9,000 last night at Chez Maurice in Ste Lazare for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Unit.

Way to go Boys!

 

Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind press pic HQ

 

House of Jazz - Opening in Laval Sept. 6th
House of Jazz – Opening in Laval Sept. 6th

 

Exclusive! New Single and Video by One Road! Song to Hit Record Stores Next Week!

Tracy and Mike from One Road hit the road to record their latest album; All In.  An album which shall be released at the end of June – beginning of July.

Judging by the first single ( one of six that shall be released), it appears the learning curve is over for the duo from Montreal, Qc.

 

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Their first album; Ride On – was very competent. The title track alone; still prime material for the soundtrack of a movie void of soul. That disc was the perfect blend of Country, Rock and Blues. Not a problem for a pure music fan. A problem however within the music business.

Their sound was a conundrum. 

Classic Rock stations – caught in the corporate reality of 2014. Lacking the control (or desire) to play Country-Rock. Well – new Country-Rock anyways.

Songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Clearance Clearwater Revival and even the relatively new Springsteen catalog counts. Unknowns do not unless they are represented by big bucks.

Judging by One Road’s new single; ‘As Good As It Gets’ – the band (admittedly) heads off on a new direction in order to gain the attention they so richly deserve. A more Country flavor with a ‘new – Country’ Pop sound.

If their first single is any indication, Tracy and Mike have hit the summer jackpot. The tune breathes a fresh summer scent. Catchy, unassuming – the type of song heard through the voice of a radio on an oaken porch circa 1945. A song heard before innings of a National Pastime faded with time.

Mike’s guitars, as piercing as the moon on heaven’s door. The vocal power of Tracy; the wolf – baying to the riffs while the smokiness does nothing to betray the view or sound of One Road.

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Clearly the pair of songwriters have honed their craft. Openly – their souls steer a path into the future of music. A lethal combination of Blues, Country and yes – Rock n Roll. ‘As Good As It Gets’ will clearly re – invent the wagon wheel as the music business travels the dusty ( dirty?) path of the ever-changing future.

Classic Rock is getting old. Country Music has lost it’s soul. Blues is in the midst of riding a resurgent wave. One Road with their injection of a trio of genres done right – are within a guitar pick of their Holy Grail.

No – ‘they don’t already got one …’

Tracy …?

 

 

Visit One Road Here!

 

Strangers in the Night 10

 

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Performing at Annies! June 6th 5pm!

 

Caleb Taylor Performing at Annies on June 6th 5pm!

 

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Caleb Taylor; Not Your Father’s Rugby Player …

Caleb Taylor is very much like Johnny Cash

Does he play Country music? Not really. Is he addicted to drugs? Nope. Not unless an addiction to his wife and baby boy counts.

Caleb is like Johnny Cash because the pair share an experience. They both visited and played music for prisoners. A spiritual revelation which enabled both men to beat their demons and spread their wisdom through music.

Caleb? What’s up …?

 

Please visit Caleb Right Here !

 

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‘The Devil’ Made Alex Cross Do It!

Once upon in a lifetime, a young prodigy enters people’s lives and they brush him or her off …

Years later – they recognize the person on stage, accepting an award or two and exclaim;” Hey …I used to know that dude (ette). Ya right – go and get your teeth Grandpa ( ma) – it is time for bed!

Franco De Crescentis may turn out to be that guy. Bite him now while you still have teeth. Franco is going places …

Listen as Franco explains his play and very many antidotes relating to Alex Cross and His Rise to Fame.

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Top Ten Concerts of 2013

Obviously – I cannot be everywhere. If that were the case, my shoe bill would be sky high!

Seriously folks  –  it is difficult enough to choose ten shows as the best in Montreal during the course of a year. If I could be everywhere, the list would consist of the top one hundred. I would be deaf and broke. Thankfully, I am not deaf. Realistically – I am broke. One out of two ain’t bad ( What’s that? Sorry you have to speak up).

Experiencing  shows in Montreal is an experience unlike anywhere else. Every musician I speak to – from Jerry Mercer of April Wine to Holly Cole does admit; there are no crowds in the world like Montreal. Savvy, emotional and passionate. Three adjectives ripe in truth. For these reasons – artists are quickly reminded if and when, their shows are good, great or soaring into other atmospheres.

Montreal – the perfect odometer for the racing pulse of visiting and local musicians.

The Jazz Festival. The best in the world, brought some fantastic acts this past summer season. Xavier Rudd, Holly Cole, Mo Kenney, Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak, Molly Ringwald and Dr. John to name very few. A pure delight for the music fan – rain or shine ( please visit the archive section for a recap of the Jazz Festival).

Without further ramblings ( or shoes) – here is my Top Ten List of the 2013 concerts of which I attended. Agree to disagree or agree. One thing is certain, every musician deserves to be on the list …

10. Micheal Kaeshammer 

One of the most talented pianists this country boasts. German – born, Canadian-raised ( half his life), Kaeshammer delivered an old school lesson in Boogie Woogie, Jazz and Zydecho-based Blues and Rock n Roll. Kaeshammer was in Montreal on November 1st at L’Astral promoting his latest disc; ‘Tell You How I Feel’ ( a homage to Alain Toussaint). Michael awed the crowd with his non-stop banter, piano playing and (mostly) hard driving tunes. The type of show, no one wanted to end. In fact – Kaeshammer played beyond his time limit and came back again and again.

9. Steve Earle

The one man who can give Keith Richards a run for his millions in the bad boy category. A survivor of drug addiction, alcoholism and jail time – Earle brought his act to Montreal at the Corona Theater on August 9th.

He was in town promoting his 15th studio album; ‘ The Low Highway’. Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses), the best band Earle ever had ( according to Earle), brought a high caliber – all music show to Montreal.

Most artists, young and old get caught up in self-importance and either banter too much or indulge in the ‘greatness’ of their music. Not Earle. His show is strictly business. Not show business. A treat to hear songs such as ‘Guitar Town’ and ‘ Copperhead Road’ live. A treat to hear the man along with  husband and wife multi-instrumentalists Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore and the rhythm section of  Kelley Looney and Will Rigby, tear the venue apart with truisms both lyrically and musically.

8. Lee Rocker

The former ( current?) Stray Cat double Bass player was here on Aug.29th to open up the 9th annual Red Hot and Blue Rockabilly Festival at The Rialto Theater.

Rocker performed songs from his new disc; Night Train to Memphis along with classic Stray Cat tunes and classic tunes period. The hardest working double bass player in North America delivered ‘Rumble in Brighton Tonight’, ‘Stray Cat Strut’, ‘Night Train to Memphis’ and ‘Rockabilly Boogie’ the way Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore would have.

Combining Country, Rock and the hard driving sounds of guitarist Buzz Campbell, guitarist/slide player Brophy Dale and  drummer Jimmy Sage, Rocker delivered an excellent blend of showmanship and a hard-earned, natural talent for his instrument. Once the show started – everyone danced. And danced … and danced…

7. The Damn Truth

Montreal’s own band-on-the-rise, played a few times in the city. The throwback sound of the glory days of Rock from the early seventies – along with the incredible vocals of Lee La Baum, set and continues to set Montreal on fire.

Songs such as ‘ Montreal’, ‘Kinda Awkward’ and ‘ I Want You ( He’s a Lightweight) – showcasing Tom Shemmer’s ‘ guitar work, Dave Traina’s primal drums and David Masse’s complimentary bass. In concert – Lee La, Tom and Masse never stand still enough to get a good picture.

Combine Led Zeppelin, The Kinks and Janis Joplin – the sum of all parts equals The Damn Truth. The Damn Future of Rock in Montreal …! Arcade who …?

6. Heart

Ann and Nancy Wilson – arrived in Montreal on the 25th of March at Le Centre Bell. Two of the pioneers of women in rock …

Given the fact the ladies have not really had a hit for decades – plus the fact they are closing in on collecting pensions, it was easy to enter the arena poised with cynicism. Well – nobody told the Wilson sisters!

Ann’s voice on ‘Alone’ – alone, made the entire night special.

Singing like the year was 1977 – Ann delivered the Heart songbook impeccably. Combined with Nancy’s vocals and experienced guitar playing; hits like ‘Magic Man’, ‘Dreamboat Annie’, ‘Barracuda’ and ‘Crazy on You’ brought several standing ovations to the crowd. With lead guitarist Craig Bartock,  keyboard player Debbie Shair, bassist Kristian Attard, and drummer Ben Smith along for the ride – the Wilson’s delivered at times, a rock n roll show circa 1978. Including covers of Led Zeppelin and The Who’s ‘ Love Reign O’er Me ( with Pete Townshend’s brother Simon), no doubt the world has not heard the end of Heart’s heart …

5.The Specials

Performing as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival – the English band made everyone stand up and take notice at Metropolis. They were special …

The British ska legends, formed in 1977 – performed for the first time in Montreal following a thirty year absence. That abyss made the heart grow fonder for fans and the Festival walk-ins. Staples such as  ‘Do the Dog’,  ‘A Message To You, Rudy’, ‘Little Bitch, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Concrete Jungle,’ ‘Rat Race’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’ – amazed the senses.

A glance around the club was truly an inspiring sight. Fever-pitched dancing was addictive. Partly because of the music and partly because of the band members themselves. Rarely does an entire band dance around the stage and rarely do men their age have that type of energy. The group made everyone realize what music is about.

Smiling and dancing. Two ingredients that made at least one evening at The Jazz festival – very special …

4. The Rolling Stones

The bad boys of Rock n Roll played in Montreal at The Bell Center on June 9th. They rolled into town as part of their Fifty and Counting Tour.The question on everyone’s mind? Do Mick, Keef, Charlie and Ronnie ( Darryl Jones) still have it?

A conundrum this greatest Rock n Roll band in the world. Judged against past tours, past hits, past bad behavior and (for the first time in their history) over-the-top ticket prices. Somewhere – among all this, is a band performing on stage. Four guys who have written the book on ‘How to Be  Rockstars’.

Ask someone who is not over fifty, question the early twenties contingent who have just seen a Stones’ show for the very first time; ‘How was the show?’ This is where the only real answer arrives to get a take on The Stones circa 2013. A non judgmental musicologist who just wants to party, move their feet and listen to tunes while under the influence of God-knows-what …

Ironically like the over sixty crowd did when they saw the band in the sixties. Or – the over fifty people who saw them in the seventies. The plus forty group who saw them in the eighties. Get my point?

The Stones were never technically sound even at their peak. One night in 1962 – 69, ’72, ’75, ’78, ’81’, ’89’, ’94, ’97, 2002 and ’06 – they were the worst sounding band heard this side of Tiny Tim. On the same tours – the greatest ever heard on a selected and presumably sober ( non sober) night. That is the beauty of Rock n Roll. That is the beauty of The Rolling Stones.

On June 9th, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, ‘Satisfaction’ and twenty-odd more classic songs were performed by men who are the royalty of Rock. Was it the best show they have put on? No. Was it the worst performance of their ‘long and winding’ careers? No.  It was Rock n Roll delivered by legends. Pirates. Pioneers. Saints and sinners. Men who have forgotten more than David Grohl will ever learn. Richards may be having difficulty playing with his arthritic – laced fingers ( knobs), yet Mick, Ronnie and Charlie amaze with their ability to play and perform like the young Rock n Roll rebels they once were. Former guitarist Mick Taylor appeared on Midnight Rambler to remind everyone of possibly the greatest Blues-based Rock n Roll song the world will ever know.

and we like it, like it … yes we do …!

3. The Eagles

Do you know the History of The Eagles? Sit down and have a listen …

That is what happened on the 4th of November at Le Centre Bell. People sat and they listened to the soundtrack of the seventies – Country / Rock style.

As with Heart – when a group or solo artist disappears from the top one hundred, it is easy to dismiss their legacies and skills with reminders of their not-so-good stuff which appeared to be the reason they left; exit stage left. Out of nowhere, they return and as was the case of The Eagles – the songs and the talent astound the masses and create new fans.

With former member Bernie Leadon  joining Don Henley and Glenn Frey in an acoustic trio to start and Joe Walsh completing ‘the circle’ later on – the 14,400 Bell Center show really did go ‘full circle’.  First the songs. ‘Desperado’, ‘Hotel California’, ‘One of These Nights’, ‘The Long Run’ …etc etc. Performed with the vinyl perfection of the records which made women croon and men get in touch with their feminine sides they never knew they had.

Wistfulness embraced the Bell Center in November. A sing-a-long to end all sing-a-longs. As each song was introduced; lights went on in people’s eyes. Beams of remembrance. Beacons of times gone by and moments lost. The Eagles’ story contains many ballads and just when that legacy risked placing the crowd into ‘Bedtime for Bonzo’ mode – Joe Walsh saved the day.

‘Life’s Been Good’ for Walsh and he injected much needed life into the second half. ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ – played by Walsh by Walsh circa 1977.  The man is a Rock n Roll guitarist and will always be that rebel. A treat to witness him, Frey, Henley et al.

A treat to re- read The History of the Eagles …

2. Styx

What is with these bands everyone thought were dead? In the case of Styx – arguably, dead in the water until Gowan joined in 1999.

There is a reason why Styx are one of the most consistent and money – making acts on tour in North America for the past three decades. The show. It’s all about the show combined with a catalog unmatched by many. ‘Grand Illusion’, ‘Lady’, ‘Come Sail Away’, ‘Sweet Madame Blue’. Three tunes which provide so much energy. A trio of songs when added to Gowan’s own ‘Criminal Mind’ and ‘Strange Animal’; a five-some of classic rock done by pioneers of prog rock – North America style.

The Olympia show on the 17th November was not about the songs or Tommy Shaw and James Young. It was about the atmosphere and anticipation felt in the sold-out show. It was the type of feeling that once upon a time engulfed this city before a show at The  Montreal Forum, Le Moustache or the old Maples Inn. An electricity filled the air. Enough wattage to power Young and Shaw’s guitars.

Gowan, the ever -theatrical Gowan, more than replacing Dennis DeYoung in the band with his contagious energy. Enveloping the crowd with his own personal stamp of approval. Sure the band no longer writes any hits. Sure the band delivers straight, hard-edged rock and synthesizer sounds straight from the hair days of the eighties. Sure the band delivers tunes as sickening ( for Rock purists) as ‘Too Much Time on My Hands’. For the money – Styx put on a ‘Rock Show’ that McCartney and Wings would be proud of …

Styx continue to be ‘Renegades’ …

1. Bonnie Raitt

Raitt appeared at Theatre St. Denis on the 14th of November. Everyone in attendance will remember that date as if it were the 14th of February. A love -affair …

Performing classics such as ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, ‘Something to Talk About’, ‘Angel from Montgomery’ and ‘Love Sneakin’ Up on You’ – Ms. Raitt demonstrated the classiness, the sexiness and the rawness of Blues the way Blues should be played. In town – on the heals of her 2012 album ‘Slipstream’, a disc which won Best Americana Album – Raitt along with guitarist George Marinelli and organ and keyboard player Mike Finnegan, set the tone for a a show. 

Keyboardist Mike Finnigan got the spotlight for a blues vocal on “I Got News for You’ and may possibly be the best in the business at doing what he does. Jaw-dropping as was opening act Marc Cohn’s duet with Raitt in the encore. The pair delivering Van Morrison’s soulful ‘Crazy Love’. Cohn set the mood ( and the bar ) high as the opener. In his set, Mr. Cohn exchanged pianos and guitars  as he sang  Dylan’s ‘Perfect Love’,  Ray Charles’ ’29 Ways’ and paid homage to the late great Band singer Levon Helm on the moving “Listening to Levon.”

Raiit is at the point in her life ( sixty – four) where she does not need to impress anyone. This comes across in her behavior. No nervousness. No pretentiousness. Just a gal singing and playing at the top of her game to songs such as ‘Thing Called Love’, ‘Million Miles’ and ‘Dimming of the Day’. Nobody plays slide guitar like Raitt or as effortlessly.

For Raitt, a survivor and pioneer among women Blues singers – it’s all about the jam. She has played with everyone who was and is everyone in the Blues scene. Hooker, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Clapton, the Stones. Following a career going on forty -two years, it is easy to see Raitt is a student intent on giving to the fans what some legendary artists have given to her …

Honorable mentions

 Tedeschi Trucks Band

Rod Stewart

Buddy Guy

John Scofield Trio

Jill Barber

The Cat Empire

Lyle Lovett / Chris Isaak

Gino Vannelli

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals

Joe Louis Walker

April Wine

Bettye Lavette

Terez Montcalm

Thanks to all the musicians both local and afar.

Terez Montcalm; Voice of a Ragged Angel

At L’Astral last evening, Terez Montcalm came home and the predominant Francophone crowd – welcomed her with open ‘bras’.

Why would they not …?

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Montcalm, in her somewhat short, six album career, has recorded mostly in French. Her sole English album? Voodoo, released in 2006.

Terez is presently touring with her new album; I Know I’ll Be Allright. It is a mixture of jazzed – up covers translated in both official languages. Songs from David Bowie, Micheal Jackson and Neil Young circle like vultures from a time long ago. All placed together in an album with songs that Terez handpicked to soothe her soul.

‘Hier soir’ – she performed the ‘new songs’ impeccably. Her spirit – silenced from it’s angst. If only for a moment or two.

‘Superwoman’, the 1972 song penned by the then boy wonder; Stevie Wonder, set the tone of what would come. In English…

The song, recognizable to music connoisseurs and diehard Wonder fans – arrived masked in a cape of old school Jazz rhythms. Lena Horne, Billie Holiday and Eartha Kitt kinda stuff. Montcalm’s voice dipping and striving between complex structures of an arranged musical marriage. A unison fitted with a first time scenario.

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“This is the first time I have played with French musicians in Quebec.” Admits Montcalm – herself a Quebec City native.”In Europe and France I have but never here at home.”

Montcalm has assembled a great ensemble of backing ‘musiciens.’ A group of young men consisting of elite talented craftsmen. Performing to the utmost of their musical ability.

Terez Montcalm (guitar, vocals), Jean-Sébastien Williams ( a man who Terez calls out as the best guitarist in the world), Pierre De Bethmann (piano), Christophe Wallemme (double bass) and Steve Williams (drums) simply deliver the goods. De Bethmann particularly adept with a beautiful piano solo in Superwoman.

The show was underway …

Wanna Be Starting Something‘,  Micheal Jackson’s great tune – displayed Montcalm’s vocal range. Anywhere from scat down to a sultry refined raspy tone, Terez delivered an array of voices which transcends all time. One moment she is a child and soon after a teenager, lost in the wilderness of peer pressure. A young adult then grabs the microphone and seduces. Anger creating the undertone. Jackson’s song evolves into a slowed down version of classic Jazz as the crowd grooves. Jackson would be proud.

“Tonight, judging by the crowd reaction.” Says Montcalm. ” Neil Young’s Philadelphia, Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie and ‘Je Reviens Te Chercher’ were my favorites. I am so happy they received the reaction they did.”

“If You Don’t Know Me by Now” – the song written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and recorded by  Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ( also made famous by the group Simply Red), was instantly recognizable. Carried truthfully by Terez and her mates. The soul of the song traversing the crowd with sentiment while providing Montcalm’s ‘offspring’ –  the vision to introduce itself properly to the world of music. Not many would attempt to alter a tune embedded so profoundly within decades of music fans. Montcalm does. It  changes nothing to the fans of the original romantic classic.

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The Francophone  contingent were very boisterous welcoming their own. The political undertones very evident as Montcalm bantered with the patrons. Realistically, the majority of the best Jazz artists that come through these parts, speak English as their mother tongue. Even the Francophone greats perform Jazz standards written by Anglophone legends. Terez Montcalm herself, may one day be deemed legendary and the audience were not shy in making Terez aware of this potential outcome. They  let her and everyone in attendance know, with every standing ovation and amorous catcall – she is recognized as a true Quebec-er.

Montcalm sings and plays acoustic guitar and double bass, Montcalm is close to hitting the half century mark in age. This life experience of wisdom along with a musical education consisting of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday and Shirley Horn – shines through in her singing. It is not just the fact her range is so various, it is her experience that is delivered sharply through lyrics. The tone is ‘ been there – done that’.  Very similar to all the greats as the years envelope their musical souls.

Terez Montcalm will be; ‘ Allright …”

It’s a feeling that a listener cannot shake yet they still want to follow to make sure …

01. Superwoman
02. If I Could Turn Around
03. Je reviens te chercher
04. Philadelphia
05. Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’
06. Lilly
07. Honest to the Bones
08. Fling
09. If You Don’t Know Me by Now
10. Chambre d’hôtel
11. I Could Have Told You
12. Tell It Like It Is
13. Ashes to Ashes

Related articles

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

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

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

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

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

Rod Stewart and Ron Wood

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

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

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

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

Rick Keene with Ron Wood’s Guitar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie’s sole drug problems arrived a little late …

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

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

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

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

 
 

 

Top Ten Reasons why Van Halen are Tired

An enigma. Not an Enema

Although both are a pain in the ass …

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

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

Here are those reasons;

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

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

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

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

6. Eddie Van Halen? Ditto …

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

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

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

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

And the number one reason Van Halen is tired?

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

Happy Birthday to …

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

Keith Richards Quotes

The human riff.

Keith Richards is to many – rock n’ roll!

The world’s most elegantly wasted human being has a reputation which is legendary. Aside from cockroaches, the only other living entity who will survive a nuclear war. In the words of Richards himself;

“I feel sorry for those fuckin’ cockroaches …!”

Aside from the perception of the man, as attested in his biography titled ‘Life’;  Richards is a very wise man. Fifty years as the poster boy for decadence will do that. A survivor of addiction, drug busts and falling off of a bush to a near fatal brain injury – Richards legacy remains intact.

Here are a few ‘words of wisdom’ from the man who classical guitarist Liona Boyd was referred to as; the greatest guitarist of all time …

Everyone talks about rock these days; the problem is they forget about the roll.

Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it. You have to sweat over it and bug it to death. You can’t do it by pushing buttons and watching a TV screen.

Hey, we just enjoy it. I think we think we’re getting the hang of this thing, you know?

I have no idea what the audience makes of me.

I look for ambiguity when I’m writing because life is ambiguous.

I never thought I was wasted, but I probably was.

I only get ill when I give up drugs.

I’ve always been suspicious of TV, I’ve always found music and video to be an unhappy marriage.

I’ve never had a problem with drugs. I’ve had problems with the police.

If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.

If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.

It’s an addiction… and addiction is something I should know something about.

It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere.

Let me be clear about this. I don’t have a drug problem. I have a police problem.

Rock and Roll: Music for the neck downwards.

The only things Mick and I disagree about is the band, the music and what we do.

The Stones in a club is still the ultimate rush.

There’s no substitute for live work to keep a band together.

To make a rock’n’roll record, technology is the least important thing.

September 6, 1980 – Ted Nugent at the Montreal Forum

My birthday is September 7 … Do the math!

A birthday present to myself. Red section at the historic Montreal Forum to witness Ted Nugent. A Ted Nugent who was known as a rock star – not a gun activist.

My best friend and I – both fifteen, dragged a Russian with us. His name was Ivan.He was like a stiff board. Seldom displaying emotion, rarely displaying passion.

The three of us arrived in the afternoon at Atwater park, a patch of green across the street from the house ‘the Rocket’ built. Minutes from Ken Dryden’s old stompin’ crease …

Armed with tickets, a few bucks and an equal amount of beer – we sat in the park amongst pigeons and party people. The difference? Our feathered friends not allowed to see ‘the Nuge’!

As the cool Fall weather attempted to chill our enthusiasm, the beer and excitement quashed the negativity in the air. Mr. Nugent was at the height of his popularity.

‘Catch Scratch Fever’,’Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’ and ‘Stranglehold’ were some of the tracks that placed him there. At the moment, ‘Wango Tango’, a full throttle manic rock song – kept him there. His music was not for the faint hearted, making it all the more surprising that our Russian comrade enjoyed it.

As the beer flowed elegantly into our systems, others of the same rock mentality came and went. Marijuana cigarettes passed in friendship. ‘Joints’ dispersed like candy.

Sometime around six o’clock, a dude happened by. The type of guy who was at Woodstock and never left. His hair – long enough to trip himself and several small children passing by at the wrong moment.

Along with iron- on patches, symbols of bands such as Led Zeppelin, Rush and Black Sabbath; the dude carried mind- altering substances in his worn- out Lee Jean jacket.

L.S.D – acid.

The thirtiesh- looking man was a born salesman, at least – in his halucegenic mind he was. He spoke of the pleasures, ‘the utopian heights’ we would reach witnessing Nugent under the described conditions. Not only that …the drug was cheap!

Three- four- ten bucks or something similar…

Upon much reflection and trepidation, Ivan, ‘Frank’ and I decided what the heck. If you were going on a roller coaster anyways – may as well get on the biggest one possible!

We sat. We drank some more. All the while fingering this ‘fantastic drug’ in our adolescent hands.

“We need a plan!” Declared Ivan in his usual, although slurred stoic manner.

“Ya man … A plan …!” Agreed Frank through slanted eyes. His long black hair interrupting his non – vision.

” We got an hour before the show!” I said. Proud to be the bearer of good news.” I heard it takes one hour for this stuff to kick in …!”

“Perfect!” Said Ivan with as much enthusiasm as a man about to have a tooth pulled.” We do now!”

With those words, Ivan of Russian descent, unwrapped the tiny pill and deposited it into his system. Frank and I – no chance to say otherwise.

Frank gazed into my slits.

“What are you doing?” He inquired. “You taking it now …?”

“Dunno …?” I answered, not sure what I was responding to..

“If it takes an hour …” Frank started speaking fast. ” If we wait til 9pm, it will kick in for the encore! That way, we’ll be flying for Catch Scratch Fever and Wango Tango!” Frank was proud with his plan.

“Sounds good.” I replied, gazing at Ivan who was playing with a Dandelion. “Good idea …!”

The three of us made our way across the street and into the Forum. A carnival- like atmosphere taking place before our very beings. The red, white and blue of the colored seats adding a comfortable backdrop. Frisbees flew through the thick air. Air created by the hundreds of joints lit at once.

“Who cleans the Stanley Cup banners?” I wondered silently.

We sat in our seats and in the next twenty minutes – smoked what was probably too many ‘funny cigarettes’ for our weight divisions. Ivan was practically non- responsive at this point and Frank’s eyes; shadows of their former selves …

Mr.Nugent and his band took the stage amid screaming fans and fading lights.

The noise of the crowd deafened by his electric guitar. Songs, some familiar – others not so much exploded from the speakers into our virgin eardrums. The ‘event’, my birthday present was underway. I poked Ivan to ensure he was awake to witness it.

Tunes by the name of ‘Sweet Sally’ and ‘Live it up’ played although doubt circles my memory like vultures from an era gone by. Frank was up and down with the music while Ivan sat. He was breathing – aside from his chest heaving in and out, no signs of life emerged from his Russian form.

I glanced at my brand new ‘state of the art’ L.E.D. watch.

The numbers ‘8 5 5’ awakening my dormant irises. I nudged Frank who stood to my left, almost knocking him off his weakened stance.

“Man! It’s 9 o’clock …!” I said. ” Get out your acid!”

Frank smiled. His grin reaching the corners of his closed eye-lids. Without a word between us, we reached into our Jean jacket pockets. Frank discovered his tin foil first; unwrapping the minuscule tablet of chemicals.

“Ready?” He asked – the pill close to his dried- out tongue.

After pillaging all my pockets and coming up empty, I assumed my package had fallen to the floor. I took out my Rolling Stones- tongued lighter and started a search on the floor. Following several moments, the people sitting in front asked what I was doing. I explained my drug dilemma and became fodder for the foursome of teens before me.

” That’s not how you drop acid!” One of them yelled. ” Look guys – this guy dropped acid …right on the floor!”

As fast as it takes to cook eggs in a microwave, I became the entertainment for the second row in the red section. By now, several others had turned to get into the ‘fun’. One of the girls in front felt bad and removed her lighter to aid in my search.

Even Ivan started to chuckle …

Moments passed. My ‘halucegenic helper’ was gone.

Frank had enough and popped his pill into an already inebriated palate. The time? Approximately 9:30 pm.

The show ended around ten. Thundering applause exited Nugent from the stage. Moments later – the applause returned him. Everyone was standing except for Ivan. Not asleep, not quite awake. A suspended state is where he was at this point.

Frank was acting funny. The drug starting to take him to other concerts in his head. He was more energetic than I had seen him in the five years since we met. Ivan …? As silent as a mouse on Christmas eve …

Nugent returned. Swinging on a vine. Or maybe that was earlier …

The opening rifts of Wango Tango waking the tenants who lived down the street from the Forum. Lights slapping our faces from every direction.

“This is Rock n Roll!” I recall thinking.

The initial reaction subsided, some – taking to their seats to enjoy Nugents’ extra- curricular tunes. Most – enjoying an experience unlike others. The people in front and almost everywhere around us were sitting. It was quiet as the people took in the show. Frank was looking at the ceiling and whatever images appeared in his mind.

Out of the blue, it happened. An event so unlikely – a replay was needed and YouTube was missed.

Ivan, the tormented figure of emotional emptiness – stood. At the peak of his vocal powers a sound emitted like bats released from a cave.

” Woohoo!” He shouted. ” Wango …Fuckin the Tango!” His arms straight in the air like a football referee signaling a field goal.” Fuckin’ right man!”

With that- he sat.

I never heard or saw the boy move like that ever again. He did come close. A week later, with Ivan sitting on my bed, I discovered the crumpled tin foil hiding my acid.

“Woohoo!” Ivan said quietly. Hands by his side …

Just Between Jerry Mercer and Me – Part Three

The saga of April Wine commenced with great songwriting.

Something that sets Myles Goodwyn apart from most of his Canadian contemporaries except for The Guess Who, Neil Young and Rush.

Early songs such as `You Won`t Dance with Me` and `Bad Side of the Moon` led to bigger hits such as `Roller`,  Ì Like to Rock` and `Just Between You and Me`.  A legacy of linguistic and musical prowess to be left behind for generations to come.

According to Mercer, although Myles wrote the songs and the majority of lyrics – it was a group effort yet Myles always had the final word. Sometimes, it was not pretty …

” We were in the studio recording Nature of the Beast. We decided to cover the song `Sign of the Gypsy Queen`. I played the beat the way I thought it should go and Myles`vision was completely different. Usually we could come to a halfway point yet not this time. It was the only occasion I can recall when we almost came to blows! I was passionate and so was Myles! We ending up with a little of my idea and a lot of his!”

All the ideas led to a breakout album and suddenly the band was famous in Canada and the United States. They were `true`rock stars and that led to the inevitable `sex, drugs and rock n`roll` lifestyle.

Mercer was married and had two young children at home – a son and a daughter. His wife was supportive of his music yet the lifestyle was tough on the relationship. Jerry stayed true to his wife and stayed away from the groupies – the drugs did catch up to him and almost ruined him.

” I started experimenting with cocaine. A little at first and like most people that get addicted – it started to take over my life.” He shakes his head. ” The reason I stopped cocaine was because it was interfering with my abilty to play the drums. Drumming was always my passion and love – when it ( cocaine ) started to destroy that; it was time to stop!”

April Wine continued it`s rock ways but were never able to dupilcate the sucess of 1983`s Nature of the Beast album. By 1987 – the band was finished and the members went their seperate ways.

Mercer hooked up with former Offenbach members  John McGale and Breen LeBoeuf. The Buzz Band played in small local clubs in Montreal and gave fans an opportunity to witness Mercer`s drum solo close up. A drum solo which not only rests in people`s memories – a watermark moment for Mercer in the future.

Now What ?

One day, Jerry Mercer found himself above  Decarie Blvd. in Montreal. He was spiritually drained. He had an empty feeling inside and felt void. His marriage was ending, April Wine was not close to re-grouping and the Buzz Band was no longer playing very often.

” I was thinking of jumping!” States Mercer as if someone else was saying the words. ” I had all these questions in my head and there was no one with any answers for me. I really, sincerely, was just lost!”

It was then Mercer heard a voice in his head. The voice told the drummer to go and see an old friend named Bevin. An ally that Mercer had not spoken to in many years.

” I just started walking toward the last address I had for him. I did not think he would be there but the voice kept telling me to go!” 

Mercer found the house and knocked on the door. Bevin opened it up and knew right away something was wrong. He took Jerry in and after renewing acquaintances – the two spoke of life and death. Bevin convinced Jerry to join him in his Bible classes and the pair started to take  courses together.

Bevin and Mercer became closer than ever as the pair commenced recording a gospel C.D.  Bevin travelling from the city to Mercer`s home and the studio that lay in the bowels of April Wine`s ex-drummer`s home. Then, `like a shot through the soul` – Bevin was killed one day in a traffic crash on the way to Mercer`s.

” If it were not for the lessons that Bevin taught me and the ones we learned together, I would not have been able to handle his death. It was an ironic twist of fate. He saved my life and then his was taken away coming to visit me.  I do not know why – there is a reason that happened.”

Perhaps that reason was instilling strength in Mercer. Not long following Bevin`s untimely death, Mercer discoverd he had prostate cancer. A killer of many men around his age at that time. Jerry went for chemotherapy treatments and was drumming once more with the newly  re – formed April Wine.

This time it was Jimmy Clench back on bass, along with Myles and Brian. Mercer only missed one show due to his cancer.

” I played a few gigs standing up but because of the chemo, I was too tired. It was the only time in thirty years I did not play with Wine.”

When I`m Sixty – Four … ?

At sixty  years of age, Mercer and his bandmates started a new chapter in their lives. A chapter that was not filled with arena tours nor gold records. It was a section of their lives that gave the fans a chance to show their appreciation for a Canadian institution. The band – touring non-stop across Canada playing in small clubs …

An appreciation witnessed first hand on a couple of occasions …

To be Continued … 

Jerry Mercer and the Buzz Band will be playing May 18th at Calistoga Grill in Pointe Claire. Don`t miss it …!