Rick Keene Music Scene – Wave 21 Poised to Hit Like a Tsunami

There is a rise of Canadian Country / Rock / Pop music happening with WAVE 21. This is a group with diverse styles in personality, music, and overall talent. WAVE 21 is also an interesting band since they are new yet very experienced at the same time.

Band leader Mary-Lynn Doroschuck is the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk and niece of Ivan Doroschuk. Both men were / are from the Canadian New Wave Pop sensation Men Without Hats. Mary-Lynn is ready to continue her family’s legacy while expanding into her own musical landscape.

Ron Roxtar sat down and spoke with Mary -Lynn.

Roxtar: Hello, Mary-Lynn.

Mary-Lynn: Hello Ron. Thanks so much for the call and the support.

Roxtar: It’s my pleasure. So let me ask you growing up who were your main influences?

Mary-Lynn: Growing up in a musical family they were my biggest influences. There was always music or instruments being played in and around the house.

Early on I took vocal lessons and sang at church then at school a bit. When I was 12 or 13 I performed in school talent shows. I also learned how to play classical guitar.

Roxtar: What about outside the family?

Mary-Lynn: Oh, outside the family? I’d have to say country music was a big influence on me. It seemed like if I was at a friends house they’d have country music playing and then back at home there would always be country music too. I really began to understand and like the lyrics because there was depth and emotion to it.

Because of my dad being in Men Without Hats, there was an obvious attachment to 80’s synth and new wave I would listen to that kind of music as well.

As far as younger music goes I like Evanescence, Green Day, Simple Plan, and I really like Blink-182.

I loved Billy Talent. I was such a fan of them for years. One of the first songs I learned to play on guitar was Fallen Leaves and I performed it at a summer camp talent show.

Roxtar: What was the first concert you went to?

Mary-Lynn: When I was like seven I went with my family to Mont Tremblant Blues Fest. I saw Johnny Winter and Steve Hill.

The first concert that I went to that I wanted to go to was Billy Talent with Alexisonfire at the Bell Centre. My mom even came with me to make sure I’d be safe.

Roxtar: Your sister Emmy-Lou is also a member of Wave 21 on keyboards. How did that come to be?

Mary-Lynn: Right. Okay so growing up we both learned to play classical guitar. I had no desire at all to learn the piano or keyboards, but she did. So what happened was we learned off of each other. It just grew and grew.

Roxtar: That’s kind of how you decided to form Wave 21?

Mary-Lynn: The thing is for me it was a long time coming. I knew I wanted to be in a band. For my sister, it was very different. She was like “I like writing songs and being in the studio but I have my own life.” She’s always been involved with music and Wave 21 as a band, but she’s involved in so many other areas we have to have a replacement for her on keyboards for now when we do live shows. Presently on keyboards we have John Macomber.

Roxtar: So who else is in the band Wave 21?

Mary-Lynn: We have my dad Stefan Doroschuk on bass. We have a new guitar player whose name is Jimmy Gibson and he’s really good. We have a drummer Tim Van de Ver. He’s also a member of Acid Test.

Roxtar: Speaking of drums you have a major name on your album in Kenny Aranoff ( John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge). How did you get Kenny to play drums on the album?

Mary-Lynn: Well we didn’t have a full-time drummer at the time. We wrote the drum parts and through a connection with my dad, Kenny played the tracks in Nashville and then we synced them up with our songs here.

When we record the next album Tim Van de Ver is going to play drums because he’s really experienced and we like what he does. Plus it’s way more convenient.

Roxtar: With the album out what are some of your favorite songs?

Mary-Lynn: The album is very divided. There’s a bit of rock, country and pop in it. I always held onto the first song Ya Ya Ya that opens the album as my go to rock song. It’ll Be One of These Days is my pop song and Here We Go is my killer country song that is the gem of the whole album. It was co-written by my dad and a friend of his Mack Mackenzie like 15 years ago. My absolute favorite song is Set Me Free. It’s a song about a really bad breakup I went through in high school that took me a long time to get over. That song really helped to literally Set Me Free.

There’s an angrier song called The Fun Times that really inspired me. It was a difficult time I was having and my dad was even asking me “What’s going on?” At the time he was trying to make the song sound like Lou Reed. I started to listen to all of Lou Reed’s albums and got really inspired. So I released all my anger on that song and it has it’s own style and is heavy. It’s so great to hear live and people are really into it when we play it.

Roxtar: What are your top three desert island discs?

Mary-Lynn: I’d have to say, Lou Reed, Blue Mask. I’d go with Abbey Road by The Beatles. I think I listened to that album on over 3,000 repeats when I was younger. I remember thinking this is the best thing ever.

As a last one, I’d go with Enema of the State by Blink-182. It’s a classic. It’s got songs on it that everybody knows.

Roxtar: Growing up with your father and uncle as members of Men Without Hats were you a fan?

Mary-Lynn: Oh Yes! My sister and I listened to Men Without Hats so much that we were banned from playing it in the house by my dad. We know the words to every song even the

weird obscure ones. I abused listening to them. I even had their vinyl albums on my bedroom wall.

My dad has a home studio where we recorded the Wave 21 album. All the equipment that’s there was used on the last Men Without Hats album. When we were really young my sister and I actually provided backing vocals on the last Men Without Hats album which I think might have only been used as effects but we’re on it.

Roxtar: So since your dad was the guitarist of Men Without Hats and now he’s in your band it’s almost like it’s come full circle.

Mary-Lynn: Oh, for sure. I’ve even been offered to go on the road with my uncle Ivan in Men Without Hats. Some of the songs on my album were almost half written by my dad. It’s family and teamwork. I like the influence.

Roxtar: I have to ask you, Mary-Lynn, is there any chance of you twisting your dad’s arm so you guys do a Men Without Hats song in a Wave 21 set. If you think about it I’m sure a lot of people are going there to expect that.

Mary-Lynn: Oh my!! The thing is our style of music is so different. Plus Men Without Hats is so keyboard-oriented that our keyboard player would have to really hone in on it like a lot, but he could totally do it.

Now that you mention it we should do a Men Without Hats song. Maybe we should do Safety Dance.

Roxtar: Another good idea might be for Wave 21 to open for Men Without Hats someday soon.

Mary-Lynn: That would be a really great idea. I wish I heard from my uncle more than I do. If he did let Wave 21 open for him I would be forever grateful.

It would make even more sense because Wave 21 was the original name of the band my dad and uncle were in before they were Men Without Hats.

Roxtar: So it is even more full circle than before.

Mary-Lynn: Absolutely and I love all these ideas you’re putting out. Thanks so much for sharing it. Sometimes artists get caught up in their own ideas and they need to hear an outside idea from someone even if it’s a fan or a journalist like yourself. If it works it works. I think it’s great. Now I’m going to have talk to my dad and get him to do Safety Dance at the next Wave 21 shows.

Make sure to see Wave 21 at their upcoming live events. The first one is August 16th at Smoke Meat Pete. The second is at Piranha Bar on Aug 23rd.

Let’s see if Mary-Lynn was able to convince her dad to get Wave 21 to play a Men Without Hats song?

Rick Keene Music Scene – The ‘Rock Doc’ Neil Ratner Talks Music Industry, Anesthesiology and Michael Jackson

Special to Rick Keene Music Scene.com

Neil Ratner is a name that has been associated with the Rock n Roll scene since the 1960s. While pursuing a career as a drummer, Neil got a gig working on the road that led to associations with Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd and later on the king of pop himself; Michael Jackson.

Neil recently released his book Rock Doc which is a blend of fascinating fun stories of the Rock n Roll lifestyle to heartfelt messages about charity and personal redemption. Neil gave Ron Roxtar a call from Ratner’s Woodstock N.Y. office.

Roxtar: Hi Neil, Thanks for the call. You know looking over your career I’m not even sure what to say it is you do. Tour manager, anesthesiologist, author and maybe we can say future rock star.

Neil: (laughing) Thank you for that although I feel my days of trying to be a rock star are well behind me.

Roxtar: You have your latest book out now, Rock Doc.

Neil: Yes it’s been out for a while now. It has so many interesting stories and people in it. There are ups and downs in life’s lessons. Even though I wasn’t trying to be an author I was always writing down on pieces of paper.

Roxtar: So what were your initial beginnings?

Neil: Growing up I always had two dreams. One was to be a doctor and like most people growing up in the 60’s we all wanted to be rock stars. I wanted to be a drummer so I played in bands in high school through to college.

Roxtar: I heard you came up here to Montreal to join a band.

Neil: Oh yeah! I was hoping you’d ask me about that. It was the local rock station up there CHOM-FM. They said a band up in St. Agathe was looking for a drummer. I called the station and they got me in touch with the band who said to come on up, which I did. I was the drummer in that band for about four months. I don’t even remember the name of the band but it fell apart and then I came back to the States.

Roxtar: So after that experience what happened?

Neil: It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year I took an apartment in the city because I had a job at the hospital that I thought would help me get into medical school. I found out by chance that my upstairs neighbor is a musician. I knocked on his door and he’s standing there with a guitar slung over his shoulder. He invites me in and tells me his name is Rick Derringer. I was like “You mean Rick Derringer from the McCoys?!” He was like “Yeah.” From that, we became very good friends and he heard me play the drums. I asked him to help get me a job. One day he calls me up and says he’s got a gig for me but not as a drummer. He was working with Johnny Winter at the time. Johnny had a brother named Edgar who was forming a band and they needed a manager so my whole life took a major left turn.

Roxtar: So in a chance meeting everything changed you ended up eventually working for some big names like Pink Floyd and (ELP) Emerson Lake and Palmer.

Neil: Yeah, well I spent more than a year with Edgar Winter’s band it was called White Trash. I then met a big-time manager who was managing Humble Pie, J Geils Band, Peter Frampton and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

They were at the time changing management and they offered me a job to go over to London and run their lights and stage production. I was basically the general operations director.

After about a year I noticed all these bands were using too many companies. They had a lighting company, a sound company, accountants and more. This is back in the day where it made things very complex. I got this idea to form a company called Circus. It would provide trucking, lights, sound and everything that a group needed under one tent so to speak.

Ratner – Watts

The guy who helped me form this company was named Peter Watts. He was the husband of an old girlfriend of mine from college and we just happened to meet up in London one day. Peter was the sound technician for Pink Floyd. One day he came to me and said “You know we’ve never used anybody for anything. We’ve always been self-contained. Now we’ve got this new album coming out called Dark Side of the Moon and for the tour I want us to be the first to use quadraphonic sound and digital lighting. The only way we can do it is if you combine forces with us. So we did the Dark Side of the Moon tour and even afterwards a couple of other things. After five or six years I had pretty much set out do everything I wanted to do before I got an epiphany to follow my other dream which was to become a doctor.

Roxtar: So after achieving let’s say some of your accomplishments in the music business you go back to wanting to be a doctor.

Neil: Well you have to remember, Ron, one of my first dreams was to be a doctor. Plus those years in the music business was taking a toll on my body and I ended up in the hospital with kidney stones.

I remember watching this movie one night about American medical students on their way to becoming doctors and that’s when I got my epiphany. I had achieved everything on the business side of things and I was not going to be the rock n roll star drummer I wanted to be so it was time to go back to being what I wanted to be which was a doctor.

That was a ten-year journey since I had stopped going to college. I had to study outside of the US. I studied for years at a Mexican medical school, then a year of unpaid internship just to get back into the American system. I then did a couple of years of surgical residency. After ten years I finally had switched to anesthesiology and became an anesthesiologist.

Roxtar: Someone coming from the world of music let’s say back into medicine there seems to be a connection. I’ve read that some doctors play music during operations and it’s almost as if music can if not be a cure, certainly can be a helping healing factor.

Neil: Well I’ll tell you a funny story about that. At the end of your residency, everybody has to do some sort of research project. Mostly everyone does a scientific study of some kind. I had an interest in consciousness in a sense. There is a type of procedure doctors do that’s called conscious procedure where the patient is not completely out but certainly not wide awake. It’s somewhere in between. As an anesthesiologist I somehow knew if I could play music in a patient’s ear during the surgical procedure we could use fewer drugs and decrease the stress and tension of that patient.

All the doctors laughed at me and thought why would I ever want to do that, but I persisted. In the end, my study did show that there was a great benefit to music being played almost as if it as an extra drug.

Then after a little while, I realized I didn’t want to be a hospital-based anesthesiologist. I looked around and noticed that a lot of doctors wanted to perform procedures in their own offices but couldn’t because the equipment wasn’t monitored properly. So I offered my services and would go into the doctors offices to be their anesthesiologist. I was one of the first to do that in New York City.

Roxtar: You also spearheaded doing some overseas charity work. You were instrumental in helping the victims of the bombing attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that took place, which was the first time the world heard about Al- Qaeda.

Neil: Absolutely. I was in New York when the acute bombings happened. We arrived afterwards. A friend of mine who lives in Kenya called me up. They were aware of my previous charity work. My wife and I had been to Africa and we were very concerned for the Indigenous people. We went to a very remote village near the Somalian border.

We went down there all self-contained and started a bush clinic for the local tribes there. We started a mission of mercy down there working along with the various charities. A friend of mine helped me to get started on making three micro bakeries in some of the poorest of the regions. One of the most meaningful things you can do in life is to give back to those less fortunate than yourself.

Roxtar: If someone’s going to buy this book what exactly will they be reading about?

Neil: They’ll be getting an incredible journey about different areas of life. One journey is about the rock n roll business of the late ’60s and early to mid-’70s. That was a really good time in rock n roll because that’s when the business was developing. You’ll read about ELP, Pink Floyd and others. There are stories about the rock festivals and how we made sure we were doing our best to make things happen in the right way.

Another journey is about what it’s like to go into the world of medicine at an older age in a foreign language in a foreign place and what that’s like. With that comes the journey of anesthesiology. The world of plastic surgery and celebrities.

From there is the journey of meeting Michael Jackson and not only becoming his doctor but his close personal friend. I spent eight years with Michael traveling and being with him in various ways.

There is a journey about me getting into a little bit of trouble. From that, I learned to be a humanitarian and try to do good in life.

The book has all of those things and more. I’m getting a great response and people are really enjoying it. Let me add there’s even a section of pictures so you get that as well.

Roxtar: So what was it like to work with Michael Jackson?

Neil: You know Michael was a great guy. A lot of people did not have an opportunity to get close to Michael and I was one of the few who did have that opportunity. He was a great friend.

We could talk about anything. We talked about spirituality, nature, even old rock n roll. We talked about anything.

Mandela, Jackson, Ratner and His Wife

He was very supportive. The time that I was in trouble in life he was incredibly supportive. He was what a friend should be. I have very fond memories of him.

He was also a great humanitarian and a lot of his efforts were unheralded. There was a time when we were in South Africa. He insisted on going to the hospital there. This is at a time when people were still very afraid of HIV. Michael was not afraid to go in and mingle or hold the patients. He wasn’t afraid to touch them, whereas most people never would. I had some great times with my friend, Michael Jackson.

One of the greatest things Michael did was introduce me to Nelson Mandela. That was an amazing thing and because of it I got to meet Nelson on a couple of occasions afterwards. During one of those meetings he helped to finance the first micro-bakery I talked about earlier.

Ratner – Winter

Roxtar: You are stranded on a desert island with no hope of ever being rescued. What are your top three desert island discs?

Neil: Oooh, that’s a tough one. (thinking) Okay, I got it. Gaucho by Steely Dan.

My second would have to be Dark Side of The Moon. If you’re on a desert island you’re going to want to have a record that takes you far away from there in your mind.

For my third, I’d want to have a real rock n roll record. I’m going to get personal and go with Edgar Winter’s Roadwork. I really think it is one of the best rock n roll records out there and not many people know it.

Contact Ron Roxtar


Rick Keene Music Scene – Boston Guitarist Forms An ‘Alliance’ in New Band

Special to Rick Keene Music Scene

Alliance is the best melodic rock band you need to hear! Just who is Alliance you’re wondering?

Alliance are made up of three rock veterans with some pretty good credentials. On vocals, bass and keyboards is virtuoso; Robert Berry. He spent a few years playing with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer in a unit called 3. There’s David Lauser, who pounded the drums for Sammy Hagar pre and post Van Halen. Last but not least is six-string stinger, Gary Pihl who also played with Hagar and then went on to join Boston. Their latest album Fire and Grace is full of melodic rock and positive messages. Gary gave me a late morning call where we spoke about Alliance, Sammy Hagar, Boston and of course; serve up some desert island discs.

Roxtar: Thanks so much for the call Gary. It’s a real pleasure.

Roxtar: So for those who don’t know who Alliance is tell us about the genesis of the band.

Gary: Oh yeah sure. Well, let’s back up here. I was in Sammy Hagar’s band for some time.

We had done the first and second tours with Boston, so I got to know Tom Scholz and those guys. Then in 1985 when Sammy got the call to join Van Halen, Tom called me up and asked if I’d play on a song on the upcoming Boston album, Third Stage. From there he asked me to stick around and do the tour. I was thrilled to do that since it was a very successful tour.

At the end of that tour, Tom told us that it would be a few years before the next album and tour so if we wanted to do any side projects now would be the time. I called up David Lauser from Sammy’s band. Then I called Alan Fitzgerald who was with Night Ranger who had some time off. Geffen Records had wanted us to hook up with Robert Berry after Sammy left us for Van Halen. So the four of us got together at Sammy’s recording studio in his house and went through some songs ideas.

Robert was such a perfect fit. He was like the brother we never had. Even though we did do other projects like Robert being in Ambrosia or David still playing occasionally with Sammy or me in Boston we were able to keep Alliance going all this time. Now we have this our sixth album out.

Roxtar: I should let you know I recently spoke with Robert Berry and he spoke about Alliance.

Gary: Did he tell you about December People?

Roxtar: No. Tell me about it.

Gary: Okay. A few years ago Robert had this idea to put together a project to play traditional Christmas songs around Christmas time in a classic rock style. He said every show will be a benefit for a local food bank. I told him to count me in. So it was me, Robert and David Lauser with some other musicians. We still do that for local food banks. We started doing that about nine years ago. Funnily enough, we are so busy with what we do in other bands and projects that it’s hard to get together to do Alliance. Then last year we were doing this December People gig and said “Hey we’re all here together. Let’s do this Alliance record.” and so we knuckled down and got it out.

Roxtar: I have to say it’s a good thing you guys did because the new album, Fire and Grace, is great. One song after another from Raise Your Glass, I’ll Have Some of That, You are the Heroes and the title track. There is not a bad song on this album. Are there any songs you happen to like yourself.

Gary: I think you nailed it on the head. I like them all. The other thing is all the songs have a positive message. There’s so much negativity in the world that we wanted to have positive

I’m proud of that. Usually, Robert is the main songwriter but on this album, I wrote two of the songs (I’ll Have Some of That, Fast Forward to Last Night) and so did David (Good Life, Real Thing). The title song Fire and Grace I had a guitar riff I was working on. David had this drum loop he had been working on. Robert then said he had some lyrics he thought might work. So we all started to work on it in the studio. We cut that four minute song one time and that was it. The first take is what you get. That’s the thing about playing with guys you trust. No one is trying to show off. Everyone is trying to make the song better and that’s what counts.

Roxtar: I know we’re talking mostly about Alliance today but going back how did you ever get the gig with Sammy?

Gary: I’m glad you asked me that question. I usually tell this to younger musicians starting out in the music business. I was living in the San Francisco Bay area at the time and so was Sammy.

He had just left Montrose and was working on songs with some other guys. He went through a lot of guitar players that didn’t work out. My manager at the time was like “You should just join in with Sammy. Call him up.”

So I did and we were talking when Sammy asks me if I’m into drugs. I told him I wasn’t and why was he asking me this. He tells me that his last guitar player OD’d on cocaine in the bathroom of a gas station. He tells me to come down and jam with him which I did. While I’m down there doing this jam/audition Sammy’s manager calls him up and says there’s a gig with Queen and Thin Lizzy but Queen had to back out. So now Thin Lizzy is going to headline and they want Sammy to be the opener if he has a guitar player. Sammy turned to me and asked if I could do this gig which was in two days. I was like “Sure, yeah.” I went home practiced all the songs and we did the show which got a nice review. I was leaving saying goodbye when the bass player Bill Church said to me that I wasn’t going anywhere and I was in the band now. I tell that story especially to younger musicians to let them know that I got the gig because someone else died due to a drug overdose. So maybe doing drugs is not a good thing.

Gary Pihl and Sammy Hagar

Roxtar: So how did Sammy inform you that it was all over between you guys.?

Gary: Well I think it was just a phone call really. He called us up and said he had an offer he couldn’t turn down which was to be the lead singer for Van Halen and we understood.

Roxtar: What was the last gig at Farm-Aid like?

Gary: You gotta imagine it was kind of bittersweet since we knew it was the last gig. Eddie Van Halen came on stage and joined us for a few songs. I already knew I was going to be joining Boston at least.

Roxtar: I just saw Sammy last month and he’s doing great with The Circle Band.

Gary: Yeah they came through here last year and I went down to see them. Sammy asked me to join them on stage so I went up and played Heavy Metal with them for old times sake and it was great. Playing with Jason Bonham, Michael Anthony and his guitarist Vic Johnson who is just the nicest guy ever. People ask me all the time what was it like working with Sammy Hagar. I always tell them “What you see is what you get. He’s always in a good mood. He’s always ready to rock! A terrific musician. You meet the guy and five minutes later you are best friends. That’s the way he is.

Roxtar: So who inspired you when you were younger to play guitar?

Gary: I’ve always been a guy who loved the sound of a guitar. For me it was really early I was listening to guys like Duane Eddy. Then, of course, the Beatles and Stones. You can’t talk about them without mentioning the other guys like Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Hendrix. All these guys were my heroes.

Roxtar: What would be your top three desert island discs?

Gary: I’d have to say, Steely Dan. I really like the musicianship and their lyrics have a sense of humor. Of course, I’d have to include something from The Beatles in there. AC/DC I’ve always liked. Jeff Beck Group and his solo work.

Roxtar: Since the Alliance album is doing so well, are there any plans for you guys to tour?

Gary: We’d love to. I think the best thing for us is to play some festival gigs where people are just there to hear lots of great music regardless of if they know the bands or not.

Roxtar: What would you like people to know about Alliance.

Gary: One reviewer recently quoted us and our album as saying we were the greatest melodic rock band you’ve never heard of.

Roxtar: I think it’s way better to say that Alliance is the best melodic rock band you need to hear.

Gary: Yeah! That’s even better.
Make sure to get out there and get a physical or digital copy of Fire and Grace from Alliance. It’s the latest greatest, positive, melodic music, from geniuses who will rock you.

Written by Ron Roxtar

Contact Ron – ronroxtar@yahoo.com

Click Here To Watch the Video for Raise Your Glass

Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Becomes Margaritaville

Who is looking for their shakers this morning ?

Gathering outside MTELUS before the Jimmy Buffett concert were Hawaiian and Caribbean style shirts along with a few grass skirts.  Which meant only one thing; the loyal fan-base called The Parrotheads were here to support Jimmy Buffett. This was a special night since Buffett has not performed in Montreal since 1977 when he opened for The Eagles. 

At 8:10pm, Jimmy Buffett and his band known as The Coral Reefer Band casually walked on stage to raucous applause. Licence to Chill. Jimmy was quick to mention that this concert was going to be a Holiday since that was the name of the second song. In fact, throughout the show, Buffett wanted everyone to feel it was the weekend. The song Volcano sent that message with an exclamation point. The tune; complete with the sound of a rumbling volcano. Guitarist Mac McAnally, a professional on acoustic, paired vocally with Buffett on the tune It’s Five O’clock Somewhere. The Beach Boys would be proud.

Regardless of the fact that there was no production, minimal lighting or stage presence, Buffett and his band along with the audience were having a fun. Jimmy parlayed his joy in both official languages. Buffett spoke often in French much to the glee of the Francophones in attendance. Buffett also switched guitars as much as he switched languages all night yet his mentioning of Canadian icons (his heroes) Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen was the salt in the Margarita for the Canadian audience. If the punters were not hooked yet; Buffett’s rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic Suzanne sealed the deal.

Buffett kept The Jazz Festival alive with a couple of Jazz – styled tunes. The aptly named Jazz Police Bar portion of the show saw Buffett sitting on a stool with a glass of wine and two backup singers. Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson were simply joyous as they displayed their range in a brand new song. 

Cheeseburger in Paradise was a surprise. Buffett et al put on a much more rocking version than the audience is used to . Another new song,The World is What You Make It was so great with it’s infectious  singalong chorus “La, la, la, la, la”, as good as any of the classics Buffett has delivered. All hands were in the air waving left to right for Fins. The show’s closer, of course, was Margaritaville. The encore then began with a Van Morrison cover of Brown Eyed Girl and Buffett was joined by a young violinist for the closing tune. Her accompaniment enhanced Buffett’s acoustic on L’air De Louisiana and the audience were left smiling.

Buffett’s first show in Montreal in forty-four years was a generous two hour and fifteen minute gift. Let’s see how long it takes for him to come back and find his lost shaker.

Written by Ron Roxtar


Rick Keene Music Scene – Just For Laughs Is For ‘She the People’

Head writer and director Carly Heffernan is bringing some girl power to Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival with She the People.

It’s a female cast sketch comedy show featuring Second City alumnus. As they say it’s a girlfriend’s guide to sisters doing it for themselves. 

Roving Ron Roxtar speaks with Carly Heffernan. Find out why you will be entertained by ‘She the People’ and laugh your face off. 

Roxtar: Hello Carly, congratulations on coming up to Just For Laughs. Is it your first time here? Carly: Yeah! Thank you. For this show, it is our first time so we are so honored. Although a few of us have been down there individually. 

Roxtar: I believe you girls just won an award. 

Carly: Yes! We just won the Canadian Comedy Award for the best live ensemble. We are so happy about that. it just goes to validate all the hard work we’ve all put into the show. I’m so happy and proud of them. 

Roxtar: What was the genesis of this particular show? 

Carly: Full credit goes to Andrew Alexander who came up with the idea for this new live sketch review. I think he was feeling a wave of female empowerment in the air at the time. It was just before the whole Metoo movement began. 

He reached out me since I had just finished directing my first stage review. It had a lot of satirical female material within it. So I seemed like a good match. I popped over to Chicago, we got another writer and came up with a ton of material. You couldn’t stop us from writing. We worked on it until we found we had the best of the best. Then we got the first show going to Second City in Chicago. It was a wild and very fun time. 


Roxtar: Carly, I read you were a comedian yourself

Carly: Yes. Thank you so much for recognizing that. I’m an alumni of the Second City in Toronto, writing and performing in revues here. I was primarily an actor but through the whole process, I just fell in love with writing and have been predominantly doing that since about 2012. 

Roxtar: So tell us about the current cast for She the People. Carly: We have an all Canadian cast which is so cool. They are made up of five Second City alumnus so I was really familiar with their talent and skill set. There were certain roles that were just screaming to be played by certain people like Ashley Comeau, Karen Parker, Paloma Nuñez or Kirsten Rasmussen. There was a certain role that just had to be played by Ann Pornel. That was really amazing to be able to attach these talents to these roles. Aside from the five Second City alumnus we have someone fairly new to us that is Tricia Black and that was a great call. She is someone who has really taken the comedy world by storm. 

Roxtar: So what exactly can the audience expect from this show? 

Carly: Expect to laugh your whole face off. That is expectation number one. Then expect to be moved. There are moments where you will literally move forward in your seat and feel things in your heart which is a cool thing to do.  There’s going to be things that will make you think. You’ll have compassion or empathy for certain characters. 

We have some amazing songs. I don’t think people think about that when they come to a sketch comedy show. With the songs, we have some choreography. 

There is even some improv going on as well. A lot of people don’t expect that from this kind of show. This is very unique to a Second City show. If you come to see it you just might be asked to be a part of the show yourself. So it is quite a spectacle, to be honest.

Roxtar: That sounds great and a lot of fun and so much involvement.

Carly: You know it takes a village, right? We have such great people even working behind the scenes that the audience never sees and full credit goes to our amazing stage manager, Meg Maguire, and our musical director Nicole Byblow. For this particular Just For Laughs show, she gets to be on stage with everyone. 

Roxtar: It’s time for this year’s question of the fest. I had great success with last year’s question so I’m going to keep it the same. Carly, what is your favorite comedy film of all time.  

Carly: Oh, I love it! I’ve been asked a lot of questions about TV lately so I’m glad this one is about film. Okay, my favorite comedy film of all the would have to be… (thinking) this is s hard for me because there are certain films I find funny which really aren’t comedy. 

I love Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s so campy, so terrible, that I find it hilarious. There’s also Top Secret a movie from the ’80s with Val Kilmer. If you look at that film it has more jokes per minute than any film I know of. It takes a lot of talent to come up with that much material. It’s so hilarious. Do you know this film?

Roxtar: Yeah I know it well. I hosted a Q & A session with the film’s director David Zucker. 

Carly: No way! That is very cool. Six degrees of separation. Move over Kevin Bacon it’s all about Ron (laughing).  

Roxtar: Carly, this is such a great talk and I look forward to hopefully seeing you along with She the People at the festival. 

Carly: I  loved talking to you too. It was great. Make sure to come out and see us and we’ll pull you up on stage. 

Roxtar: I look forward to it.  

Carly: Me too. Thanks so much and see you there.

Make sure to get your tickets for She the People at this year’s Montreal Just For Laughs by clicking on the following link  She The People
She The PeopleThe future is here and it’s female! The ladies of Second City Toronto are coming to Montreal with a brand new ve…

If you have a musical story or show to talk about – contact Ron or Rick ronroxtar@yahoo.com or Rickkeene2@gmail.com