David Clayton-Thomas was abused as a kid. Because Fathers never went to jail in those days, many kids like David – ended up in jail.
While in prison, David discovered the guitar. Blues was a genre he already enjoyed so being ‘blue’ in prison and learning the guitar was a natural choice. Shortly after, once his prison sentence was completed, he was playing with John Lee Hooker.
The rest, as they say, is history …
Please listen below to Part One of my chat with David Clayton -Thomas about Blood, Sweat and Tears, Woodstock and his upcoming new album.
Face it, the musical feeling about Huey Lewis and The News circulating the planet some thirty years following the release of their album ‘Sports’ – is not very … musical.
It is easy to write off an 80’s band. Even easier to write off a ‘video’ 80’s band. Easier still to write off Huey Lewis and his group as just a one (six?) hit wonder. Selective memory files the music away. High school kinda stuff placed on the shelf in a high school locker. ‘Purists’ don’t bother filing at all. ‘ In the trash, move on and forget about Huey Lewis.’
No ‘news’ here.
Fast forward to 2015.
The more things change, the more opinions change. Huey Lewis and his mates displayed the reason why so many songs from his ‘Sports’ album became staples worldwide and why that album sold 20 million copies. The News and Lewis – a great Blues band. Period. Last evening, Place des Arts and Montreal found out what Mayor Denis Coderre already knew. Or did they?
Commencing the night ( in a heartbeat) with ‘Heart of Rock n Roll’, Huey Lewis transported everyone back to the days of tossing Rubik’s Cubes across the room in frustration. Judging by the crowd reaction – everyone at Salle Wilfred Pelletier definitively replaced more than one of the cubes as they attempted to be ‘hip’ by being ‘square.’ At the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival, attending a Huey Lewis show was ‘hip’ in a ‘square’ kind of way.
‘The Sports Section’ with Marvin McFadden (trumpet), Rob Sudduth ( Saxophone) and Johnnie Bamont ( Saxophone) are what separates the 80’s ‘News’ from the 80’s ‘bad news’. As Lewis pointed out – their music seems more fit for today than when it was released in the decade of ‘Baby on Board’ signs. The horn section could rival any Motown group combining Soul, R and B, Rock and Blues.
Once again – ‘Hip to be Square’ …
Add Stef Burns to the mix with his piercing guitar solos, just enough grit to what otherwise could be a backing band for Aretha Franklin. Enough bite to compliment the brassy hooks which make up the foundation of Huey Lewis and the News. But wait. There’s more …
Just when songs such as ‘ The Power of Love’, ‘If This is It’, “I Want a New Drug’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ fooled everyone into placing the show on a shelf in the locker, Lewis placed his harmonica to his mouth and – as quick as a Cabbage Patch Doll leaves the store, Huey Lewis and the News are a raunchy Blues band. Margaret Thatcher in her first day of office never would have thunk it.
‘Bad is Bad’ from the album Sports – just the tip of the Blues iceberg.
It’s easy to forget the band was a Blues bar band before their rise to fame. In Lewis’ words; ‘ We went from the beer and peanut crowd to the wine and cheese crowd …’ The News’ Blues reputation cemented on Wednesday night with a dirty version of ‘Your Love is Killing Me’.
‘Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um’ ( Major Lance cover) and ‘Little Bitty Pretty One’ (Bobby Day cover) displayed the other reason which set the band apart from most 80’s bands. A pair of Capella ditties deliciously displayed Do -Wop style with all members of the band front and center. Huey Lewis and his News – complete with something for everything.
So what’s new?
Huey and the boys delivered two new songs with a Lewis – invoked promise from the audience to applaud whether they like it or not. Surprisingly, one of the ‘new’ songs; “While We’re Young’ – quite possibly the next hit for the band when the new record comes out next year. The other ‘virgin’ offered for sacrifice? Along with the older tune ‘Small World’ ( from the album of the same name) – not even worth mentioning. A pair of old socks in a fresh drawer. Two ‘stinkers …’
Sean Hopper (keys), Bill Gibson ( Drums) and Johnny Colla ( rhythm guitar) contradicted the ‘stench’ with clean, crisp and acute precision. Professionals playing in a professional band.Huey Lewis and the News ain’t The Stones or The Beatles. They are far removed from The Band. What they are is a well rounded ( with moments of brilliance) band who posses a lead singer with good looks and charisma. A front man who has powerful chops even at the age of sixty-four. A singer who plays a mean harp and allows his music to escape the shelf locker and make people understand it’s …
Hip to Be Square.
Tune in at 6:15pm Thursdays to k103.7fm as I recap the week’s events !
The Blues Babes Guest House has a few more shows coming up this summer – all of them are at THE BEAN THERE CAFE – at the traffic lights in South River.
We are always excited to bring great folks to town, but numbers are down for our shows and this is a concern when it comes to launching a new festival. Summer time is busy and we all have things going on that take us away from the area, but if you are around next Saturday (July 27th), we’ve got THE MIGHTY LOPEZ (Mike Lopez Phillips) back by popular demand and he’s gearing up to record his first solo album….this promises to be a fun night of sampling songs that may be included, featuring his own original songs as yet performed in concert, but also covers by STOMPIN’ TOM CONNORS, JOHNNY CASH, HANK WILLIAMS, DYLAN and even some cool acoustic ROLLING STONES… Show details below.
Following Lopez, we have Folk Superstar GARNET ROGERS coming in on WED AUG. 7th. He’s on his way to play the Red Rocks Festival in Thunder Bay and we get to have him with us en route. If you’ve seen Garnet Rogers before, you KNOW of his brilliance and, I’m hoping that he will read more of the book that he is writing about his time on the road with his (in)famous brother STAN. It is always a highlight for me and I cannot wait until this book is finally finished. Show details below.
Two upstart singer/songwriters that we love are coming on SAT. SEPT. 14th – JAMES GRAY and SCOTT GILSON. You’ve seen them open shows for us, now it is their turn to shine. Show details below.
Finally, WENDELL FERGUSON is back onFRI. SEPT. 27th. This show was to launch a new music festival (Music In Colour) for Tom Thomson Park in South River, but we may put the festival launch over to next autumn pending turn-out to our concerts and if numbers of audience members come up. Could be that instead of a festival we present SONGS FROM THE LAST WALTZ on Saturday Sept. 28th with some solo performances by some of the cast throughout the afternoon and evening. Again, it will depend on getting concert attendance numbers up.
We thank everyone for their support of Live music and for helping to keep South River on the touring schedule for many great artists that we have the pleasure to present. You are important and any feedback that you wish to offer or comments that you wish to make are always welcome.
Here is the show info – all concerts are at
THE BEAN THERE CAFE – 106 OTTAWA STREET (at the traffic lights) – SOUTH RIVER (705) 386-BEAN (2326):
SATURDAY JULY 27th
An Evening with LOPEZ
An Early show: 7:30 pm Tickets: $15.00 – on sale now at The Bean There Cafe – call to reserve your concert ticket and make dinner reservations
WED. AUG. 7th
An Intimate Concert with
Another early show (no special guests) – Showtime: 7:30
Tickets: $25.00 and going fast. Call to reserve your ticket and make dinner reservations before the show.SAT. SEPT. 14th
Two Future Singin’/Songwritin’ Stars of the Future
JAMES GRAY & SCOTT GILSON
Tickets: $15.00. Call to make pre-show dinner reservations or to reserve your ticket.
FRI. SEPT. 27th
Country funny man and amazing guitar player
Call to make pre-show dinner reservations or to reserve your ticket.
On this day in 1970, Janis Joplin was found dead at the Landmark Hotel in Hollywood. A heroin overdose is suspected.
In an interview I conducted with Jerry Mercer, the iconic drummer for the Triangle, Mashmaakan, April Wine and the Buzz Band – Mercer relayed this tale of a sad encounter with Janis Joplin …
Mercer and his band at the time – Mashmaakan, were part of a train tour which crossed Canada. It was called Festival Express and it carried the likes of the Grateful Dead, the Band, Mashmaakan, Ian and Sylvia, Janis Joplin and many more from city to city to play for adoring fans.
This tour took place in the summer of 1970. The summer before Joplin’s untimely death …
According to Mercer, he and the rest of his mates, discovered a very drunk Joplin leaning against a chain- link fence after a show in one of the prairie provinces. It was pouring rain and Joplin – with a bottle of Southern Comfort in one hand and still dressed in her ‘stage clothes’, refused to budge unless her manager appeared. To no avail, Mercer was unsuccessful in his attempt to lure the singer out of the rain and into the waiting train. Everyone boarded and the train left. Joplin still awaiting the presence of her manager by the water – drenched fence.
Upon arrival at the next stop, a plane was sent to pick up Joplin and fly her back in time for the next show. “It was very sad to see such a talent in that condition.” Said Mercer. “She seemed so lost and vulnerable …”
Rest in peace Janis.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow to k103.7fm at 5:15pm and listen to me discuss Brie Nielson’s album launch, and play a sample track from Dany Rebel and the KGB …
It’s a long way from Mersey to Montreal. It’s even a longer journey from the home of the Beatles to Nashville; music – wise.
Don’t tell Lee Mellor all this – he won’t believe you …
The England – born singer / songwriter arrived in Canada at the ripe age of five. Bowmanville,Ontario was the new adress for the Mellors. This introduction to the space and vastness of Canadian soil, opened the door to Mellor’ s soul.
Highways, natives and trains. Say what?
” These themes are reoccuring in my songs and in my psyche. Somehow I think they have become part of my experience in Americanization. There is something about the sheer size of Canada that fascinates me!”
Not only is Mellor a great story telling music artist whose tastes contain a mixture of everyone from Bob Dylan to Otis Redding – Lee is also a published author. His first book; Cold North Killer; Canadian Serial Killer, can be found among the best in Canada when it comes to this rather gruesome subject.
“It ( the book ), has opened so many doors for me. I have made acquaintances with prominent phychologists and police both here and in the U.S.” Says Mellor just before he hits the stage at Casa del Papalo on St.Laurent Blvd. ” In my own way, through my words and music, I am trying to serve humanity the best way I can. Not Mother Theresa or anything – just my part”
It does not require a pychologist to analyze what makes Mellor’s music rise to the top of the music heap. It’s all about telling a tale. Stories that come from someone aside from Lee himself.
” When I write the songs, it’s another personality that takes over.” Says Lee. ” Its hard to explain but I become another character and I visualize the story through them.”
A good example of these ‘ characters’ is in the song; Liberty Street. A tune which is on Mellor’s first c.d – Ghost Town Heart. The disc was released in 2007.
The song is the story of two perspectives.Two pairs of eyes seeing the pomp and pageantry of a military-type parade which takes place on main street in ‘anytown’ North America.
The first take is from a naive point of view. An innocent child not understanding the concept of the ‘trotting out’ of the flags of war. The secondary viewing is through the eyes of a war veteran. A person who has lived through and seen war first hand. That person’s view is jaded and along with the child’s outlook; a dislike of the parade takes place for different reasons.
Toss these derogatory views into the type of music which makes you want to hold your sweetheart tightly in ‘anytown Canada’, a moment is created by Mellor which rests profoundly in the heart.
It’s no secret why Mellor pens these types of songs.
Lee grew up listening to and admiring people such as Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, the Band, Gram Parsons and Towne Van Zandt. ‘Dirty Blues’ and ‘Dirty Country’ are the roots which hold Lee firm in his songwriting prowess.
“I was attracted to these storytelling musicians because it seemed more real. It was all about the content of the lyrics more than the image.”
Mellor created his recent c.d; ‘Loser’, in the same fashion. The first disc was all about the sound being tight and produced perfectly. The first disc was also more country.
” ‘Loser’ is more raw and fun.” Says Mellor. “It is also more psychedelic, drawing from my love of the sixties and early seventies music. I would say the second disc is more rock n’ roll.”
Two albums and soon another book for Mellor. Rampage; Canadian Mass Murderer and Spree Killing should hit the bookstores in 2013. This time – Lee is chronicling Canadian killers who carry out dasterdly deeds such as the recent killings in Colorado.
Mr. Mellor is a very talented fellow. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmonica. He writes and produces all his music. He tries to find a balance in all this as the artistic side does not always pay the bills.
Lee is hoping to return to Concordia University in the fall. An institution which brought him to Montreal in the first place ( he obtained a history degree ). This time Mellor is after a PhD …
“My books or music do not take precedent over one another.” Says Lee. ” I don’ t chose one to make a living. I believe I need both to balance me out – keep me steady.”
Luckily for a fan, sitting at a Mellor concert invites all type of emotion which is far from steady. Drinking songs, ballads, foot – stompin’, dancing and even a taste of punk rock hits the audience squarely in their musical palates.
If Bluegrass, Country, Rock, Motown, Blues, Soul and Folk music are your tastes, grab Mellor’s music.
Van Morrison up your alley? Listen to Lee’s amazing talent and why not read a couple of ‘true crime’ books while the eclectic tunes are spinning in the background.
Lee Hazzard was put together in order to bring that distinct sound of classic rock music to fans of this music genre. Lee Hazzard consists of Gary Hornbeck on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Dalamore on bass and lead vocals and Scott Dalamore on drums and vocals.
The band was formed in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada and was working on a new CD when something horrible happened. Something to the founding member; Gary Hornbeck.
Hornbeck originally started his music career in the central Ontario region of Canada …In the town of Peterborough.
Learning a few chords at the tender age of eleven, Gary did not have thoughts of rock and roll stardom or even playing music for a living. At the age of nineteen Hornbeck was taught a pentatonic blues scale and was fascinated. Thus began an incredible love for the guitar and music.
A Musical Journey
After playing in several rock bands around Ontario, Hornbeck moved to Orlando, Florida and teamed up with Riff West,[Molly Hatchet, Foghat] to form the band “Third Degree” The highlite of that band’s career?Playing onstage with Molley Hatchet in Altamont Springs Fla.
Hornbeck moved back to Ontario where he co founded the band Sleight of Hand with good friend and song writing partner; D. J. Bingham. Dave Bingham had a taste of fame as the lead singer from The Ugly Ducklings in the late to early seventies. Bingham penned the #1 hit in Canada called “Gaslight”
Sleight of Hand received plenty of attention in the central Ontario region and were winners of several homegrown c.d. compilations including Q-107 in Toronto, CKPT in Peterborough and CKLY in Lindsay.
After losing band members, Hornbeck was offered a position as lead guitar with the legendary Ronnie Hawkins. With Bingham’s blessing, Hornbeck jumped at the opportunity.
First class, prime rib and cognac was truly the rock and roll life style, but the gigs were coming few and far between so Hornbeck ended his tenure with The Hawk which culminated in shooting the video “Days Gone By” at Levon Helm‘s studio in Woodstock N.Y.
“That was a great time hanging with Levon!” Says Hornbeck in a slow voice. “Ricky Danko and Garth Hudson from The Band and John Sebastian all dropped by to say hello and offer their services.”
The video can be seen at the end of a full length concert DVD ‘Let it Rock’. It was in celebration of The Hawks 60th Birthday shot at Massey Hall in Toronto with guests The Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Jeff Healy to name a few.
Hornbeck says “The Hawk was so much fun to play with, he truly is a witty, silver – tongued devil”.
Following his stint with Hawkins – Hornbeck landed a gig with “The Heroes” out of Austin Texas, featuring Sam Sheeler and Doug Robb ( a camera man at Austin City Limits].
“Great band, mostly Black Tie affairs. It was a tribute to all the Rock and Roll greats, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Stones, The Beatles”.
With his Visa expired, Hornbeck returned to Ontario and put together the Gary Hornbeck Band. Along with Greg ( Goddo ) Goddovitch, Hornbeck was asked to help judge a Jack Daniels’ sponsored guitar wars competition in Peterborough.
The winner was a young Bass player by the name of Shaun Williams who was quickly recruited by Hornbeck. Gary then enlisted the services of J. L. Avis. A young fiery drummer who just happened to be Levon Helm’s godson. After recording the first c.d. “Love and Hate” they received airplay on radio stations in central Ontario and were the opening act for such notables as The Band, Paul Rogers, Nazareth and Edgar Winter.
The Hornbeck Band was quick to support many charities including Five counties Children’s Center in Peterborough, Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto and The Ride For Sight where they shared the stage with Goddo and helped raise $500,000 for the R.P. Foundation.
One of their favorite places to play was the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto where Hornbeck received best guitar player of the year award by the central Ontario magazine “The Wire”. Gary Hornbeck then took a hiatus to help produce other artists and raise his young children.
The guitar player returned with a new band called Lee Hazzard and was promoting his new C.D. entitled Lee Hazzard. Three songs from their first cd were used in a movie called Savage Island starring Don Davis from Stargate SG-1. The movie is currently being viewed in over thirty five countries around the world through Blockbuster USA and has won several first place finishes at major film festivals.
Hornbeck says “If we can make just one person forget about their troubles by listening to our music then we feel that we have accomplished something!”
One night, Gary Hornbeck fell off his balcony. Some say he was pushed. The guitarist plunged six floors to the lawn below. He was found three or four hours later at six in the morning by a person on the way to work.
He was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital. He was comatose …
The doctors called his brother and sister to say goodbye. The end? Inevitable …
Following a month with his family at his side, his eyes opened. According to his sister; he smiled. Day by day – he became himself without speech or the ability to walk. His sister brought him to Peterborough to recuperate with love and familiar surroundings.
Slowly, with the help of a physiotherapist, Gary learned to walk and talk slowly. He started to eat on his own once more.
A benefit was held to raise money for medical bills. Many musicians he had known over the years played in his home town to show their support. During the show – Hornbeck surprised everyone and took the stage. He was handed a guitar. He strapped it on and began to play some blues chords.