What’s Coming on Rick Keene Music Scene ?

It’s a new week …

That means a couple of more interviews and some more songs. Wake the hamsters and call the sheep!

Please listen to what is coming up this week on …

Rick Keene Music Scene

 

 

Check out archives and hear many more interviews – including Buddy Guy, Mitch Ryder, Lee Rocker and so much more!

The Best of Last Week Right Here!

 

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Myriam Phiro; ‘La Maison’ is Where the Heart Is …

Myriam Phiro is a French Quebecer.

She left for New York city to hone her acting, singing, dancing and modeling craft. Turns out – a great move on her part.

Traveling the world with a major learning curve in Montreaux, Myriam’s adventures continue with a re – occurring stop back home. Performing at The House of Jazz is her way of staying in touch with the city she loves.

Please listen to some of her songs and her take on a less-than-ordinary-life thus far.

Myriam?

Visit Myriam Right Here Please

 

 

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Rachelle Harrisson; She’s ‘An Adult Now …’

Michael Kaeshammer; Honoring his Roots

Micheal Kaeshammer knows where he came from …

Because of this – his latest album is a tribute to someone whose influence is a cornerstone to Kaeshammer’s foundation. A concrete reason for Micheal’s love of the New Orleans‘ sound.

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Listen below as Micheal explains his love, his roots, his new album, his joy in performing  and what the future holds for this thirty-six year old student of everything wonderful about music.

Enjoy …

Please visit Micheal’s site here !

Florence K ; A New Album – A ‘Fuller’ Sound

Florence K has just released a new album and is straight off her successful album launch at Club Soda.

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Florence and I had an opportunity to talk about the new album, her influences and where she is heading next. Florence K is the real deal and potentially – Canada and Quebec‘s next female superstar.

‘I’m Leaving You’ is a must buy CD which contains everything good about music including the voice of an angel.

Please visit Florence K’s site here !

A New Guess Who Album with Derek Sharp … !

“Everything is great where I live …” Explains Derek Sharp. ” What’s it called? The Lord of the Rings … Narnia! Everybody is great in my family here in the middle of nowhere …”

Derek and Sass
Derek and Sass

Sharp is the husband of local Montreal girl -turned-good; Sass Jordan.

He is also the lead singer of The Guess Who and is entering his seventh year in that role. An immersion based on an accident to the former lead singer; Carl Dixon ( Coney Hatch).

” Carl was in a car accident and I was supposed to replace him for a  month. After four months – the guys and I spoke and they asked if we were going to keep going with this. Unfortunately – his recovery took longer and here I am – seven years later and still here.”

At the time Sharp was being ‘auditioned’ for The Guess Who, he had several projects going on. Sass and him had been playing together for quite a while and he was the co-coordinator for Canadian Idol – the sister show to American Idol and his wife’s platform as a judge …

” The first year they put on Canadian Idol, it was a huge failure.” Says Sharp.”They did three weeks worth of shows and everything got cancelled. They wanted to put something in place where people with experience were running things. They asked me to oversee the whole production of it and be the musical direction. They got a new agent and a new manager. Between the three of us – we put together this huge extravaganza. The first year we did it, we sold out the whole year.”

The Guess Who
The Guess Who

Derek backed out in the final year because he committed to The Guess Who. A Canadian band who are globally loved but even Derek did not know all the words.

” I knew them kinda … because I am not that old.” Laughs Derek. ” I had to learn all the songs in five days. I was more into Zeppelin and those kind of bands. Of course I knew the songs but not all the lyrics because all those songs are wordy and some of them do not even make sense … ( he laughs ) I put my iPod on and went running to get to know the words …”

It was just hours before his first appearance with the band ( in Houston), Sharp was on the bus and his mind went blank. He could not remember anything and sheer panic took over him. Thankfully – once on stage, just before the first verse, the words came back and the concert ( and Sharp’s new career) took off …

derek-sharp” My favorite songs to sing have changed over the years.” Admits Sharp. ” Now we have a few new ones that we throw in. We sing ‘Lucille’ to have some fun and fool around with. As far as my favorite Guess Who songs; I would have to say ‘These Eyes’ and ‘Busrider’. ‘These Eyes’ is a hard song to sing. It is really high and we have to knock it down a few keys. With our band – of course, people want it as close to the original as possible. In other words – I can’t smoke too many cigarettes before the show.”

Derek has not taken any flack from older Guess Who fans. He is asked what happened to Bachman or Cummings occasionally and the fans who attend the shows are just happy to hear the classic Guess Who songs. Sharp does notice a funny trend …

” We will play one of our new songs or a cover of another band’s song and a fan in the first two rows will shout out “Ya man – That’s a great Guess Who song ….!” He laughs. ” It’s all good. As long as they (the fans) are having fun!”

Sharp’s career has been a journey.

Derek played with Gary Brice ( Bryan Adams’ band ) and Charlie Cooley in the late eighties and early nineties. Theirs was a cover band and all three of them parlayed their experience into higher profile bands. Charlie and Gary with  Amanda Marshall ( and Adams ) and Sharp morphed into Red Rider. He also saw stints with Alannah Myles, Jeff Healey and Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes among others. Then – Derek met Sass. His life has not been the same since. Musically and romantically …

“We met in Canada and went to the States ( L.A.)” Says Derek. ” We moved back to Canada when we had our daughter. From the time we met , we just hit it off and have always been buddies. I played with her at first but now I will fill in if one of the guys she is working with can’t make it or something. I have been doing it for so long – it just makes sense. Sass and I play together all the time. We do acoustic sets at local places and we have a blast. Sass is doing her S.U.N. stuff and I am with The Guess Who, so our schedules conflict.”

Sharp’s current band consists of two original members of The Guess Who. Garry Peterson on drums ( Vocals)  and Jim Kale ( bass and vocals). The pair have been there, done that yet according to Sharp; you would never know it …

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” It’s amazing!” Says Derek.” These guys are kids when they get on stage. They have so much fun and energy! Offstage it’s a little different … ” He laughs. “They are a little slower then they used to be …. Heck – they are seventy years old! Hey! Look at Jagger. Look at the shape he is in! Sign me up …! I’m in! I don’t want to be a couch potato when I am older. I want to be like that guy!?”

He goes on …

“I think music is an elixir. No matter all the shit you go through, getting stuck in small towns – airport screw-ups, once you get on stage it is worth it. I think that’s the reason we all get into this. To make people smile – which makes us smile at the same time …! How many jobs are there where people come and see you and get excited?”

The Guess Who have just recently finished recording four new tracks for an upcoming album which should be released some time next year. Sharp has no immediate plans to go anywhere else. He is enjoying his life on the road and at home. He does admit – the older he gets , the more things are changing …

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Kale

“We always do these long meet and greets after the show.” Says Sharp. “Being the singer,I used to get all the ‘hot’ young girls coming up to me after shows …”

Explains the forty-eight year old.

“Now I get older ladies wanting kisses and their picture with me! It’s great! It is really good to see people having fun. That’s what this is all about. It makes me sad when I see all these ‘artists’ backed by big corporations with no talent getting all the airplay and the money. The worse thing is – they are not having fun! I really do not get it at all …?

Sharp and Sass’ daughter is planning to go into musical theater once her High School education is complete. Derek has no plans to alter her mind in either direction. Whatever she wants to do is okay with him as long as she is happy and safe.

” My Father gave me the talking to about having something to fall back on …”Admits Sharp. ” That old speech. My ( late ) Mom was very supportive. No matter where I played, she would show up and sit in the front row with her drink and cheer me on. She would embarrass me but it was fantastic! Now my Father comes out when he can and has a great time.”

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Derek as a kid growing up in Fort William had about ten albums. Records which helped him make the decision ( at the age of six), to be a music and / or singing star …

“One was a polka record, one was a Big Band record – Glen Miller I think, one was a Beatles’ album …”

He goes on …

“Whatever was available – I liked everything. Whatever was on the radio. My family would go on a long road trip and we would have these sing-a-longs in the car. I love seventies classic rock stuff. That’s my favorite …”

Derek Sharp is looking forward to the new Guess Who album and is currently writing songs with Sass Jordan for films. Sharp spends his spare time biking, running, gardening and playing music with Sass when they have the opportunity.

Somewhere in the middle of somewhere …

Visit The Guess Who here!

Joe Louis Walker Knows The Blues Part Three

After all these years in the business …

Jlwandbonnieraitt1Joe Louis Walker is still having fun.

“I am having fun because a lot of guys who taught me – so many guys who invested in me as a musician with a kind word; like Muddy Waters allowing me to open for him in Toronto … I feel as I solidified so many people’s faith in me. It solidifies my Mom and Dad‘s faith in me. My kids and my Grand-kids … To be able to say i am still alive and be allowed to do what I do. By the grace of God, I am not laying on a slab like so many musicians.”

Walker’s crowning achievement – so far, is the same as one of his mentors; Buddy Guy. Guy’s most fulfilling moment? Playing at the White House for President Obama following a youthful experience of pickin’ cotton …

” Same thing man … same thing!” Says Walker.” I was gathering produce as a sixteen year old and was watching my parents pick produce as a kid! I played for George Bush at the White House and seeing how the Blues got me from there to there – I know exactly what Buddy is talking about.”

Walker’s oldest daughter is a singer. She sings with him frequently and plays the keyboards. She has not recorded anything on her own but  Joe believes that is coming soon. Walker also has a Grandson. His birthday is the 28th of December, three days following Joe’s and ( according to Grandpa ) a great Christmas present (albeit a little late). Joe admits his Grandson is quite the harmonica player and would enjoy playing drums in the future.  According to Joe; ‘He beats on everything’!

Walker’s kid and Grandchild are the only things, music-wise – that Joe listens to under the age of thirty. The only music he listens to – on a regular basis …

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” I don’t like Pop music because it just repeats itself and I don’t have time to listen to the radio. Once in a while I will listen to a Blues station on Sirius or something but that’s about it …”

He continues.

“I was with Ronnie ( Wood ) a couple of weeks ago, and he introduces me to these kids. To show you how unattached I am – I leave the room and people are saying wow you met those guys? They are the biggest group in the world! I say what …? One Direction … ? I thought Ronnie said New Direction! I was wondering ’cause New Direction is a Black group!”

Joe Louis believes that every musician must start at the bottom. He uses everyone in music history as a refrence to that. Anyone who is worth his weight in talent. Elvis, Muddy … they all got their experience through the school of hard knocks.

“When these guys started out – everyone who was groundbreaking; The Stones, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi, B.B. … they all were vilified. Elvis got run through the wringer for playing ‘that kind of music’ played by ‘those kind of people’. People wouldn’t speak to him and wouldn’t let him  in hotels. I love what Mick ( Jagger ) says – he says; ‘ We used to be the band that everyone hated, now – we are the band that everybody loves to love’. You have to have a sense of humor about it – that’s the key. These guys had guts. Imagine playing that ‘ kind ‘ of music back in the fifties and sixties? In America? In the South?”

Walker believes the world is better off now although he still encounters racism once in a while. He believes the world is more dangerous in many ways, yet the new generation is able to see various people in positions of power. Various people in positions to make decisions. The young adults are seeing that a lot of things they were told as kids are not  true. According to Joe – the youth are realizing everybody has a brain, everybody’s blood beats red and the President of the United States is an African American but he also just happened to be –  the smartest guy in the room.

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” I think kids today are shedding a lot of baggage that was given by my generation and they do not buy into it.” Explains Walker.” They do have a large task in front of them but they are prepared for it. They know they have to work on the environment, they know they have to work on woman’s and kid’s rights. They are less for war and realize that communication is a better option.”

He continues .

“They see that other people are not holding them back and they see wars are holding them back. They see that everyone deserves an education, not just rich people, not just Democrats and not just Republicans. Young people see that because they are experiencing it. They know they have to save the environment – they are aware that so goes the honeybees, so goes us. So goes the ice caps – so goes us. Young people have figured out that  Wall Street or whatever are the cause for many of the problems and that Wall Street is not a real purpose. A real purpose is to help people, a real purpose is not to have an agenda as a political party …”

Walker teaches master classes in places such as Spain and Turkey. He is surrounded by kids from all over the world and maintains a front row seat in his role as an observer of how  kids’ brains work …

“They all say ‘we have to save the planet’ and ‘take care of ‘humanistic things’ – not ‘materialistic things’.” Says Joe. “They believe if they have a billion dollars, maybe they should educate people to reverse Global Warming. Older people don’t care, they see a bear on an iceberg floating around by himself and they say; that’s a bear!” He laughs.” No! That’s not just a bear … that’s an icecap melting! That’s why there is a Tsunami every week! That’s why there is flooding in New Jersey and Colorado…”

Walker believes these problems will be rectified by the new generation just like his generation from the sixties had to deal with issues such as Vietnam and racism. It was not easy.

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” We did not buy into many things. We had to get rid of baggage but we had to march against it and fight. It wasn’t easy – people died for racism, people died for Vietnam and people are going to die now. People are going to die in Iraq, people are going to die in Afghanistan. If they get into Syria – they will die in Syria. You cannot go and colonize somewhere and live there. If you look  through history -usually the colonizer always has to leave.”

One guy who ‘left’ too soon (according to Walker) – was Stevie Ray Vaughan. A friend, a fellow blues-man and the only guy ( in Joe’s mind ) who came close to playing guitar like Jimi Hendrix. A man who Joe believes was just getting ‘soul’ in his voice before he passed away. Soul to match the feeling emanating from Vaughan’s guitar.

Walker’s all time favorite Blues guitarist and the man responsible for modern day Blues  – is B.B. King. His second choice …? Buddy Guy. Two players who respectively altered the way the Blues were played.

Joe Louis Walker’s recent album is titled ‘Hellfire’. A disc which is filled with fire and is reminiscent of the early seventies Stones’ sound. A dirty, gritty Blues album that combines classic riffs, feelings from the heart and a groove that won’t let feet rest …

In other words; a combination of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bo Diddley. In other words; a combination of every Blues player.

In other words; Joe Louis Walker …

Joe Louis Walker is at L’Astral in Montreal on Friday the 27th of September

Get tickets and info here!

Grace Potter; Sagging a Bit …

Grace Potter and her band of merry Nocturnals appeared at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theater on Thursday night …

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It was the second appearance by the Vermont -based group in seven months at the very same venue. Maybe they should have waited.

Or – stayed home.

Grace herself – one of the most talented and energetic female singers to come out of the United States since a certain Miss Joplin. The passion and voice, something special – something desirable on so many levels. Her band. Tight as the screws which fastened the frames of the foundations of the many females who have come before. Smyth, Hynde and Turner. Three of a numerous crop of infectious and ground-breaking female singers who paved the way for the likes of Potter to captivate an audience. To enlist an army of impersonators such as Lee-La Baum of Montreal’s The Damn Truth.

In songs such as ‘Apologies’ and ‘All Over You’ – Potter delivers heartfelt innocence through country-inspired ballads. Songs which seperate her from the pack of Pat Benatars and Deborah Harrys. Bordering on Jewel, Taylor Swift and even Shania Twain – Grace invitingly opens the door to a soul which cries out for love while sending sweet gentle kisses. The Nocturnals – led by guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco, a perfect backdrop to Potter’s sometimes haunting vocals.

Too bad two hours of ballads do not make a show.

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Upbeat numbers such as ‘Ah Mary’. ‘Medicine’ and ‘ Stop the Bus’ – agonizingly fading into each other like a long drawn -out tooth pull. Too many songs sounding similar which harmfully placed Grace’s voice into a syllable bordering on annoying.

In the group’s February appearance – songs such as ‘The Lion The Beast The Beat, interrupted classically by the likes of Neil Young‘s Cinnamon Girl and Jefferson Airplane‘s White Rabbit’. Tunes which gave the opportunity for Potter to display her versatility. Her range. Her passion. Her bluesy, Joplin – esque mystique.

Without that punctuation on Thursday night – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals sentenced the crowd to a mundane event complete with instances of excitement. Like a stripper removing her gloves and placing them back on – Potter and the band teased and never delivered.

If not for the courage of ‘Nothing But The Water’ ( parts 1 and 11) and Paris (Ooh La La), the Nocturnal ship would set ground on a deserted island and nobody would bother searching for them.

The concert seemed mailed in. Potter’s banter – so fake and shallow, the grace8normally appreciative applause when an artist mentions the ‘home’ country ( Canada – for those taking notes at home), half the decibels of the band’s last appearance.

Sadly – Potter et al, either lost amid a tour which sees them venturing to Rio de Janeiro on the 20th or running out of gas in a career which seemed to hold so much promise. Joplin was twenty-seven when she died. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals – just about to enter their ‘teen years’. Far too young to fade away. Far too young to burn out …

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals were in Montreal last Thursday.

Were they …?

Mitch Ryder Speaks … Part Two

“I have two heads, I am growing a set of wings – which means I am headed for heaven … the audience will get a good show …”

William S. Levise, Jr – aka Mitch Ryder, is known for a sense of humor that borders on offending people. Something he says is not intentional and comes from being born in the Midwest.

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Ryder was influenced by his father, a musician, and as a teenager he began his musical career singing backup with a Black soul-music group known as the Peps.

Ryder then formed his first band named Tempest when he was in grade school and the group gained some notoriety playing at a Detroit club called The Village. Ryder next appeared as the front man in a band named Billy Lee & The Rivieras. That band evolved into The Detroit Wheels and the rest is history …

” The Wheels have always been interchangeable.” Explains Mitch. “Even when we started we had two substitute wheels in the group. There are only two active members left of the four original wheels. Jimmy (McAllister) is with Atlantic Records playing with Carmine Appice in a band named Cactus. I’m not sure what Johnny (Badanjek) is up to. I recall he was with a band called The Diablos. I guess the Wheels started as an automobile and ended as a bicycle.”

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Mitch has written his autobiography with all ‘the dirt’ on The Wheels and the book is in Hollywood with a couple of people interested in making a movie on his life.

“We will see how that goes.” Says Mitch.” I proved to myself that I could write and now I am writing my musical. It has been a fun ride – it’s a lot of work and I need to be totally isolated to be able to write. I don’t want anyone messing with my dream. Life is boundless. It doesn’t stop until it stops. ”

One thing Mitch wishes would stop – is the endless B.S. which goes on in his native land. Ryder has never entered into politics, on a small or big scale but he is very outspoken to what is happening in his country – the U.S.A …

” Education in America is extremely important because our society ( the mitch_ryder_what_nowU.S.) is one of the worst in the world in terms of educating our children.” Says Ryder.”Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and more than a third of the children in the States are being raised by a single parent. We have our hands full of nothing but problems here as far as raising little kids to be productive and creative citizens to help the country move along.”

He continues …

“Right now, there are more givers than takers here. But the amount of takers are fast outgrowing the givers and once that balance tips in the other direction – you no longer have a country. The biggest threat to our national security is our government and it starts with congress. ” He laughs. ” They talk about the threat to national security and it all sits in Washington. I mean what the hell …”

Ryder admits the internet could play a role in altering Americans distorted image of their government but in the long run – things do not seem to change.

” We had this committee meeting that was broadcast on T.V. and they dragged this secretary of defense along with a general into a room.They had this heavy discussion about bombing Syria which almost everyone is against.” Ryder continues.” Then they show a picture of John McCain playing poker on his iPad. I mean how serious are these assholes? We could send young Americans to be killed and here they are – not even paying attention to what is being said as evidence to that and they are playing poker on iPads? Gimme a break …!”

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Hypocrisy is rampant in America and Ryder is surprised there is no revolution in his country. Given the fact that one out of three Americans own guns – a revolution would be over in a week. In his opinion – everyone would shoot everyone.

” The biggest hypocritical contradiction coming out of this situation …” Explains Ryder.” Is they want to go to war to stop the use of chemical weapons which has killed thousands of children but let’s not worry about the tens of thousands of kids killed by conventional weapons. That’s the message we are getting. Who in their right mind is going to say that’s okay? The point is that children should not be killed period. If they have a uniform on and they want to have a dick measuring contest – that’s up to them. The women and children do not need to be involved in this and yet they have been simplified into this thing we call collateral damage. They find acceptable levels for it. It drives you crazy, it drives you crazy, it drives you crazy …”

One thing that does not drive him crazy is the pride he feels with his own kids. By his own admission, their success has nothing to do with him. Given his choice of profession and his early days of ( ahem) abuse – he was not the Father he should have been. The role of a parent, in his view –  very time consuming and something which must be taken seriously.

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” My first son is involved in music.” Ryder explains.” He is a teacher by profession but he plays in a band and likes to keep his chops in order. We have played on stage and that was fun. He is also a writer and has won several awards for his poetry.”

He goes on.

“I was a horrible parent. It is the kind of thing that really needs an investment of your time. It starts in the morning and continues until you put them to bed. Then they get old and have a mind of their own and that’s the last you see of them until you need to go into a nursing home.”

Considering Ryder is poised to work with a young Seattle band – a nursing home seems far away …

Stay Tuned for Part Three …

Tickets for Mitch Ryder at The Rialto Theater Saturday Sept.14th

Visit Mitch’s Site here!

Mitch Ryder Speaks …

Rolling Stone Magazine has cited Mitch Ryder as one of the five most influential rock and roll singers to ever come from
Detroit. How about one of the most influential to come out of the Unites States?

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Just ask Bruce Springsteen

“Bruce has said on numerous occasions that I was one of his major influences.” Says Mitch from his home in Detroit. ” I think he was ‘born to run’ regardless of my influence, but it is nice to have such a great performer to acknowledge me like that.”

Mitch Ryder, author of the groundbreaking and in essence, career defining song; ‘Devil with the Blue Dress On‘ – is far from being a forgotten golden oldie touring act. Ryder released his thirty-third record in 2012. An album titled  “Its Killing Me”. Unfortunately –  like most of his post – 1970’s material, that album is huge in Europe and practically ‘out of sound’ in North America.

‘Apparently in America, they only want the things they are familiar with.” Says Mitch.” It’s not so bad in Canada, it is existent yet not as bad. By not securing a recording deal in America, it deprives people from hearing new stuff. It is not the general population’s fault. The audience is totally blameless but my progression continued. There are something like twenty-two CD‘s that America has never heard of. It is a catch 22 …”

Mitch Ryder only has three gold records on his wall. A fact which serves injustice to his songwriting ability. An ability which was egged on by Ryder’s favorite songwriter – Bob Dylan. A lyricist, poet and musician who Ryder to this day – remains in awe of . Ryder is writing a screenplay for his own musical and is implementing ‘a trick’ which Dylan used in his songwriting.

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“Most people that go see plays are more intelligent compared to the majority of the population. There are so many nuances in putting on a play. You see something in a play and then you realize that is not what you have seen at all. That’s what Dylan did in his songwriting. Bob Dylan had so much ambiguity in his lyrics, it appealed to all the masses.  It meant something to one part of the population and something quite different to a different segment of the population. It held meaning to all of those groups. That was his genius.”

Ryder’s musical is a current ‘obsession’ which is based on a book he just finished. ” Hide Your Love Away‘ is a title borrowed from The Beatles’ lyrics. It was perfect in Ryder’s eyes for the characters he is creating within his original idea and Ryder believes the time is right. He does not see the point of the current trend which takes someone or a group who have had a lot of hit records and create a flimsy story line around it.

” If I wanted to see that kind of stuff, I could go to see a cover band, read ancol_cd_8637 artist’s biography and obtain the same experience I would get by throwing away my money at a theater. I am looking for something more compelling. Something to keep the audiences in the theater so they walk away humming the melodies if they cannot remember the lyrics.. I’m not sure if I can do this but it is the kind of thing that I will not find out until I find out.”

Ryder has also recently penned his autobiography entitled, “Devils And Blue Dresses”. A book which  is continuing to climb upwards having already won a Gold Medal from the IPPY Awards as well as taking 1st place in their Performing Arts category. It also took 1st place from The Indie Excellence Awards in their Autobiography category, and was a finalist in the Performing Arts category of ForeWord Reviews annual BOTYA.

” The book contains my life. ” Explains Mitch. “Musically and personally. ‘They’ tell me it’s a great book. It’s about my wives and children – people I have met along the way and not just people in the music industry. It is about things that happen in your life, rights of passage, strange events, epiphanies, revelations, abuse, self-destruction, redemption – the whole deal. ”

Ryder’s voyage contains meeting and playing with many legends in the music business. Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to name a couple. The latter – quite the handful on the road according to Mitch. A real character.

It is impossible for Mitch to cite any major influences, the thought alone to come up with such a vast list – too taxing and unworthy to those he may leave off his list of influential artists. When he started with The Detroit Wheels, they just wanted to play music and were astounded to be suddenly meeting musicians who they once held as ‘out of reach’ in their minds.

Mitch Ryder is now ‘one of those guys’ …

Please stay tuned for Part Two where Mitch discusses the hypocritical state of American politics,the general decay of the American infrastructure, drug abuse and music …

 

To buy tickets for Mitch’s show on Saturday Sept. 14th Click here!

Visit Mitch’s website here !

Gino Vannelli; All Those Nights in Montreal. Part Two

Gino Vannelli had a lot of ambition as a young man growing up in Montreal. According to him – you have to have that fire to succeed.

The+Best+Of+Gino+Vannelli“I was filled with fire as a kid. I moved to New York when I was young and signed a record deal by the time I was twenty-one, which was fairly young for even today’s standards. None of that would have happened without that fire. As I have gotten older, I would not say the fire has gone away but it is tamed. I became more interested in different styles and improving my vocal techniques. It has became an interesting musical journey …”

That trip is not over …

Vannelli is in the process of recording a new album which will be ‘in record stores near you’ in 2014. An album that will contain all original material. Material devoted to Jazz and Blues. Something Vannelli wants to get off his chest.

” I love the process.” Says Gino. ” I love to hear the results of hard work and the desire to make art. I love the sound of music. I love to play piano and I love to sing. Right now with all the new technology, I love to be in front of the computer, programming and using new school applications with old school ways.”

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Growing up in Montreal, Vannelli was gaining fame around the same time as guys like Frank Marino. He really did not hang with him or guys like him because he was not a rocker. He did not fit in with most of the people making waves in the Montreal or Quebec music scene back in the 70’s. The state of the Canadian recording scene also had something to do with it …

“I had different visions musically. I wanted to explore music on my own terms and I knew I needed good producers and sound technicians. Back in those days – that did not exist in Canada. Now it is a different story. Starting in the mid-eighties, with the advent of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams – studios got really good in Canada. When I started, studios in Canada were in the infancy stage. You could not make the kind of music you wanted because producers and musicians were not skilled in the process of making records.”

Vannelli, a resident of Portland ,Oregon – is using all the skill he has gathered over the years to good use. For him – he learned his singing skill as he went along with no one to teach him the ups and downs of what it takes to be a singer. Gino is giving master voice lessons in Oregon. Something he wishes had existed for him when he was a young man starting out.

“I have ten students from all over the world. I have been doing this for threeginovannelliscan0032 years now. They are all good singers. I started doing this when I was living in Holland a couple of years ago. It is a lot of fun to teach up and coming singers and it is a great learning experience for me as well. Once in a while – I run into really great singers and it is wonderful. I have done this in Italy and France as well…”

Vannelli teaches the intangibles. Stuff that singers come across while on the road touring …

” A lot of people come in and think they can hit every note in the world. I say okay, what are you going to do if you just flew ten hours and you are tired? What happens when you are sick? Are you going to be able to hit those notes? We call it conscience singing – being aware of everything around you. Phonetically, annotative, diction and concepts are part of it along with theory and technical. There is a lot involved in singing. It’s a human being that’s travelling and you must really learn the ropes.”

Vannelli grew up listening to his Grandfather play the guitar but it was his Father who influenced him mostly – music wise. His Dad was a Big Band fan who brought home a lot of records. A real music lover …

” He had Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgreald, Classical and Opera records … He had everything and I was very fortunate to grow up in that atmosphere. He was a huge music fan and it made me a bit of a musicologist. I know the players , the bands, the singers who go way back to the 1930s. I studied classical music and my favorite period is the French Impressionists of the late 19th century. My taste run wild when it comes to music. I appreciate everything right down to Americana and Bluegrass. I like to mix and match when it comes to  recording. It’s like an artist mixing colors – the music process is about talking all genres and implicating it in the sound they are making .”

Something Vannelli will be doing in an upcoming television show …

Stay Tuned for Part Three

The Ellingtons; The Kids are Alright …

‘ I just thought that every Father did what my Father did …” Says Edward Ellington Jr. ” It was only years later, I realized the magnitude of what my father accomplished. For a long time, I thought he was a travelling salesman.”

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Edward Ellington Jr. and his sister April, are the duo responsible for The Savoy Ellingtons. A group that has been together for twenty – five years. A long time for two kids who were at one point headed in opposite musical directions . A long time to make ‘Dad’ extremely proud.

‘ I was doing my music on the East Coast” Explains Edward. ” April was living in Los Angeles and working with people such as Jermaine Jackson. We always wanted to work together so I moved to Los Angeles and we started the Savoy Ellingtons.”

The group – according to April, remains intact because they stay true to their Father’s vision of integrity , hard work and passion.

“My father’s best gift to us was teaching us that if we are not passionate about something, we will not be successful.” Admits April. ” We try our best to maintain what our father taught us by him talking to us and watching him perform. He always said if you do not like what you do, then nobody else will like what you do …”

April Ellington and Edward Ellington Jr. are the daughter and son of the late Duke edward jrEllington, the world-renowned jazz musician and orchestra leader. The ‘family act’ bring certain dynamics to the stage which appear to be forgotten as the years go by. Class and elegance. Two components which showcased Duke Ellingon’s era on stage.

‘ It all comes down to being disciplined ” Says Edward. ” There is a certain tempo amid the numbers involved in music and that tends to settle people down and create a positive environment. When you are structuring music there is a sequence that you follow. I believe that all ties together in the end.”

A positive environment is something which April thinks has disappeared in the music business. The Savoy Ellingtons bring a certain melodic structure to their songs,  something which April thinks is sadly missing today …

” The music of today – with all due respect, seems to be lacking musicality, harmony and melody. It is disturbing in a way. It all seems to be sampling and electronics. It is one of the reasons Edward and I work steadfast  at keeping the legend and the legacy of the people who have gone before us alive – starting with our father. We also try to do that through our own compositions as well which have much harmony. I think the music business has changed drastically from one era to another and we try to keep it alive through integrity.”

Money and youth also play a part in what is wrong in the business. Something which the Brother-Sister act were aware of growing up with the name Ellington attached to their lapels …

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” It can be a great hazard. ” Says Edward.” As we have seen – there have been so many gifted, talented kids that were not surrounded by the right people. On Monday you are someone and the end of the week you are nobody. Being young brings a lot of responsibility in music. People forget that. If you have nobody to isolate you and point you in the right direction, then you must be a good steward of the gift that was given to you by the Lord. Doing that alone is very difficult.”

Referred to as ‘entertainers extraordinaire’, the Savoy Ellingtons are travelers who relay music  through several different languages. French and Spanish being two of them . The others? To find out – attend one of their fantastic shows ….

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” We cannot give away everything …: Laughs April. ” We are Jazz vocalists and that is what we concentrate on. Mostly we work with the Big Band and sometimes it can be up to a thirty-eight piece orchestra. Edward is trying to learn the trumpet and I am learning the Cello. We have decided to wait until we are older to add those to the shows. Right now it’s about our vocals.”

When the kids were young, creativity and music was part of the equation. Edward took trumpet lessons and April started her cello lessons. As a young lady – April was on stage with her Father. Dancing up a storm. When her Dad offered up the microphone, April was not as at ease as today.

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” I made my debut at four. I entered from one side of the stage and Edward the other. It was one thing to watch what he did from the audience, on stage under those bright lights was something totally different. We came on for the final number and my Father was in the middle. We just wanted to dance and suddenly my Dad was handing the microphone to us to sing. I was trying to concentrate on dancing – I did not want the microphone.”

These days – Edward and April not only sing, they also pay tribute to their Father as well as people such as Count Basie. All the great music from the 30′;s and 40’s. The great Big Band era …

” We play things from the 40s …” Explains April. ” But we keep things very fresh and eclectic. Although we do add our own compositions – we really try to keep it as close as possible to preserve the integrity of the artists we cover.”

April Ellington believes that music is a blessing and a gift from God. Both April and Edward consider themselves blessed to be able to perform and to perform this long.

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” When we were young, we wanted to be involved in music. ” Says Edward. ” My Father pushed us away from performing at one time. I was going to be the world’s greatest brain surgeon and April was studying to be a lawyer. My Father instilled in us that no matter what you do – do your best and things will work out …”

Too bad Edward is a performer. Like his Father – the young Ellington would have been a great travelling salesman ….

In any language.

For ticket prices and  showtimes – click here!

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Steve Earle; The Voice of Reason …

How can you not like a guy who wants to burn down a Walmart  …?

This is the legacy and mindset which Steve Earle – composer of ‘Copperhead Road‘ and ‘ Guitar Town‘, carried  into Montreal last night at The Virgin Corona Theater. An arsenal of soul-defining songs? Not the only baggage which arrived on stage in the form of a fifty-eight year old Texan.

Earle, a long-standing opponent of anything corporate – toted a lifetime of self-abuse by way of alcohol and drugs in front of an appreciative crowd of ‘ Earle lovers.’ The man does not just write about the injustices and demons which walk among us; he has lived them.

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Earle’s mistakes and victories are fortunate. If not for his struggles with moral values, integrity and personal demons – the world void of a voice ripe with verity. Lyrics providing commandments which everyone ( America – raise your hands) – should live by.

Something special happens from the time Steve Earle (and The Dukes and Duchesses ) arrive onstage. Like a bricklayer starting work on a hot and humid day, Earle and his talented friends get down to business. No rock star antics, no posing and no bullshit. A reflection of Earle. A reflection of the type of messages Earle delivers through his songs …

Hey pretty baby are you ready for me
It’s your good rockin’ daddy down from Tennessee
I’m just out of Austin bound for San Antone
With the radio blastin’ and the bird dog on
There’s a speed trap up ahead in Selma Town
But no local yokel gonna shut me down
‘Cause me and my boys got this rig unwound
And we’ve come a thousand miles from a Guitar Town

Earle is on tour promoting his new album: ‘The Low Highway’. That was obvious as a majority of the songs last night performed from that very disc.

steve6‘The Low Highway’ – the title track, probably the most telling and astute statement of the night. Accompanied by a tale of walking in New York with actor and musician Tim Robbins, Earle narrates real America. A profound portrait sketched by lines of people at food banks. ‘For the very first time’ – explained Earle; ‘I am witnessing the type of things that Dylan, Guthrie and myself have written about. A concept which was played out during the great depression and not ‘that bad’ from the sixties until now. ‘The Low Highway’; sung wistfully amid a strong conviction of a man who has traveled from a jail cell, through seven marriages, alcohol and drug addiction until his recent musings.

Chris Masterson ( on pedal steel) and his multi-instrumental wife Eleanor Whitmore (fiddle), providing startling evidence of saintly (devlish?) perfection by way of musicianship.

Earle’s voice –  a rasp which can chameleon into the softness of a feather at moment’s notice. A fact apparent in the poignant ‘ Remember Me’. The evening’s most heart-warming moment – musically, spiritually and lyrically.

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Steve Earle has a three year old son. Born with Autism and late in Earle’s life, ‘Remember Me’ was written for his son to listen to when Earle Sr. is no longer wandering the planet. A moving message carried out by a man, who – in hindsight, dismayed by the abuse he has inflicted on his body. Pure Americana, a plea from a father to his child.  Will Rigby‘s 4/4 snare and bass drum accompanies Kelly Looney’s non-looney upright bass while Earle strums his acoustic guitar through heartstrings. The trio joined at the proper time by mandolin and pedal steel. Earle’s son will remember his Father. No problem …

The Dukes and Duchesses – (‘the best band I have ever had’; says Earle) a perfect fit for Steve’s vast catalog ranging from hard rockers, tender ballads, Blues, Country and Bluegrass.

‘Guitar Town’, ‘Some Day’, Galway Girl‘ and ‘Copperhead Road’  – providing die-hardsteve5 fans the ingredients to construct a memory lane while ‘off the beaten path’ songs ‘Taneytown‘, ‘ Hard Core Troubador’ and ‘ Ben McCullough’ offering glimpses of why Earle’s legendary status will grow further into heavenly territory as the years continue to shred through time like a saw dispersing wood-chips.

‘I Thought You Should Know ‘ (The Revolution Starts Now),’ After Mardi Gras’ (The Low Highway), ‘You’re Still Standing There’ (I Feel Alright) and ‘I Ain’t Ever Satisfied’ (Exit 0), set the table. ‘ Still in Love With You’ and ‘Remember Me’ – the main course of guilty pleasures. ‘Burnin’ It Down’ (The Low Highway); the delightful dessert …

Steve Earle speaks of  burnin’ it down. Secretly – everyone hopes he does …

Gotta keep rockin’ why I still can
I gotta two pack habit and a motel tan
But when my boots hit the boards I’m a brand new man
With my back to the riser I make my stand
And hey pretty baby won’t you hold me tight
We’re loadin’ up and rollin’ out of here tonight
One of these days I’m gonna settle down
And take you back with me to the Guitar Town

Setlist

1. The Low Highway (The Low Highway)

  • 2. 21st Century Blues (The Low Highway)

    3. Calico County (The Low Highway)

    4. Taneytown (El Corazon)

    5. Hardcore Troubador (I Feel Alright)

    6.I Thought You Should Know (The Revolution Starts Now)*

    7. That All You Got? (The Low Highway)

    8. Love’s Gonna Blow My Way (The Low Highway)

    9. After Mardi Gras (The Low Highway)*

    10. Pocket Full of Rain (The Low Highway)

    11. Ben McCulloch (Train-a-Comin’)

    12. You’re Still Standing There (I Feel Alright)*

    13. Invisible (The Low Highway)

    14. Burning it Down (The Low Highway)*

    15. I Ain’t Ever Satisfied (Exit 0)*

    16. Guitar Town (Guitar Town)*

    17. Copperhead Road (Copperhead Road)*

    18. Warren Helm’s Banjo (The Low Highway)

    19. Little Emperor (I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive)

    20. Billy and Bonnie (I Feel Alright) 2

    21. Mystery Train Part II (Train-a-Comin’)

    22. Galway Girl (Transcendental Blues)

    23. Down the Road Part II (The Low Highway)

    24. Down the Road (Guitar Town)

    Encore 1

    1. Still in Love With You (The Mountain)

    2. Remember Me (The Low Highway)

    3. City of Immigrants  (Washington Square Serenade)

    Encore 2

    1. Nothin But You (Early Tracks)

    2. Continental Railway Blues (Early Tracks)

    3. The Revolution Starts Now (The Revolution Starts Now)

Top Ten Interviews of 2012

I am continuing the top ten interviews I conducted in 2012 …

So far …

10. Lee Mellor

9.Jason Rockman

8. Susie Arioli

7. Cecile Doo Kingue

6. Roger Walls

Roger Walls is a walking Jazz encyclopedia. Is it any wonder …?

Walls has been around playing his horns for thirty plus years. If he has not played alongside the likes of Tony Bennett, then he played for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald. A genuine good guy from a different time ..

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https://keenemusic.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/roger-walls-showcases-his-new-cd-midnight-ride/

5. Randy Bowen ( See Spot Run )

Randy is the nicest guy you will ever meet. A class act and a gentleman. We met over a cup of coffee and Randy went into detail about every aspect of See Spot Run’s career – and then some …

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https://keenemusic.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/see-spot-sit-but-not-for-long/

Please stay tuned for the rest of the list and my TOP TEN CONCERTS of 2012!

Rock for Dimes

 

A Rockin’ Battle of the Corporate Bands

6 great bands battle it out for bragging rights!
All proceeds benefit March of Dimes Canada, providing programs and services to help children and adults with disabilities.

Une lutte endiablée entre cinq groupes de musique formés de cadres d’entreprise

Six merveilleux groupes tenteront de remporter la palme!
Tous les bénéfices seront versés à la Marche des Dix Sous du Canada, qui fournit des programmes et services aux enfants et aux adultes qui ont un handicap.

Rick’s Rockin’ Hallowe’en Bash (or How I Met Mick Jagger )

The scene …? Brutopia.img_3026

The place …? Downtown Montreal.

The feeling in the air …? General malaise and spookiness.

The reason …? Hallowe’en!

A shiek on drums, a nun on bass, a conehead on guitar, a giant – sized man of Haitian  descent on vocals and a straight – unabashed Mexican on the congas …

The name of the band? Kebeko …

The type of music? Caribbean – led, in your face, rap/ r and b / rock dance type stuff. The assorted ‘ghouls ‘ and boys boppin’ til three am. At one point, a gay pirate / Keith Richards leading a harmonica – charged finale worthy of an encore laden with power.

Enjoy through the eyes of Captain Jack Sparrow

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Please stay tuned for part two of my interview with Sass Jordan

Tune in to Rick Keene on K103.7 fm

Friday the 28th of September will be my debut on air at k103.7fm at 5 :15 pm. This will be a regular feature every Friday on the station. 

Sean Mckeogh, the afternoon host and I –  will discuss the people I have interviewed, the cd’s I have reviewed and the upcoming shows in Montreal. It will also give an opportunity for the station and I to play and promote a song from a new artist and album.

Please contact me if you would like me to listen and review a cd. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime to have your music introduced to the listening public …

Thank you for your support, thanks to k103.7fm for providing an opportunity for me to do this but most of all – thanks to all the musicians who keep the world sane.

Tune in … won’t ya?

Sincerely,

Rick Keene

Rickkeene2@gmail.com

Ritchie Henman; The Beginning and End of the Dudes

Before disbanding in the fall of ’73, AW took the summer off for everyone to clear their heads. The band had toured almost non-stop since fall ’70.

” I went camping and fishing with Claire ( my wife) for a few weeks and when I got back I was contacted by a band from California called “The Wackers“. They were living and working out of Montreal and their drummer had broken his left wrist in a diving accident. I filled in alongside Ernie until that group disbanded in October.” Explains Ritchie Henman – the original drummer of April Wine.

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At that point David and Ritchie Henman  started “Silver” with Danny Ceaser on bass and George Mack on keys. George had played with the brothers and Jim Henman in “Prism” in ’68-’69.  Silver and the new version of the Wackers (with Bob and Kootch from the original group along with local drummer Wayne Cullen and Brian Greenway on guitar), began jamming at Smitty’s, a country bar in NDG.

Says Ritchie;

“The bar allowed us the run of the place on Monday nights. Neither band was accomplishing much on its own and it wasn’t long before the principal songwriters got together on the notion of joining forces.” He continues. “We originally called the group “All The Young Dudes” to draw a lawsuit from Bowie’s company. Thereby drawing attention … ”

The stragedy sort of backfired when the band was notofied that Bowie loved the name! Nonetheless, the members shortened it to “the Dudes” which had always been the plan.

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“We quickly became the number one unsigned band in all of North America and spent several weeks in the Twilight Zone entertaining obscene offers from almost all the major U.S. labels.” Explains Henman.

” Finally, with New York Attorney Nat Weiss (the former partner of Brian Epstein) doing our bidding, we signed a historical contract with CBS in New York. We ate, drank and made merry while leaving the production of our debut LP to one Mark Spector, a terrific guy personally (very personally) selected by the current head of CBS.”

According to Ritchie, Mark was in way over his head with that band and the LP tanked.

“We did that one magical tour with the Bee Gees…  nicest guys ever, and had some great gigs and get – togethers with our manager’s other acts. Groups such as Blood, Sweat and Tears and Ian Hunter.”

By the fall of ’77 the group saw no point in carrying on. They did one last set of recordings at Le Studio with the top engineers from Criteria Sound in Miami. It was a study for CBS to decide what should be done with the band and the resulting recommendation was that they should have been self-produced from the start.

“CBS took a pass and cut us loose and we went our separate ways. I started a few original projects for the next two years and had some great experience, enough to keep my hopes alive for one more “career” group.

Late in ’78 I was asked to join a local group called Lyrock who had an eastern tour booked but were losing a few members. I went to see them play and saw for the first time Don Beauchamp on keys and some vocals as well as old acquaintances Wally and Tom Rathie who had been in Frames, our fave opening act during the Dudes period.”

Interspersed with Lyrock’s cover songs were several originals by Don and Wally and Ritchie was blown away. This was the music he had looked for.

” I took the tour gig but as soon as I got back to Montreal I got in touch with the Rathies and managed to get an audition for their new group.” Continues Ritchie. ” They chose a local jazz drummer over me and I was quite devestated but a few weeks later I was called back. It hadn’t worked out and I was in!”

As Ritchie had expected, the group’s music got immediate attention and they organized themselves with an indie label and local production Guru; Guy Rheaume.

” Our first LP, ‘Rollin’ With The Times was an instant in-trade hit.” Says Ritchie.

“The entire Canadian radio industry seemed to adore us. Unfortunately, our manager, fearful of financial ruin refused to sign off more than 5,000 units for our first pressing. This – despite urging from people who didn’t even have a stake in it, to guarantee at least 20,000 units.”

He goes on.

“Incredibly, just as we were charted with heavy rotation on 52 stations coast to coast, our distributor went bankrupt. It took our manager six weeks to find a new distributor and during that time the available pressings sold out. This forced the stations to drop it..Crash and burn … another one-hit wonder.”

Ritchie had been through this type of thing before but for the other four members of Cruiser ( this being their first real crack at the high-end of the entertainment industry), Henman believes they were devastated.

“Don left town shortly afterward and Wally, Tom, Ed and I did some studio sessions together but it was never the same and we drifted away from it by ’82.

Says Ritchie; “Even for me the project remains both the best and worst I have ever experienced.”

The first LP was finally released on CD three years ago as was the never-released second LP, Strange News.

” And I’ll go on record as saying they are both masterpieces!” Adds Henman. “To this day, the best players I have ever worked with are Ed Stevens on guitar, Tom Rathie on bass, Walter Rathie on keyboards and Don Beauchamp on vocals”.

For this statement, Ritchie Henman does not have to clear his head …

Frank Marino; Anti -Establishment 101

He was once and still is referred to as the white Jimi Hendrix. Something which Frank Marino disperses as something he never attempted to be …

It is also something the Montreal – born drummer turned guitarist extraordinaire cannot figure out.

Even after all these years …

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” It all started with a journalist who wrote that I was visited by Hendrix’s spirit and he reincarnated himself through me.” Marino says. ” What’s funny is that Hendrix was still alive at the time. I mean … really!”

Although Frank Marino may not have been the second- coming of Mr. Hendrix physically, the now fifty- eight- year-old is a throwback to the love generation. An integrity of love and peace which has been his best companion through four decades.

“During my time ( seven albums ) with Columbia records, I was always arguing with ‘the corporation ‘ over things – petty things. Details such as album art, length of songs. It was an ongoing battle.” Laughs Frank.

A battle which started the very first day he signed his first contract with the company.

” We were all in a meeting. All the bigwigs, myself, friends, family and members of the band. All set to sign this huge contract” Marino explains.” All of a sudden, this guy points to my friend who had been acting as the band’s manager and says – he has to go! I was floored!”

Marino told the executive that if his friend goes – he goes too. The ‘suits’ would not budge so Marino walked out and went home. A record deal and all that money left sitting on the table.

” Did they think I was fucking joking?” Asks Marino. ” They soon found out I was not …!”

Six weeks went by and Columbia called back. Your friend stays they told him. Frank Marino -1, Corporation – 0.

“Thats the problem with life and the way it is in the music business. A marketer figured out if you take ten bands which sound alike, put them together and give the tour a name, some sorta theme – money can be made. What happened to the music?”Asks Frank.

Marino comes from the ‘hippie generation’, Woodstock and music were his classroom as Marino spent a grand total of sixty- nine days in high school.

“I come from a family with older siblings and the whole peace and love era. I started experimenting with LSD at a young age. Unfortunately, I took too much too often and was ‘ trapped’ in a different world. I was hospitalized for a long time at the age of thirteen and when I came out, music was my life.”

While in the hospital, Marino …, out of sheer boredom, learned to play the guitar. An instrument which was lying around for kids to play with.

“It was a small guitar and I thought, why not? It was after all, the instrument of the sixties !”

Following his release, Marino discovered himself, along with some musical buddies ( some of whom would become Mahogany Rush ), would soon pay $1.00 to jam in a room at 2424 Ste. Catherine St. in Montreal. A house which is currently an old folks home. Instruments were not provided yet it was a place to hang out with people who shared the same interests. Similar to kids of today bringing their Xbox to a place where others share their games. A place where Marino plied his craft and made friends who are still in his life today.

What a life it has been …

“Imagine, I was a seventeen year old kid who had signed a huge record contract at a time when kids- especially not Canadian kids, made it big in music and the United States. I was a pioneer who used distortion to the max. At one time, my guitar was hooked up to twenty- two pedals. Only Hendrix had done it before and that is probably where the Hendrix references commenced. Add all this to the fact I just came from a major acid trip – who else was I going play like? Pat Boone?”

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Marino also says the guys who followed him, guys like Robin Trower – never claimed the Hendrix influence even though it was so obvious.

“I always said I was influenced by Jimi. My first album was dedicated to him and the song ‘Buddy’ was about him. I think guys like Trower and Stevie Ray Vaughn did not pump the Hendrix influence because they saw what happened to me and all the negatives it had.”

Marino also never wanted to be a star. The only reason he agreed to his first record contract was for the access to equipment.

“Robert Nickford had a company named Ko tai Records and he says here! Make a record and you can use this amp and these peddles. What kid do you know would say no …?”

Nickford then made a deal to merge his company with a record company in Detroit. The company was named Nine Records. Marino then became part of Twentieth Century Fox until joining Colombia in 1974.

Even now, Frank does not understand how musicians are considered some sort of gods.

” I felt uncomfortable getting In limos …” Adds Frank. ” I would rent a car and drive to the next gig. To me – Jesus is the only God I know …!” He also does not understand when musicians say their lives are hard.

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” You get free food and free booze. If you are young you have girlfriends everywhere. If you think getting on a plane a few times a week is tough, try packing boxes for some asshole every morning at six. That’s tough!”

What amazed Frank and continues to amaze him, is how he was always left out of the Canadian music scene. A factor which the guitarist attributes to his fame in the U.S. and being a native Quebecer.

” Whenever there was a Canadian ‘We are the World’ or something like that, I was never called and asked to participate. One – people assumed I was American and two; the Quebec music scene was like a seperate entity.Especially in the seventies.”

Montreal was rocking during that decade with artists such as April Wine, The Dudes, Nannette Workman, Offenbach and many others lighting up the city’s nightlife. Marino is good friends with many of them including Myles Goodwyn – which led to Frank playing on the April Wine song; ‘So Bad’ off of the album ‘The Whole World is going Crazy.’

” When April Wine was hitting it big, their manager – Terry Flood, came and asked me how to penetrate the American border and make it big. Terry and other Canadian bands came to me because I was huge in the States. In fact, to this day, aside from Montreal, I have still not played very many gigs in my own country. I told them – don’t ask me! I just stumbled into this …!”

Bands like Supertramp, Genesis and The Police are great examples of the type of love affairs nestled between French- Quebecers and musicians’ pillows. An amorous connection which made these bands more popular in Quebec than anywhere else. Frank Marino is part of that list.

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“If not for the support of the French-Quebecers, I don’t think I would have gotten so big.” Says Marino.” To be able to sell out the Montreal Forum three times you have to be good and at the same time – have loyal followers.”

One of the reasons Francesco Marino did not gather a flock of English Quebec fans was the lack of support from the English media. Notably the radio stations …

“If I had a cover song, like Purple Haze for instance, places like Chom – fm would play it. Aside from one original song; Dragonfly, the English radio stations would not play my tunes. I think its because they wanted to be ‘safe ‘. Another reason was my music was not vocally pleasing. In a five minute song, I would sing for a minute.”

Marino had many loyal fans in the States and his popularity happened so fast, Marino admits his career went backwards.

“Most bands play bars and clubs when they start out. Work their way up. In my life, it wasn’t until a good thirteen years later that I saw the inside of a club. Up until that point, I had been doing arenas and open air festivals. I had a billboard on Sunset Strip before I was twenty…”

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It was backstage at these festivals where the reality of the music business set in. Marino encountered many musicians who would talk of money only. Marino’s visions of a Woodstock setting, a situation where music would be the topic of conversation, were shattered. It was at this point he realized be was not in Kansas anymore. According to Marino, it was more like ‘Oz’.

“I was and continue to be anti – establishment.” Says Frank. ” For me, there is no room for business in the music business.”

He continues.” If you think about it, the music business is the only business where people suceed because others fail. Musicians want other musicians to fail. This is the mentality. You can always pick out a musician at a concert. Everyone is dancing and boppin’ and having fun. Not the musicians. They are usually in the back row, arms crossed and thinking; lets see what you got Marino or whoever happens to be on stage.”

Marino’s battles with Columbia continued over artistic ideas. Culminating with the album Juggernaut. According to Marino, halfway through their deal, Columbia had chosen the album cover art for his record; ‘The Power Of Rock And Roll ‘ – which seemed to be straight out of Playboy. When they started to play games during the next one, Juggernaut, Marino decided that enough was enough. Frank ended their partnership after seven albums in an eight album deal. A stipulation in Marino’s contract allowing him to do so.

Frank Marino then began the happiest period of his life. After a brief sojourn into the music business in the mid- eighties, a period which brought the same b.s. , Frank finally said ‘screw it!’ Starting in 1993, he fathered three lovely ladies with his partner of thirty- three years. According to Marino – there has not been one day since, they have not made him smile.

“Go figure?!” Says Marino. “All three of them are musical!”

Frank’s eldest daughter (19) is a classically trained soprano vocalist and the two youngest ones – (16 and 13) both play acoustic guitar. It is no wonder as Frank brought the kids on every tour since the day they were born.

Marino, always a technological ‘geek’ – started to run a small business on the side helping people to program and fix their computers. Sometimes people would recognize him and freak out but for the most part, Marino was just another dude fixing computers.

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One day, Frank ventured onto the Web and came across a fansite for Mahogany Rush. He did not realize there were so many fans talking about him and his guitar playing. Marino soon joined ‘the chats’ as himself. It took a while for people to believe it was him and it made him want to play music again. For the music …

“Now – we go on the road for thirty gigs or less when we feel like it. When we are fed up – we go home. There is nobody telling me do this – do that. No record company telling me I have to make a record. It is freedom …”

Just like Woodstock …

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