Cum Hear the Band – April Wine – Part I

It was good to learn yesterday that classic Canadian rockers, April Wine are scheduled to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame on during the telecast of the Juno Awards to be held in St. John Newfoundland on April 18th.

* Before you learn of the entertaining events leading up to my introduction to April Wine as a kid under the ” Growing Up With April Wine” and “Cum Hear The Band” headers, I think a prologue may be in order for those not familiar with the band.

PROLOGUE

In my opinion, it’s been long overdue. For me, April Wine has been a big part of my life in my formative years as a musician. So much so, I’ve decided to write this blog in recognition of that. Now perhaps, some will argue, there have been better bands with more sophistication and world renown. Moreover, if pressed, I may be compelled to admit to admiring other Canadian bands with bigger hits and bigger hair that might cause me embarassment. But this blog isn’t about that. This is just a simple recognition of a band that has been there, for going on forty years, and have consistently contributed to the Cancon airways in a manner that would make Pierre Juneau proud. Juneau, after which the Juno Awards are named, was the architect who implemented Canadian content rules that would see a domestic music industry grow in Canada from the early 70’s on. Many bands and artist today can be thankful for that to be sure! Now some have argued that Juneau’s vision may have subjected us Canadians to mediocrity over the years, however, I beg to differ and stand in defense of that thinking, because Canada now has an established industry second to none. And the one band that has been there since day one? Yes, April Wine! From their first release in 1971, and as they set to release their 17th studio compilation of new tunes later this year, I can think of no other band that is more deserved to have their name inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Moreover, you would be hard pressed to find a household in Canada that does not have an they have an album or CD in their abode. Furthermore, I can say with great probability, somewhere right now an April Wine tune is being cued right now on a – or maybe many – radio station playlist right now. April Wine, like a indelible “vino” aural stain has been stamped into our collective consciousness. And of course, just like Pierre Juneau was an architect, I’d be remiss at this point not to mention the architect of the sound that is April Wine – Myles Goodwyn!

In a recent article on a blogspot I often visit fyimusic dot ca, the author better summarized Myles than I could ever do.

“Goodwyn is one of Canada’s under-rated, often-times overlooked songwriters. At times charismatic, he is also a stage performer who has never really felt comfortable in the spotlight,while his songs have often spoken of troubled romances, loneliness and vulnerability. Over the years his wit and lyricism, matched by his knack for memorable melodies, have become part of the Canada’s cultural fabric. April Wine has endured as a band in name, but it is Myles Goodwyn that has largest charted its course and written its musical legacy.”

* You can read the entire press release at fymusic here.

GROWING UP WITH APRIL WINE

I heard it said that “an alcoholic remembers his first drink.” I can’t say for sure I remember my first drink but I do remember my first taste of April Wine! Okay, I promise to desist from any further terrible puns, just so long as you engage me in entertaining you about the events leading up to the first time I heard an April Wine tune. Promise!

I was eleven at the time and just five weeks away from birthday number twelve. It was the long weekend in May. Traditionally “Victoria Day Wekend” ,as we knew it, was the weekend the local provincial park officially opened. For those not camping at the park, and lucky enough to have a cottage at any one of the nearby lakes, this was the weekend they attended to the chore of opening their summer homes. Basically, the folks of my little Northwestern Ontario town made an exodus that weekend to all directions. Anywhere but town!

In any event, that particular weekend I was allowed to accompany my boyhood chums, some who were a little older than I, to set up camp in the park. After being let off by our folks, we were free to do as we pleased. Well not right away, because we had to attend to setting up our canvas “Woods” tents. You remember the ones? They had those four steel poles that you pieced together and eventually they all conjoined together with a four-way universal joint at the top. Then you basically hung the tent off of a hook in the middle. No? You don’t remember that? Geez, I may be older that I thought. Anyways, once we were established, we set out for adventure. That basically meant, a chilly dip in the lake, if one was brave enough and racing our bikes daringly all day on the local “Nature Trails”. After a day of rambunctious play, we were pretty well exhausted and were set to return to our campsite. Ahh the freedom of youth. Thereafter, as dusk descended upon us, we partook in another typical Canadian camping tradition – roasting wieners and telling ghost stories. That usually evolved into escaped convict -murdering werewolf tales. The aforementioned, by the way, were never two different entities! It was always an escaped convict – murdering werewolf! As the evening waned and the conversation diminished, we were left only with the sound of a crackling of the fire that seemed to beg for more conversation. Not knowing what to say, I remember us tossing dried orange cedar needles into the embers and watching the sparks rise into the darkness. Whilst watching this DIY ariel display in silence, I think we were all contemplating in our silence a late night visit by a “werewolf” with a nefarious agenda. Anyways, as it happens when you assemble a bunch of fellas around a campfire, free from any estrogen presence – or Mom as we knew it in the day – it is inevitable things will eventually go south when the silence gets to be too much to bear. At that point, all that paranormal tale telling stuff seemed like ancient history as the stories now turned to a barrage of our “best of” compilation of fart and tittie jokes, usually led up by the older fellas who had comped them from their Dad or memorized them from stolen Playboy magazines. (Apparently, this never gets tired. Happened last year too!) So, there we are! A bunch of prepubescent, and reportedly pubescent youth about to retire to our sleeping bags. We all did our duty beforehand by taking turns peeing on the fire to douse the last embers of the day before filing into our respective tents with our flashlights. After settling in, we traded a bit more of banter between the tents reminding each other of ghosts and convicts. I think at that time, just as everything fell silent, a loud “train warning bell” filled the crisp night air which evidently echoed loudly from across the lagoon. And that my friends was my first introduction to April Wine! (The tune, I was to learn later, was “Oowatanite’ from the Stand Back Album). Of course being curious, it wasn’t too long before all of us – with door zipped up – were peaking our heads out to investigate the origin of this strange “noise”. Albeit, strange at first, it wasn’t too long we all agreed ” this is pretty cool!” As we peered out and across the lagoon, we had noted the music was blasting from a Ford F150 parked across the bay that obviously had a system upward of about 200 watts. It appeared a party was in the process and about to start on the property adjacent to the “Fish and Game” clubhouse. As we emerged from our tents to further investigate we sat there near the shore and contemplated how cool it might be to be teenagers. Furthermore, the older fellas brought up the subject of what it might be like to be rock stars. I think it was that evening we made the connection how music might provide a gateway in the exciting world of adolescence. Across the way we could see the teenagers dancing away and it looked as though beer was flowing freely. I think we even detected boys necking and dancing with girls! Gasp! Maybe it was that evening we realized that life did have more to offer than just fart and tittie jokes? Maybe it was that evening we all grew up a wee bit and actually thought of a future with girls in it? Maybe it was that evening that a smidgen of our innocence floated away and burnt out like the embers of that recently doused fire into the abyss of a Northwestern Ontario late spring clouded night sky?

April Wine - Stand Back - Back Album Cover

01. Oowatanite.
02. Don’t Push Me Around
03. Cum Hear The Band
04. Slow Poke
05. Victim For Your Love
06. Baby Done Got Some Soul
07. I Wouldn’t Want To Lose Your Love
08. Highway Hard Run
09. Not For You, Not For Rock & Roll
10. Wouldn’t Want Your Love (Any Other Way)
11. Tonite Is A Wonderful Time To Fall In Love

Well that’s enough about me for the moment. I just wanted to interject here a word about the diversity of the music of April Wine. Although the band could certainly bring the ballads that almost always got immediate airplay. Like a Lover, Like a Song, I Wouldn’t Want to Lose Your Love, You Won’t Dance with Me and their highest topping hit single, Just Between You and Me all attest to that ability. Conversely, they also possessed the ability to bring the rockers too! I Like to Rock, Roller, Don’t Push Me Around, Sign of A Gypsy Queen, the aformentioned and bassist penned Oowatanite, and even the cover of dinosaur rockers King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man clearly show the spectrum of their rock ability that could tip the scales at either end. One only has to listen to the aforementioned to know of which I speak.

CUM HEAR THE BAND

Billy’s called, he’s got the van
And Dean’s got a set of drums
And I borrowed this old guitar
We’re hoping someday we’ll all go far
And maybe we’ll write a tune
And drive in a limousine
See our picture in a magazine
So, wontcha be there
Cum hear the band on Friday night
Cum hear the band and it’ll be alright

The preceding lyrics are from the April Wine song ‘Cum Here The Band’. By the way, I think they can be forgiven for their spelling of the word “come” given that every other song by the Slade, a band of the same era, utilized and popularized that spelling. As in “Cum On Feel The Noize”. . In any event, I think the lyrics of Cum Hear the Band best summarizes the dreams of adolescent boys who dreamed of rock stardom. In essence, the story is not only of teenage boys conspiring to be rock stars but, also it speaks to getting the attention of girls.

With that I’ll conclude Part I of this story. In Part II tomorrow, I will write of my High School years of how I took up with a couple of immigrant Finnish boys and started our own band. Moreover, I’ll write about borrowing an old guitar, about learning that first April Wine song, and a battle royale with a local competing band also looking to get the attention of the girls! In the meantime you can read more about the history of April Wine here. I hope you enjoyed your read thus far! Stay tuned…

Cum hear the band on Friday night
Cum hear the band and it’ll be alright
And baby it’s you that’s got me burning inside
So cum hear the band it’ll be alright, It’ll be alright
’cause baby it’s you that keeps me so turned on
’cause baby it’s you that see me right when I’m wrong
And I can’t keep it inside,’Cause I won’t know ’til I’ve tried
So baby whatch want me to do

We practice hard to get it on
Working to get it strong
Now, I just want you to hear
But it wont work if you’re not there
So please don’t take too long
I’m waiting with a song
So wontcha please be there wontch be there
Cum hear the band on Friday night
Cum hear the band and it’ll be alright
And baby it’s you that’s got me burning inside
So cum hear the band it’ll be alright
It’ll be alright
It’ll be alright
It’ll be alright

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One Comment on “Cum Hear the Band – April Wine – Part I”

  1. finger me Says:

    This is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise information… Thank you for sharing
    this one. A must read post!


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