Archive for the ‘Music’ category

Ontario Independent Music Archive – Aboriginal

June 15, 2012

Hello friends of independent music! Maybe you are here by chance or maybe I’ve already spoken to you and talked about my current gig. As the title Ontario Independent Music Archive suggests, that is precisely what I am involved with. The project is directed by the National Campus and Community Radio Association [NCRA] in conjunction with the newly formed Ontario Independent Music Archive [OIMA]. As per their Media Release, the mandate for the project is to provide ” a place for musicians to post and share their work with the public, but will also collect and provide new life for independent music that was originally produced in small batches on vinyl, cassette and CD. ” As a lover of the vinyl format, this very much interests me. However, that is not to say that I will not actively seek out older music on cassette and CD. Moreover, NEW releases that is already available in the digital domain will be welcome too! Furthermore, I will be seeking not only fully-produced releases but I will be on the look out for one-off singles too! As for my involvement in this initiative, I will be acting as Curator or the “go-between”, as it were, to assist YOU – the artist – on the website. My job will be seek out music between mid-June until December 2012 when it is expected the Ontario Independent Music Archive [OIMA] will launch. As for my part of this involvement, I will be the contact for the Aboriginal component of this project. Incidentally, there are five other Curators working representing the English and French component of OIMA. In short, I will be seeking out “Independent’ music from Aboriginal musicians in Ontario only – for now anyways. This music can be in any genre imaginable from hip-hop to fiddle, traditional drum to blues, alternative to ______? – well you fill in the blank. Read on, but just for example here’s one my faves from the past courtesy of David Deleary of his former Ottawa-based band, Seventh Fire! Enjoy!

Personally, it is my hope that I will be able find as many recordings as possible to add to the archive. The benefit for contributors will be to have yet another place where their music will live to be available for public consumption. The benefit will be to provide access to a wider audience from both the general public to the many community and campus radio stations that are almost always the first to embrace independent music prior to going mainstream. In terms of some legalities that will need to be address, there are presently entertainment lawyer types out there working on Creative Commons type agreements that give options on how YOU – the artist – will prefer to licence your work to the Ontario Independent Music Archive. These will be available soon in the coming days for your perusal and consideration. This is presently being looked at by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). In short, CIPPIC, is the organization that works with other interests who lobby for protecting copyright issues as it pertains to how your art is proliferated on the internet.

In closing, I want to avoid getting too technical and keep your attention as to what I believe is most important here. That being, that musicians in Ontario – like you – now have a great opportunity to partake in a project that will preserve and promote your music for posterity such that future generations can enjoy it once again! Well that’s it for now. I’ll keep you posted in the coming days, weeks and months. For me this is a dream gig and I am very happy to help this initiative along. Any questions can be directed to me and michonmedia@yahoo.ca of via the facebook group “Ontario Aboriginal Musicians Music Group“.

As a final note, I wanted to share this tune a dear friend of mine, Clarence Louttit, who represented the finest of all the great “James Bay Fiddlers. I first met Clarence in Moose Factory, Ontario in 1993 while working up there. Aside from the obvious name association, Clarence took me to school as a musician and made me an admirer of classic fiddle tunes. Thank you Clarence for the kinship! In closing, though Clarence passed a few years ago, his music still manages to live on in the digital domain, [YouTube] thus giving opportunity for future generations to come to discover and hear his amazing talent. Like YouTube, OIMA’s initiative is also aimed at and will strive toward assisting making independent music available to people everywhere! Watch this space!

ABOUT THE NATIONAL COMMUNITY CAMPUS RADIO ASSOCIATION AND THE ONTARIO INDEPENDENT MUSIC ARCHIVE INITIATIVE

To learn more about the Ontario Independent Music Archive initiative headed up by The National Community Campus Radio Association you can read the initial announcement via Media Release here.

Furthermore, you can hear a testimonial by independent musician Sarah Mangle explaining how she foresees how the Ontario Independent Music Archive will benefit her via this audio PSA. Listen now! Click here.

Advertisements

Me and Daniel Lanois at the Juno Awards

April 1, 2012

This story happened to me back in the day around the time when I was learning Recording Engineering at Harris Institute for the Arts. It’s a story about my Daniel Lanois connection. But first I have to tell the back story, because it’s important to the years and moments leading up to my Dan Lanois “encounter”.

Marie Claire

This story begins back in my hometown of Geraldton, Ontario. It was high school and just getting set to go to Thunder Bay to be an Electronic Engineer. A few words on that later, because my abandonment of that aspiration may have changed the path that led me to this point in my life. Also, important to note, I had just begun starting produce my original song in a little studio I had built fashioned out of an old vegetable truck container. [Read more here} So as the story goes, let us begin by my introduction of a good friend in Geraldton named Mike Daigle. We were best of friends throughout high school. Anyways, Mike would often rave about his older musician brother Gilles who was a touring musician and recording engineer. I always thought that that was cool and perhaps maybe I might be able to maybe Gilles someday. Well it wasn’t too long, because lo and behold Gilles and his band were hired to do a gig in Geraldton during a Canada Day celebration in the basement of the Catholic Church. The day came and I was excited to meet this luminary of musicianship of whom Mike spoke so highly of. It was the evening of the gig and Mike and I sat in the audience as the band launched into some Beatles and Fleetwood Mac if memory serves me correctly? He and his band were astounding and the musicianship of all in the band was everything that Mike raved about. Gilles, it turns out, was the finest of Bass players I’d ever seen. Later, when the evening had endee, it was my pleasure to be able to speak to Gilles because apparently Mike had volunteered us for tear-down of gear. Moreover, I got to meet the rest of the band. The one I was most impressed to meet was the lead guitarist. He pulled off one of rocks most difficult of solos on the Eagle’s Hotel California with ease and grace. I was to learn that this fine guitarist name was Daniel L’Heureux. Now remember that name because it’s is central to this story.

Fast forward a year or two? I was now in Thunder Bay attending my Electronic Engineering course at Confederation College. It was also convenient at this time that Mike – who was attending the Film Program – and I room together with another Geraldton school chum. Also, it was about this time that Gilles had moved back from Quebec to settle in Thunder Bay. He was married now – with a child on the way – and was in the process of getting a 24-track Recording Studio up and running. Sadly though, I was to learn that his former band had folded most members therein were back to their respective provinces of Quebec and Ontario – including Daniel L’Heureux! Remember I said remember that name? In any event, I got work through Mike to help Gilles set up his Recording Studio from scratch. My first job was to sweep the dirt and sawdust from the floors left there by the former tenants prior to moving all the recording gear in. Thereafter, Gilles put my rudimentary carpentry skill to work as we erected walls of the gutted warehouse. Following that, I was then employed to help wire the recording console late at night after school was done at the College. In a few weeks, the Studio was up and running and taking in clients. I remember, in a short time BPI Studio was recording jingles and had set to record one of its first “real” recording artist. The musicians name? Roger McGraw – no relation to Tim – hailed from the small town of Caramat, Ontario. Caramat, incidentally, was just a few short miles down the road from Geraldton. “Hmm?” I thought to myself, “Maybe I too could do this someday?” This all too soon becomes relevant.

Photobucket

Now fast forward – paying no regard to my now long forgotten Electronic Engineering career – I had now moved on to Toronto to pursue a Recording Engineer career. I first took an 8 month course at a now defunct private Institute called the Audio Visual Institute of Canada. Despite the school’s short -lived status, I was able to visit many of Toronto’s prominent Recording Studios as part of curriculum and placements. Number 9 comes to mind, but there were plenty others. As a matter of fact, it was at Number 9 that our class elected to utilize one of my original songs as a working “project”. It was eventually all recorded professional like, but sadly at the time the school was in financial turmoil and had “forgotten” to pay its bills, As a consequence, Number 9 withheld the 24-track tape and I never got hold of that recording. Where it is now? Don’t know, however, I still have it in a notebook somewhere? Perhaps to revisit that one? I remember it not being half-bad, even in comparison of my current standards. Why is this all important? Well, as part of my Recording Engineering education, this one name kept popping up. Daniel Lanois. Who was he? I inquired to fellow students and apparently this Lanois fella had a Recording Studio in Hamilton called Grant Studios. “Oh, okay. Another guy with a home recording studio. Good luck fella!” I thought.

This is someone’s home-made video based on Ray Materick’s song Linda Put the Coffee On. Produced by Daniel Lanios at Grant Studio back in the day. In fact, that’s Dan on Lead Guitar.

Fast forward another year or two? By this time I had moved on to surviving. I still had my home recording setup at home and continued to write. I also did recording with alumni at their studios too! However, I felt compelled to move on to taking up Radio Production and Broadcast Marketing at Ryerson part-time. In the interim whilst studying I took on various Production Assistant gigs with various TV and Radio production companies in between working part-time at a place called Roblan Distributors. Roblan, incidentally, was the distribution arm of Sam the Record Man. And yes, I saw Sam on a daily basis as his office was on the top floor of the building formerly located at the corner of Dundas and Church. Fine memories and good times. Loved that guy! Anyway’s that’s another story for another time. But, it was relevant being ppart of the Sam the Record Man’s marketing department, because I was handling “new releases’ by all the popular artist of the day. I always took time to read all the liner notes on the “albums” as I prepared them for shipping to all the Sams across the country. Central to the story, I remember glancing at releases by U2. U2 and Bono were not yet household names. Hang on to that thought.

Rewind a bit here now. Remember Daniel L’Heureux? Good! In between my school year in Toronto I would return to Thunder Bay to work in a grocery warehouse. During this one particular summer, I bumped into Mike and he gave me all the updates from Mike, my former roommate. He had informed me that Dan was now in Toronto and was in a band called BULLY and apparently that had a Recording deal. I contacted Mike’s brother Gilles and he supplied me with a contact for Dan. So, upon my return to school in Toronto, I looked Dan up. Turns out BULLY was actively performing around Toronto. I took a few opportunities to see them on occasion. Now this is where thing got interesting because it led to the “encounter”. Dan and I had become pretty good friends and somewhat of a mentor. He was about 10 year my senior with many music industry contact. He was always supportive of my endeavours as both an aspiring Songwriter with Recording Engineer inklings. At this time Dan was living with his sister – who I remember being quite cute – so, I started to go visit Dan a little more frequently. 😉 Actually, Dan, his sister and another gal were in the midst of putting a band together. Given, I was always welcome there at their apartment, I’d just t show up on Jam nights to horn in, oggle…err…I mean watch and maybe learn something? Press “Pause”.

Photobucket

The Unforgettable Jam

No fast forward required here. I remember it was now Juno Awards time of year and soon came the day of. I hod gone over on that day for for a late-afternoon Jam. This was an anomaly because Jam time had always been in the evening. But, given the Juno Awards were on that evening, I thought nothing of it. Well the Jam went right on into the broadcast of the Awards that eventing. Between songs and sipping beverages we chatted music stuff, all the while horning in on what was taking place at the awards on TV. Well it was on occasion of this one particular break, the time had come for the Producer of the Year Award was to be presented. I don’t recall as to all the nominees were, but there was that name again. Daniel Lanois. I still didn’t know exactly who he was1 Anyways, the presenters at the Junos were at the podium preparing to announce the winner. A hush took over the room as they opened the envelope. The audience at the Gala too was silenced. The Winnier? Of course! Who else, but this Dan Lanois fella for Producer, along with his cohort Brian Eno for U2’s Unforgettalbe Fire. From that moment on, I would never again forget that name. Not because Daniel Lanois had produced one of Rock’s most iconic albums, but because of what was to transpire next. Here’s the kicker! Dan – the L’Heureux one not the Lanois one – exalted in the win, breaking the subdued silence of the Jam room. “YES!” he proclaimed. “Way to go Danny!” “Err? Danny?’ I thought to myself, “Like he’s good buddies with him or something” I thought to myself. Then it occurred to me to ask aloud “Come on Dan. DANNY? Really? Like you know him personally or something?” To my surprise, Dan replied “Yeah, known the dude for years. “ Dan went on to tell me how whenever it was he was out Clubbing or Gigging or simply walking downtown, people would a stop him thinking he was Daniel Lanois. This was substantiated by his sister and other band member. To further, substantiate this, close to an hour had passed since the Daniel Lanois win and the Juno Awards had concluded. Dan then went to his black book and retrieved a number. I a few short moments he was on the phone talking to Daniel Lanois. I remember him chatting up and congratulating Daniel Lanois. The conversation lasted for about 3 to 5 minutes when he turned the phone handset to “us”. “Wait a minute Dan! ” OUR Dan asked Lanois Dan “ I have my sis, [forget her name] and Clarence – you don’t know Clarence – but they have something to say.” With that we were prompted to collectively shouted in unison “Congratulation Dan!” And that my friends it my story of my nearest encounter to Daniel Lanois…thus far.

Thanks for the visit people for letting me share that fine story with you! I kid a lot, and it is April Fool’s today as I write this, but that is the God honest truth. I swear!

P.S. Regarding my abandoned Electronic Engineering career? Well as part of Semester One, I found my heart wasn’t in it and started to spend more time hanging out at Gilles’ Studio. Probably a better education there than at College. Moreover – as a side note – as part of Semester One, we were required to build an LED Clock Radio. Uhmm..never finished it. However, I still have it in a trunk in my basement stored along with other memorabilia. In the event, if this Songwriting/ Broadcasting thing don’t take off again soon I may have to go back to school and start over again. Press “Rewind”. Hmmm..what haven’t I tried yet?

Post Script

The Unforgettable Fire is the fourth studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was released in October 1984. The band wanted a different musical direction following the harder-hitting rock of their 1983 album War. They employed Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to produce and assist them experiment with a more ambient and abstract sound. The resulting change in direction was at the time the band’s most dramatic. There rest of the story here!

You can also view the making of The Unforgettable Fire on YouTube if you are so inclined.

P.S.S. If you’d like another Juno story by me, check out the time I had to make the trek from the northern outposts of Northwestern Ontario to Toronto to cover the Junos as a journalist. It’s just as funny as Trains, Planes and Automobiles – but TRUE! Read on Clarence Goes to the Junos. Oh there’s a little story of my “encounter” with then little known Sarah MacLachlan. Click here!

New Music Talent – Aboriginal Women

January 20, 2011

Just a quick blog to share with you some finds of mine, while browsing YouTube, that focus on what I believe to be are up and coming talent that you should keep an eye on. As the title suggest, this blog is specific to Aboriginal Women. However, I don’t know all that much more about them, other than what is on written on their sites and brief writing exchanges. I did in fact “friend” and subscribed to their YT Channels of fb Page and noted some growth and activity in their musical endeavors, which is always good to hear. In any event, if you’re accustomed to the usual suspects, and there are a lot, here is some refreshing talent for you to discover and enjoy as I did. So, with that being said and without further adieu, first up….

Erin Arbichon – Cover of “Joey” by Concrete Blonde jamming it out with her Dad and friends. Great pipes! Hope she sticks with it. Probably the youngest of this selection. From in and around Edmonton I believe?

Nashina Esquega – jamming out a blues tune at Thunder Bay’s Bluesfest. I know a little about her from what golfing buddy Carol – the Bass player – explained to me. However, she’s taken a hiatus from the band to go back to school last I heard.

Candance Twance a.k.a Sea Ballast, another gal from the Thunder Bay Region. Was recently a contestant in NCI Radio’s Country Jam in Winnipeg, and did well from what I heard. Some more vids of that to be found on YT.

Marmie a.k.a. MoviesTilDawn, cover’s Ashton Shepard “Look It Up” The talent I know I least about, but she posts often. She has a great tone to here voice. Apparently, now doing originals. From Saskatchewan I think. Keep an ear out!

Kathia Rock. I just learned of her. An Innu gal from Northern Quebec? In any event, this particular song has a traditional feel with contemporary production values. Liking it and look forward to hearing more.

Well like I said, it’s just a brief blog to write as I await to watch the Sundance Film Fest live streaming to begin. Which is now. Please let me know of more up and coming talent – both men and women if you are so inclined. That being said, this certainly was not meant to be a complete list, but rather a snapshot of the growing breadth and styles that exist within Canada’s Aboriginal Music Community. Hope you enjoyed your visit!

Thanks,

Clarence

P.S. Yes I will write one for the males too. Watch this space!

Cock Rings and Red Rider – A Rock and Roll Fan Tale

August 22, 2010

Photobucket

Okay, here goes! This is got to be one of the funniest fan stories you’ve probably ever heard and it happened to me! This happened when the great Canadian songwriter, Tom Cochrane, was touring with his former band mates as the newly assembled Red Rider in 2000. I had just moved to Winnipeg. Of course being a big fan, I very much wanted to go. Problem was, having just moved to the city for a new job, I had bills that I had incurred by the relocation and really needed to watch my cash situation. However, as distractions go, it just so happened the rock radio station, Power 97, was doing a promotion for listeners to attend the concert. As it is with most contests, all you needed to do was listen for some prompt,call in, answer a question and Presto! Free tickets. So listen I did, but was never successful in getting through to the Deejay.. Well this went on for a week. It was pretty straight forward. You just answered some trivia about Tom and Red Rider correctly and you got yourself a pair of tickets to attend the concert at the Burton Cummings Theatre, Being the Tom Cochrane fan that I am, I do believe I knew every answers that week. At times I even found myself yelling at the radio at some of those supposed “fans” who called in and didn’t know the answers. Sheesh! So needless to say, I continued to listen intently all week with no luck in getting through. As the week progressed, my hope waned and I fell into a slight depression. No not really, but I thought that sounded dramatic.

Photobucket

Anyways, soon it was the evening of the concert and only a couple of chances to win free tickets remained before the show began. On the evening of the concert,  Power 97 had parked their mobile truck in front on the Burton Cummings Theatre and they were doing an exclusive live broadcast from there. Well at this time I had resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to be attending the show. I was a little distraught and thought a drive might help. But, being a glutton for punishment, I thought I might just take a drive by the theater and look at all the lucky folks there attending this fantastic reunion show with Tom Cochrane and the original Red Rider. Of course, while driving on the way over to the theatre, I thought I would horn in on the happenings at the theatre via the car radio. I was driving in somewhat of a daze listening to the banter of the deejay and soon found myself just moments away from the Burton Cummings theatre. For those familiar with Winnipeg, I was rounding Hargrave at Ellice by the MLCC liquor store. It was at that point, the deejay announced the last chance to win 4 tickets..not one..not a pair, but 4 tickets to the show! Great, I thought! Look at poor little ole me, I’ve got no cell phone on hand to call through. Sigh…”Now how in the hell am I supposed to call in?” I taunted to myself. But, at that moment, much to my delight the deejay announced the 4 tickets would be given to…get this…to the first person to show up at the mobile in front of the Burton Cummings Theatre with a cock ring. Hallelujuh! Cochrane. Cock Ring. They sound sort of alike don’t they? Then the deejay went on to intro Red Rider’s “What Do You Got To Do Get Off Tonight?” as a segue of sorts. My those deejays are clever!

Now my conundrum was, first, what the hell is a cock ring? Second, where do you get one? Well…wouldn’t you know it…that deejay musta been reading my mind, because right then he instructed listeners to get themselves to a sex shop, if they didn’t already have a cock ring on hand… and get one. Told you those deejays are clever! They have all the answers. And wouldn’t you know it! Right there… at the corner before the theatre was a sex shop called Discreet Boutique. ” Western Canada’s Largest Showroom Since 1991″ a large sign by the door read.

Photobucket

With no thought at all, and little regard for others on the road, I immediately did an illegal U-turn and swung my car into the Liquor Store parking lot. Slammed that sucker into park! Jumped out of the car and ran as fast as my legs could carry me to the sex shop. I’d say it was probably a 50 yard dash. I did in a time that coulda easily got me qualified for the Olympics I swear. Having arrived at the sex shop, winded and breathing heavy, I burst into the sex shop and lurched towards the lady at the counter and blurted out disparately! “I NEED A cock ring! Taken aback by my desperate plea, the clerk answered, “Pardon me sir?” Slower now, I repeated with equal enthusiasm and marking each word, “I…NEED…A…COCK…RING!” “OH, yeah, we have those.” She replied nonchalantly. With that, the nice sex shop lady directed me to the cock rings. In an passive and accommodating manner, that would make a Walmart greeter blush, she obliged me in wonderfully accommodating way by pointing me to the back of the store. You know? She sorta reminded me of Flo, the waitress, you know from that TV show Alice back in the day.

Photobucket

Seemingly, I was home free when suddenly at that moment a young gal walked in. Yes, you guessed it. She too was asking for a cock ring. “Yikes!” I whispered to myself, and hurriedly picked up my pace to a near run. As I made my way to the back of the store, I peered over my shoulder frequently. I could see now that the clerk was also directing this young lady to the cock rings. The pursuit was on. Now, I thought to myself, “Self! This is a good time to run!” and run I did. Of course, upon arriving at the “toy” section, I suddenly realized my dilemma. As I surveyed the countless gadgets displayed there, many of which I never new existed. In my awe, I think I lost a few valuable moments as the girl in pursuit was getting closer. Anxiety kicked in, The adrenalin was coursing through my veins. Heart palpitations ensued. With little idea of what I was precisely looking for, my eyes darted up and down, to the left to the right. Suddenly, much to my delight, there it was! The cock ring! “This must be my lucky day!” I thought. There it was jumping right out at me big bold gold lettering. – IMPACT 48 pt font – I think? “cock ring” it read on the package. At that moment, it seemed time stood still. A cone of silence enveloped me. I was in my own little world. Moreover, I do believe I heard angles softly singing. Like the Golden Feece, The Holy Grail, if you will, there it was! A golden cock ring! I don’t know if it was the way the florescent light hit the cock ring, but it seemed to emanate a mystic glow. In my heightened state of being, I was tuned into the moment. It seemed all receptors were open. This was further acknowledged, because at that moment I heard a majestic voice echo in my head “I’ve been waiting for you Clarence. Where have you been?” Whoa, I know now today, if that was not the voice of GOD, then it certainly sounded a lot like James Earl Jones. Relieved of my find, I let out a big sigh and bowed my head as to pay my respects to the cock ring that had presented itself. Enthralled in my amazement of that cock ring that jumped out at me, I notice now, there was a plethora of other cock rings. Every size and every color imaginable. All of them, just hanging there in that ethereal glow. In my wonderment, caught up in the moment, I thought to myself. “I don’t think I’ll ever behold a site so wonderful ever again!” Rows and rows of cock rings assembled there for my eyes to behold. Suddenly, I snapped out of it. I took a glance , only to see that young lady was  now right there to my left. I tried to ignore her and not make eye contact. it seemed she knew exactly what she was after. Hmm, I thought, “ She’s done this before. Not fair!” So, I clumsily reached out toward the wall to grab the first cock ring within my grasp. But, then it seems my hand was hardwired to my brain and seemingly my brain was instructing my hand to pick size over price. “Shit, that cost me a few more seconds. I didn’t have that sorta time.” I reminded myself. So, I literally ripped that golden ring from its fastenings off the wall in one fell swoop,  took an abrupt turn. I walked briskly towards the cashier. I was a man on a mission. A lunatic fringe if you will?

I could now hear the ominous beginning of that song as I walked the aisle. At that moment, I also recall shooting a piercing glance at the young lady as I passed on by her in the opposite direction toward the front of the store. At that moment, everything seemed to happen in slow motion as our eyes meet for the first time. I do believe I detected a slight sneer on her part.  Huh! I thought to myself, “Those tickets are mine! Mine all mine I tell you!” As thing resumed in real time, I hastily walked to the counter. Upon arrival, I dug deep into my pocket a produced all the loonies and change I had on hand and threw it down on the counter. The sex shop lady, who was chewing her gum enthusiastically, sauntered her way to till and rang in the cock ring. You could imagine my nervousness as I glance back, only to see the young girl was making her way up the aisle behind me with her very own cock ring. “That’ll be 10.19 sir.” the sex shop lady said “10.19? Shit!” I blurted out, as I continued to sort out my change on the counter.

Photobucket

Wouldn’t you know it, my concentration was broken suddenly by an audible “tsk” sound coming from behind me. I turned, only to see the young gal rolling her eyes towards the ceiling. Turning my attention back to the task at hand, I counted out the change on the counter. 9.78 in change. Thinking quickly I explained to the nice sex shop lady that I would run out to my car and get some more change out of the ashtray to make up the difference. She obliged and let me exit with my newly acquired cock ring – I’m thinking – much to the dismay of the lady in pursuit. I must have a trust worthy face or something I thought to myself. Then I also thought, maybe cock rings are marked up so much she really didn’t care if I returned. Probably the latter. Anyways, with cock ring in hand, I Cosmo Krammered out the door and onto the sidewalk! So now, with cock ring handily secured, I thought for a moment I could go to the car, but that thought quickly dissolved because then the lady in pursuit would beat me to the Power 97 mobile at the theatre. So, it was straight to the Burton Cummings Theatre for this sex shop cowboy! With that, I was off like a bat out of hell! I quickly dashed about fifty yards and soon found myself rounding the corner in front of the theatre. There before me awaited an anxious crowd. They were lined up 10 deep on the sidewalk right up to Ellice anticipating the doors to open. So, trying to act all casual and such, I shuffled through the crowd towards the mobile where Power 97 was doing their live broadcast. All the while, I was glancing over my shoulder every other moment on the lookout for you know who. Upon reaching the mobile, I could see through the door the deejays were sitting at the mixing console doing the things deejays do. I could see their lips moving and knew precisely what they were saying because they had mega watt speakers bellowing their address from the top of the van. Then the magic words I wanted to hear were announced “We’re still waiting for that cock ring folks! First person to show up with a cock ring wins these much coveted tickets” That was my prompt. I made my way to the door and started banging on the door disparately trying to get their attention. I guess they couldn’t hear me on account of the speakers being so loud. Luckily though, a young couple had noticed me hammering on the door. It seem they were at a much better vantage point to get the attention of the deejays via visual signals. With that, they started waving their arms in a frantic motion at the deejays. I guess the deejays seen them and they then started pointing towards me. At the realization of what was transpiring, I guess the rest of the crowd suddenly thought it was incumbent upon them to assist me. By now everyone had pretty well noted me frantically waving my cock ring. That all it took to get the deejay’s attention. One of the deejays peered out the window and looked at me. “Alas!” I thought, “ I have arrived.” I seemed to recall hearing bugles blaring triumphantly. Or perhaps, it may have been feedback from the speakers? In any event, I continued to wave my cock ring high above the crowd, People were cheering loudly now. I could now see the deejay approaching the door. The door flung open. Suddenly, the cheering got louder to decibel levels equaling jet engines. The deejay, with tickets in hand looked at me quizzically. I hesitated a beat and muttered like Oliver in Dicken’s Oliver Twist ” I..I…I’ve got your cock ring…Sir?’ I announced. The deejay, towering over me from the steps, looked at me and glanced around at the now silence crowd. With that, he took the cock ring from my hand, inspected it a moment, and nodded approvingly at me and the crowd. The crowd erupted once again.

Photobucket

I thought my heart might burst as the deejay handed me the tickets.  I took the ticket and quickly inspected them. With that, I held them up like a royal flush in my hand, and I turned to the crowd and fisted the air with my other hand as the crowd prolonged their cheer. Yes! This is what Tom Cochrane must have been thinking about when he wrote “Victory Day”. Well not really, but I thought that sounded emphatic.

She says life isn’t big, not it’s kind of small
Made of small moments, they’re all strung together
If you don’t look out, you might miss them all
Then it’s just passed you on by like the weather

Having accomplished my mission, I took my cache of tickets and I walked to the young couple that assisted me in my time of need. I wanted to thank them. It turns out, the couple only had one ticket between them. So being the nice guy that I am, I told them I was new in town and my lady was out of town, so all I really needed, or even wanted, was one. So I gave them two of mine in exchange for their sole ticket. That left me with three. By this time, I had become quite popular and a bidding war ensued amongst the crowd for my remaining tickets. For a moment I was enticed to wield my new found power over these now seemingly mere mortals. But, my conscience soon gave way to my ethics and I could not bring myself to take advantage of the situation. I’m sure I could have easily gotten 100 bucks. Oh well. My first thought, thereafter, when I came to my senses, was to look for that young lady from the sex shop to be sure she would get in the concert. Despite her demeanor at the sex shop, I thought it only fair that she get some sorta consolation prize. So, I scanned the crowd, but unfortunately, she was nowhere to be found. However, I did catch a glance out of the corner of my eye, of two young ladies, who looked a bit timid, but were obviously big fans. One was nervously chewing her nails knowing she and her friend were about to be left out in the cold. The crowd now began to shuffle in. Detecting the despair on their faces, my heart went out to them, cause I thought to myself, only ten minutes ago, I was feeling that same despair. I walked over and handed them my two remaining tickets “Have fun, enjoy the show” I said, and walked away. No words were ever exchanged after that, but I think I got a message telepathically acknowledging their gratitude. I think all Tom Cochrane fans share that gift. Somehow that moment reminded me of Tom’s song the Untouchable One. One of my favorites.

Then it occurred to me, that I had to get back to the car and move it out of the Liquor Store parking lot before it got towed. Moreover, I needed to complete that transaction with the sex story lady. So, I walked on over to the sex shop with a pile of change I grabbed out of the ashtray from the car. So, after parking my car safely, I walked back the sex shop. As I entered, I was still beaming with pride from my my big coup and boldly announced “See, I told ya I’d be back.” . “Oh the guy with the cock ring.’ she acknowledged. A couple standing near the counter looked toward us, obviously not knowing what to think. “ Yeah, that musta been the shortest possession of a cock ring ever.” I quipped. “ Oh really?” she asked. “ Yeah really.” I replied “ Got what I wanted out of it. “ With that I turned to the door to leave, however before I did, I glanced at the inquisitive couple and winked and walked out the door. Can’t imagine what they thought? Furthermore, I can’t imagine what the sex store lady thought I had just accomplished, because I had only been missing in action for  fifteen minutes with that cock ring. Now it was back to the concert for me. Upon arrival I proceeded into the lobby and straight to the concession stand for a much needed cola. Who do I meet there? Yes, none other than the guy and his lady I had traded the tickets with. He graciously, bought me my drink as we chatted. It seems he was new to town too and his girlfriend, I was to learn, found that night she would be able to attend because of cancellation in her previous plans. Thereafter, we all took our drinks and went to go to our seats. I don’t know why I assumed I would be sitting in their proximity, but I followed them anyways as we yapped about our love for Red Ryder and Tom Cochrane music. However, our conversation interrupted abruptly as the usher stopped us. The usher had let couple through, but pointed me to another entrance after inspecting my ticket. With that, the couple graciously waved as we parted ways. The young man gave me a thumbs up. Now you would think that would be enough. However, as many of my stories go there is always a “kicker”. The kicker? It turns out that that lone ticket the young fellow had given me was for a seat 6 rows back from front row center. Go figure?. If the young guy knew, he didn’t say.

Photobucket

All I can ponder was that more than a little magic was happening that evening. In the end, five people got to see Tom Cochrane and Red Rider that evening for the price of one ticket. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. There they were. Tom, Kenny Greer and Jeff Jones pumping out that unique aural stamp that only Red Rider can deliver. Sorry, I can’t recall who was on drums, but what at beat! So what is the morale of the story? I really don’t know? Howzabout. “ A cock ring in hand is worth five tickets in the thicket?” Vive la liberte! Lets hear it for cock rings! They’ll set you free! Well no, not really, but certainly music has that affect. Thanks Red Rider for the music! And thank you Tom!

Photobucket

And with that, I’ll conclude this story with a little ditty that first turned me on to Red Rider and the brilliant songwriting by Tom Cochrane himself. Thanks for the visit. Hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks!
Clarence

P.S. If you want to learn more about Tom Cochrane and Red Rider’s music, be sure to visit his site here!

P.S.S. If you’re interested in what the Discreet Boutique has to offer – oh and you must be 18 or older – you can visit here!

Dances With Ducks [The Writing of When I Found You I Found Me]

August 16, 2010

Photobucket

Well my second offering of tunes for my new CD entitled “Hardrock Acoustics” is now out there and starting to get legs of its own. Hardrock, by the way, denotes the name of the company that built the headframe depicted on the cover and not the style of music. Happy to say I’m getting good feedback, so I’ll take that as endorsement to press on and start work toward my third offering. Incidentally, I have four tunes I left off this offering and have a good part written for the remaining six tunes for my third offering which I plan to release Summer 2013. Thereafter, I am looking to get in the studio to get back to full production mode for my songs with the intent of publishing. In the meantime, I’ve been working on the performance aspect of career to compliment my songwriting efforts. Given all my demos are live off the floor with guitar and vocals only, it had not been a big stretch. That being said, I’d still like to explore producing the tunes with a full band. In any event, if you are so inclined, have a listen to When I Found You,I Found Me – the results of my songwriting endeavor that I will be focusing on in this post.

Photobucket

DANCES WITH DUCKS – The Writing of When I Found You. I Found Me

Just a little snippet of some insight into writing ” When I Found You, I Found Me” – one of tunes available on Hardrock Acoustics. I had been struggling to finish this song. Although I had a good part of it written, I still needed an additional verse and was thinking about adding a bridge. It was a nice sunny day and I was sitting at the computer trying to write. It just wasn’t happening, and given it was such a beautiful day, I felt some distraction to get out of the house and get to the beach. I guess it wasn’t too long, but soon found myself thinking about head out to the beach – and so I did. However, it also occurred to me that I might strap on my guitar and take along the song and have a go at it there. I was thinking a change of scenery might enable me better to take on the task at hand. With that I headed out to the “office” a.k.a. the park. The park is about a fifteen minute bike ride away, so I ventured out there on my trusty 18 speed Schwinn. Immediately upon arrival, I noted a couple nice picnic tables that would be appropriate to serve as an executive desk. With that, I placed my work essentials on the desk and went to work. Though I had no pesky office cubicle neighbors, I did have to contend with a family of ducks. Quack!

Photobucket

Well after all was assembled and I adjusted to my surroundings I felt with the refreshing breeze blowing off the lake and a host of birds chirping, I was ready to tackle writing. Funny thing though, it seems everyone is a critic these days. It seems moments after laying the paperwork for the song, I bird perched above my desk thought it be nice to send me a subtle message. Yep! A damn bird crapped on my sheet music. My immediate response was to shake my fist toward the treetop and quip. “Bird! you don’t know shit from shinola” After having said that, I realized that bird would have to be like 70 years old to get that reference. In any event, I carried on now with a vengeance to complete the song.

Photobucket

Happy to report the family of ducks nearby were no disturbed by my presence. The male of the species on occasion ventured right up to me seeking treats. Sadly, though I had none to offer, but have since gone back to return with treats. The mother of the species had seven ducklings in tow, but was neither distressed by my presence, however, she did keep her brood a distance from the shore. They happily swam around until about a half hour after me being there and decided to take up a mid-afternoon nap under a nearby cedar by the shore.

Photobucket

Well with all this inspiring scenery that Northwestern Ontario has to offer, I was able to successfully complete the remaining verse and bridge to my satisfaction. I was there for about an hour writing and rewriting. Only at one point the beach was visited by a group of youth who docked nearby and were playing on the playground equipment about 50 yards away. Their visit was short and their joyous laughter was shield somewhat by a band shell between me and them. However, the brief interlude was welcome as I took a break and waded in the water, all the while strumming my guitar with my flip flops on. It seemed to be shaping up as another tough day at the “office”. Sigh!

Photobucket

All in all, the afternoon went well. Just as a further note, I haven’t written too much outside of the home, but this could set a precedence – welcome precedence at that. I think sometimes of writing in a professional studio, but then I get to thinking about that environment being “stale”. To me, food atmosphere is a good infuse to writing as it is with eating at…say a good restaurant. Which brings to mind a joke I heard recently. Q: Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon?
A: The food is great, but no atmosphere!

Photobucket

Here is the result of my afternoon of writing and dancing with ducks. Hope you enjoy it. BTW, if you see me wandering around somewhere, I generally have the CD on hand if that interests you. Quite proud of the work I completed this year. Thanks to those also who have extended their kind comments. As for that bird who pooped on my song sheet, well we’ll see what becomes of this tune. Anyways…listen

here! BTW. Press “Play” button upper right, once there.

Thanks for the visit!

Clarence

P.S. Looking to do some live performance stuff for YouTube soon. Will post when available. BTW, you may want listen to this tune also available on Hardrock Acoustics. So Goodnight, a partially non-fiction account of my youth.

And just for fun. I did up a little comic of my former characters featured in my strip “Duck Attitude” If you are not familiar with the strip or want to learn more go here.

Photobucket

Courage Highway – Songwriting 2010

August 6, 2010

Photobucket

Just wanted to write a short blog pertaining to my new offering of original tunes, demo style. My second release of tunes is now ready. I’ve called the release “Hardrock Acoustics” which is not “Hard Rock” as the title might suggest, but rather is an acoustic representation of all the selections of the CD that are simply presented with acoustic guitar and vocals only. Actually the Hardrock reference pertains to the goldmine head-frame that appears on the cover. The head-frame is the last of the many that existed in this wee gold mining town where I grew up. BTW, I took a shot at designing my own cover in Photoshop and I am quite pleased with the results. Whadaya tinks eh?

Photobucket

As per the title of this blog, I am featuring one of the last additions to the CD offering – Courage Highway. Prior to listening to the tune however, I’d like to give a little history of the song and its title. For many who live in my area near Thunder Bay, or often travel that part of the Highway 11/17, you will know that Courage Highway is the 100km stretch of highway that commemorates the courage of Canadian Hero, Terry Fox in his Marathon of Hope run that sadly ended near Thunder Bay when he lost his battle with cancer. Courage Highway starts at Nipigon Ontario on to Thunder Bay where a Scenic Lookout that bears his name exists. It is at the end of the 100 km stretch, a statue in Terry’s likeness stands tall facing west toward his intended destination to the Pacific. Much more can be read about Terry’s effort and the annual run that bears his name toward the run to cure cancer here.

Photobucket

I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.”
Terry Fox, October 1979 ”

COURAGE HIGHWAY – THE SONG

More specific to the song, however, I have to say there is some direct references to Terry’s Run, but I also view it as a general statement as to how we determine our own destiny. In my thinking, whatever passion one aspires to, there will always be hardships and maybe even failures along the way that will test our will. With faith and perseverance we at times have to muster up our courage, stay the course and carry on. I think an old Chinese proverb says something to that affect, if I recall correctly, ” Fall down seven times. Get up eight.” I think falling down is just a part of life that we simply have to contend with and it tests our determination and courage time and again to get up and start all over again. With the “highway” as the metaphor as to the experiences we encounter along the way to our dreams, I think is fitting because we have to know the destination and if observant, we watch for “signs” along the way that help get us there. I have often traveled the real Courage Highway that exist between Nipigon, Ontario and Thunder Bay, because of my close proximity and am often reminded of the courage of Terry Fox. However, no matter where one lives, I’m sure we all have our own race to run out there on Courage Highway. I think a few lines of my song, Courage Highway, pretty well sums up my thoughts about courage. Hope you enjoy it!

Ran a lot of miles out there on Courage Highway
There’s time my heart felt tired and torn
There’s a lot of dreams there out on Courage Highway
That’s where legends are born

COURAGE HIGHWAY – A Song Tribute to Terry Fox

As a further testament to the courage of Terry Fox. Here is a YouTube video. It depicts me and my brother this past winter as we chased down the Winter Olympic Torch Run. We were literally coming back from Thunder Bay and met up with them at Nipigon, so we swung the vehicle back west to chase them the full 100km stretch of Courage Highway. In the end, we finally caught them at Terry Fox Scenic Lookout. I just happened to have my video camera with me and filed the following short video about that event.

ANOTHER NEW TUNE – SO GOODNIGHT

A short tune about a pool hall that closed down in my home town. Seems I’ve been listening to a lot of Guy Clark lately. Very much non-fiction, but some fiction involved, however, as I did exercised some poetic licence. The old man in the song does exist btw, and is very much alive. Hope you like this one too!

See Forever Eyes – Who’s That Girl?

July 17, 2010

Photobucket

Looking right through you she knows who you are she’s got
See Forever Eyes
A spirit obsessed, a vision possessed with universal inner sight
No stranger to love she’s had many men but none of them survived
Her crystal excites so follow the light of her
See Forever Eyes

I was revisiting my LP and cassette collection today and have always liked the music of the Canadian Classic rock band Prism. Anything done with original singer Ron Tabak by the way is what I consider their classic era. Their self-titled album, See Forever Eyes, Armageddon and Young and Restless. Luckily, I was able to see them live in my earliest days of attending concerts. It was in Thunder Bay at the Lakehead University Fieldhouse that I was able to see them up close and personal. I remember it well and was quite enthralled with Ron Tabak’s performance with the band. Been a fan ever since!

Photobucket

Of course, I was saddened to hear of his early demise as a result of an accident on Christmas Day in 1984. More about that and the history of the band later. In any event, back to me looking through my record collection which is stored in the basement room, that can pretty well be described as a shrine to the 70s. Anyways, as I sometimes do, I flipped through my plastic milk cases filled with LPs and seem to always stop upon at least one Prism album. On this occasion, I stopped at the See Forever Eyes record and picked it up for closer inspection. I thought to myself, “that’s a pretty cool graphic for its time”. Then I began to ponder how they might have gone about doing up the graphics and how it was realized because that stuff interests me. Yeah, I’m a geek that way! After a few minutes of that I went on to put the album on the turntable and listened to the whole first side, where upon its completion, I went upstairs to make tea and check up on the facebook happenings.

With tea in hand I proceeded to my computer to log on. Interestingly enough, and as if by coincidence, on one of the facebook groups I subscribe to, I found an intriguing update. I was about to find out, that my query to my question about the cover was about to be revealed to me after all these years. The group I speak of is ” Fans of PRISM – The Ron Tabak Era”. Funny how stuff like that happens huh? Anyways, group ”Admin”, Al Baker, had an update for the members which read, ” This site is indebted to so many people who have submitted images and insights. Please now enjoy this wonderful collection by professional photographer Charles Hope of Calgary Alberta —a simply fantastic pictoral history of the band covering three tours–See Forever Eyes, Armageddon and Young & Restless.” Well, with that announcement, I immediately continued on to view the new photos. “Wow, what a great collection!” I thought to myself, as I began to go through these never before seen photographs. I was not disappointed. There are close to 400 images there. Everything from professionally taken pics of the band, to old ticket stubs submitted by fans. So, as I am about halfway through the this treasure trove of Prism memorabilia, there it was! “See Forever Eyes”, the album cover. But, what followed is what really blew me away. In the pictures that followed I was finally to learn how that album cover came about. Apparently, the album cover is inspired by a model. Yes! A real girl that was active in modeling back in the day. Her name is Plonja Apollonia Von Ravenstein. “And now you know!” as veteran radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey used to say ” the rest of the story.” Or do you? Hell no! Well it seems this lady went on to have a very successful modeling career.

Photobucket

Upon further investigation, I found out that she is of Dutch ancestry and it seems was an influence for some of Andy Warhol’s work throughout the 70s and early 80s.

Photobucket

She was also, allegedly, Mick Jaggers girlfriend at one time too. I also learned that she was featured in a music video by Golden Earring for their song Quiet Eyes. I viewed the video just now on YouTube and can tell you that it is quite a good video. In the video Ms. Von Ravenstein plays a stripper in a seedy bar. Incidentally, it also focuses on her “eyes”. Something about those eyes. Have a look if you are so inclined.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Beholding the mirror her eyes give a feeling of lonely vacant skies
Soaring above always searching for love the soul within her flies
Caught by a glance, in a gossamer trance, woven by her lies
Compelling them nearer, dispelling their fear with her
See Forever Eyes

Upon inspection of the album cover, it is noted in the credit the album cover was in fact inspired by a shoot for VIVA magazine featuring Ms. Plonja Apollonia Von Ravenstein

Photobucket

As observed below, you may gather to guess which of the two is the more likely candidate for the See Forever Eyes cover?

Photobucket

Here is a close up of the lower image. An eerily close resemblance don’t you think to the resulting cover?

Photobucket

Further to this, as an amusement to myself, I endeavored to do a mock up of the photo above in Photoshop. I simply added a pastel edge effect to the photo. Voila! What do you think?

Photobucket

Well, I think that just about answers the question as to who the woman on the cover of Prism’s See Forever Eyes is. A nod goes to the facebook group “Fans of PRISM: The Ron Tabak Era” and all the great contributors and fans. Please do visit the group, or better yet, join! Anyways, the group hosts a great archive of photos of the band and many wonderful pictures of Ron Tabak in all eras of his life. Also, if you are interest to learn more of the model Apollonia Von Ravenstein then please visit here. ( FYI. I’m on Google Chrome and it asks for an automatic translation from Dutch to English. If you are using another search engine, you may have to Google her first, then Google will ask you for a translation.) In closing, I doubt she rarely sits on turtles these days to apply make up? In fact, she is indeed happily married to Capt. Edward Van Zaane who commands a Holland American cruise ship that is reportedly now touring the Alaska run.

Photobucket

Further to all the revelations I found as part of this investigation, I have yet to find any evidence that Appolonia is even aware that she did indeed inspire the cover of See Forever Eyes? I’m sure VIVA magazine would have had talks. Perhaps? Maybe? Who knows? So, if you see her in your travels, be sure you bring along a copy of See Forever Eyes to have her sign it. In the event she is aware, I’d certainly like to be there to witness her reaction. 😉

Photobucket

So, there you go. Now you know ” the rest of the story…G’day!”

Thank you to Paul Harvey for that quote and most definitely thank you too to Ron Tabak who will alway be remembered by Prism fans everywhere as an exceptional vocalist! Thanks Ron for the memories.

Photobucket

Thanks for the visit!

Clarence Michon

P.S. More about the band Prism? Maybe start here.

P.S. Shout out photographer, Charles Hope, who runs a professional studio out of Calgary for providing the black and whites seen here. There are many more photos of Ron Tabak and Prism to be found exclusive to the “Fans of PRISM: The Ron Tabak Era’ facebook group by the way. Also, be sure to check out Charles Hope’s other fine work at his biz website here.

P.S.S. Most importantly! If you are a true fan of Prism, or are interested of learning more about one of Canada’s finest Classic Canadian rock bands, be sure to join the facebook group Fans of PRISM: The Ron Tabak Era by linking to it here.

FYI. BTW, I just recently found this at a garage sale. Don’t know that an 8-track ever existed, but I did once find Young and Restless on 8-track. Got lost in my travels. So, I’m thinking there must exist an 8-track “See Forever Eyes”? Anyways…
Photobucket