Author Archives: Bob Wiseman

About Bob Wiseman

Writes songs, tours the world, makes movies, accompanies them live, produces records, arranges music, scores tv serials and films, acts in theatre (but really not a very convincing actor) and empties cat litter way more than his wife. HOW DO I BOOK BOB FOR A CONCERT? In Canada bob@livetourartists.com (Bob Wilson) In America mattsuhar@yahoo.com (Matt Suhar) In Italy monica@suiteside.com (Monica Melissano) HOW DO I HIRE BOB TO WRITE MUSIC? In North America – catalysttcm@me.com (Ian Arnold)

Hanson

Heard an interview with Hanson on CBC, listened to them say things like this.

fame is really not impressive…….the interesting thing is the future…………we’re celebrating 25 years for a reason, for us this is the journey…………..people say do you ever get tired of playing your songs, well it’s part of the job

Didn’t know I could throw up so many times in a row.

rip it up

When John Lennon released Rock N’ Roll it threw me for a loop. I liked his solo records and his previous record, Walls and Bridges, was only a few months old, surprising another new record came out so fast. At that time in my younger life, I couldn’t stand the sound of 50s music, it seemed hokey but Rock n’ Roll was a revelation. The horn sections, the unexpected percussion on every track melding with the Jim Keltner kit, José Feliciano on guitar and Lennon’s voice in it’s best shape. Sort of ironic the record I admire most by him is just a bunch of covers but at the same time totally transformational. To this day I can’t enjoy the original Stand By Me compared to the other worldliness where John Lennon placed his version. The little chugging upstroke at the 5th fret does so much more for whatever part of my brain buzzes when happy.
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Peggy Sue is as interesting as the best Buddy Holly work but that rendition has a psychedelic aspect that propels the idea of the singer’s infatuation into surrealism. It made me think differently about the power of music. I could gush forever about each track. The cowbell on Bony Moronie, the nonchalant voiceover jokes to the intro of Just Because, the off mic whisper at the end of Be Bop A Lu La, the crazy compressed piano sounds everywhere, the echo congas on You Can’t Catch Me and the way the horns align themselves with the drum kit or with rhythm guitar tracks and still reserve moments to punctuate ends of phrases. Sometimes I think that whole record is a reference for how to think about using horns in popular music because they are so creatively placed whether supporting or soloing.
 
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Later, I realized for Lennon the music of the 50s was his adolescence and for Spector it was his 20s. They brought such punch and insight and hilarity and respect to those songs and I think on some level this is part of what they hoped, that people like me who didn’t get it, would be awestruck and grasp something else, maybe inspiration.

Geordie McDonald

Any meeting with Geordie, contained equal parts consciousness and gossip. So glad I saw him last fall, after not seeing him for many years and gabbed about Paul Bley, Escalator Over The Hill, marriage and how Claude Ranger was not willing to play ball with musicians who played too inside. He said back in the day he was called The Lone Ranger (French pronunciation). Geordie laughed a kid’s laugh, wonderful laugh. He was nice and direct about various assholes and saints he knew first hand. Gotta love someone who plays back their experiences unconcerned about editing. I didn’t know much about his compositional life but I bet since his personality was intense the music was too. Once upon a time, being Neil Young’s drummer, a pretty decent calling card.
 
I had a job with Greenpeace in 1984 and while I was there I created a fund raiser at Trinity St. Paul on the gorgeous 9 ft piano in the sanctuary. Myself and 3 other musicians playing new music “Green Pieces” I named it. I asked great visual artist John Abrams if we could hang some of his endangered species paintings but I didn’t know people need insurance for such things. The other solo performances were Malcolm Burn who worked security at the church, Anne Bourne and Geordie McDonald who died yesterday.