Category Archives: Producing

Don’t Hurt Me Sweetie

The 2cnd last time I laughed so hard I needed medical help was when I was 12 at the Odeon Theatre in Winnipeg watching appropriately a farting cowboy scene in Blazing Saddles. It was too much for my brain or the brains of my 12 yr old friends. We fell out of our chairs and had out of control laugh  spasms on the sticky coke and popcorn floor.

The last time I had such a uncontrollable fit was 20 years ago listening to Don Franks sing a song he found distasteful.

Episode 102

In 1995 I produced Shame Based Man for Bruce McCulloch for Atlantic Records co-writing music to Bruce’s monologues. One of them was about a bicycle courier and an older man having an affair at an airport lounge (something like that?)

Bruce being from television had a casting agent send in a few actors to audition while I accompanied them. I clearly remember the person who blew us away, it was surprising when Don Franks walked in because I already knew him and he was pissed off.


I knew him from the sauna room at the Jewish Community Centre at Spadina and College. Who doesn’t love a schvitz and conversation? Occasionally it was me and Don and after asking about his tattoos I learned he was not only a jazz singer and actor but had years of playing with genius of geniuses Lenny Breau.

He had a distinct man’s man tone to now he regaled me with stories about what’s what and who’s who.

“So you’re doing this shit huh?” He snarled half pitying me, half saluting me. He thought it was a shame, a decent musician was reduced to playing on this type of shit. He didn’t like the lyrics which was a strange message since he was trying to get the job. It sure increased the surrealism of the moment and my legs couldn’t stop wobbling while trying to play the chords. I was gasping for air, Bruce was giggling and thrilled about his luck. Don had the perfect voice.

Here is the song it’s called Lift Me Up.


Radio Ideas

I have 3 ideas for radio shows on CBC.

3 ideas

I thought about submitting all three at once but it was pointed out to me that I might seem a weirdo in the eyes of the people making decisions, so I just pitched one and as it turns out they liked it. I’m making a pilot now.

Mendelson Joe told me 25 years ago “They’ll never like you because you play all over the place, they like artists doing one thing.”

I think there’s something accurate about Joe’s perspective but whether they like me never mattered as much as the fun of following my nose making whatever I want. I really want to produce or host these shows. Maybe I just answered my own question.

Baseball Pitcher Throwing ball, selective focus


Release Party


It should be swell to release Sam’s last recordings tonight with all sorts of people from the past and present but like finishing this record what pisses me off is the fact that he isn’t here to enjoy it. Now Magazine interviewed me and asked what sort of legacy I was hoping for him. I paused a long time, I’m more interested in him being alive than whatever legacy there might be.

I didn’t know what to say to the guy even though I know he meant well. A lot of people were moved by their personal experiences with Sam but the talk about a hope for his future was too weird because it’s about what we do when we’re alive that matters.

I’m glad I got to say goodbye by working with him all those recent Sunday mornings and hearing him gab and gossip and complain and cajole. Eventually he explained the health problems but he always framed it in a positive way. He had a young Doctor and he thought very highly of him.

After he died I remembered a telephone call one afternoon in 1984.
“Bob, you busy Thursday?”
“I’m getting married on Thursday and I was wondering if you would have time to come, this would be at City Hall Bob around 11:30.”
“You’re getting married? Do I know her?”
“Uh huh at 11:30 and we can go out to a little place afterward. No you don’t know her, she’s someone from work.”
“Sure ok.”

I looked her up after and found her online and wrote to her.
“Wasn’t I at your wedding 30 years ago?
“You were the best man.”
“I have pictures!”

I invited her to the release as well but she lives away and it isn’t going to work out. There are other people who live away that I contacted 5 sent me videos and we’ll screen them. Eileen O’Toole, Maria Grey, Diane Barbarash, Deb Montgomery & Thomas Sarantos. It should be a fun night.

And these people are performing

Brian Jantzi
Honey Novick
Kwesi Immanuel
Julia Rohan
Derek Currie
Robert Priest
Sarah Greene
Howard Gladstone
Brad McInnis
Johann Löwenberg
Tom St, Louis & Theresa Gregory
Lynn Harrison
Steve-Paul Simms
Kyp Harness
Don Kerr
Tony & Veronica
Glen Gary
Marianne Girard
Ben Bootsma