Monthly Archives: May 2013

Who Do I Sound Like & What Kind of Music I Make.

I have some musical hero’s and I try in my way to qualify playing on the same team but it isn’t for me to answer if I am worthy. So when the question “who do you sound like” comes up, as it often does;  I should have an answer.

I used to say “emotional music” or  “issue driven music”. The person asking looks back at me as though I didn’t answer. Could my answer have been any more lame or confusing?

Nowadays, I try to say my work is simply run-of-the-mill easy listening. Nobody knows what to do with that plus I get to enjoy looking at them as though I answered them….and I did.

There is so much humiliation in the business of trying to get by as an artist that one should maximize all opportunities to laugh, unless you are at US customs. If the border guard/ customs agent asks “What type of music do you play?” it is a very good sign. It means they are satisfied with your responses to the first questions which were

– Where do you live?

– What’s the purpose of your trip?

– What do you do for a living?

If by chance they smile and ask “What type of music do you play?”  then you’re in.

They never ever smile off the top and they might not smile at all. They might just say pull your car into that bay on the left and then they go through all your stuff and make you wait 30 minutes and act grumpy. But if they act nice, it is a dead giveaway that they are satisfied and now they might take a chance to be polite and ask about your music. It is no time to joke about Barry Manilow.  By the way the correct answer is  ” I play country” and then they respond  “Ok, have a nice time in America.”

Has anyone stopped Bob Wiseman? In The Hammer pt 2

By the time I was 11 or 12 yrs old I was alone at home. The older siblings had moved to Los Angeles or Toronto. Sometimes my parents would go out of town and I would be completely alone which meant one thing – I could prepare the piano.

Paper on top of the strings or sometimes thread between them. Then it became a synthesizer and/or a loose snare drum and still a piano! Nevertheless when my mother heard it she put me on notice, clearly I was trying to destroy the piano. I would have to wait until they were out of town to resume the experiment. My mother heads up a distinguished list of people who hold me responsible for any indigestion suffered by Kenny G.

Undoubtedly that list contains the elderly woman in Hamilton, who owned the grand piano I was playing in at a benefit for an animal rights group in 1999, who suddenly stopped the concert exclaiming  “That’s enough. Stop that right now. That’s my piano.”

She restated her demand and some audience members began to boo her. The particular moment when she lost her shit corresponded to me leaning into the piano and plucking the strings aggressively and (I think) very musically, good thing I hadn’t yet revealed my mallets. Wayne Cass, who I had invited to improvise with me, started laughing which challenged my composure. I tried to accommodate her, I am after all my mother’s son, I understood how she felt. From the stage I spoke into a microphone and assured her I studied at an accredited university (these very techniques Madame) and would be pleased to stop the concert. In my best Mel Lastman voice Noooooo problem, goodnight Hamilton!

Playing the Pearl Company last January/ February was a pleasure (SEE REVIEW) . It takes unique people to believe in the work of artists even if they might make art that isn’t necessarily easy to understand. Gary and Barbara turned an old warehouse into a theatre space, a concert space and a romantic space for themselves floating in and around many other Pearl Company activities.

CFMU and OPRIG are helping out. Isn’t college radio/ community radio and environmental groups the best thing that Harper hasn’t yet shot his tyrannical lasers at? No doubt he will; his mandate – destroy all things good or inspiring. Laser on the Wheat Board! Laser on the United Nations! Laser on First Nations! Laser on Status of Women! Lasers on Parliament! Lasers on The Charter of Rights! Lasers on CBC! Lasers on Health Care (it’s coming)! What a fabulous time for Canadian sales of vomit medication. LISTEN to the advertisement on CFMU.

Shit In My Blog

I was at a hotel in Edmonton recently; I was attending a conference, (I think I just used a semi colon correctly by the way).

It seemed like a good hotel but when I peeled back the bed cover I found wrinkled sheets. Not that big a deal but not expected especially since the lobby had crazy remarkable shag carpet and a fancy steakhouse adjacent to it. This suggested to me that this hotel was a place where the towels would be clean, the glasses clear and the bedsheets crisp. It didn’t look like they were exactly the same sheets that someone slept in previously or were they? I decided it was ok and went to sleep. Later I woke up and wrote a middle-of-the-night email to Ronley Teper who told me she puts all her stuff in garbage bags when she stays at hotels because she knows about bedbugs. Just thought I would let her know I’m reconsidering my previous laughter at her hotel paranoia.

I was there three nights and when I awoke that last morning of my stay I removed one of the bath towels and discovered what seemed like shit stains on either end of the towel – not recent shit stains either. Pretty sure these babies had been through the wash more than once. Made me wonder how a person folding them would not notice also made me wonder what to do, relieved as I was that I had not tried to use them to dry myself.

At first I thought I would show one of the cleaning people then I decided to show the front desk, then I had a horrible thought – what if they think I did it? What would I then say to them and how would I preserve my moral high ground? I blinked,  decided to take pictures instead,  for you! Yes! One more advantage of following my blog, shit stains. I have more pictures but two is probably more than you need.