Monthly Archives: November 2013

What Would You Do and Why Did Toronto?

Dear Bobby Wiseman

I’m a big fan of your music and your blog, but I’m writing for another reason today. My buddy wants me to be the composer for his film but wants me for free. Just so you know he has a decent budget for everything else. He said he doesn’t have any money though for music. What would you do?

Serge M. in Halifax

p.s. why did Torontonians elect Rob Ford?

Dear Serge M.

I understand this problem. It depends on my friendship and what I think of the project and what I think about the future of this person. I have done things for free and later the same person returned with a  real budget and called me back and offered me something fantastic no doubt because I was there when they didn’t have any money or just because they liked my work. Maybe both.

I’ve also done things for free and the person in charge was a tad insane. When that happens I try to play back what happened in my mind in slow motion and ask myself how I could have better realized I would be working with a crazy person because as you know – assholes ruin the fun. I want to have fun especially if I agreed to do it free.

I think you don’t want to feel unfairly exploited, yes? I guess if you agree to do it for free you risk some regret or if you agree to a price you don’t believe in you risk some regret. And if other people were paid but you aren’t that’s weird I agree and it might really piss you off if the film get’s good press etc. and you were not paid and other people were. But it’s hard to know.

If people were paid then there was a budget and if there was a budget there must have been money set aside for music. But I don’t know the ins and outs of your situation besides how you described it.

Maybe despite having had a budget to pay certain people they have real reasons for not having anything now, maybe unforeseen expenses used up everything(?)  …. I go with my gut and try to trouble shoot in advance. I want to know the person is a good artist/ fun to work with, especially if I’m doing it free.

It might be worth stipulating in your agreement that they can only have a 2 or 3 changes, then you have an out if they are unfair in their expectations of what you do.

Rob Ford – We didn’t vote for him Serge.


The real story is the forced amalgamations Mike Harris made in the 90s. A gift from a crazy person who slipped into a position of power they didn’t have the brains to use. But that’s another story Serge, the short story is Rob Ford was elected by the burbs surrounding Toronto. People of Toronto knew he was a crazy person and didn’t expect anyone to vote for a crazy person.



Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Joni Mitchell’s process when she wrote the album Mingus was to hang with Charles Mingus and meditate about it afterward then write. Or at least that’s how I remember her talking about it in interviews when I was a teenager and Rolling Stone wasn’t just about college fashions.

I feel like the world of song owes her everything, unique woman. She is about as inspiring as Stephen Harper never was.  Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, like a history lesson (Charlie Mingus and Lester Young) mixed with optimism.


Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

by Joni Mitchell   

When Charlie speaks of Lester
You know someone great has gone
The sweetest swinging music man
Had a Porkie Pig hat on
A bright star
In a dark age
When the bandstands had a thousand ways
Of refusing a black man admission
Black musician
In those days they put him in an
Underdog position
Cellars and chitlins’

When Lester took him a wife
Arm and arm went black and white
And some saw red
And drove them from their hotel bed
Love is never easy
It’s short of the hope we have for happiness
Bright and sweet
Love is never easy street!
Now we are black and white
Embracing out in the lunatic New York night
It’s very unlikely we’ll be driven out of town
Or be hung in a tree
That’s unlikely!

Tonight these crowds
Are happy and loud
Children are up dancing in the streets
In the sticky middle of the night
Summer serenade
Of taxi horns and fun arcades
Where right or wrong
Under neon
Every feeling goes on!
For you and me
The sidewalk is a history book
And a circus
Dangerous clowns
Balancing dreadful and wonderful perceptions
They have been handed
Day by day
Generations on down

We came up from the subway
On the music midnight makes
To Charlie’s bass and Lester’s saxophone
In taxi horns and brakes
Now Charlie’s down in Mexico
With the healers
So the sidewalk leads us with music
To two little dancers
Dancing outside a black bar
There’s a sign up on the awning
It says “Pork Pie Hat Bar”
And there’s black babies dancing

Wife’s Superpower – Can Be A Teenager At Will

“Wake me up at 8:30 ok? I need to be up then for sure!”

“Okay. ”  then at 8:30 “It’s 8:30 wake up”

“Okay thanks. Just 5 more minutes please please please. Give me 5 minutes more”

“Okay.” then in 5 minutes ” Hey it’s 8:35 wake up

“Just 10 minutes more please. Can you wake me up in 10 minutes?”

“Okay But aren’t you late?”

(angry voice)

“Just 10 minutes more.”

(10 minutes later)

“Hey it’s ten minutes later now.”

“Shit I’m so late.”