Monthly Archives: January 2016

New Years Day 1961


Lee Van Leer (C. J. Feeney) died in January.

In the obit it said his bandmates broke down his apartment door after he wasn’t seen for more than a week.

I saw him play in those early just-moved-to-Toronto days where Grossman’s Tavern made me feel much more like a musician than York University ever did. I haven’t walked into the place since sometime in the 90s but I remember this guy very well for he had a unique style – the same signature that made Jeff Healey a spectacle – played the guitar with his thumb – the fingering hand not the strumming hand.

The 60s were such a mystery to me. I was born then but grew up in the 70s always feeling like I missed something more important 10 years earlier. People who actually were connected to living and making music then held a lot of fascination for me. He was one of them and I could see success didn’t shine its lights on his life yet he had the sort of plastered smile on his face that survivors of airline crashes tend to live with. Everything is beautiful from here on in because I’m still here.

The novelty of his thumb playing was striking but anyone with a good musical sense could tell his actual musicality was right on the money and his tone showed he was a bit of a scientist. Looking through his blog the most amusing thing is every comment on any posting seems to also be by him. I admire a man as delusional about self publishing as I am.


Don Paveling & Declan Doran: Heroes, IMHO.

On New Year’s Day 1961, used car dlr. Ernie Barnhart introduced me to Ronnie Hawkins.
I heard “Robbie” Robertson play his Tele and on the leads I thought it sounded “thin”
and I formulated A THE0RY, to wit: all u need4 a gd blues tone is 2 pickups & a metal
playing surface on your bridge. “` ` ““` ` “ ““` ““ “ ` “““` ` ` ““`
“““` “““` “ ““ “““. I mean, look at Freddy & Albert King! Don P. & Declan D. played ’54-56 LP gold-tops when others around them were buying Teles, and their tone was excellent! SO, I drew a CONCLUSION. Soon Mike Bloomfield, E. Clapton, J. Page & J. Beck were also playing LP’s and sounding great. TONE to the BONE, my brothers! Case closed, nya-nya, nya nya-nya. I’d rather hear these gtrs. than attend the Sandy Claws Parade ANY year!