I was looking for posters of Toronto bands in the 80s when this picture caught my eye and slowly something shocking came into focus – I know all of them.
The Sharks – a band I never saw but had a poster in my Winnipeg bedroom as a teenager. The poster was just a cartoon shark dancing – The Sharks and The Basics at the Palais Royal. My older brother Ronnie played in The Basics. I assumed The Basics were destined for greatness because Ronnie was in it. Presumably The Sharks were an unknown opening act. I think now it was the other way round. The Sharks had some notoriety and eventually Sherry had the hit as a solo artist with “I Want You Back”.
I’ve known all four members but I never saw any of them this young. I knew the least about Sherry, met her just once when I was trying to sell my place near Hagersville. One of the prospective buyers was a woman who brought her friend, Sherry. We started to discuss the area, the cost, what we did for a living yada yada, I volunteered that I was in the music business. The woman pointed at her friend and said to me in a proud whisper “She’s won a Juno!” I looked more closely and realized her friend was Sherry Keane. I thought about responding “I’ve won Junos too, in fact I have 5” but I could tell it was one of those situations where I would seem like a crazy person. Like hearing a Blue Rodeo song while standing in line at the Hagersville IGA with my groceries.
“That’s me playing the organ”, I might say to the check out girl but she would probably call Delbert, 17 yr old the bagging boy to escort me and my delusions from the premises.
Bazil and Cleave are on the left and right in the picture. I never saw either of them so young. That’s what was so weird when I found the picture and something kept me looking and wondering until I realized …that’s Cleave!
Pretty miffed on my way to the first rehearsal, Greg bragged about Cleave’s infamy having been the drummer in the Battered Wives. I saw the Battered Wives at the Playhouse in Winnipeg in the 70s when I was 17 open for Elvis Costello in Winnipeg. I thought they were assholes. So this is punk rock, spitting at the audience.
Note to self: any assumption you make about someone you don’t know might be wrong. Cleave was the best thing about Blue Rodeo.