Richard Carstens

I liked Richard Carstens and wanted to know him better because Dave and Fred Robinson, who were the John Coltranes of punk rock (to me) told me how talented his writing was. He was their favourite.

He died over a year ago and when I found out that there was a memorial happening at the Horseshoe it seemed a meaningful thing to attend. Right off the top Al Miller was on stage playing guitar and he looked great which was a encouraging since the only other news I knew about him was a benefit for his health in 2011.

Watching the first three guitarists was like an action adventure movie starting with Al Miller followed by Dallas Goode – the poster boy for holding a guitar below ones’ kneecaps as though that’s comfortable and then Fred Robinson on the stage floor conjuring the collective mystical healing power of music or youth or maybe just remaining alive with purpose. Fred was a new plot point turning the night, for me, into a story about dying early. The night itself was sort of like walking into a twilight zone episode seeing a collection of people from 25 years ago.

Someone said Richard had a daughter who spoke at the top of the evening, too bad I missed her but you couldn’t miss the prominent banner on stage with quote attributed to Richard “I’m gonna be a rock and roller”. To my mind that didn’t really fit the reputation Fred and Dave bestowed on him and having known him a bit I think he would say he had better ideas to enlarge.

Note to self: stipulate in my will nobody puts up a banner that reads I’m Gonna Be A Blogger. But some weeks later I ran into Richard’s close friend Dave who was in that unreal band of the day No Mind and he explained I’m Gonna Be A Rock and Roller was a significant song Richard wrote so I get it.


Watching Nora (Daisy and the super jeans?) give it her all was another moment where the memorial touched on greatness.


I had so much excitement for everyone I recognized in that production – Gord Cummings, Ian Blurton and especially drummer Leslie Becker.

Most fun moment was asking Mark Critchley if the guy on stage by the drum kit was Paul Newman – it was.




  1. Hey Bob
    Nice to see that you blogged about the Richard Carsten tribute. It was a good night and great to celebrate Richard’s music and life and see friends and hear his music played live again.
    Richard and my sister were together for a while. We considered him part of our family. Was present at family gatherings and events. Enjoyed his company.
    As I had mentioned when I heard of his death, how tragic it was that such a talent could not enjoy fruit of his immense talents, due to his mental health and addiction problem, which ultimately took him. It still saddens me.
    At least we have his music.


    1. Nice thoughts on the tribute Bob! You said plenty in few words. @Steven. You are so right. A true talent that had to fight the fight and sadly lost the battle. He did leave us many fond memories and loads of great songs!


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