Met Dominic Troiano one time in the 80s at John Caton’s office on Draper ave. I tried to relay what a big deal his solo record Burnin’ At The Stake was – on high rotation in my teenage bedroom. I could play guitar along to a third of the title song, the rest was too complex for me. Anytime that I saw him on tv, when I was growing up, playing in The Midnight Special with The James Gang or The Guess Who, I recognized the mark of a heavyweight releasing fireworks from his fingers, just the right amount. He wasn’t interested in my gushing, he was trying to do business with John, discussing some commercial singer he was producing. I would have liked to have known him more, wondered what he was like as a person, great artists intrigue me. Poof in 2005 I read he died of cancer, in his 50s.
I didn’t know anybody at the memorial service at a church somewhere in a part of Toronto that is no man’s land for me. His family did something very memorable, they manufactured large buttons of him in his signature beret playing guitar. It was for people to help themselves to after the service. Mine remained on the lapel of that suit jacket the next few years. I found it last week accidentally while looking through boxes of old things to discard but couldn’t throw it away. Now in my guitar case pocket for extra strings, picks and slide. When I open it I’ll be reminded to be good without being excessive.