Tag Archives: bob wiseman

City Of Wood


Someone who had a radio show in Edmonton once told me campus radio station CJSR received a complaint about City Of Wood when they broadcast it in 1993. Not too surprising because the lyrics to the first verse were comprised of a lot of swearing about men that raped. When I wrote it, I was partly trying to figure out how one might write a song like that. I thought since it’s shocking the song should be shocking

. MendelsonJoeWomen

The cover was a painting of 14 empty chairs in the snow by Mendelson Joe  commemorating the murdered women from the Polytechnique massacre. What he painted got to me like this Alex Coleville painting.Colville-Horse-and-Train-660 A few years after that record was released I stopped playing it, moved on to newer songs plus there was weirdness in a room when I played it, drama time. But I remember the last time I played it – at Clintons in Toronto 6 or 7 years ago at a comedy show


I was the musical guest and one of the hosts asked me to play the song so I did and they all laughed which was confusing. They laughed as though that was my intention all along. I wasn’t sure if the meaning changed over time or if certain audiences are programmed to receive information in only one way. Maybe the joke’s on me.

Starts at 39:38



Echolocation 1984


This is from Echolocation a zine that circulated around Fat Alberts in 1984. I think there were only three issues or at least that’s all Meg Tennant could find when I asked her after Sam Larkin died. I was hoping to see this cartoon again which I found very funny at the time. There are contributions inside the zines by Sam and others even the reclusive Ouzy Kalfa and mysterious Wrench Tuttle. I’ll eventually scan and publish.

Has anyone stopped Bob Wiseman? In The Hammer pt 2

By the time I was 11 or 12 yrs old I was alone at home. The older siblings had moved to Los Angeles or Toronto. Sometimes my parents would go out of town and I would be completely alone which meant one thing – I could prepare the piano.

Paper on top of the strings or sometimes thread between them. Then it became a synthesizer and/or a loose snare drum and still a piano! Nevertheless when my mother heard it she put me on notice, clearly I was trying to destroy the piano. I would have to wait until they were out of town to resume the experiment. My mother heads up a distinguished list of people who hold me responsible for any indigestion suffered by Kenny G.

Undoubtedly that list contains the elderly woman in Hamilton, who owned the grand piano I was playing in at a benefit for an animal rights group in 1999, who suddenly stopped the concert exclaiming  “That’s enough. Stop that right now. That’s my piano.”

She restated her demand and some audience members began to boo her. The particular moment when she lost her shit corresponded to me leaning into the piano and plucking the strings aggressively and (I think) very musically, good thing I hadn’t yet revealed my mallets. Wayne Cass, who I had invited to improvise with me, started laughing which challenged my composure. I tried to accommodate her, I am after all my mother’s son, I understood how she felt. From the stage I spoke into a microphone and assured her I studied at an accredited university (these very techniques Madame) and would be pleased to stop the concert. In my best Mel Lastman voice Noooooo problem, goodnight Hamilton!

Playing the Pearl Company last January/ February was a pleasure (SEE REVIEW) . It takes unique people to believe in the work of artists even if they might make art that isn’t necessarily easy to understand. Gary and Barbara turned an old warehouse into a theatre space, a concert space and a romantic space for themselves floating in and around many other Pearl Company activities.

CFMU and OPRIG are helping out. Isn’t college radio/ community radio and environmental groups the best thing that Harper hasn’t yet shot his tyrannical lasers at? No doubt he will; his mandate – destroy all things good or inspiring. Laser on the Wheat Board! Laser on the United Nations! Laser on First Nations! Laser on Status of Women! Lasers on Parliament! Lasers on The Charter of Rights! Lasers on CBC! Lasers on Health Care (it’s coming)! What a fabulous time for Canadian sales of vomit medication. LISTEN to the advertisement on CFMU.