Friday, December 31, 2010

more ghost town...

hang the JD

here's a frightening and utterly disturbing photo of coventry's the specials. bar the heavy, real, and utmost serious racial/historic implications, it also makes me think of the group's fragile inter-band relations (then and now). by 1981, specials' leader, keyboard player, and 2 tone label-founder jerry dammers (pictured in the noose) was putting the finishing touches on "ghost town," the anthemic UK chart-topper that hit #1 as inner city race riots ripped across england. despite the synergy and success, the boys simply couldn't get along. within a few short months, singers terry hall, neville staples, and rhythm guitarist lynval golding had quit the band and formed the equally fantastic (though far less dynamic) fun boy three. undeterred, dammers soldiered on w/ the (pre-specials) special a.k.a. mantle and eventually released 1984's in the studio (w/ help from specials drummer john "JB" bradbury and bassist horace panter). gone but not forgotten, punk lead guitarist roddy radiation was left to pursue his rockabilly and americana jones like the rebel that he is... in 2009, the original specials line-up (bar dammers and horn players rico rodriguez and dick cuthell) re-formed to sold-out concerts and new merchandise opportunities for a 30-year anniversary celebration. amidst much media baiting and cat-calling, the two camps—despite their trademark "nobody is special" mantra, cries of unity, and strong racial solidarity—still couldn't get along. equally busy w/ his sun ra-influenced jazz excursion, the spatial a.k.a. orchestra, dammers was still the outsider (and one-time dictator?) in a group he not only co-founded and branded, but one in which he'd also written the majority of the songs. with a fall 2011 UK tour on the cards for the dammers-less crew, i wonder what 2011 will bring in specials-land???



re-posted from
photo by kelly claude nairn
For some reason, I can’t remember a lot of last year. It’s been a good one though, have no fear. Communing with nature has been a prime focus. Both Light In The Attic and myself count ourselves lucky to be living on the coast. At this point, my focus is on the coming year (Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love: Motown’s Mowest Story 1971-1973, LITA 064!!!), but reflecting back into the void, these are my 2010 highlights…

1) Shooting Wayne McGhie for our From Yard To Yonge-Jamaica To Toronto documentary: Breaking bread with Wayne in the cold Toronto winter of 2004 alongside LITA honcho Matt Sullivan was an occasion I’ll never forget. In 2010, co-director Darby Wheeler and myself spent more time with The Sounds Of Joy (LITA 008) main man, one of Canada’s most unique musical voices. Against many odds, we are working hard to make From Yard To Yonge a reality. Keep your eyes peeled for more news in 2011.

2) Vancouver 2010 Olympics: Though I didn’t follow the sporting action and appalled by the finances, my distaste for the Games was mellowed out somewhat via a booming influx of people (power) and overall positive vibrations. Sorta felt like this sleepy town was awoken from a deep slumber. Basking in the sunlight on the sunny steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery while tram flyers soared across the sky kept me sane for a two-week spell this past winter.

3) Duffy & The Doubters: For me, the best new release of 2010 was easily Ladyhawk singer-songwriter Duffy Driediger’s latest project. Non-believers and curiosity seekers should peep “No Wild Horses” and “Doubters” for proof (*goes well with pudding). Scriptural Supplies is yet another incredible aside from the #1 rock group in Canada.

4) Needles//Pins: Really hype on this Vancouver trio. DL First World Problems for free at Catch their new album in early 2011.

5) The Mighty Pope recording with Sureshot Symphony Solution in San Francisco: April saw Canada’s boss soul, R&B, and funk legend (LITA 019) record 2 tracks with US crate digger and top breakbeat don Sureshot (The Sharpshooters) for a forthcoming 7”. “Mr. Fortune And Fame” will debut on CBC Radio 2’s The Strombo Show early January, 2011.

6) The Power: B.C.’s Sunshine Coast jewel. It’s a healing land where you can play 80’s records to seals, swim in quarries, eat oysters right off the beach, and communicate with tree spirits.

7) Huey Lewis & The News: Live at the PNE (August 25, 2010). “Heart And Soul.”

8) Time Cookie: Best DJ mixes of 2010.

9) Planetarium 2010: April also saw Transmolecular, BCVCO, and yours truly hit the H.R. McMillan planetarium stage with the Poppy Family’s Craig McCaw on mind-bending visuals and all-encompassing support from Morgan Tanner and family. With friends in town from as far away as California and Toronto, the after-party was equally cosmic.

10) Cratery: Toronto’s one-of-a-kind mix of vintage vinyl madness and music mayhem starring veteran rapper Arcee, the multi-talented Kaewonder, DJ Serious, and a motley crew of guests ranging from super producer Jake One to Alister Johnson (aka Catalist).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


wow!!! thanks to EVERYONE who came out last night... had a super BOSS time w/ kamandi and dancing bear on the turntables/bozack/system and nice to see so many familiar faces. here's the jamaican DJ version of john lennon's "imagine" that shut 'er down for the evening. BIG props to duffy for turning us on to this josey wales nugget (*on his jammy produced special prayer LP). listen closely to the lyrical twists. it's a trip!@#$%?!!!
PS - i'll be playing rex every monday at the waldorf tiki bar so please come by and join us again. we really appreciate your support... love, sip

Friday, December 24, 2010

kamandi + sipreano @ the waldorf tiki bar (dec. 27, 2010)

this picture is from the early morning hours of june 16, 1996: kamandi and sipreano DJ'ing @ the rock n' roll circus event ("3 bands, 4 DJ's, 1 brave night") in pre-condo gastown (warehouse 333, level 3, 310 water st.). the genesis (yeah, we're old...). after working hard at mastering our craft and digging deep in the crates, we'd secured a coveted residency at the chameleon urban lounge (in the basement of the hotel georgia) by the end of the millennium. the soulcial was an open-format DJ night where we played soul, reggae, pop, rock, psych, hip-hop, jazz, world beat, and whatever else we liked on vinyl 7"/12"/LP... for some reason (music, duh!@#$%!!!), we're still at it, but w/ kamo living back in the power for years, we haven't had the opportunity to play records together in vancouver for many moons. so stoked to have the old team back in action at the waldorf tiki bar this coming monday. f@ck new years, this is how we burn down 2010... FREE

an evening w/ sipreano: guest DJ - kamandi
when: monday, december 27, 2010
where: waldorf hotel - tiki bar (1489 e. hastings st.)
hours: 8 pm - 2 am

my god(s) #5/6

Thursday, December 23, 2010

message from the tribes #1

*here's some soulful holiday cheer, a special xmas set from the multi-talented nick krgovich (p:ano, no kids, gigi, etc...). this should keep us warm until our next "long hot summer," if you catch my drift... audi, sip

Hello Everybody!

Just wanted to pass along a link to a Christmas EP that I finished making this morning...  Two nights before the big day...
Kind of spur of the moment...  It's called "Chris Mastheim Is Here"...

It's got all of your holiday favourites: Jingle Bells, Away In A Manger, Sleigh Ride, Silver Bells and Christmastime Is Here...  If you like those songs, as well as, R. Kelly, Ca$hflow, Prefab Sprout, Billy Griffin and my friend Gus' remix of the theme song to Twin Peaks, you might like this recording!  Feel free to send this music to whoever...

Ok, hope everyone's good!  And Happy Holidays 2 U all!





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

cratery 23 session A | the real frequency

jeez, well, ok... super hype excited to share this post w/ you. cratery is by far the best on-line record nerd mix site going (and yes, i'm 100% biased)... it takes away the BS and hockey card collecting mentality of many in the record game and aims to please through a little old-fashioned heart and soul. in reality, it's simply an excuse to party w/ the hommies and share some of our favourite records to heads world-wide. this isn't about DJ technique, edits or a steady showcase of "grails", the folks at cratery (arcee, kaewonder, and DJ serious) are going for something a little more organic than that. thankfully, i've had the privilege to sit in on a couple of these sessions in the past, soaking up the vibes, but #23 was an opp to drop some treats of my own. so w/o further ado, here she be...

week 2 at the tiki bar...

wow. another late night at the waldorf tiki bar... guess i should be in bed, but had to give my pal paul a lift over to the skytrain so he could make the long trek home. what a trooper (and an incredible surprise!@#$%?!!!). despite the sleepy eyes, had a blast last night. thanks to all who joined the good times. playing records for close to 6 hours is a journey of sorts and the grooves reached far and free. the stunt man repped hard w/ a kiki dee 7" that shut 'er down...
PS - i still don't have a hawaiian shirt...

Friday, December 17, 2010

future mystery

well, i don't really know how to accurately describe what you are (hopefully) about to witness, so i'll leave it quick fast. here's a handful of blogs from the crew known collectively as transmolecular. long-time hommies and makers of music for music's sake, they mostly let the sound (and visuals) do the talking. with a set aimed at and inspired by the cosmos, they KILLED vancouver's H.R. macmillan planetarium this past spring at planetarium 2010 and will hopefully rock the sunshine coast come summer 2011 if kamandi can get the right set up going. this is muzak for the heads, roots brethren, and sky-pilots. it's real rebel music with no posturing—spiritual sounds... take your time w/ these links and the rewards will be tremendous!!! dig deeper, and you never know what you may find...





Thursday, December 16, 2010

my god #4

in the end you'll still be you
one that's done all the things you set out to do
there's a cross for you to bear
things to go through if you're going anywhere
for the things you know are right
it's the truth that the truth makes them so uptight
all the things you want are real
you have you to complete and there is no deal
stand. stand, stand
stand. stand, stand
you've been sitting much too long
there's a permanent crease in your right and wrong
there's a midget standing tall
and the giant beside him about to fall
stand. stand, stand
stand. stand, stand
they will try to make you crawl
and they know what you're saying makes sense and all
don't you know that you are free
well at least in your mind if you want to be
stand, stand, stand

rain ghost

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

when much played francophone music?

syrinx I

*here's a couple videos from toronto-based syrinx, a progressive group who blended early electronic synthesizers, horns, and percussion. look out for their 2 albums, originally released on true north records (bruce cockburn, murray mclauchlan, rough trade, etc...) in the early 1970's...
PS - sad to hear that percussionist alan wells, so rocking on the 2nd clip, recently passed away. RIP to another great!!!

syrinx II


Sunday, December 12, 2010


very sad to inform that wonton noodles restaurant on hastings has bitten the dust. since the mid-1990's, i spent many an evening there slurping away at a bowl of hot soup or murdering a full plate of singapore curry vermicelli, often among a motley crew of late night revelers, street workers, and police. it was always a sobering meal when needed and even a destination spot when i lived in the boonies back in the day. the owner/manager/waiter fellow was very kind and patient with customers, always greeting people w/ a hot pot of tea. still, you could sense things were going downhill many years ago — perhaps after a switch behind the scenes — when the large jackie chan movie poster was removed for a far more generic decoration. i believe the paper maché parrots were there until the end, also the positive framed georgia straight restaurant review. i won't bore you to death here w/ further reminisces (decaf and his love of deep fried combos, TSM and a particularly psychedelic episode, the card parlour next door, fortune cookie prophesies come to life, etc...), but rest assured that this place will be truly missed. it's not that the food was particularly amazing. it was just a comforting place w/ a fluorescent-lit no ambiance ambiance kind of vibe, paper-wrapped chopsticks on the table, soy and chili sauce. solid grub. cheap enough... you know the deal. i know that most things don't last forever, especially restaurants, but f@ck i'm bummed... rest in peace.

*click the link below for a great snap of a great restaurant (flickr find)...

Friday, December 10, 2010

my god #3

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

nobody told me

"nobody told me there'd be days like these," read the card's inscription. written by a dear friend who clearly knew me well, lennon's melody immediately came to life in my mind and i began to cry... the combination of a familiar lyric, spot on sentiment, and the recent passing of a loved one was too much to keep inside. whether we care to admit it or even understand how, the music of john lennon has affected us all. RIP...

truth is right

wowzers, just spent some time on jason lev's incredible truth is light website and blog yesterday and wanted to spread the love... jason is a good fellow, an oddball eccentric of the best kind. he brings passion and soul to DJ'ing and all of his projects (*peep the killer 7"/12" vinyl edits for sale!!! lots of audio to listen to as well...). it was sweet to see him getting a bit more local shine a few years ago when disco became all the rage (after grinding it out for eons and learning from the masters in deep concentration). but folks, please know that lev's work goes far beyond fashion and trends. we are blessed to have this man RIGHT HERE in vancouver!!! end gush. peace

the general takes a fall

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

an evening w/ sipreano (every monday)

ok folks, i've just signed up for a monday night DJ residency at the freshly re-minted waldorf hotel (1489 e. hastings). i played records there a few times prolly like 10 years ago now so not only do you know my age, but also that my crates are much, much deeper... the sonic focus will shift slightly depending on mood, but easy listening, jazz, exotica, and the odd mellow groover will be your soundtrack. special guest selectors will also drop by to enhance proceedings on occasion. thomas and mr. fazio, if you're reading, i think a microphone is in order. drinks... yes drinks... fine libations will be available at the friendly bar. remember folks, this is a tiki lounge of the highest calibre and we should be slamming back tropical beverages in celebration. be hypnotized by edward leeteg's stunning black velvet paintings, push a rattan door to use the can, hear birds chirping somewhere, look at the starry sky, and enjoy the company of your new family. i sipreano, will provide the vibrations. it's an honour. anyone w/ a spare hawaiian shirt out there, please holler...


best label design ever? mowest was motown's short-lived LA-based subsidiary. the focus, coastal grooves. w/ key output from syreeta (*hit the link folks), sisters love, odyssey, and frankie valli & the four seasons, it was surprising that most of the label's releases didn't even dent the charts. over the past few months, i've been helping to put the finishing touches on light in the attic record's Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love: Motown's Mowest Story 1971-1973. keep your eyes peeled for a late spring/early summer 2011 release (CD/2LP/digital)... surf's up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

haters wanna war

here's a recently uncovered 2 tone promo clip from the man rico rodriguez (*thanks to sugarman on the specials fan page message board for the link!!!). love the OG spirit here!!! "what you talkin' bout... you say you don't like the jungle beat?" you tell 'em, rico!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BM night #2

* here's a piece i wrote on black mountain from 2004. i believe it was the first gig that the band played "no hits" live. sure sounded good last night as an encore... tonight, round II: black angels/black mountain (w/ yours truly playing old records in between)...

The Georgia Straight
December 23, 2004
At Video In Studios on Thursday, December 16
It was a dark, damp sky that guided us to an evening billed as Acid: Nouveau Drug Art Films and Videos, featuring found footage, psychedelic reels, and a performance from Vancouver's own rock 'n' roll army, Black Mountain. Presented by Destroy Children ( ) and Video In Studios, the event drew a good-looking crowd, which congregated in the venue's spacious exhibition hall. Some were mildly disappointed at the absence of alcohol for sale, but in lieu there were "baked" goods, water, chips, and pop available at the ad hoc canteen. It was a shame that there was no electric Kool-Aid, but regardless, everyone appeared to be riding a real mellow vibe. A row of comfy couches lined the back wall, and the only pressure was finding the best spot to soak up the festivities.
Acid upheld a fine tradition of multimedia events in Vancouver that harks back to the lysergic days of the Retinal Circus, where the Velvet Underground and local acts like Papa Bear's Medicine Show and Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck would play. Featuring both classic and contemporary sights and sounds, the night revisited the past while simultaneously building for the future. On this evening, Black Mountain was set up amid a cutout forest filled with magical mushrooms and animals. Did I dream of mountaintops as well? An ever-changing series of images--starting with ACID , spelled out in three-metre-high, blue sunshine--coloured letters--was projected behind the band on the immense wall.
From the moment the festivities got under way, Black Mountain set its controls for rock. Playing drums and a keyboard, Josh Wells came across as a one-man version of '60s electronic duo the Silver Apples. Singer Amber Webber had the presence of a late-'60s songbird with a powerful voice as satisfying as real maple syrup. Wizardly keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt has clearly studied greats like Can's Irmin Schmidt and the Band's Garth Hudson. Providing strong bottom end on the bass guitar was Matt Camirand (also a member of Blood Meridian), who pushed the songs along with earnest propulsion. Leading the army on vocals and guitar was Steve McBean, who proved to be grizzly soul personified.
Kicking things off was "No Hits", a pounding number with Schmidt's Germanic keys, brutal beats from Wells, hypnotic call-and-response vocals, and a wall-of-sound finale. From that point on, the tunes veered from loose-limbed workouts to concentrated bursts of pure energy. "Set Us Free", "Faulty Times", and "Heart of Snow" transfixed those assembled with equal measures of blues-, psych-, punk-, and folk-rock. Is it January yet?
Preceding Black Mountain's set was an hour of short, homespun drug films by Lyndsay Sung, Heather Trawick, Toby Bannister, Corey Adams, Julia Feyrer, P:ano's Nick Krgovich, and members of Channels 3 and 4. Also on display: cult-cinema odds and sods like Syd's First Trip , an 8mm look at Pink Floyd's Barrett tripping on mushrooms in 1966; and bizarre Monkees footage that saw the band accompanied by drummer Buddy Miles, organist Brian Auger, and vocalist Julie Driscoll. If that wasn't enough, DjMagneticring ( ) filled the gaps beautifully with monster psych sounds from his personal archives, as compiled on a Titanium PowerBook.
Considering the breadth of creativity on display for a $7 admission, the audience made off like bandits. Don't miss the next trip.

i'm gonna play this again tonight!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

for my brother ichiro

BM night #1

here's a tune from pre-black mountain country-rockers, jerk with a bomb. "those hard wrecks" was originally issued on pyrokinesis (2003), the group's last album. see you at the commodore tonight...

Saturday, November 27, 2010



wanted: dead or alive #3

wanted: dead or alive #2

wanted: dead or alive #1

Friday, November 26, 2010

towards the sunlight

without a doubt, the best music resonates deep within one's soul. it's supremely powerful and can affect the listener in many different ways. the songs of shin joong-hyun and his golden-voiced protege kim jung mi take me to a bittersweet land, filled with joy and sorrow. over the last few months i've been writing like a mad monk for three forthcoming 2011 reissues that focus on the korean psychedelic rock era of the 1960's-1970's. more details to follow... until then, please enjoy kim jung mi's "towards the sunlight."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

happy birthday

may every birthday be this plentiful! a toast to you kae!
all the best,

my god #2

where were you??? #2

live PA @ blim, january 22, 2005:
MPC 2000, 2 technics 1200 turntables, 1 CD player
w/ new super league of opiate mystics
photo by jonathan orr

*2005 seems like a lifetime ago. heavily influenced by nature sounds, canadian folk records, and rap acapellas, i put together a set – that later evolved into 2006's voluntary in nature mix for sandinista – performed live at the original upstairs blim art space. jonathan orr (new super league of opiate mystics) hosted the event (w/ blim's yuriko iga) and projected russian films behind the large cube that we performed in. hekseskudd played immaculate guitar w/ effects. NSLOOM freaked an electronic inspired program. support was warm yet moderate in numbers. there was room for more.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

january 25, 2011

damn, already marking up the 2011 VAG canadian art calendar that the good hommie decaf (he, the son of "march", aka gary lee-nova) passed my way. happy to help spread news that a new destroyer long player (kaputt) is likely sitting on the desks of music editors the world-over just waiting for review. think i'll start saving me pennies for the vinyl (featuring yet another killer ted bois snap)... in regards to album art, you simply can't beat a 12" canvas (bow down CD and digital download PDF).

pink mountaintops

Packing Richard's on Richards at 7:30 p.m. is no easy feat for any new band, local or otherwise. To get the crowd moving and grooving at this time is fucking unheard of, but this is exactly what happened when the Pink Mountaintops opened for Victoria's Frog Eyes and singer-songwriter Dan Bejar's Destroyer in June. Rugged and raw, they kicked out songs from their debut self-titled CD/LP. You could tell the band was having fun. The audience fell in love.
"It was perfect," recalls Stephen McBean, the Pink Mountaintops' bearded maestro, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. "We played the night before in Victoria and maybe practised five times. It was one of the things that reminded me of why I love playing music and why I keep doing it as opposed to quitting, because I've been saying I'm going to quit since I was 20. I'm 35 now. I can't stop."
In the press thus far, the word on the Pink Mountaintops' debut has been sex. Down and dirty, with a little "wham bam, thank you, ma'am" thrown in for good measure. And while song titles such as "I [Fuck] Mountains" and "Bad Boogie Ballin' " have graphic connotations, McBean sees it a little differently.
"It's not a sex-rock album," says the amiable musician over a beer at Pat's Pub. "The thing that's important to me about it is the inspiration that someone gave to me to make it. I was on tour, away from my wife, my partner, my lover, and was just missing her so much. I wanted to walk on a beach somewhere and hold her hand, stare into her eyes. It's about being human, and love, and tenderness, and intimacy. It's not about cheap sex or one-night stands. It's for Nahanni. She's the Pink Mountaintops."
After that spark, the rest came naturally. Taking a breather from helming the mind-bending Black Mountain, initial ideas were captured on his home-studio setup. "I came back [from touring] and I was so glad to be with Nahanni again," explains McBean. "I went upstairs into my little room in our house, and I'd write the songs and record them. I didn't worry about anything; it just came out."
Helping out on The Pink Mountaintops were some regular collaborators: Black Mountain drummer Joshua Wells and singer Amber Webber along with wayward Jerk With a Bomb soldier Christoph Hofmeister. "We did the vocals, drank wine, and smoked tons of weed," he adds. "I made sure everyone got to do a guitar solo on 'Sweet '69'. It was like, 'You fucking get in there. You're doing one. Doesn't matter if you can't play guitar, everyone's getting a solo on this one.' "
Once completed, the eight-song album was picked up by American indie-label Jagjaguwar as well as Scratch Records in Canada for a domestic release. A subsequent cross-Canada tour with the aforementioned Destroyer and Frog Eyes saw McBean performing the tunes without the aid of a backing band. "It was just me playing with a sequencer," he recalls. "I do enjoy working with human beings, though. When technology tends to fail it just stops. You're looking around on-stage and you're up there by yourself with something that has flashing lights and all of a sudden the flashing light stops. You feel like a bit of an idiot. If you're up there with friends it keeps going."
On his return, McBean continued to rehearse with an ever-expanding team of merry pranksters to bring songs like the autobiographical "Tourist in Your Town" to life. "It's about this woman that was one of my best friends when I was 15, 17. I was also madly in love with her. We both lived in Victoria, made a stupid mistake one time and we lost that friendship. She went off, became a model, and married a rock star." Sung as a duet with Black Mountain's Webber, the pristine tune crystallizes the experience of a young love lost, and, though touching, it's never bitter, just an extension of the Pink Mountaintops' landscape.
"Since I was a kid, I've always viewed the world as a big ugly place that's terrible and scary," admits McBean. "I lived that way for all my teen years. I was a punk rocker, hating this, fighting that, and ended up just bottling it up, full of hate. But I've come to realize that the world is not a terrible place. It's actually an amazing, beautiful place, and that's the only reason people can survive. Terrible things happen all the time, and will continue to happen, but horrible things can bring out great things in your life."
Music can be one of those great things, and those who attend the Pink Mountaintops' album-release party this Saturday (August 7) at the ANZA Club are bound to feel McBean's enthusiasm. "I want people to come and have fun," he stresses. "Couples that are there, lovers that are there--I want them to hold hands a little longer, go home and kiss. Express themselves. Come out and let the love fly free. Well, not too free."

Monday, November 22, 2010

summer sound in canada

the following three posts comprise the 30-minute video, summer sound in canada. released as part of light in the attic records' summer records anthology 1974-1988 in 2007, the 2 LP, dual disc, and digital compilation documents producer, singer, bodyman, and studio head jerry brown's sonic, socio-political, and spiritual quest to establish a home for reggae in canada. SSIC was pieced together from an attic-dwelling cache of unedited early 1980's footage in 2006-7. it was such an honour to help shed light on this neglected corner stone of canadian history...

"from ever since i was a kid, i always wanted to have a studio in my home. where we can do what we wanna do. express our feelings in our song..." - jerry brown (summer records)

"turn on the rhythm box..." - jackie mittoo (the maestro)

"not even CHUM can stop reggae..." - stranger cole ("rough and tough")

Sunday, November 21, 2010

cool it

from yard to yonge - wayne mcghie

i first met jamaican-canadian singer/songwriter/musician wayne mghie w/ light in the attic records co-owner matt sullivan in the winter of 2004. mghie had been "missing" for years and even feared dead by close friends. while plagued with health problems, we broke bread and were brought to tears by his then undocumented story. it's a day i will never forget...

last month, i traveled to toronto once again to shoot footage of wayne w/ from yard to yonge (jamaica to toronto) co-director darby wheeler (CBC). while we've been working on this documentary project for over four years, this is a time sensitive story that needs to be told now. we can't loose this crucial canadian history...

*here's an excerpt from my liner notes to LITA's 2004 reissue of wayne mcghie and the sounds of joy:

"After three months of extensive searching, we had run out of clues. Promising lead after lead had been exhausted, leaving us with little hope that unsung Canadian music pioneer and beat-digger icon Wayne McGhie would be found. Local collectors drew blanks, phone listings came up nil, and tax and hospital records were inconclusive. Friends from Jamaica to Toronto had all lost touch years ago. Wayne was truly missing in action.

Still, just as we had given up all hope, a chance meeting with singer Jay Douglas at a wedding changed everything. Not only was Jay an old friend of Wayne’s, but he was as interested as we were in finding his old spar. His persistent and cunning detective work soon proved successful. Within weeks, the phone rang with the call we’d been anxiously waiting for…

Toronto, Ontario. January 26, 2004

We arrived in Toronto trailed by the worst blizzard the city had seen in recent memory. It was a relief to be welcomed into the warm apartment of Wayne’s sister Merline. Accompanied by Jay, we were greeted by the smell of some fine home cooking. Any nervous energy soon dispersed as Wayne stood by the door and shook our hands. He was quiet, yet alert, perhaps a little puzzled by the sudden burst of attention after all these years. Small talk ensued and long forgotten records were played. The sounds of Jo-Jo & the Fugitives, The Hitchikers, Sounds of Joy, and RAM filled the air. We were shocked to hear that Wayne hadn’t played a guitar since 1979. Emotion weighed deep.

The next evening, Jay Douglas organized a gathering at the Aura Club on Yonge Street for us to meet folks like the one and only Joseph (Jo-Jo) Bennett, drummer Everton Paul, and singer Noel Ellis. Henry from Henry’s Records played sweet soul, ballads, ska, and even a 45 by a convincing Elvis impersonator in the background. It was pure class across the board. Nuff conversation, food, drinks, and dancing made it an unforgettable night. Gaining so much insight into a virtually undocumented scene was like finding the missing pieces needed of a complicated puzzle. We said our goodbyes and trotted through the snow to catch the last subway downtown."

my god #1

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

riverson re:discovery

Artist: Riverson
Record: Self-titled
Label: Columbia Records of Canada
Release: 1973

How do you follow up an unexpected hit single? In the case of Montreal-based Mashmakhan, the answer lay in a less polished approach combining the group's jazz, R&B, and rock and roll roots with an uncontrived hippie aesthetic. Despite label and management pressures for the gang to replicate their international breakthrough ("As The Years Go By", taken from their 1970 self-titled Columbia LP), the quartette's raw sophomore album, The Family (1971), quickly fell off the radar, even with Neil Young co-producer David Briggs at the helm. Industry powerhouse CKLW from Windsor, Ontario, wouldn't play follow-up singles stating that they didn't sound like their sole pop smash.
Not surprisingly, external and internal forces caused the band to splinter shortly thereafter. Organ player, flautist, and principal songwriter Pierre Senecal soldiered on under the Mashmakhan banner while drummer Jerry Mercer joined Canadian rock mainstays April Wine. In contrast, guitarist Rayburn Blake decided to form a new unit with female vocalist/musician Frankie Hart (Freedom North) and Mashmakhan's talented singing bass man Brian Edwards.
Blake, who had retreated to Quebec's Lake of Two Mountains region with Edwards to escape the mad city scene of Montreal, named the band Riverson, a nod to their nature-infused surroundings. Reconnecting with Columbia Records of Canada, they entered Toronto's Manta Studios with Hart, engineer/producer Lee De Carlo, and timekeeper Graham Lear to capture 11 tightly rehearsed songs inspired in parts by the aforementioned Young, CSNY's Déjà Vu, and musical lessons gleamed from high school dance band beginnings right up to Mashmakhan's slot on the notorious Festival Express tour of 1970 with The Band, Janis Joplin, and The Grateful Dead.
Released in 1973 and resplendent in an artfully designed gatefold jacket, Riverson offers a slow burning sensibility that shows itself on well-crafted originals like "Empty Sky", "Stoney Day", and a progressive take on "Eleanor Rigby". Elsewhere, engaging guitar leads spring from the grooves along with perfect male/female vocal harmonies, hypnotic bass lines, banjo picking, subtle piano, haunting recorder, and precise drums. Lead off single "Clear Night" was the closest thing the group had to a hit, but regardless of the song's anthemic quality, it barely dented Canadian charts.
With sales trickling in, Riverson focused their attention on performance, gigging in-and-around Ontario and Quebec, as well as opening up for John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was here that Lear decided to pursue a fusion-based direction, working with Gino Vannelli and later Santana. While Riverson cut one more non-LP single, Blake, Edwards, and Hart eventually pulled the plug themselves after growing weary of unreceptive bar audiences who only wanted to hear the latest chart toppers.
Ah, those pesky hits. Can't live with them, hard to survive without them. Still, music fans lucky enough to have been exposed to Riverson's many charms are sure to keep its message flowing as the years go by.

*VIN note: over the years, i've written a couple of pieces for US music journal wax poetics. the above is one i'm very proud of (issue #30, the rock issue). gotta shout out the legendary ty scammell (RIP) for turning me onto this album many moons ago in his east van crib. hope to do more work w/ the fine riverson folks in the not too distant future. keep your eyes peeled...

the deverons

Sunday, November 14, 2010


i once met burton cummings outside of the main street/14th starbucks while packing musical gear out of a friend's car. he kept looking our way and when i recognized who it was, i sauntered over to say hello. "are you burton cummings?" i asked. he denied. i was like, "too bad, i'm a real BIG fan and i even like his solo stuff." he laughed and i returned to the car to unload the instruments...

music mixer

Saturday, November 13, 2010

things could be beautiful

share the land

hello folks, 
my name is salmongang, a writer/producer/musician/DJ/artist currently based out of vancouver, B.C., canada. it's my honour to be here. the aim of this space is to organically share my passion for people, music, food, history, writing, geography, photography, architecture, and culture. though my view and outlook is global (and beyond!@#$%?!), the focus of VIN is primarily canada, the place i've called home for 36 years. if all goes according to plan, there will be regular posts featuring unique content – both contemporary and choice vintage material – music to hear, pictures to see, and words to read. fingers crossed, i'd like the posts to create a dialogue and inspire the viewers/audience to share their own unique interests. i feel that by doing this, we will come closer as brothers and sisters – always learning, constantly growing. feel free to contact me with any inquiries pertaining to my work... VOLUNTARY IN NATURE
the power, summer 2009 (photo by the stunt man)