The late 1970’s in Toronto had so much live music venues it was hard to know which one to go to any night of the week. Edgerton’s, Larry’s Hideaway, Hotel California, The Jarvis House, The Ports of Call, The Limelight, Alistairs all had great bands to enjoy.
This was the time Scott Cushnie and his band of great players Terry Wikins, Bucky Berger, Mitch Lewis all made up a great band called The Rockin’ Deltoids featuring Professor Piano, a name he was given a long time ago because of his incredible knowledge of music, combining jazz standards, original songs, ragtime written before the turn of the century, and the best boogie woogie you could possibly hear comes from those incredible hands on the keys. Later they would add the female vocalists who were aptly called The Honolulu Heartbreakers and the Canadian Aces were ‘born’.)
In late 1978 one Kingston, Ontario musician, Paul Martin was dragged into a dingy club in Montreal called the ‘Grande Bock Tavern‘ on St. Catherine Street. He was told that the band playing there that nite would be of interest to him, in so much that he, being a connoisseur of the music of the Rolling Stones, would appreciate this local Montreal bands antics & approach to performing covers of not just the Stones, but of Bowie, Dylan, Springsteen & the J. Geils Band. Not just covers of the hits of these artists, but obscure numbers as well, B sides, not normally heard from a ‘classic cover band’ of the time. After seeing this interesting little troupe called ‘Jade’, he decided to make a gesture to the front-man of ‘Jade’, one Maurice Raymond. Would he, Maurice, be interested in joining his band, “Consilium” as their front-man.
Maurice decided to take up Paul on his offer and packed up his bags & scurried off to Kingston with childhood friend & guitarist James ‘Doc’ Green in tow for both moral, musical and spiritual support. Both Maurice & James become members of a now touring, though on a very localized (the Canadian Provinces of Ontario & Quebec) and small scale, rock band. Complete with a manager, (Gord Nichol, Paul’s one time High School Prof.) crew and staging…they set out to conquer the world.
Nanette Joan Workman was born in New York but has been based in Quebec, Canada during much of her career. She holds dual citizenship in both the United States and Canada. She was raised by musician parents in Jackson, Mississippi where she began her first performances. She mainly performs in French although raised speaking English. During her career she has recorded together with numerous well-known musicians in the U.S., Canada, England, and France and been recognized in Mississippi both by being elected to that state's Musicians Hall of Fame and having a Francophone house named after her at the state university.
Her mother, Beatryce Kreisman, was in the chorus of Naughty Marietta with the New York City Opera Company, and her father, Ernest Workman, played trumpet in Tommy Dorsey's orchestra. She grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. As a child she studied piano and began her career at 11, appearing in the local WLBT television series Mr.Magic (later Junior Time) until she was given her own weekly show, Teen Tempos. She graduated from Provine High School then attended the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg leaving college at 18 for Broadway.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far north (Montreal, Quebec) there lived three brothers who never wore hats. This is the story of the electropop artists Men Without Hats. Their music is characterized by the distinctive baritone voice of their lead singer Ivan Doroschuk as well as their elaborate use of synthesizers and electronic processing. They achieved their greatest popularity in the early to mid-1980s with their most successful single, "The Safety Dance", a Top 10 hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as other countries including South Africa. Their other big success was the 1987 hit, "Pop Goes the World”.
Men Without Hats initially consisted of Ivan Doroschuk (vocals, keyboards) and Jeremie Arrobas (keyboards & electronics), as well as Ivan's brother Stefan (guitars), with various other members joining and leaving the group, including a third Doroschuk brother, Colin (electronics). The band was founded in 1977 in Montreal and would undergo numerous personnel changes through the rest of the decade with Stefan, Colin, and Arrobas as the only relative constants joining Ivan. The name came about because Ivan and his two brothers, following the self-described principle of "style before comfort", refused to wear hats during Montreal's cold winters, calling themselves "the men without hats." (A popular but apocryphal tale is that an announcer at an early gig misread the band's name as "Men Without Pants.")
Mahogany Rush was a Canadian rock band led by guitarist Frank Marino. The original band was formed in Montreal, Quebec, but was actually more famous in the United States than their native Canada. In the U.S. they headlined for The Chambers Brothers, Graham Central Station, Ted Nugent, The Amboy Dukes to name a few.
The band is perhaps best known for Marino's soaring lead guitar which bears a strong resemblance to the playing of Jimi Hendrix.
After playing drums since he was 5 years old, somewhere around the age of 13, Marino started playing guitar. The myth is he was visited by an apparition of Jimi Hendrix after a bad experience on LSD; Marino has always denied this. He will say he was inspired by Hendrix, claiming to be the one who is "carrying Jimi's psychedelic torch".[Marino is notable for strong cover versions of Hendrix classics such as "Purple Haze", often being criticized by some as a Hendrix clone. Marino states that he never set out to imitate Hendrix's style at all. "The whole style just came naturally. I didn't choose it; it chose me."
Members Pierre Senecal, Brian Edwards and Rayburn Blake first met in 1960 in Montreal. Their drummer did not show up one night for a gig, so Jerry Mercer was brought in and ended up joining the band. Edwards quit shortly thereafter, but the other three continued to perform on the local scene under names like the Phantoms, Ray Blake's Combo and the Dominoes.
By 1965 they were calling themselves The Triangle, and backing up local R&B singer Trevor Payne. They backed up Payne for four years until being discovered by record producer Bob Hahn, who helped them get signed with Columbia Records in Toronto. Edwards rejoined the band and they changed their name to Mashmakhan, after a variety of hashish sold by a local dealer, to appeal to a modern audience.
Senecal's penned song "As the Years Go By" was released off their debut album in an edited form, and was the group's first hit; it sold 100,000 copies in Canada and 400,000 copies in the United States (on the Epic label). The band actually wrote the song as a novelty addition to their album, not expecting it to gain serious recognition. The single also sold 400,000 copies in Japan. This disc sold over one million copies globally, and received a gold disc.The two follow-up singles were "Gladwin" and "Days When We Are Free".
I am a huge rock ‘n’ roll fan – I even owned a nightclub in 1979 in downtown Toronto that played and hired nothing but vintage music and musicians. Route 66 was so popular it had three hour line-ups – right at the height of disco. That is when my love affair with rock ‘n’ roll began.
So many artists were considered American when they were really Canadian. I wanted to start writing about these guys and set some of the record (no pun intended) straight. I thought I would start with The Diamonds.
The Diamonds are a Canadian vocal quartet that rose to prominence in the 1950s and early 1960s with sixteen Billboard and Cashbox hit records. The original members were Dave Somerville (lead), Ted Kowalski (tenor), Phil Levitt (baritone), and Bill Reed (bass). They were most noted for interpreting and introducing rhythm and blues vocal group music to the wider pop music audience.