Jade Dunlop: Time Will Carry On

December 23rd, 1987 – 8:31 pm

I took my first breath and began my life as Jade A. Dunlop.

As my parents lovingly cradled their first and only child in their arms, their eyes were filled with tears and their hearts with dreams for all the things their beautiful daughter would someday experience. While my only thoughts (if I were capable of having any at the time) would have been centered around my mere survival, my parents were already thinking of colleges and wedding dresses; imaginations bursting with ideas about all the little joys they would come to encounter as they watched me grow up.

My whole life lay ahead of me, and there was no telling what my future would hold. This optimism and curiosity for what lay ahead stuck with me throughout the years and my childhood daydreams were always those of days to come. But as time drifted by, I soon came to the realization that although I took my first breath on that dark December night, the rest of the world did not. Lives were being lived and exciting things had been taking place long before my life was whispered into existence and my daydreams changed from those of days to come to those of days come and gone. The future is ever present, but the past is always past. As my heart yearned for days gone by, the current of life kept pulling me farther away from that disappearing shore, and I began to feel the sting of being born too late.

By the time I came into this world, the band known as The Wackers had already spent the past 14 years existing only in the form of old records, photographs, memories and legends. Having officially disbanded in 1973 and the former band members had all moved on to bigger and better things – their lives just as much ahead of them as mine was that first December day. Over the course of many years, the roads of circumstance had brought them all to many different places in many different ways: Drummer Ernie Earnshaw was playing music in Loleta, California while guitarist Rand Bishop was penning novels in Nashville, Tennessee. Kootch Trochim had traded his bass for guitar and was still rocking in what had become the Wacker Kingdom of Montreal, PQ and Bob Segarini was living in Toronto, writing columns, rocking the radio airwaves and most importantly, living with me. It was through my time spent with Bob that I first heard – and fell in love with – the music and mythos that was The Wackers. He shared with me a vivid and exciting history – a collection of epic memories set to a stunning, sweeping and electric soundtrack. The adventures of Kootch, Bob, Ernie and Rand(y), along with Mike and Tim Stull, Norman Vosko and Melanie Bishop (now known as the beautiful Melanie Pickrell) became so well known to me they might as well have been part of my own history. But I guess that’s the point – as much as I loved to hear the music and the stories, it became a somewhat disappointing experience to participate in. These echoes from the past formed a life I could only live second-hand. Like a lighthouse beacon on that distant shore in time, the melodies and anecdotes flashed a bittersweet warning to me that no matter how much we yearn to go back, we will never be able to truly be a part of what had gone before. Simply due to the Grace of God and His poor sense of timing, I had missed my chance to share in something special with the people who I would one day come to call my friends. I began to feel left behind. Abandoned… Too late.

The movement of time and space is much like that of a record on a turntable. As the record spins like the earth on it’s axis, the steady-handed needle of time snakes it’s way through the grooves from start to finish – always forward, never backward and stopping only when our song has come to it’s end. But every once in a while, a record can skip, sending the listener back to a time and place in the melody through which the needle of time had already passed. It was during one of these rare skips that I found myself in the even rarer position of standing at the front of a stage watching The Wackers play live – an event that had not once occurred in the past 38 years. The Wackers Reunion – aptly titled “Wack in the Saddle Again” – took place in the rich, velvety elegance that is Cherry Cola’s Rock n’ Rolla Cabaret and Lounge in Toronto on July 24th, 2011, but the energy in the room was more reminiscent of Lake of Two Mountains High School, Loyola College or even the fabled Norm Silver’s Moustache in Montreal circa 1972. There were a lot less feathers, glitter and leaping about the stage than the older fans would remember, but the music – honestly and sincerely played – struck a chord with all of us there that night. For one evening, past and present merged into one ageless entity and I was no longer too late, but right on time. Through this spectacular event just short of time-travel, I was granted the seemingly impossible opportunity to join in the shared history of The Wackers and their fans – old and new; finally a first-hand experience with the music – and friends – I love so much.

But just as a record keeps turning, the ever-moving current of time took hold of that tiny moment and began to sweep it gracefully into the past. Gear was packed up and moved off stage. Goodbyes were said, planes and trains were caught, and suitcases were unpacked at home. The reunion was over, and once again Ernie, Kootch, Rand, Bob, Tim, Norman and Melanie returned to the lives they’d happily created far away from that of The Wackers. Meanwhile I was left to come to terms with the fact that I had yet another moment in history my heart begged to return to. I spent my days hoping that maybe the needle would skip again, and I could be transported back to that memory – the past. I could live my entire life caught in the endless loop of a broken record – existing in one time and one time only, over and over again. But that’s just what my life would be: broken. Time, like a record, is not supposed to skip and repeat itself – it’s supposed to steadily play through, bringing new sounds and experiences, each one different, until the needle reaches the end.

Although we all have moments in time we yearn to go back to – whether we were there to begin with or not – our direction must always be upward and forward; optimistic and curious for what lay ahead but with the knowledge, reverence and sincere appreciation for what came before. For no man is ever truly born too late – maybe too late to live someone else’s life, but never too late to live his own. The current of time will always flow. Time will always move…Time Will Carry On.

Jade is a gifted old soul whose love of music spans decades that came and went before she was born, yet lives on through her incredible ability to make it all new all over again. She loves wigs, kitties, other stuff, and kitties. She likes to think of herself in the same terms that Roger (the alien on American Dad) thinks of himself, “The pansexual alcoholic who lives in the attic.” I prefer to think of her as a multi-talented woman whose future looks so bright, we’ll have to wear shades. When I asked her to write a byline for her guest column today, she sent me this: 

Jade Dunlop: Film at 11
Jade Dunlop: Love it or shove it
Jade Dunlop: I’m not a writer, but I play one on tv
Jade Dunlop: In Colour
Jade Dunlop: For external use only
Jade Dunlop: Now available without a prescription
Pick one…

7 Responses to “Jade Dunlop: Time Will Carry On”

  1. And, apparently, an incredible writer. The last paragraph is profound. I’m stealing it. Great work, Jade! Let’s have more. I vote for the “Now available without a prescription for the by-line”.

  2. LOVE IT. Well written, Jade. There was magic made that night and though we weren’t around to experience it personally the first time, I know that it meant just as much to us as it did to the people that merged from all corners of the earth to witness it again. Maybe even a little more. ❤

  3. Cindy Reid Says:

    Wonderful. Another little joy encountered.

  4. Ah, yes, you smart, little beauty… You would have fit right in at Wackering Heights, when we were young and pretty and filled with feisty, impish rebellion. But, just think. You’d be on the cusp of ancient now, and thus you would deprive us crotchety ol’ rockers of being adored once again by a gorgeous nymph.

    Write on, Lady. You have a gift. Missin’ ya here in NashVegas.

  5. Rita Shular Says:

    Jade you are a great writer, this is a WONDERFUL story to read and I hope all your wishes and dreams come true, you are and will always be part of Music History

  6. Well put together and delightful, like the writer. I like the same byline as Mr. Vernon. Way to go, Jade.

  7. Jim Chisholm in Campbell River Says:

    Great stuff Jade. We mark time by the experiences we have in life. Those of us who are deeply in love with music (who does that leave out?) have song titles and concert memories to grid our calendars rather than Mondays, Wednesdays and Septembers. I’m so glad you got to experience that Wack frontline. And thanks to Peter I got to at least hear some rehearsal over the phone. That was almost as good as being there but way better than just wishing and dreaming. Cheers!

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