Segarini: Dear Diary – Rock and Roll, Estrogen in Film, and a Long Lost Song

I’ve been so busy staying one step ahead of the bill collectors, looking for a new home (we have to move yet again at the end of June), sharing stories from my past with you, and editing the fine writers that entertain you here at DBAWIS, that I have not had time to share my current exploits with you, or even collect my thoughts about them and catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed. Today, we try to clear the desk of at least some of the latest adventures, and revisit a song I wrote 30 years ago that I have been desperate to find because I want to re-record it as part of a series of new recordings I’m going to start making as soon as I have the time (and the money). Anybody want to contribute?

Rock and Roll

Rival Sons….

One of the great things about Facebook (don’t bother bitching about privacy issues, the timeline, or anything else, I like Facebook, it’s free, I don’t care about the privacy stuff, and the timeline is cool) is the ability it gives you to find people from your past or for them to find you.

One such person is an old Montreal drinking buddy named David Rourke. So David finds me on Facebook, we talk about the old days, and stay in touch. He messages me one day and says, “Rival Sons are playing in St. Catherines on Friday (May 18th), wanna go catch the set?” Hell yes, I want to go catch the set…I haven’t seen them since January, and they’ve been in the studio in Nashville recording their new album and touring Europe again since then. I turned David on to Rival Sons months ago, and like everyone else who hears them, he too is fan enough to not mind a road trip just to hear those great songs again played by the best rock and roll band to come down the pike since God knows when. We make plans….

Did I mention David has a sailboat? Well, he does. So Friday, when we get to St. Catherines, we catch up with the band, listen to the soundcheck, and then, with the Sons in tow, head for the boat which is a short drive away at Niagara on the Lake, where David lives.

The sailboat is a beauty. Sleeps six, has a wicked cool galley and full washroom/shower. It also contained rum, which I drank alone because everyone else is a non-drinker. To a man, the band has stayed vegetarian and have quit drinking and smoking as well. (David’s been a non-drinker for decades). These lads are serious about their music and the hard work it takes to do what they’ve set out to do, which is to be the band that brings rock and roll back to the forefront of popular music. I have every faith they will accomplish that very thing.

So here we are out on the lake, enjoying a beautiful spring day just bordering on sunset. I, because I watch too many movies, am on the lookout for Mega-Sharks, Primeval Piranha, Giant Octopi, Sharktopuses, and Crockosaurs.  Curse you, SyFy Channel…curse you and your goofball Saturday night Roger Corman movies. While everybody else is just having a great time, I stand on guard, the only person aboard concerned we may run into a school of Giant Skull Headed Flying Acid Spewing Albino Sharks. I stand ever vigilant, wishing I’d brought along my tin-foil hat.

After being piloted around the lake with Miley at the helm, and Jay playing us the next Rival Sons CD (which doesn’t drop until August 28th, which coincidentally happens to be my birthday) we head back toward land and the gig at St.Catherine’s Barracuda Pretty, a huge club with great stage and sound and enough bars to keep 4 or 5 hundred people well lubricated on any given night. The added plus was running into friends from Toronto who had also made the trip, and being asked to co-introduce the band by presenting radio station 97.7 Hitz FM’s Joe Cahill (weekday evenings 7 – 10). Joe and I go way back. When I was the Iceman at Q107 back in the early ‘80s, Joe was known to one and all as Carrots, and produced/Operated Scruff Connors and Gene Valitas’s morning show. Remember the ‘Wheel of Meat’? Funny stuff…. It was great to hook up with Joe and his lovely wife, Lisa, who manned one of Barracuda Pretty’s many drink stations. Hitz FM is a lot now like Q107 used to be…all about the music. So impressed are we with Rival Sons’ set, David and I make plans to see them again the following Sunday in Grand Bend at the Drag Strip there.

In an odd throwback to the bad tour routing of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Sons play St Catherines Friday night, drive to Columbus, Ohio and play Saturday night, and then back to Canada and Grand Bend for Sunday night. Bad, but not as bad as playing in New York City on a Thursday, San Francisco on the Friday, and Boston on the Saturday. Been there, done that.

The Grand Bend show (where David and I are joined by his lovely friend Viv) is even better than the one in St. Catherines. The band is on fire, the gig is outdoors, and the audience seemed starved for this kind of music, rock fans, every one. Perfect weather, cold beer, a gaggle of rock fans and a band that literally makes rock and roll imaginative, musical, and cutting edge for the first time in decades. A week later and the boys are back in Europe, kicking ass with Guns and Roses and headlining a bunch of shows on their own. They’re back at the end of June to do a show in Owen Sound with Three Days Grace, I Mother Earth, The Trews, and others. Here’s the details do not miss!

Oh…the new Rival Sons CD? Un-fucking-believable! Look for it at the end of August.

Xprime…

As mentioned here a column or 2 ago, I’m hosting a Tuesday night series of showcases at Monarchs Pub in the Delta Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. We’ve had some great artists there already, including Pat Martini, The Hollowbodies, Dan McLean Jr. and Mike Robins. Last week, we ran into a problem with a cancellation or two, and once again, David Rourke came to the rescue. David tips me to a band called Xprime. Four young guys out of Niagara who lean toward the kind of rock and roll that blends three and four part vocal harmony with economically played, guitar driven, songs of the 3 minute or less variety. In other words, the kind of songs I have loved all my life from the hey-day of Don and Phil Everly, through the Beatles, right up to trying to write and perform those kinds of songs in The Wackers. At the last minute, the other band on the bill cancels, and Xprime man up and tell us, “Hey, no problem. We’ll do 3 sets like we always do. It’ll be fun.”
And that is exactly what it was.

It has been a long time since I’ve heard a band cover everything from Mustang Sally(!) to Wake Up Little Suzie, to I Wanna Hold Your Hand, to Play that Funky Music White Boy, some Stones, some ‘80s and ‘90s classics, toss in a handful of solid originals, and make all of it sound fresh and brand new. Not only that, they were having so much fun playing their music it was downright infectious. I’m asking them to come back next week, or as soon as they can do a return engagement. Now if I can only talk them into learning some Wackers’ material….

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Estrogen in Film…

Among all the amazing people I’ve met at Cherry Cola’s Rock and Rolla Cabaret and Lounge is one Diane Foy. Diane is another one of the regulars who has hugged the far end of Cherry’s bar with me and several other die-hards, and over the past two years we have become friends and occasional drinking buddies. She sealed our friendship the night she introduced Pie, Cam Carpenter, and I to her friend, Kid in the Hall, Dave Foley. Now that was a night none of us will forget. I subscribe to her email alerts (she is a fine publicist and has a company, Skylar Entertainment, who represent many worthwhile people and events), and she messages me when something she cares a lot about crosses her desk. Last week she messaged me about a yearly event she is part of called The Female Eye Film Festival, (their cutline; “Always Honest, Not Always Pretty”) which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. Diane is the Director of Publicity and Social Media, and works closely with festival founder, Leslie Ann Coles and the rest of Leslie’s fine crew to make this yearly event a success. She would like to know if I would like to come to one of their functions, a night at Cherry’s featuring performances by four women musician/singer/songwriters. It’s at Cherry’s? Diane and other friends will be there? The artists are all interesting and entertaining? There are drink tickets? I’ll be there! That is how I came to hear Heather Hill, Meredith Shaw, Amanda Davids, and Rock-fused operatic singer Patrizia at Cherry Cola’s on Thursday night. Google these fine artists and check out their latest CDs.

Pictured L to R: Meredith Shaw, Lesley Ann Coles, and Diane Foy

A fine night of music, great people like our own Nadia Elkharadly and Emer Schlosser, film maker Sandy Feldman, and Female Eye Film Festival founder, Leslie Ann Coles. I also had great conversations with Kerry Brown (who represents Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson) and Selective Image’s Cat Ward. There were lots other too, including NXNE Film heads, Ambrose Roche, and Cam Carpenter , who, as regular readers know, is also a DBAWIS contributor. There were lots more, but like I said…there were drink tickets. The Female Eye Film Festival runs from June 20th through the 24th. Details can be found here. And believe me, you will never go wrong at Cherry Cola’s. Thanks, Diane!

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The Long Lost Song….

30 years ago, I was doing afternoon drive on Q107 and enjoying my latest career as boy DJ. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was to work there. Anyway, one day when I got off work, I received a phone call from old friend Clive Smith (Pictured here with John Sebastian), who was one of the three founding fathers of Toronto’s powerhouse animation and film company, Nelvana. They were readying a new live action children’s television series called The Edison Twins, a half hour edutainment show about the twins and their little brother, who solve mysteries, invent gadgets, and get into mischief of one sort or another. The reason I got the call is because one of the shows about to be shot had to be recast. The episode, called ‘Rock and Roll Anniversary’, was written for Loving Spoonful honcho John Sebastian and featured their hit, Do You Believe in Magic. The plot was simple; the kids’ parents are about to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary and the youngest (Paul) notices the headliner of the rock festival the parents fell in love at is in town to shoot a movie, and comes up with the idea of getting him to come to the anniversary party and sing the song they fell in love to at the festival. Of course, things go wrong and hilarity ensues.

At the end of each episode was a short segment explaining how to make a gizmo the kids come up with or some scientific information of interest that was addressed in the show. Ahead of its time and fine television to boot, The Edison Twins ended up running for 6 or 7 seasons in over a dozen countries, and remains a cult favourite of the kids from around the world who grew up watching it.

Clive asked me if I would come down to Nelvana’s offices and audition for the part of Chops Dorfman, the character written for John Sebastian, and asked if I minded singing Do You Believe in Magic. “Of course not, I told him”, but I thought, unless I can write another song that fits the bill. I had a little recording studio in Brampton at that time. After finding out the premise of the show and reading the synopsis and script pages they sent over, I wrote a tune I thought would be appropriate to the plot. A couple of days later I recorded it, and a couple of days after that, I went to the audition.

I went in for my read and mentioned that I had written an alternative song if they were interested. I got the usual, “We’ll see” and a nice firm handshake all around. An interesting thing had happened in the hall where I was waiting to go in to the audition. The last of the other actors and musicians who were trying out for the part were gone and while I sat there alone, two guys in suits walked by down the hall and I heard one say he wasn’t happy with the theme song they had, and the other agreeing with him. By the time the audition was over, I drove directly back to the little studio in Brampton and wrote a little surprise to take back to them if they liked the song I had written. When I got home that night, there was a message on the answering machine. (remember those?) They loved the song…and I got the part.

The next day I went back to Nelvana, explained the conversation I had overheard in the hallway and gave them a cassette of the surprise I had made them. Before I left the building I was told I had written the theme song to The Edison Twins TV series. I was over the moon.

When the episode ran on television several months later, a bunch of us watched it in the jock lounge at Q107. I got razzed mercilessly for months, co-workers calling me Chops and Mr. Dorfman every chance they got. That was okay by me.

The original 4 track tapes and all the elements were stored at Nelvana, and the master tapes were lost when the little studio shut down. The only version of the song I had written, Real Live Magic, existed only in the episode it was used in. I had a copy of it I had taped off the TV when it reran, but over the years, that too went missing, and by 1989, I had no proof the song even existed except for the royalty checks that would come for years after the show went into syndication all around the world. When I wanted to re-record the song for a record in the mid ‘90s, I realized I needed a copy to remember all the chords and the second verse…and that’s when I ran into a brick wall.

Of the many attempts I made to track down a copy of the episode, I only ever received a call back from someone who told me they didn’t think they had a show with that name. Over the years I was also told they would send me a copy when they found it, they couldn’t send me a copy even if they found it, they would have to charge me to look for a copy of the episode, and a couple of other things that didn’t make sense. Nelvana had become a corporate entity, the original owners and most of their staff long gone, and I ended up dealing with the new people there, the folks at YTV, and a series of management types at Corus Entertainment, who ended up with the rights. Nothing ever happened, and not just about that one episode. The entire series has never been released on VHS or DVD. The biggest reason probably lies in the fact that most of the people in charge weren’t there when it was insanely popular, (running on the Disney Channel for years as well as over a dozen other countries, Disney being part owner of the show), were too young to have ever heard of it, or don’t realize they are probably sitting on a fair amount of money if the shows were released on DVD or in a box set, or even syndicated to Family, Retro Toon, TV Land or any of the other myriad specialty channels out there looking for content. Oh well…none of my business, but it should be somebody’s business, don’t’cha think?

Then, one day about 3 years ago during one of my periodic sweeps of Internet torrent sites looking for it, I find the episode in question available from Amazon.com for US$1.99. Well it’s about time! I pay with a credit card and download the file.

WTF?

I go to watch the episode, click ‘play’, and a window pops up. I cannot view the content outside of the United States. Wait…what? It’s a bloody Canadian television show! I know…I’ll download it from Amazon.ca! Problem solved…except it isn’t. It isn’t because…are you ready…The Edison Twins Television Shows are not available in Canada. You’re fucking kidding me! I don’t know which is more retarded, that the place where this stuff is locked up here in Toronto doesn’t seem to be aware of the show’s existence, or that the someone there who IS aware of its existence made a deal with Amazon in the US but not Canada, even though the series is a Canadian television series that was immensely popular here! And people wonder why I drink….

So here we are, 24 years after I started looking for this thing, and had all but given up hope when a minor miracle occurs. I can’t go into detail about it (even though I own 100% of the writers and 50% of the publishing of this stuff), people, most of whom aren’t even aware they own the RIGHTS to something, can turn into rabid dogs if somebody IS aware of something they own (in my case for purely personal reasons) that could maybe make them money if they exploited it, which they don’t, because their bean-counters tell them that the amount of people who might want it are not enough to warrant all that work, because (according to them) we as individuals don’t amount to anything they actually care about so fuck us, they’ll just put out catalogue stuff that EVERYBODY wants. So just let me say thank you to the 18 year old granddaughter of an old friend who managed to do the impossible. I have put the result up on YouTube, but you cannot access it by looking for it. You can only access it by using the link at the bottom of this paragraph. In other words, this is for you, my friends, who might want to hear a pop song I wrote 30 years ago that is one of my personal favourites. It’s no big deal, really…the sound quality is pretty damn good though, because the 18 year old knows her stuff, but there is a lot of banging and other noises going on because the characters are playing along in the show. It still sounds damn sweet to me. If you’re in the States, you can download the episode (Rock and Roll Anniversary Season 01 Episode 4) and a whole lot of others from Amazon.com. It really is a cute show, especially for young kids. Real Live Magic. Ranting tires me out…time for a nap.

Segarini’s column appears here every Monday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, The Segarini Band, and Cats and Dogs, andnominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late GreatMovies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now sadly gone), and now provides content for radiothatdoesntsuck.com with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.

3 Responses to “Segarini: Dear Diary – Rock and Roll, Estrogen in Film, and a Long Lost Song”

  1. Wow. I still love that song. Great Edison Twins theme song as well. Real Live Magic. Why do I have a sudden urge to play Donkey Kong Jr.? Awesome, Robert. Someone should record it again. Long live SST, well, S, at any rate. Well done, Chops….

  2. andrew ross Says:

    I was googling around today and sometimes as following links does, I was taken to several pages that reminded me of one thing, then after reading about that, I was reminded about another, and another, then another – it all started by googling Joe Carter’s world series homerun and somehow ended up with the Edison twins, go figure – I am using my smart phone so everything is consolidated for finger browsing – I was browsing photos in Google and swiping through pictures when I came across a picture linked to this page, I remembered dbawis and came to read this page and Bob it’s a great story.. I remember watching the Edison twins as a kid and I feel your frustration when trying to locate watch content sometimes.. I’ve been trying to find a movie called “money to burn” for my dad, I think it was made for tv – but I’ve been looking for years… he mentions it every few months and I feel like it’s my duty to find it to watch it with him.. anyway, great story bob, I didn’t know you wrote the theme song for that show, great writing, been stuck in my head since childhood.. every once in a while, I check out thrift stores in the music section, and more often than not I find great music by interesting people I’ve rubbed shoulders with once or twice having worked with many creative people In different capacities, or having met them at shows or events.. but I’ve seen records with your name on them, along with long lost albums, cds and tapes of many other great artists- tangible copies of great music that is cool to find.. now that I think about it, in 20 years, I wonder what will be inthe music section of these thrift stores? ..the same music that’s there now? (I don’t think vinyl is going anywhere, since they can last if taken care of properly) – expired download cards? Lol who knows, but considering the fact that tapes degrade and cds expire when the bond between the aluminum and plastic depletes, maybe it’ll just have albums that were never listened to much (polka, etc..) being sold like how most vacuum tubes are sold at surplus stores “just for decoration” – or maybe there will be a “removable media” section.. people buying up old hard drives, memory cards, etc.. discovering other people’s music, movie, photo collections.. the future will certainly be interesting..
    Anyway, all the best Bob!

    Btw, don’t mind any typos, this phone has a mind of its own and sometimes likes to decide which words I want to use, so if there are any typos or grammar errors, I blame Samsung heh
    Andrew

  3. Do you know what is funny? I thought that John Sebastian wrote and performed The Edison Twins theme song! Interesting! I had forgotten the Real Live Magic episode, and just watched the video clip before finding this blog. I really like it!! Also, great job on the theme song. So catchy and cheerful!

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