Segarini: Frazier’s Farewell, and Two Little Treats

Before we get to today’s meat and potatoes, a little personal note. We have found a new place to live, (current landlord is getting a divorce and wants his house back), most of the money to facilitate the move, and I might have a shot at a radio gig soon. That said, I have one more pressing problem; I need some help this week packing for the move this coming weekend. If you are a beautiful, handy-around-the-house woman of any age with a strong back and a great sense of humour, email me at segarini@rogers.com. Also, men, boys, really smart raccoons, and robots from the future will be accepted as well. There will be beer, there will be some laughs, and, depending on my not-so-vast funds, either hot dogs or pizza. Seriously, anyone who knows how to pack a box and tape that sucker shut is welcome to email me. Just packing, no heavy lifting. Hope I hear from you. And now, our regularly scheduled column….

Frazier’s Farewell

Considering the man we paid tribute to last week, his wake was a fairly subdued affair. Had Frazier himself been able to plan his own Celebration of Life, I have no doubt there would have been a hot tub full of naked revelers, at least two people in Gorilla suits, a clown car full of…uh…clowns, punch bowls full of good LSD, cocaine, and pot, and a chorus line of nubile young people dressed in overalls and rubber boots dancing to Brian Blain’s “Don’t Forget Your Mother” while trying to avoid the jugglers, stilt walkers, and trained bears driving go-karts in formation. Frazier, of course, would have set all that in motion and then locked himself in the bathroom until the police left, or the Fire Department rescued us and put the fire out. There would have been a lot of pornographic balloon animals to hand out to looky-loos and curious passerby. After that, there would have been an Easter Egg hunt, a corn roast, and a campfire sing-along so we could all sing “Don’t Forget Your Mother” for a while and then tell stories we wouldn’t dare tell in front of strangers.

But Frazier wasn’t around to plan his own party.

So we did what we could without him.

And what we did was heartfelt, intimate, funny, sad, and wonderful. Well, what Mark, and Walter, and all the others who put this celebration together did. Some of us just showed up, offered up what we could, and got to hear the stories and feel the love all these people had (have) for our dearly departed eccentric iconoclast, Mr. Frazier Mohawk. I have never seen so many young at heart old farts in the same room at one time. Like someone said, “The only time we ever get together is at funerals or reunions”. And so it is.

There was a lovely Vietnamese woman who made the most delicious food. She was married to one of Frazier’s inner circle and then married to another, but I forget who because Gary Muth kept handing me beer tickets, and in the spirit of the day, I kept using them. Everything she produced from the kitchen was hand made from scratch and was incredible. Delicate, robust, wonderfully spiced, fresh Asian treats, better than any restaurant attempt to do the same. I momentarily wondered if she would ever consider being married a third time.

There was also a sterling array of crackers, bread, spreads, and cheeses, and some of the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever had. All in all, a moveable feast, and perfectly in tune with the conversations that filled the room. You know the kind. The ones that are constantly changing. Small groups of 2 to 4 people talking, listening, sharing stories, memories, information and gossip, and magically (and without effort) shifting as one person drifts to another group, a member of which would find him or herself caught up in an adjoining klatch, and in turn sparking a new discussion or anecdote, and this mad, whirling, aural square dance would ebb and flow as if choreographed by an invisible maestro, who kept it going until everyone had talked to everyone, had heard what was there to hear, and said what needed to be said. It is a ritual of the bright, the invested, and the humanistic. It is no place for the judgmental, the agendist, or the opportunist. It is the dance of the travelers who connect and reconnect with those who cross their paths in life, who share a fundamental need to occasionally land in their comfort zone surrounded by understanding and similarly life-experienced compatriots…all of whom are thankful for the moment regardless of what circumstance, be they joyous or tragic, that allows us to have these short, sweet, collisions in our lives.

And there was music.

Not just any music.

No, Frazier didn’t make, like, or tolerate ‘just any music’. He was adept (okay, gifted) at inserting tab A into slot B and coming up with a witch’s brew of, if not unusual, interesting and worthy musical entrees. He ‘got’ talent earlier than most. He recognized it where others did not. A 17 year old Jackson Browne here, a young Stephen Stills there, a Nesmith, a Young, a Weiss, an Alan Gerber, a John Finley, the man had ears, can I have an AMEN!  I will be forever in his debt for producing Running Jumping Standing Still, a record so full of atmosphere and joviality, it overshadows damn near every other record that tried to capture the era it came from. His keen sense of musicality led to first finding and then nurturing talent who then continually branched out, making Frazier the Grandfather (Godfather?) of as many artists indirectly as he was directly responsible for. Interestingly enough, a lot of the talent Frazier recognized early on was/is Canadian. It was Frazier who opened the door to the lower 48 for a lot of great Canadian musicians, singers, and songwriters whose careers would have stopped at the border without his belief in them early on.

There was no Stills, or Browne, or Young at Frazier’s wake, but the musicians who came and entertained us in his name are every bit as talented and memorable as their better known brothers. The music, the songs, and the stories heard that day were just as real, down to earth, and honest as the day that Frazier had first heard them all and touched their creators lives. Some of the music brought joy into the room, some brought tears, and all brought the glue that bound us all together. Every single person I saw and heard that day reminded me of how fortunate I was to have known Frazier and to have become friends with so many of the artists he championed. I was humbled by their talent, and their lasting love of writing, performing, and dreaming. From hearing Brian Blain sing “Don’t Forget Your Mother” live for the first time in decades, to Alan Gerber’s incredible performance at the grand piano and strolling minstrel rendition of “Boneheads” armed only with a ukulele and that amazing voice, not to mention Bela Ray, John Finley, and all the other wonderful singer/songwriters who lifted their voices to the Celestial Coil, it was an evening of memorable music, sang from one heart to the others. Frazier, I’m sure, must have been smiling wherever he is.

The venue (a beautiful performance space at PAL’s Esplanade address, which houses nothing but folks whose lives revolve around some aspect of the arts) emptied as quietly and as unceremoniously as it had filled. Michael, who represented the venue, and Bob, who did the sound, were wrapping up the cables, and putting the furniture back where it belonged, and the day’s activities went from ‘now’ to ‘then’, a new memory barely dry enough to wrap your head around, too new to be fully appreciated until days later, when, in recalling the event, it began to take on its true weight, sink in, and become another long goodbye as another train pulls out of the station with one of our own aboard…and the rest of us stay behind and lick the wound, knowing time will heal it and life will go on. Death is hard on the living, but the dead get away.

No one got arrested, there were no fires to put out, there were no clowns injured in the festivities, and no one lost their panties, socks, or keys. Still, it was one hell of a party. So long, Frazier, and thanks for the memories. Frazier Mohawk. Music by Essra Mohawk. Video by Mark Parr.

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No Xprime this go around…I’m waiting for their pictures and a couple of other pieces of information I’m lacking. However, I am going to share my daughter’s videos of my two grandchildren. Yes, I am a proud grandparent, but mostly, I am so proud of my daughter who was told repeatedly that she could not have children without putting herself at risk, and despite the warnings, produced two of the sweetest, funniest, brightest, bundles of Cute Overload ever. Son-in-Law Tim is the guitar tech for Elvis Costello and occasionally still works for some of the other bands he worked with in the past. Here are Matilda (2 this coming August) and Marshall (4 this coming November) at this past weekend’s Spirit of the West concert in Ottawa. Enjoy. Tilda and Marshall

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, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” 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 85), 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.

2 Responses to “Segarini: Frazier’s Farewell, and Two Little Treats”

  1. And Essr’s relation to Frazier is…?

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