Segarini: The Buses have been delayed – Here’s a Re-Run

Apparently, I have a glitch somewhere in my WordPress tech that is making it impossible to post pictures, and now, even enter a new story. Their tech people assure me that the problem will be solved, and are trying to help me find out if the trouble is at my end or not. So, my apologies, and a column that was already in the hopper from the old days. No pictures, except for the ones already in my gallery, but I am assured the problems I’m having will be worked out by tomorrow morning. Thanks. This originally appeared on October 2nd 2009

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Four for dinner and a remote, please…

Two pleasant surprises yesterday afternoon. First of all, the phone rings and it’s Greg Simpson, who lives in London, works in Mississauga, and rarely comes downtown in Toronto, except to eat at Donnie Blaise’s Rancho Relaxo.

“Are you home?”, he says.

“I answered my phone, didn’t I?”, I answer, trying to write this column.

“I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”

Click.

How rude.

Well, not rude, really…just Greg, a friend since 1978, and a man that has survived a divorce, helping raise three astonishingly intelligent daughters, a heart attack, a stroke, and being run over by a soccer mom in a Toyota when he was walking across the street to buy a pack of smokes. Like Keith Richard, nothing can hurt this guy.

True to his word, the Man of Steel shows up on my doorstep 15 minutes later and tumbles into the Pie al abode, and parks his carcass on the couch.

“To what do I owe the honour?”, a ask him, and as always, Greg explains why he is here without taking a breath or pausing for a pee break. I quit trying to write.

“I’m meeting Nancy Greggs, having dinner, going to Julian Tuck’s house, resting until 3 am, then Julian and I are driving to Buffalo, catching a plane to San Francisco to attend a music festival, do some sightseeing, eat at Fisherman’s Wharf, rent a car, drive to Monterey and Carmel, drive back to the airport, fly back to Buffalo, drive back to Toronto, and resume our fulfilling and hectic lives…mind if I take a nap?”

Now, I shouldn’t even be telling you this, at least not here, because for all I know, they may have told the people they work for that their grandmothers had died and they have to go to a funeral in Canarsie and will be gone for a few days. Haha…that’s funny, when I spell-checked, ‘Canarsie’, it told me to change it to ‘Canaries’. A funeral in Canaries. LOL…sounds like the title of a CD by a band of shoe-gazers.

Anyway, Nance, who has been a friend as long as Greg has and is a fine writer, and Julian, a mainstay at True North Records for years and now at CBC Radio 3 as a music director, are great people and, like me, big fans of Mr. Simpson, an extreme muso, award winning music director, entrepreneur, and linchpin in the great, annual, Canadian Music Week conference that takes up most of his time year ‘round. Seeing as how Pie and I live in Little Italy and, like the Texans at the Alamo, are surrounded, not by Santa Ana, but by dozens of fine restaurants, I ask him to call Nance and have her meet him here.

He does.

She does.

I now have two of my favourite people to visit with, which I do, while we wait for Pie to get home from work, which she does.

Now the 4 of us leave to walk up College Street to find somewhere to eat.

Pie and I have eaten at a lot of the fine restaurants around here, but we settle on one none of us have ever been to. It was, like all of them have been so far, absolutely wonderful. I won’t go into details, but you can have a look at the menus and the place here: http://home.vivoli.ca/index.php

My only complaint was about the big flat screens in both dining rooms. First of all, the place was packed. After we ate I could see why…the food is bellissimo. My dad would have loved it. However, when we walked in, I noticed there was a football game no one was watching on the flatscreen in the front dining room, when we were seated in the back dining room, I noticed the TV there was, for some inexplicable reason, tuned to the Discovery channel. I didn’t give it much thought, but while I was enjoying a strong Italian coffee after dinner, I looked up and realized the show that was on was one of those forensics series, and a woman in a lab coat was dissecting a small, furry animal of some kind and holding up little kidneys and spleens. I think they would be wise to maybe run Dean Martin Movies, Sinatra DVD’s, or Topo Gigio Ed Sullivan appearances. Even the Sopranos or The Godfather would have made more sense, because the food was incredibly, deliciously, Italian. The forensics and sports looked as out of place here as a Donna Karan dress on Lady Ga Ga

We are eating early, (a little after 6:00 pm), because Greg has to meet Julian, Pie needs to relax after a hard day of work, Nance needs to go clear across the city to go home, and I have obligations at two different venues starting at 8:00, plus this column to write, which is what I was starting to do when Greg called.

…and why it is being posted soooo late.

We wrap it up around 8:30 and everybody heads to their previous engagements.

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Boy night out…

First stop is the Dakota, a bar done right with dim lights, good sight lines, and a fine P.A. It also sports a long bar with whiskey barrel bar stools and a good selection of on-tap beer and some mighty fine sandwiches. The last time I made it down to this basement roots cellar, was for Tom Wilson’s Lee Harvey Osmond, a band I recommend highly as one you must make an effort to see. As always, the Dakota features honest, real, musicians playing honest, real music. Something that desperately needs to be seen and heard by more people, because it is really the barometer of how healthy music is right now, and almost the total antithesis of what the charts and radio stations claim is the music that we should all be listening to. This is not a stage where clowns entertain with pyrotechnics, revolving drum risers, and costume changes, this is where people go to drink and hear good music.

I am a people, and I need to hear some tunes. I take a seat at the end of the bar and before I can turn my attention to the band onstage, I hear someone say, “Bob”, behind me on the last stool at the bar. Now there could have been 18 ‘Bob’s’ in the place, but I had to know if it was me. It was.

The person trying to get my attention turns out to be Ron Sexsmith, a man I once introduced on SIRIUS Satellite radio as ‘Ron Smith’.

I am occasionally retarded, but you know that already.

When you see Ron at a venue to hear an artist, you know you are in the right place. His taste, like his music, is as good as it gets.

He is just back from New York where he taped a segment of  Spectacle: Elvis Costello with… a great TV series, with oodles of good conversation and fine music. The episode, which will also feature Neko Case, Sheryl Crow and Jesse Winchester, was taped at the legendary Apollo Theater.

Ron is here to see the same guy I am, Myk Gordon.

Myk, (pronounced ‘Mike’), is out of Vancouver and is sort of a rootsified Springsteen, but that doesn’t really do him justice. There are three tracks from his new album, Set Free, in today’s A&R Online, so you can label him however you choose. There are some great players on the CD, but live…OMG, check out this lineup: Burke Carroll, Bazil Donovan of Blue Rodeo fame, Kurt Swinghammer, drummer Michelle Josef, and special guest Gene Hardy.

Yowser.

They rock the house, Ron, his friend, and I have a nice conversation, and the Keith’s is ice cold.

After a great meal at Vivoli and a solid set from a singer/songwriter who deserves a much larger audience at the Dakota, this is turning out to be a great night. Thanks to Joel Etkin for turning me on to Myk’s music. http://www.mykgordon.com/home.html

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Shew makes it Boys Night Out…

It is a rare weekday night that I can drag Peter Kashur way from his art studio and whatever painting he is working on, but there was good reason for him to hop on the Queen car and meet me at the Drake Hotel. An old friend neither of us had seen in over 10 years, Rodney Bowes was visiting here from Los Angeles.

Rodney is a photographer of the first water, the winner of a Juno Award or two, and the man that art directed and shot all of The Segarini Band  album covers. Not only that, but he directed and shot the music video for the song this column is named after, Don’t Believe a Word I Say, the master of which he left in a cab one night, and we still can’t find a copy of.

I arrive at the Drake before Shew, and locate Rodney’s party on the magnificent, (and well heated), rooftop patio. The place is jammed. Over in the corner I spy Rodney talking to Triumph member Mike Levine, and there are hugs all around when Shew wanders in, gig bag in hand and a guitar bag slung over his shoulder. It is a fine reunion.

There are people here to see Rodney I haven’t seen in years. The lovely Tracy, Rodney’s better two thirds, his ex, Rhonda, made famous in a track off of Goodbye L.A called ‘Odd Couples’, and for many years the right-hand woman of Manager and label owner Ray Daniels, the cute-as-a-button Joan Chell, and a host of Rodney’s other beautiful female friends, and TSN director, Wes Szudy.

Rodney should be the poster boy for Axe women attracting deodorant and body spray. He has always been surrounded by beautiful women, so much so, that sometimes I think he is made out of chocolate and shoe sales.

We speak of the old times. Shooting the cover of Gotta Have Pop in 37f degree weather, his assistant covering me with water and lake vegetation because I didn’t look ‘washed up on the beach’ enough, being made to pick up hundreds of 45’s we scattered on the beach and in the water by an angry police officer who found us on Cherry Beach at 7:30 in the morning making a mess, discovering a two four of beer buried in the sand and taking it back to Rodney’s at 8:00 in the morning and drinking the whole thing, shooting the video for Don’t Believe a Word I Say in the original Hard Rock Café after hours, during the Christmas holiday. Staging a robbery in a record store on Yonge Street for a photo shoot that resulted in another lecture from the police, and tons of other adventures I dare not mention in this column.

Coupled with hearing Ali Milner at the Whistler Film Festival reception here during the Toronto International Film Festival and the great party that night, the Drake has become one of my favourite night spots, even though the patrons skew to the young and hip, and a Woodford Reserve can cost as much as a pack of cigarettes. It was also fun to watch 20-something boys in backward baseball caps and baggy hip-hop pants try to pick members of Rodney’s fan club. “How You doin’?’

By the time I got home I was too tired to write the column, and curled up with the already sleeping Pie, and had a good night’s sleep…which is why it’s 4:00 Friday afternoon, and I’m still working on this thing.

It was a lot easier when I could simply get a note from my Mom explaining that the dog had eaten my homework. http://www.rodneybowes.com/graphic_design_about.html

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Segarini’s regular 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 publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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