Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s – Donabie, Cohen, the HOF, and NXNE Films

Before we talk about the Hall of Fame in Cleveland there are a couple of local Hall Of Famers that need to be addressed.

Hearty congratulations to local radio legend John Donabie on his forthcoming induction to the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall Of Fame. John will be honoured on Thursday March 21, 2013, at the annual Canadian Music Week festivities.

The Music Industry Awards dinner will be held next year at the Koolhaus as CMW is moving away from The Royal York Hotel and will be taking place at the Eaton’s Marriot Centre next year. With the new location there will be no promises of quick drinks at the appropriate lobby bar as it is going to take at least one CMW session to get to know the go-to bartender. I am going to miss Michael and his team at the Library Bar at the Royal York as much as I miss Charles and his team from the old lobby bar at the Harbour Castle Westin. It takes a while to earn the trust and respect of the local staff but I am looking forward to the challenge come March. I digress.

Anyone who has ever dealt with John Donabie knows what a consummate professional he is. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the time he went out of his way to introduce me to Steve Cropper and will tell that story for years. He is a class act and well deserving of this prestigious award.

Another local legend was honoured last Saturday night as Jeff (JC) Cohen, owner of the Horseshoe Tavern and team leader of Collective Concerts, was surprised by his lovely wife Tara King Cohen and 300 friends at a private surprise 50th birthday party at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern.  Anyone who knows Jeff is well aware for his passion for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and the music of the Boss was the theme for the musical portion of the evening. Peter Elkas and his crack band, re-named the Queen Street Band and featuring guest Jake Clemens (nephew of Clarence and touring Springsteen sax player), were the musical anchors for the tribute as guest after musical guest came on stage and sang a Springsteen song or two.  Jim Cuddy,  Jon Langford, Joel Plaskett, Kevin Drew, Andy Maize, Jeff MacNeil and a host of others took the stage to pay homage to both bosses. One of the highlights for me was meeting, and then watching, the amazing Willie Nile. I have been a fan since the early eighties and  his album “Golden Down” and was thrilled to spend some time with him and then watch him control a stage. Willie is still at it and last studio album “The Innocent Ones” is well worth picking up. Mr. Nile has also taken my boys Gloryhound under his wings and has been writing some great songs with them. He will be back in Toronto at the El Mocambo on November 10th with his old pals Southside Johnny performing at the Light Of Day charity event.

Another magic moment was Toronto’s friendliest bartender, and long-time Horseshoe employee Teddy Fury,  rocking a version of “Fire”. You can take a look here:

Thanks Tara and Happy 50th Jeff. Looking forward to many more late nights at The Horseshoe.

We have talked about who might get in, who should get in and now it is time to discuss who should not be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

There are a lot of artists who have been inducted who I know very little of and really don’t feel at liberty to comment upon. I know one or two songs by the likes of Ruth Brown, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Little Anthony and I realise that rock was built on the foundations of rhythm & blues and the blues so I won’t quibble with the pioneers. There are some bands I do have issues with their inclusion.  I have always been a fan of The Pretenders but are they really Hall Of Fame worthy? “Brass In Pocket” was wicked cool when it came out and there was something charming about the Chrissie Hynde waitress video. The original band with Chrissie, James Honeyman-Scott, Martin Chambers and Pete Farndon were rock solid and a nice bridge between the attitude of punk and the sounds of the late sixties. They made some good records, put on a decent show but in no way are they worthy of induction while so many more important groups are still waiting.

Is one album enough material to warrant inclusion? I’m not talking one great album in a career I’m talking a one album career. I loved The Sex Pistols and “Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols” is a top to bottom brilliant and revolutionary album, however, I don’t think it is enough material to get you in the Hall. I am glad that they denied their invitation and basically told them to stick it. There would have been something totally wrong seeing them at the annual dinner. This sort of leads me to whether or not Paul Henderson should be in the Hockey Hall Of Fame. His career stats say no but having scored one of the most important goals in hockey history lead many to believe he should be included. Using the same logic as the Sex Pistols I would have to say no.

I also love me some Iggy & The Stooges but I really don’t believe they belong in as a band. Influential, hell yes, Iggy on his own, hell yes, but The Stooges getting in before the New York Dolls are even nominated doesn’t really seem fair to me. I think ultimately The Stooges should be in but there are others who should be in before them. I guess that is ultimately what pisses me off most about the inductions is the order bands are getting in. There is something very tidy about the induction procedures to the baseball hall of fame and it seems to be sadly lacking in the RRHOF.

Having The Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the hall is also a bit of a sore spot. I was a fan in the very early days but then they seemed to digress when success struck. The song writing became weaker and their stage show has been stagnant for years and years. The Replacements had a bigger impact on my life.

OK, enough of this. Let’s see what happens come December.

Looking forward to seeing and catching up with Jay Sparrow when he hits Toronto on November 3rd for a show at the Dakota Tavern with the Greg Cockerill Band. Jay’s new record “White” (which I previewed the first video for a couple of weeks ago) will be released on November 1st.  You can check out for information.

The process of picking the films for the 2013 NXNE Festival has begun. If you are a film maker you can check out the submission process at or . It is always an interesting process and very much an education on all genres of music. It is far too early to tell, and there will be over 100 more films to preview, but “AKA Doc Pomus” is a fabulous documentary on one of the greatest songwriters of all time. It makes the process so much easier when one or two of these gems shows up. Two of the films we premiered at the festival last year, “Nick Slaughter For President” and “My Father And The Man In Black” are both currently winning awards around the world on the festival circuit. Glad we were right in picking them. Also pleased to report that “Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements”, which we premiered at the 2011 festival, is being released on DVD November 20th with six hours of bonus material. Can’t  wait to see this epic version.

Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

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Click on the banners of all of our great sponsors including The Shanghai Cowgirl, Toronto’s hippest rock’n’roll diner at 539 Queen Street West.

Also, go next door and upstairs and check out the new “Tiki” patio on the rooftop of the Bovine. If you ever spent time on the old roof of the BamBoo Club in Toronto this will take you back 20 years.

Cameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

One Response to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s – Donabie, Cohen, the HOF, and NXNE Films”

  1. […] was one of the first films submitted and I wrote about it last fall on these very pages (…). A great story of a great songwriter and a damn near perfect picture for Father’s […]

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