Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll _ Finishing Off The Bobo

And now the conclusion of my Bob Segarini cover story from the November 1979 issue of “Music Express”. Punctuation and grammar appear as they did in print. Many of you read Justin Smallbridge’s first DBAWIS column last week but the three of us go back a long way.

Part Five – An Introduction To The Bobo (Or Reading The College Papers)

You have to respect a man whose favourite review of Gotta Have Pop said “it sucked like a Hoover”. The review, written by Justin Smallbridge, appeared last spring in the University Of Toronto’s Varsity. Since that time the paper has gone on to call Bob “a dream dipso” and “The Bobo” and gone on to make Bob mascot of the paper. The paper that loves to hate Bob recently came to the conclusion “that if there is a God in Heaven, he is wearing a Segarini button.” Bob loves it. In an upcoming issue both he and Justin will write side by side reviews of Goodbye L.A.

Back At The Bobo’s Ranch (Or Deadline Getting Close)

Bob and I were going to talk for this article last week. When I got to his place my tape recorder decided to self-destruct all over his living room floor. So we shot the unrecorded breeze, pulled up a bucket of the Colonel’s best, and watched TV.  We set another date for the next week.

On that day I was to meet Bob at CBS records. Segarini has just signed with CBS and they now distribute his Bomb LP’s. That’s Bomb his label, not Bomb ala product. Anyway we met at CBS and Bob had some business to do. That was OK cause I got friends there and I had to get A Dream Police sherrif’s badge.(Cam note – I guess the copy editor was away that week. What a nightmare couple of sentences). Well I got one and Bob finished his biz but he had this hot tape under his arm, so we had to watch his TV video.

Now in Toronto we have a radio station called Chum-FM and a television station called City-TV. What they do is record bands for TV in Fm stereo and show them on Saturday nights. It’s a really cool idea and local bands like Rough Trade, Billy Reed and The Street People, as well as major acts like Ian Hunter, and Streetheart, get an hour of prime time Saturday. Well Bob just did one which airs on October 27, which will be past by the time you read this.

After a busy day of appointments and meetings we went to Bob’s house to do the supposed interview. It was now 11PM. By 12 we were sick of TV and decided to get down to some serious writing. We lit cigarettes and look at each other and tried to think of good stories. We couldn’t. We put the TV back on. Bob’s neat wife Cheryl came out to help (Cam note – Neat wife? Sorry Cheryl, you deserved a much better adjective than that). Great stories but possible law suits. At two thirty the door knocks and David Farrell and Martin Meluish walk in. It’s old home week. The wine gets opened. The TV show goes on, then the album, the typewriter remains silent.

Suddenly Marty remembers a story. Bob and I are on the elevator of the Hyatt Regency in ’76. The man in front of us is wearing a Tour of the Westies satin jacket. Bob recognizes him as Bernie Taupin. Bob introduces himself and Bernie’s face lights up. Miss Butters, Bob’s first LP with The Family Tree, is one of his most treasured records. In fact, Elton John, Bernie’s old partner, put it in the top quarter of his all favourite 100 records.

Just a side note. Bob’s mom tell us that Miss Butters, one of her old teachers recently died. Now Miss Butters was a concept LP about school and when Bob wrote it he had no idea there was a real Miss Butters let alone she taught his mom. And Bernie Taupin is now working with Alice Cooper whilst Tom Robinson helps out Elton John. Just thought you`d be interested.

Soon it`s five AM and all I have is a bunch of one-liners. “Jim Morrison-the closed Door.” “I hate Gino Vanelli with all his chest hair. He looks like what Italians are supposed to, I look like Italians really are.” “In Montreal you have two choices; French or hockey.” Good, but not what makes a good story.

It’s hard to write a story about your best friend, luckily I don’t have to. I’d like to end this story by saying thanks to Bob Segarini for making such good records, for fighting for the industry for letting five local comedians open many of his shows, for being so entertaining live, for taking me to my first strip joint, for getting me work, for being a friend.

Cam Carpenter – November 1979 – Music Express


For my very first DBAWIS column I started with the letter A and wrote about Aerosmith and how much their first four albums meant to me. I first saw the band in 1975 and when I was offered tickets to their show this week at the ACC I initially turned them down. I am not a fan of most of their music post “Rocks” and the last time I had seen the band, sometime in the late 90’s, I wasn’t too impressed. It then dawned on me that perhaps Cheap Trick were still on “The  Global Warming Tour” and I might have been a bit hasty in turning down a couple of primo promo seats ($152.00 each – face value).  When it was confirmed that the greatest band ever from Rockford, Illinois were still on the tour (which played the same venue in June of this year) I managed to still be able to grab the tickets.

In speaking with my very grown up daughter, she of the Alicia Silverstone-era of the band, it was determined that she had never seen Steve Tyler in person so we made a Daddy-Daughter date and headed down to the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. One rule was in place – we would be in the seats by 7:30 for Cheap Trick.

From the opening riffs of “Clock Strikes Ten” the band captivated, as always, for the next hour. The antics of Rick Nielsen have changed very little since the first time I saw the band in the late seventies at The Century Theater in Buffalo. With his 64th birthday around the corner Rick can still shred with the best of them, takes as much air as Townshend and can flick a pick a good thirty rows. Robin Zander still has some of the best pipes in the business, Tom Petersson, the man who brought the 12 string bass into the lexicon of rock, can still hold down the bottom end and Daxx Nielsen (son of Rick), without the comic flare of original drummer Bun E. Carlos, is no slouch behind the kit. It was a great set and, in doing a little research quite different from their set back in June (although the obvious hits were played at both). It was great to hear less-classic songs such as “Big Eyes” and “Gonna Raise Hell”. The show hit Toronto on the same day as Jimi Hendrix’s birthday and both bands acknowledged the occasion. In his honour the Tricksters did a stunning version of The Beatle’s “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End”. Great set and regardless of what the rest of the night would hold I was a happy camper.

As soon as Steve Tyler and Joe Perry emerged from the depths of the end of a very long gangplank some thirty yards from the front of the main stage and ripped in to “Mama Kin” from their debut album I was taken back quite a few decades. As the President of Sony Canada leaned over and said “You can’t fake being a real rock star” I knew he was right. As hokey as he can be on TV Tyler knows how to work a stage and an audience. There was more than enough for oldsters like me with “Movin’ On”, “Walkin’ The Dog”, “No More No More” and “Last Child” to balance the material from the last twenty years. The Boston boys also paid homage to The Beatles with their rendition of “Come Together” and Perry paid respects to Hendrix by covering “Red House”.  The drum solos by both bands are something from my generation and left my daughter a little cold. I would give Daxx the belt in the drum battle. Even the couple of songs the band played from their new album “Music From Another Dimension” were decent enough and well received by the crowd. I’ve had a couple of listens to the album and it is not too bad. If it was on vinyl I would spend a lot more time on the A-side as they seem to run out of steam on the last few tunes. Overall a good night of rock and a good night to be a Dad. (Picture of Steve Tyler by Amy Mech)

I was tipped off on a great BBC documentary by legendary record executives Nigel Grainge and Mike Bone. If you ever owned a 45 record you need to take an hour out of your life and have a look. I love the cast of characters they managed to speak to as well as the music they managed to clear. Here’s “The Joy Of The Single”: 

Also, this one is for Frank as he is probably still cringing from my Aerosmith review. Here’s the third video (film) from the new Jay Sparrow album “White”.

Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

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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.

2 Responses to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll _ Finishing Off The Bobo”

  1. Cringe over. Jay Sparrow kicks Aerosmith butt.

  2. On Sunday nights Erin Jaimes hosts a blues jam where anyone
    from Alan Haynes to Gary Clark, Jr. Anna had been looking through my phone while I was naked.

    The decline of the East side blues scene was disheartening, but,
    it also gave rise to the need for a fresh start, which came in the form of the next blues-only venue, Antone’s, founded by the late Clifford Antone, during the summer of 1975.

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