Cameron Carpenter: The ABCMW’s Of Rock’n’Roll

Shanghai Aug 2012

This column is dedicated with love to my friend Jay Smith – The Rock Ranger. RIP my friend.

How do you begin to describe a Canadian Music Week that started with a brisk walk through a blizzard for a Tuesday afternoon acoustic performance from The Box Tiger and ended early Sunday morning with The Dirty Nil channeling Fugazi? Thoughts of David Byrne singing “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” come to mind.

It was a good week. There was a little confusion at the Marriott Eaton Centre with my registration but being such a long-time CMW’er, and with the help of the wonderful Joanne Smale, Verle Mobbs and Bessie Bullard, things were soon sorted. Music supervisors Instinct Entertainment and social media mavericks Audio Blood were co-hosting acoustic performances in their Syracuseshared offices all week long and I knew my best chance to catch any of the performances would be to take care of it on Tuesday before the real “March Madness” started. Speaking of the other March Madness I am still alive with Syracuse and Duke in the final. Go Orange! On the walk from the hotel over to Instinct I had a nice catch-up chat with industry veteran and all-around good guy Mike Greggs at a hotdog cart at University and Queen with the aforementioned snow howling at its peak. The Box Tiger did a good four song set in the very informal setting and it was great to see the new Instinct office space. After the proceedings Instinct’s Michael Perlmutter Darryl-Fine-of-Bovine-Sex-Club-Watusi-Shanghai-Cowgirlmentioned he was heading over to The Dakota Tavern for a performance from Trent Severn. I headed over to The Shanghai for a quick pint and a hello to owner Darryl Fine and then, noticing it was 6:30, fired a text to Michael to see if he wanted a wingman for the night. Being the consummate professional Michael had a wingman in place but knew that having two was always a good plan. Trent Severn is the new Stratford (the new Halifax/Athens/Seattle/Liverpool?) group featuring the incredible Emm Gryner, Dayna Manning and Laura C. Bates. A couple of acoustic guitars, a violin, songs about Canada, a full page story in trent-severnthe March 25 issue of Maclean’s and gorgeous three-part harmonies  all add up to a stunning performance. It was then mentioned that Vancouver’s legendary The Grapes of Wrath were doing a private show at Toronto’s hottest new private hang-out The Soho House. Looked like another opportunity too good to miss, and, after a fish taco or two, off we went. A few quick texts and I was added to the magic guest list and finally inside the  impressive new club that I had heard so much about. The room was chock-full of industry friends (cue Horseshoe-Tavern-by-Alexandre-LungJaimie cringing) and I worked the room before the perfect powerpop from one of Canada’s best. After a closing pint at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern it was on the Red Rocket and heading east. So much for a quiet night. Thanks Michael! By some weird twist of schedule I managed to run into Northern Pike Bryan Potvin four times on Tuesday after not having seen him for close to a year.  Time for a solo record Bryan.

I arrived at the hotel early on Wednesday as I needed to make sure all of the details for my Shindig chats were in place. Shindig is a new large scale video chat where you can literally invite thousands of people from around the world to a customized virtual event room and artists can chat face-to-face Shindigwith their fans. It can also be used to show new videos, a reading from an author, PowerPoint presentations or even a live performance. You can check them out at and make sure to look at their upcoming events. We tested the system and were ready to roll at 4 PM and soon had fans chatting with Morgan Cameron Ross followed by Graydon James & The Young Novelists then Lakes of Canada (who did a quick acapella performance) and finally Angela Saini. Thanks to all four for trying Gloryhoundout Shindig. With the pressure of the first chat behind me it was off to dinner with my boys from Gloryhound and then in cabs and over to The Kool Haus for the Canadian Radio Music Awards where Gloryhound were nominated for best new rock band. We soon found the New Canadian Music ( VIP backstage area and settled in for a couple of hours. Gloryhound lost the award to their pals in Monster Truck but a good time was still had by all. Thanks to Eryne from Mavi Jeans Canada for the cool new threads.  It was then off to The El Mocambo to show some love for fellow east coasters The Stanfields.

LefsetzThursday morning I was back at the hotel for the Bob Lefsetz moderated “Crowdfunding” panel which was standing room only and quite interesting. I had no idea that local band Protest the Hero had raised over $300,000.00 for their new album.  I have full reviews of all the panels I mention here on the New Canadian Music website. It was then time for our daily Shindig chat and on Thursday fans interacted with Canadian superstars USS, Dublin’s Sweet Jane, Calgary’s Joel Kamps, Toronto and L.A. music supervisor Ron Proulx, Hamilton’s Live How You Live and, the star of the first “Bobcast” Tom Wilson. After a quick round of hallway hellos with the likes of producers Bob Ezrin, Gggarth Richardson, music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz and Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, I headed off to the lobby bar (which was incredibly well run) for a sit down with TVT Records founder Steve Gottlieb and Jon Chandler from Amos The Transparent. Gottlieb and I go back to me signing TVT Records for Canada and he is also the founder of Shindig. Next stop was to the Shanghai for my annual CMW chicken fried steak. While there I ran into Troy Arsenault from Halifax’s Alert the Medic Like a Motorcycle(and also the booker for The Seahorse in Hali) who took me next door to The Bovine to see an all-female three piece he is working with called Like A Motorcycle. Now at every conference there is at least one band you have never heard of who manage to blow your socks off and this year it was Like A Motorcycle. Lots of ink, attitude and low hung guitar rock’n’roll soon followed with memories of The Runaways racing through my heart. They will finish their Toronto shows this Saturday night at The Bovine at 10 PM on a bill with The Sinisters. Go get rock on if you are in town (sadly I will be in Paris – Ontario). This year The Shanghai Cowgirl decided to add acoustic music to their tasty menu and set up a small stage in the front window on the diner. We were thrilled to have our artist Morgan Cameron Ross kick off the proceedings and, although in a Ralph Jamesbit of a different environment than a regular club, he did a great job of charming the happy dinners. Business partner Todd Arkell and I then headed over to a celebration of the induction of super-agent Ralph James induction to the 2013 Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame. I have known Ralph since he was a member of Winnipeg’s Harlequin (admit it – you are humming “Innocence” right now) and he richly deserves this prestigious honour. Now the President of The Agency Group, you know that your band is in the best hands if Ralph signs you. I have seen this so many times in my career with acts such as The Watchmen, The Pursuit Of Happiness, The Headstones, Gloryhound and scores of others.

On Friday I attended the Derrick Ross moderated “Juke Box Jury” where radio promotion guys each played one perspective hit to a panel of radio programmers. Once again a more detailed description is available at New Canadian Music. Next up was our last Shindig chat and this one was a doozy. WTTMBYFcover2We led off with Richard Glasser who is the music supervisor for The Weinstein Company, followed by artist and author Martin Atkins (go to his website and check out his books “Tour Smart” and “Welcome To The Music Business – You’re Fucked”  we were then joined by the music supervisor from “Breaking Bad”, “The Walking Dead” and “Six Feet Under” Thomas Golubic who was followed by Gloryhound, Vancouver’s Static In The Stars and The Boom Booms and Sammy Younan would spoke about The Sample Bank and Music Ten Network. A great session all-around. It was then back to the Kool Haus for the SiriusXM Indie Music Awards. Great show and, once again, I filed a detailed story for New Canadian Music. A quick cab to a packed Horseshoe for a great set from Limblifter followed by a rocking set from Gloryhound.

Saturday begin back at the hotel where I attended the Global A&R panel. I think by this point you might have an idea where there is a story posted…. I andrew loog oldhamstepped outside to take a phone call and was thrilled to run into Andrew Loog Oldham who I was not shy about introducing myself to. I love both of his books “Stoned – A Memoir Of London In The 1960’s” and “2Stoned” and was happy to hear he is working on his third. His show on “Little Steven’s The Underground Garage” on SiriusXM is one of the best shows currently on radio and a must listen for any real music fan. We had a nice chat about the Stones film “Charlie Is My Darling” and hopefully you will be hearing more about this shortly. Off to the Horseshoe for the annual Aussie BBB which has quickly become a highlight of CMW. Millie Millgate and her team from Sounds Australia along with Graham Aston who runs the Bigsound Festival present a brilliant collection of Australian artists all afternoon and manage to feed starving locals bands tiki lounge postersome much needed food. These are good people to know and their hospitality knows no end when Canadian bands tour their country. Hats off. Speaking of great music and food there is none better than the annual “Delta Hotels & Resorts Present The Tiki Lounge” at The Rivoli. Along with the very fine folks at Music Nova Scotia there is an invite only acoustic segment of the show which featured Jennah Barry, Willie Stratton, Gabrielle Papillon, Dylan Guthro, Carleton Stone, Paper Beat Scissors and Old Man Luedecke accompanied by the best of east coast food (scallops, oysters, lobster rolls) prepared by the fine folks from Stuart Joliffe’s team at Delta Hotels & Resorts. It was nice to see last year alumni Ben Caplan drop by to introduce a band and soak up the Maritimes hospitality. At 9 PM the doors opened to the public and the packed room was treated to music from The Modern Grass, Heather Green, Billie Dre & The Poor Boys, The Danger Bees, The Town Heroes, Gloryhound and last minute surprise guests Like A Motorcycle. Another magic night from Music Nova Scotia. At this point I should have been done but the lure of Hamilton’s The Dirty Nil was too much to resist and it was time well spent as they were melting the walls of the Shoe.  A perfect punk rock finish to a great musical (and social) week.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

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DBAWIS ButtonCameron 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, New Canadian Music and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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