Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – A is for Aircheck

CamDuring the last few months I have been listening to a lot more radio than normal. Working at home, and with no TV, I hate the silence so the radio goes on. I need noise in the background to work. Tired of CFNY, Q-107 and news radio I started listening to sports radio in the morning and soon found myself listening to Macko and Cauz on TSN 1050 (which still doesn’t look right after growing up on 1050 Chum). Macko is Bob Mackowycz Jr. (son of Q-107 legend Bob Mackowycz) and Matthew Cauz. My first dealings with Bob were when he was in the band Glueleg and they were looking for a record deal.

They were a great little band with a lot of potential but I just wasn’t ready to do a deal with them. The first time the pair worked together Bob Mackowycz Jrwas with Michael Landsberg on “Off the Record”. Matt was the booker of the show (when they used to have a lot of musicians as guests) and Bob Mackowycz Jr did the research. Bob bounced up and down the dial a little bit and finally landed as the morning host of CBC Radio 2. I was a little surprised when he left the corp to move over to TSN. I stumbled across their show on morning and became a regular listener. It is intelligent sports talk that covers all the local bases (Leafs, Jays, Raptors, TFC) as well as the obvious tennis and golf stories. They are both very interactive on twitter and text and engage their audience. Matt did a great job a while back when he had about two minutes to prepare for a surprise call from Hulk Hogan.

88.1-indie-radioLately I have flipped the dial over to FM and Indie 88.1 as they are set to officially launch the station on September 3rd. They have been on the air testing since August 1st and I have been impressed by their selection of music. Of course this could drastically change next week when news, announcers and commercials are introduced to the mix. I don’t know too much about morning jock Brian Bailey who is coming to the station from Kool 107 in Victoria (which is a Top 40 station). Also in the morning will be former Q-107 producer Candice Knihnitski (who did a great job with her Raina DourisDISCovery series as well as pinch hitting over at CFNY). Middays will be handled by Music Director Raina Douris who moves over from CBC and her blog Rain’s World. Those are the only names I know so far but there seems to be a lot of chatter about Dave Bookman returning to the airwaves. I also wonder if Q-107’s recently departed Dominik Diamond might be in the running for a slot. I quite enjoyed his Scottish sense of humour on Q-107 and with having also worked with Q-104 in Halifax he certainly know his Canadian music. Time will tell.

Fitz and the TantrumsAfter a month of listening to Indie 88.1 here are some things I like and don’t like. I like the fact that they play the likes of Alabama Shakes, The Heavy and Fitz and the Tantrums but they have to be careful not to play their songs too many times as most of the cuts they are playing are a few years old from these artists. Johnny Cash “Hurt” was a treat the first time I heard it but after a dozen or so spins it loses its magic, same goes for “Brick” by Ben Folds. I could really do without the dated reggae and there is far too much Sublime in the mix for my liking. I love how deep they are going into the catalogs of Sloan, The Weakerthans and Joel The DarcysPlaskett but they could lighten up on the City & Colour and Matthew Good. They are showing lots of love for newer bands such as The Fast Romantics, The Darcys and Dinosaur Bones (keeping with their promise of performance of 40% Canadian of which 60% must be emerging – i.e.  no prior hits). I am hearing lots of old diverse Bowie and The Clash which is nice, but, once again they need to be careful not to burn out certain songs. Their special “Throne Of Glory” has been pretty Don Bernsinteresting so far as celebrity guests play DJ for an hour. It was nice to hear CFNY Hall of Famers Don Berns and Dave Bookman in the seat over the course of the last week. Overall I am very impressed so far and look forward to listening more as they ramp things up in the next few weeks.

Toronto (and Vancouver) radio are about to change a bit as Newcap moves into both markets. Although not well known in Ontario the Rob Steele run organization has very deep pockets and very good ears. In Toronto they have bought Boom and Flow and in Vancouver they scored The Shore, Virgin and AM 650. It is refreshing to have a new player in town and one that focuses on radio (and not radio and television). I have had the pleasure of spending time with Rob in the past and really look forward to what he and his team will bring to Toronto and Vancouver.

Seeing as we are talking all things radio here are some “radio” songs for your listening pleasure.

“This Is Radio Clash” – The Clash

One of my fave Clash songs. Still have the 12” with the dub mix which was a constant back in the days that I was spinning (and I don’t mean the exercise bike).

“Radio Radio” – Elvis Costello

The song that he was not allowed to perform on “Saturday Night Live” but did anyway.

“Radio Kaliningrad” – Handsome Furs

The very short-lived but brilliant Montreal band featuring Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner and his wife Alexei Perry.

“Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll Radio” – The Ramones

The best thing that became of The Ramones and Phil Spector working together.

“On My Radio” – The Selector

Oh the joys of the 2 Tone scene.

“Radio Luv Song” – 54.40

One of the boy’s best.

“Mexican Radio” – Wall Of Voodoo

Still makes me smile every time I hear it.

“Radio Ethiopia” – Patti Smith

Patti gets weird for even Patti.

“God Is In The Radio” – Queens Of The Stone Age

Some heaviness from Josh Homme.

“Radio Silence” – Blue Peter

A classic Canadian new wave number.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar. The bar and BBQ opens daily at 4 PM and the BBQ rocks until 10 PM. Cocktails available after 10. It is the coolest rooftop in downtown Toronto and if you miss the BBQ head next store to Rock Lobster who are keeping late night old school Shanghai Cowgirl hours. I miss the chicken fried steak but a fresh lobster can be a tasty treat at 2 AM. Better hurry as I see September on the horizon.


Follow Cam @CC59 on Twitter.

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, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.


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