JAIMIE VERNON – 29 WITH A BULLET

Vernon_WeddingBassA major anniversary passed surreptitiously on April 20th. It was the 29th anniversary of my long-suffering record label Bullseye Records. Normally I’d have shouted from the rooftops and run some kind of anniversary commemoration on Facebook or with musicians I know or privately, silently weeping, into my morning orange juice. But, I actually forgot about it.

So far removed am I from the music world now, and my own legacy, and exhausted from the grind that is my paycheck shackles that it slipped under my radar.

It wasn’t until Klaatu posted the first ever video footage from their May 2005 Klaatu*Kon reunion show in Toronto this week  that I realized that was during the label’s 20th anniversary.

We celebrated in grand style too. I made it a habit of having some spectacular bashes several times a year – cleverly hitched to the back of public events so as to maximize our exposure Vernons_Terry_Johnwith very little required in the way of marketing or money. We’d do a summer bash at the Docks (now Sound Academy); a birthday bash for yours truly in a major US city for the International Pop Overthrow Festival like L.A., Chicago or New York…and eventually Toronto and Liverpool; and a Christmas party at either The Hard Rock Café on Yonge Street or Healey’s Roadhouse. The 2001 party there featured a near Klaatu reunion plus musical entertainment from Walter Zwol of Brutus and Jeff Healey himself.

CMW_AdvertCanada Music Week – which just wrapped up another successful year in a new time slot – was always our springboard into Bullseye’s year of events. The first cross-over promo was in 2000 for our 15th anniversary where we took up residence at the El Mocambo for a night. And because 2005 was a big anniversary we wanted to make sure we were noticed during CMW. To that end we assembled a 20th Anniversary CD sampler featuring the newest tracks from our newest releases for the Fall 2004/Spring 2005 retail season and had 2,000 copies stuffed into delegate bags at the music conference.

For the uninitiated, Bullseye was ripe with extraordinary talent in its roster. This wasn’t hyperbole, this was our weapon of mass distinction. Dave MacMillan, formerly of EMI Music, used to tease me every time we bumped into each other at CMW-like events by saying, “Are you still selling CDs by acts that no one gives a shit about?” We’d laugh and laugh and then I’d go back to the office and roll around in my bags of sales money. With the three pronged attack from myself, and my two V.P.’s – Stacey Washington and Lisa Millar – we locked up a very impressive niche market of Canadian Classic and Nu Rock. To whit:

Anger Brothers “The Anger Brothers”
(2002)
Former Carpet Frogs/Fludd/Goddo singer/songwriter guitarist Greg Godovitz re-invents his love of British Invasion music with an all-star band consisting of Bob Segarini (Family Tree, Wackers, Dudes, Cats & Dogs), Steve Jensen (Surrender, Zappacosta, Carpet Frogs) and Doug Inglis (Goddo). Tonnes of hook-laden power pop.

John Boswell “Stranger In The Mirror” (2002)
Prince Edward Island singer/songwriter John Boswell has been giving away material to other artists for many years (including fellow Bullseye artists Jeff Jones and Maureen Leeson) and has saved the best for his debut solo release. The album spawned three singles including the Canadian Top 30 radio/video hit “Forgive Me”.

Brave Belt “Brave Belt I & II”(2001 re-issue – 2CDs)

Brave Belt is best known as Randy Bachman’s transition band between his well known stints in the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  Brave Belt sees Randy Bachman re-teaming with former Guess Who bandmate Chad Allen (best known for “Shakin’ All Over” ). This anthology covers both studio albums including the heavier second LP featuring Fred Turner prior to the band becoming Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

M~ prv030599scan11Bruno Gerussi’s Medallion “In Search Of The Fourth Chord” (2004 re-issue)
As Pet Shop Boys founder Neil Tennant before him, journalist Tom Harrison decided to put his job as professional music critic to the test by participating in, rather than commenting on, the music of the day. Originally released on Warner Music in 1989, “In Search Of The Fourth Chord” allowed Harrison to put his money where his mouth was.

Brutus “For The People” (2001 re-issue)
Following a stint in the late ‘60s with Quality Records, Brutus – featuring dynamic frontman Walter Zwol – re-emerged on the GRT label in 1975 with a successful run of one-off singles and then a full-blown self-titled album in 1976. All the GRT tracks are presented here including the #17 Canadian hit “Ooh Mama Mama”.

Carpet FrogsCarpet Frogs “Frog Curry” (1995)Fronted by former Just Alice singer Nick Sinopoli and powered by the musical muscle of Greg Godovitz (Fludd/Goddo), The Carpet Frogs made a splash in Canada and the United States in the mid-90s as the ambassadors of British Invasion pop. The album contains a blend of popular cover tunes and originals.

Cats & Dogs “Cats & Dogs” (1996), “This Life” (2004)
Former Wackers/Dudes vocalist Bob Segarini is ringmaster for this ensemble cast of singers/songwriters and performers including David Henman (April Wine), Peter Kashur & Drew Winters (Segarini Band) and Suze Bermester (Brave & Crazy). The result is the Mamas & Papas meets James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt.

Cheaper Than Therapy “Terminal Adolescence” (2003)
Former Swindled and Moving Targetz frontman Ivan Judd re-invents himself under the name Cheaper Than Therapy. Not really a band recording, this production brings together many aspects of Ivan’s personal musical background including punk, metal, alternative rock and even some pop.

The Dave Rave Group “Valentino’s Pirates” (2002 re-issue), “Everyday Magic” (2003), “Anthology 1 & 2” (2005 TBA)

Dave Rave has been described as Canada’s answer to Nick Lowe and was the first Western recording artist ever released on Russia’s famed Melodiya label. But his depth as a singer/songwriter and guitarist goes far beyond British pub rock. The former Teenage Head frontman and Shakers co-founder exercises a vast array of pop-oriented material on these CDs treading the line between power-pop and pop-tinged electric folk.

The DishesThe Dishes “Kitschenette: The Best Of The Dishes” (2002 re-issue))
Hailed as Toronto’s first ever self-sustaining art punk group, The Dishes also pressed the first independent single (“Hot Property”) and achieved notoriety not as just another musical fashion statement but as serious contributors to the art and punk scenes simultaneously. This anthology contains all their known recordings from 1976 to 1979.

 

Creighton Doane “Learning More And More About Less And Less” (2004)
As the youngest in a family of famous East Coast Canadian musicians (his sister is Melanie Doane), Creighton has a long musical arm including stints with Dahmnait Doyle, Alannah Myles, Honeymoon Suite and his current band Harem Scarem (aka Rubber). Features the radio hit “True Love Story”.

Terry Draper “Light Years Later” (1997), “Can You Pretend” (1999), “Civil War…And Other Love Songs” (2001), “Aria 52: A Five Year Mission” (2003 re-issue)
Former Klaatu member Terry Draper is the co-writer of the international hit recording “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft”. In that tradition he has recorded two solo albums of similar material and a ‘best of’ package in the last 8 years. A very successful children’s CD side project (“Can You Pretend?”) has also been a fan favourite.

Figures At Dawn “In From The Cold: Best Of F.A.D.” (2001 re-issue)
This Toronto synth-pop quartet were radio darlings in ‘86 via the ultra-cool CFNY-FM. A slew of award nominations followed on the heels of touring and making videos for the fledgling MuchMusic video network. This anthology collects material from singles, their debut album and an incomplete second record.

The First Time “It’s On” (2004)
From the ashes of alt-rockers Soap Opera, comes a newly re-focused band with new hooks and new pop sensibilities. Blazing a trail of college radio success and currently invading commercial radio in the United States with their hit “New Day Dawning”. 2005 will also see the release of “Goodbye Harlowe” as a single.

Florida Razors  TomFlorida Razors “Beat Music: The Best Of The Florida Razors” (2001 re-issue)
Before his band Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, before his solo career, and even before his SONY Music rock act Junkhouse appeared on the scene, singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Wilson was traveling around Canada rocking small town juke joints and bringing dance floors to life with their Steeltown Rockabilly. Here is the best of their two album releases.

Glen Foster “That Canadian Guy” (2003), “Shot At The Empire” DVD(2004)
Bullseye welcomes its first venture into the stand-up comedy domain by partnering with, arguably, one of Canada’s best. Glen Foster is better known as “That Canadian Guy” (cause let’s face it, you’re never going to remember his real name). His CD and DVD are slice-of-Canadian-life laugh riots…and the first full length Canadian stand-up comedy DVD ever released.

Geoff Gibbons “Sentimental Maniac” (2005 – TBA)
Former Silverlode singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Geoff Gibbons moves away from the country vein on this, his third solo release. Thematically linked in context, ‘Sentimental Maniac’ explores the theme of love lost and hope eventually regained. Artwork by Juno Award winner John Rummon (Sarah McLachlan)

GoddoGoddo “Goddo” (2001 re-issue), “Who Cares” (2001 re-issue), “An Act of Goddo” (2001 re-issue), “King of Broken Hearts” (2002 re-issue), “2nd Best Seat in the House” (2002), “Kings of the Stoned Age” (2003)
Known as the ‘masters of cock-rock’, Goddo released five seminal studio albums from 1977 to 1991 with such radio hits as “Under My Hat”, “Sweet Thing” and “Pretty Bad Boy” all of which are still played on classic rock stations across Canada. Celebrating their 30th year in 2005, Goddo’s original lineup continues to tour and record, their most recent album Kings of the Stoned Age is a collection of new rockers.

Greg Godovitz “Up Close And Uncomfortable” DVD (2005)
For 40 years Greg Godovitz has entertained crowds in various incarnations with the likes of Fludd, Goddo, The Carpet Frogs and The Anger Brothers. With this 2-hour intimate acoustic set featuring road stories from his best selling 2001 book ‘Travels With My Amp’, Godovitz weaves his classic hit songs around a sometimes hilarious, but always poignant narrative.

The Guess Who This Time Long Ago” (2002 re-issue)
The Guess Who began in 1965 as Chad Allen & the Expressions whose first radio hit was “Shakin’ All Over”. Probably the best known of all Canadian bands, their international hits “American Woman” and “These Eyes” have made them a name brand. Bullseye, in a deal directly with Randy Bachman, has compiled all their pre-RCA Records rarities from 1967-68 into this double CD package.

Honeymoon Suite Lemon Tongue” (2003)
Canadian legendary 80’s rock stalwarts, Honeymoon Suite, had massive success around the world with songs such as “New Girl Now”, “Feel It Again” and the title track to the first ‘Lethal Weapon’ movie. They have toured with Saga, Heart, ZZ Top, and Journey to name a few. Honeymoon Suite continues to tour with dates in Canada, the US & Europe as well record, most recently for the Bullseye release Lemon Tongue.

Tom Hooper “Unexplored Cosmos(2002)

Following the breakup of both his bands The Grapes of Wrath and then Ginger, Tom Hooper got together with brother & fellow band member Chris Hooper record his first collection of songs as a solo artist. Recorded at Randy Bachman’s legendary studio, The Barn, this album highlights Tom’s tremendous songwriting talents and his great musical abilities as he played and arranged every instrument on this album.

Jeff Jones “Positive” (2001)
After cutting his teeth as band member with some of Canada’s greatest acts – Ocean, Red Rider, The Infidels, The Carpet Frogs – Jeff Jones teamed with fellow Red Rider band member Ken Greer to record his debut solo album. Contains the radio hits – “In Through The Out Door”, “Diamond Light” & “I’ll Be There”.

Killer Dwarfs “Stand Tall” (2004 re-issue), “Reunion of Scribes – Live 2001”CD & DVD (2002)

The Killer Dwarfs are one of the few Canadian hard rock acts to achieve international success. Known for their heavy guitar driven sound and their big hits “Stand Tall” and “Doesn’t Matter”, they’ve toured with Iron Maiden and more recently Vince Neil (Motley Crue). Bullseye has licensed the ‘Stand Tall’ album through Sony Music Canada and in 2001 recorded/released the live CD/DVD package ‘Reunion of Scribes’.

The Kings “Party Live in ’85 (2001), “Because of You” (2003)

Best known for their massive hit, the Bob Ezrin produced This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ To Glide, the Kings continue to tour and create new music. The Kings have appeared on Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand’, and played over 1900 shows across North America including recent performances at the International Pop Overthrow showcases in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. The ‘Because of You’ video was filmed at New York’s Arlene’s Grocery in Soho.

Klaatu “3:47 EST” (2001 re-issue),  “Hope” (2002 re-issue), “Sir Army Suit” (2003 re-issue), “Endangered Species” (2003 re-issue), “Peaks” (2003 re-issue), “Sun Set:  1973 – 1981” (2005), “Raarities” vinyl (2005)
Klaatu sold millions of albums in the 70s as many people were convinced, after a Rhode Island journalist started a rumour that Klaatu were, in fact, the Beatles reformed. Their song “Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft)” was a huge hit for them and subsequently The Carpenters. Klaatu continue to be an enigma, though their fan base is anything but elusive. An international fan gathering will take place in Toronto May 7th this year with a reunion show by the three original band members John Woloschuk, Dee Long and Terry Draper. A specially created CGI video for “Calling Occupants” will be unveiled.

Maureen Leeson “aka MOE” (2003)
Vocal diva Maureen Leeson comes off a long line of band-fronted projects including Spare Parts, Sharon’SISTER and The Sugardaddies to record this, her debut album featuring the production wizardry of Creighton Doane and features song help from Melanie Doane, Randy Bachman and John Boswell.

Dee Long “Been Here Before” (1999 – 2CDs), “Digital” (1998), “Outside Time &Space” CD/DVD (2003)
Following his stint as the introspective rock guitar hero in the band Klaatu, Dee Long has gone on to perfect midi technology (as a technician for Sir George Martin) and animation morphing technology (the patented SCREAM Software). But, his first love is as multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.

Mainline “Last Show @ The Elmo” (2003)
Known internationally throughout the late ‘60s and early ‘70s as the quirky McKenna-Mendelson Mainline, the re-configured Mainline reformed in 2001 to rave crowds in Toronto. The band’s only current recording was a celebration of the closing ceremonies at the famed El Mocambo club in Toronto on November 4, 2001.

Moxy  “V” (2002 re-issue), “Raw” (2003)
Like label mates Goddo, Moxy have been haunting Canada’s bar circuit since 1976. With four studio albums behind them on the Polygram label the group disbanded following the death of original vocalist Buzz Sherman in 1982. Moxy reunited in 1999 with new vocalist Brian Maxim to record a new studio album (“V”). With renewed interest in territories like Texas, the band released a live best of called “Raw” on Bullseye.

David Quinton “Bombs & Lullabies: 1981 – 1988” (2001 re-issue)
One-time punk drummer for the legendary Dead Boys and The Stiv Bator Band, Quinton went on to co-found The Jitters and managed to produce one self-titled solo release in 1981 on the Bomb label. The best of this album plus an abandoned set of recordings in the mid-80s finds Quinton in fine form. He is now a respected Canadian entertainment lawyer!

Rubber (aka Harem Scarem)  “Weight Of The World” (2002), “Live At The Gods – 2002” CD & DVD (2003), “The Early Years” (2005 – TBA)
Known world-wide as Harem Scarem, the band re-invented itself as a melodic pop rock act in 1999 after five albums for Warner Music. Following their release from that label, the band continued releasing studio albums including 2001’s “Weight Of World” which Bullseye acquired the North American rights to distribute. Similarly, the CD and DVD rights to the live reunion show in England in 2001.

Santers “Cold Fusion: The Best Of Santers” (2000 re-issue)
Toronto based band Santers began their story in 1980 and continued to enthrall fans with their brand of guitar rock. They had several hits in the 80s and joined Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ tour as well as Golden Earring. Santers re-issued their four album catalogue on CD in the 90’s with their boxed set selling 6,000 copies in Japan alone. In partnership with their flagship label, Dandelion Records, Bullseye has released an anthology of their hits entitled Cold Fusion.

Segarini “Gotta Have Pop” (2005 TBA), “Goodbye LA” (2005 TBA), “On The Radio” (2005)
‘The Pope of Pop’ has gained a reputation as a pop rock traditionalist styling his solo material on the parts of Phil Spector, Motown and British Invasion sounds. The Juno Award nominated producer’s  “Gotta Have Pop” album and the radio charting “Goodbye LA” has been influential in the US power pop movement.

The Shakers “In Time: The Best Of The Shakers” (2005 re-issue)
Featuring one-time Teenage Head frontman Dave Rave and Tim Gibbons (soundtrack to Billy-Bob Thornton’s ‘Slingblade’ film), The Shakers blazed a trail shared only by former Warpt Records label-mates The Florida Razors. Relentless touring, commercial radio play and packed houses made The Shakers party-band central.

Silverlode “Sky High: The Best Of Silverlode” (2001 re-issue)
Vancouver’s answer to Seals & Crofts, Silverlode (featuring Geoff Gibbons) grew out of the British Columbia coffee-house movement in the late ‘70s and managed a long run of radio play with tunes like “Sky High” and “Slipping Away”. This compilation marries their debut album with a fistful of singles and previously unreleased artifacts.

Soap Opera “Poised” (2000), “Ladies and Gentlemen…Welcome To The Tangiers” (2002)
Bullseye’s first new talent signing, Soap Opera were produced by legendary Rush/Cutting Crew producer Terry Brown. Now defunct, the band made a decent stab at the college and bar circuits in Canada and received substantial airplay with “Make A Dent” (from ‘Poised’) and “Open Letter To An Ex-Friend” (from ‘Tangiers’). Ironically, the band still enjoys a following in Japan.

Various Artists “Are You Ready Steve?: A Tribute To The Sweet” (2004 re-issue)
Originally released in 2002, this disc sold out quickly to rabid Sweet fans around the world via the Internet only. Bullseye has re-issued the disc with bonus tracks (over 20 acts covering Sweet classics).

Various Artists “Around The Universe In 80 Minutes: A Tribute To Klaatu” (2004 re-issue)
Originally released in 1998, this disc sold out quickly to rabid Klaatu fans around the world via the Internet only. Bullseye has re-issued the disc with bonus tracks (over 20 acts covering Klaatu classics).

Various Artists “It’s Was 40 Years Ago Today: A Tribute to the Beatles” (2004 – 3CDs)

Assembled over three years by Bullseye Records and co-produced by Greg Godovitz and Terry Draper of Klaatu, the 50 songs span interpretations in every musical style from 48 artists including world-renowned performers Al Kooper (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Andrew Gold (“Thank You For Being A Friend”), Bill Lloyd (Foster & Lloyd), Tom Hooper (Grapes Of Wrath), Dee Long (Klaatu), Goddo, and many others. Liner notes for the project were written by Craig Cross, author of “Beatles Discography: Minute-By-Minute, Hour-By-Hour, Day-By-Day”.



Men In Plaid_FULLVarious Artists “Men In Plaid: A Tribute To The Bay City Rollers”
(2004 re-issue)
Originally released in 1999, this disc sold out quickly to rabid Bay City Roller fans around the world via the Internet only. Bullseye has re-issued the disc with bonus tracks (over 20 acts covering BCR classics).

Various Artists “Takin’ Care Of Christmas” (2001)
This perennial Christmas disc of all Canadian artists features Randy Bachman, Tom Hooper, Jeff Jones, The Kings, The Carpet Frogs (2 songs), Terry Draper, Maureen Leeson, Dave Rave, Bob Segarini, Moving Targetz and more. Selections from this disc have become perennial favourites on radio since its release.

WCCR_CDVarious Artists “When CanCon Rocked – VOLUME 1” (2004)

Some of Canada’s most popular bands get the royal treatment on ‘When CanCon Rocked’. The series features some of Canada’s finest pop & rock spanning 35 years of our musical heritage. This album brings back the hits and music that defined the ‘Canadian Sound’ by such acts as The Guess Who, Brave Belt, Goddo, Moxy, Santers, Harem Scarem, Andy Curran, Honeymoon Suite, Killer Dwarfs, Segarini, Wild T & The Spirit with Jeff Healey and more.

Jaimie Vernon “Broadcasts From The Twilight Zone” (2003), “Time Enough At Last” (2005 – TBA)
Former Swindled, Moving Targetz, Swedish Fish, Spare Parts, and current Cheaper Than Therapy member Jaimie Vernon steps up to the plate and produces his first true solo experience. ‘Broadcasts’ contains 11 songs saved up from his band performing days including the novelty hit “I Am A TV Show”.

Wild T_POSTER_ThumbWild T And The Spirit “True Bliss” (2004)

Tony “Wild T” Springer is well known for his guitar playing similarity to Jimi Hendrix. While performing as David Bowie’s guitarist on the ‘Black Tie, White Noise’ album and tour, Wild T was described by Bowie as an ‘absolute delight’ to work with. He’s opened shows for Bon Jovi, Johnny Winter and Deep Purple to name a few. After two commercially and critically successful albums on Warner Music the result was sold out shows across the US. ‘True Bliss’, on Bullseye, is his first release in 10 years and includes special guests Jeff Healey & Rough Trade’s Carole Pope.

Michael White And The White “A Tribute To Led Zeppelin – VOLUME 1” (2004)
Michael White And The White have been performing Led Zeppelin cover tunes since their inception in North Hollywood in 1976. Michael White received approval by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and is recognized as the only “authorized” tribute to the legendary rockers. Michael White And The White are currently touring North America to sold out Zeppelin tribute shows.

Brunswick HouseThe CMW committee granted us the use of the legendary Brunswick House as a showcase venue for our anniversary party in March 2005. It proved to be the perfect place to hold a party because it was steps away from the University of Toronto campus in downtown Toronto. A packaged house to sororities and Bullseye supporters, it was an amazing evening featuring performances by The Kings, Cats & Dogs, Maureen Leeson, Dee Long & The Short Notice (featuring myself and Maureen Leeson as support musicians), The First Time (formerly Soap Opera) and Cheaper Than Therapy. The entire event was recorded for posterity. Though only the Dee Long material was ever released – on the 2005 CD ‘Long Live & Prosper’ – full audio and video from the event will eventually see the light of day in 2015 when Bullseye celebrates, with illustrious fanfare, our 30th anniversary. Stay tuned for the shape of things to come…

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA

=JV=

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday.
Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 35 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 17 of those years. He is also the author of the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ both of which are available at Amazon.com or http://www.bullseyecanada.com

 

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