Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – This Drink’s For You

CamAfter last week another drink is probably the last thing I need but first I would like to raise a glass in honour of my old friend Nash the Slash who passed away suddenly last weekend.

The first time I saw FM was in the late seventies at one of the Yonge Street bars, for some reason I think it was the Nickolodeon. Although I didn’t attend The University of Toronto I knew lots of people at The Varsity Newspaper and occasionally I would write a review for them. In the middle of their set I went to the restroom for a moment and I was soon joined, mid-set, by Cameron Hawkins who was also heeding nature’s call. I was stunned and stammered something along the lines of “Dude, how can you be in the washroom when I can still hear your keyboards?” to which he retorted “They’re all programmed, no worries”.

I wrote a scathing review and decided that this wasn’t real music. I have since realised that “Black Noise” is one of the greatest Canadian albums on all-time but to this day I have a bad feeling when I see a Mac on stage with a band.

The Original 99 Cent Roxy TheatreA lot of time in the late seventies was spent at “The Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre” on the Danforth where proprietor Gary Topp would spin classic rock movies, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and stuff like “The Groove Tube”. Nash the Slash would occasionally perform along to silent films. He actually lived at The Roxy for quite a while.

In the early eighties Larry Macrae signed Nash to a solo deal at Quality Records and we released the “American Band-Ages” album which was Nash covering classic rock. Nash wrapped himself in the stars’n’stripes (it was a U.S. election year) and we shot a video for “American Band” where Nash pretended to be running for the Presidency. It was one of the first videos I was an extra in as a play a Secret Service man and spent an afternoon running down Yonge Street protecting the Presidential motorcade. We launched the album with a huge party at The Diamond Club (now The Phoenix). After the relative success of the album we did a deal for the new FM album with American Band - AgesNash, Cam and Martin Dellar. We spent hours at artist Robert Vanderhorst’s home coming up with the cover concept and finding two word FM’s (Frank Mahovlich, Flagpole Measles) to adorn the cover. We spent a lot of time together Nash was notoriously private about his life away from the bandages, and although I knew he was Jeff Plewman, I always called him Nash (unless in a public place without his stage attire when I would call him Jeff to protect his anonymity.  I got to know the man, and his wonderful dog Roxy who travelled everywhere with him, and enjoyed every conversation we had. I hadn’t seem him for the last couple years and every time I passed by his old place on Eastern Avenue I wondered whether if he was still there and how he was doing.

Riot On The Dance FloorHe retired from the industry a few years ago and left a note to his fans on his website. When looking at it this week I found it interesting that he thanked a club in New Jersey, City Gardens and their promoter Randy Ellis for “hosting in his home my two roadies and my beloved dog”. One of the features I am showing at the NXNE Film Festival is “Riot On The Dance Floor” which is the story of City Gardens and Randy. I am sorry Nash won’t be there to see it but we will all be thinking about him.

Anyways, we are on the letter D and it’s time for some songs about drink.

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” – George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Just before I started at Quality Records I was given a box of all of our new releases. The debut George Thorogood album was in it and I soon fell in love with this eight minute epic. Penned by Rudy Tombs the song was updated in 1966 by John Lee Hooker and then in 1977 George rocked it out and also included bits of Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie” to complete the story.

“Whiskey In The Jar” – Thin Lizzy

A traditional Irish song that has been recorded by everyone from The Dubliners to Metallica but it was Thin LIzzy that best captured it way back in 1972. There was so much more to this band than “The Boys Are Back In Town”.

“Brass Monkey” – Beastie Boys

I had no idea what “Brass Monkey” was when the Beastie Boys recorded their chart topping 1987 debut album “Licensed To Ill”.  Who knew it was a pre-cursor of a pre-mixed cooler made in Stamford, Connecticut by the Heublein Company? I always assumed it was a very cheap sparkling wine.

“Cold Gin” – Kiss

This is one of the few Kiss songs that was written by Ace Frehley and it makes sense that it wasn’t written by the alcohol-free singer of the song Gene Simmons. Of course Ace’s issues with alcohol would ultimately cost him his position in the band he helped make famous. Still wish the original four had performed at their Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame induction.

“The Moon or Guiness” – Andrew Matheson

I was there when Andrew, along with E.S. Brady, recorded this duet at Casino Steel’s studio in Oslo, Norway. I was doing A&R for Universal Music and had signed the former Hollywood Brat and then headed overseas to record the album “Night Of The Bastard Moon”. I can attest that actual Guiness was used in the recording.

Editor’s Note: Since no video exists of The Moon or Guinness, I have found a video by Andrew that celebrates drink, and is named after the last words of Dylan Thomas, who legend has it, said “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskeys. I think it’s the record.” This song is also from “Night of the Bastard Moon”

“18 Straight Whiskeys” – Andrew Matheson

“Rum And Coca Cola” – The Andrew Sisters

With Mother’s Day just past, this one goes out to my Mom. At the Balmy Beach Canoe Club I can ask any of the bartenders for a “Mom’n’Coke” and they will know it’s white Bacardi and coke.

“Tequila” – The Champs

If there is such a thing as a “one word instrumental” this would be it. Recorded by The Champs in 1958 the song, with one of the dirtiest sax solos of all time, topped the Billboard charts. Of course, the definitive visual of the song will always be Pee-Wee Herman dancing on a biker’s bar in his platform shoes from the film  Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”.

“Champagne Supernova” – Oasis

With Manchester City winning the British Premier League title last weekend I will include this song in honour of the club’s two biggest fans The Gallagher Brothers. Hopefully my boys, Arsenal, will be picking up the FA Cup this Saturday when they meet Hull in the finals.

“Red Red Wine” – UB40

Somehow this song was classified as “new wave” when it came out back in 1983. It was a lot closer to reggae but record companies liked to use a big umbrella when a genre was hot. Many might be surprised to find out the song was written and recorded originally by Neil Diamond back in 1968.

“What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)” – The Faces

This one goes out to Mr. Mike Campbell and Mr. Stuart Jolliffe with whom I had the pleasure of once again presenting the “Delta Hotels Tiki Lounge” with Music Nova Scotia last weekend at The Rivoli. A great night of music and friendship.

It was great to finally rock the shorts last weekend and spend some time on the Rooftop Tiki Bar at The Bovine as well as the back patio of Rock Lobster. Fantastic news as Rock Lobster will soon be opening their third location at 1192 Queen Street East.


Cam’s column appears every Wednesday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

Contact us at:

Cam is very anxious to plant his butt on the roof of the Bovine and soak up a few rays. Soon.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. There are heaters on the Bovine patio and great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine. 

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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