Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – I Could Be Happy

CamWell a lot has happened since we last spoke. Let’s see, my beloved Three Lions have visited Brazil and returned to England in a matter of days, Spain, who I thought might have a chance, are back on the beaches of Ibiza and there are sad Italians and Greeks all over the city. My birthday,  Canada’s 147th birthday, Father’s Day, my boy Kyle’s 25th, the film festival and NXNE are all in the rear-view mirror and I am in the middle of couple of a great new books, own a few new promo tee-shirts, discovered some new music and made some great new friends. Not bad for three weeks.

The NXNE Film Festival was a resounding success and itwas great to meet so many of the film makers who travelled to Toronto for their screenings. On Friday and Saturday I spent time Nash the Slashwith “La Voz De Los Silenciados” director Maximon Monihan. “La Voz” is his first feature, but, it was over beers that I found out he toured the world as a pro skateboarder, had Angela Davis as a scholastic mentor, and, being brought up in Seattle, knows that origins of that music scene like the back of his hand. Steve Tozzi, director of “Riot On The Dance Floor” was also a great rock’n’roll historian but that was a little more expected as his doc dealt with the club City Gardens in New Jersey and the legendary rock promoter Randy Now. We dedicated the screening of the film to the late Nash The Slash Stratenger'swho was a fan of both the club and promoter Randy Now. Speaking of Nash, a large contingent of his friends got together recently at Stratenger’s on Queen Street East to remember his ground breaking career. Nash lived in the hood and this was his favourite local. It was nice to see Michael Dent, Michael Waite, Rob Vanderhorst, Marty Deller, Colin Brunton, Jamyz Bee and a host of others sharing a few beers, laughs and tears.

I wish I could have spent more time with Sam and Jen Robinson who flew in from England for the North American premiere of their dark British comedy “Whoops!” but they were only in town for a few short days and spent most of their time seeing the sites of Toronto. The world premieres of the Canadian rock docs “Born To Ruin” and “Luck’s Hard – Ron Hawkins & The Do Good Assassins” were very well received, and, in the case of every great rock doc, you don’t really need to know anything about the subjects if the story is done right. A lot of people steve morris nxnewalked away with a new found fondness for both Wildlife and The Do Good Assassins. Hats off to Brendan McCarney and David Brown (and their respective teams) for capturing our on-going Canadian rock history. Of course Richard Linklater’s Canadian premiere of “Boyhood” was the slam-dunk of the festival and broke the single screening attendance record.

“Vann ‘Piano Man’ Walls – The Spirit of R&B” was very well received and I spent quite a bit of time with director Steve Morris who spent 23 years making the film of the legendary Atlantic Records piano player. It was nice to have writer and executive producer Judy White up from New Jersey for the Canadian premier of “Lies I Told My Little Sister” which stars rocker Ellen Foley, as well as the star, writer and director of “Let’s Kestrin Cam NXNERuin It With Babies” Kestrin Pantera. Later in the week Kestrin spoke at NXNE Interactive and, in her very distinct rock’n’roll style, taught film makers how to make a feature on a very tight budget. Sunday night we ended things with a band with the screening of “Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back- The Quiet Riot Story” with star, and Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali in the house. Frankie was one of those guys I felt I have known forever and we seemed to have an instant rapport (as well as dozens of mutual friends). After the final screenings film manager Dani Barr took a group of our new Frankie Banali NXNEfriends for a crazy night of karaoke (Kestrin’s film has a big karaoke theme to it) while Frankie and director Regina Russell raced down to The Spoke Club to catch the end of the annual “Rock Star Hotel” party. Upon arrival host and founder of the event Kevin Goodman whisked us upstairs for a Banali photo session with world renowned fashion photographer Paul Alexander and then it was up to the roof for a couple of hard earned cocktails. Within about twenty minutes we were all rocking to “Cum On Feel The Noize” as word spread that Frankie was in the house (or on the roof).

Stu Grant, Morgan Cameron. Mariana Conde NXNEOne of the benefits of opening NXNE with the film fest was I was able to participate a lot more in the rest of the activities during the week. Two film makers, Mariana Conde and Stu Grant, who had the three minute film “C.R.T.L”  screen at the fest, decided that spending a week in Toronto for NXNE would be a worthy summer vacation and for much of the week I had the pleasure of showing them what Toronto night life was all about. From the opening night party at the Edward Day Gallery to the Tiki Bar at The Bovine to Cherry Cola’s, Yonge and Dundas Square for St. Vicent, The Horseshoe, Tattoo Rock Parlour and various other parties (The Exclaim!/Jager bash, The Feldman Party) my city never looked and felt better. Throw in some poutine and they walked away with a nice holiday. It was pretty damn sporting of them to fly over 3,000 miles for a three minute North American debut of their film but I think their trip was a rock’n’roll adventure they will remember for quite a while.

royal-truxSome quick notes. My discovery band of the fest was Royal Trux who played at The Hidden Pony 5th Birthday party. I  originally went to the party to see Rah Rah (who I adore) but also found a new fave in Royal Trux. It was great to see my old friend Jeff Martin from The Tea Party at the annual Joao Carvalho Saturday afternoon garden party and I was lucky enough to have Jeff take me in the studio and play most of the new Tea Party album for me (fans of the band will love it). I mentioned books at the top of the column and have just finished Keith Sharpe’s excellent history of Music Express Magazine, Geoff Pevere’s ode to Teenage Head (“Gods Of The Hammer”) and “There Goes Gravity” by Lisa Robinson which I highly recommend.

Next week we’ll get back on track with the letter J, but for now, here are ten songs with “I” in the title.

“I Am Europe” – Chilly Gonzales

This is from the film we screened a couple of years back “Ivory Tower”

“I Could Be Happy” – Altered Images

And after NXNE I was.

“I Cut Like A Buffalo” – Dead Weather

Yet another Jack White band. Will they record again?

“I Am A Cliché” – X-Ray Spex

Of course I am.

“I Get Around” – Jan & Dean

Yes, I do.

“I Got Mine” – The Black Keys

Great to see the Yonge & Dundas headliners at a secret 2 AM show at The Horseshoe.

“I Started A Joke” – The Beautiful South

Love this version of the Bee Gee’s classic.

“I Wish I Was Your Mother” – Mott The Hoople

Not really, but classic Ian Hunter and Mott.

“I Want You Back” – Hoodoo Gurus

One of two great versions of the song.

“I Need Lunch” – The Dead Boys

The great Stiv Bators.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

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Cam likes to plant his butt on the roof of the Bovine and soak up a few rays.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. The Tiki Bar welcomes the mild to hot weather and The Bovine presents 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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