Cameron Carpenter: Rock’n’Roll By The Numbers – It Takes Two


Let the numbers speak for themselves….

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

“Two Tribes” was the second hit single from Frankie Goes To Hollywood double debut album “Welcome To The Pleasuredome”. Although banned in many parts of the world the band’s first single “Relax” was only the beginning of the controversies which would ultimately tear them apart. The Godley & Crème directed video, released at the height of the cold war, showed actors portraying US President Ronal Reagan and Russian leader Konstantin Chernenko involved in a bloody wrestling match. The original version of the video was so graphic that MTV refused to play it until some serious edits were made.

Two Little Hitlers – Elvis Costello

This was the closing track on Costello’s third (and first to credit The Attractions) album “Armed Forces”. The band were on quite a roll by the time this was released in 1979 a little more than a year after they played the now closed El Mocambo in Toronto. Congrats to Bob and Roxanne for being on-stage for the final El Mo weekend, although it is not the club is once was in the late seventies and early eighties, it will be missed. Todd Rundgren recorded a pretty cool version of “Two Little Hitlers” on his album “ Nearly Human” ten years after the original.


Another great powerpop band that released their first single, “Giving It All”, with Greg Shaw and Bomp! Records. Their pop masterpiece was the flip side to their first single on Portrait Records/Epic “Yellow Pills”. Shaw had a great ear for pop and so many bands that he first released ended up on one of the major labels.

Two Seater  – Sloan

When Sloan released their debut album “Smeared” 22 years ago last month there were constant comparisons to Sonic Youth (who they would share the Geffen/DGC label with). “Two Seater” was the type of song that drew the comparisons.

 The Two Koreas

It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since a gaggle of local entertainment writers (including Stuart Berman, Kieran Grant and Jason Anderson) got together to form a fun rock’n’roll band. Since that time they have released 3.5 albums, played over 100 gigs and ruled the CBC and campus airwaves.

Two Girls In One – The Pursuit Of Happiness

If I’m not mistaken this was the second single from the band’s second album. Although it did not sell as well as their debut “Love Junk” there is still a gold record hanging in my living room. This would be the final TPOH album to feature Johnny Sinclair and Leslie Stanwych who would go on to form the pop band Universal Honey. Taking over on bass was Brad Barker who is now the Operations Manager at Jazz-FM in Toronto. Brad still performs with TPOH on their far too rare reunion shows.

Two Feet Stand Up – Cookie Duster

Cookie Duster is the latest band from Brendan Canning. Brendan and I go way back to the days he was in hHead. Noah Mintz, now the owner of The Laquer Channel mastering studios (and one of the best in the biz) was also a member of the band and they released three album with three different labels in the early nineties. They released “Fireman” on their own, were signed to IRS Records Canada, where I believe a young Steve Kane (the newest inductee into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame), and then signed to Handsome Boy Records which was run by TPOH manager Jeff Records. After hHead Brendan spent some time in By Divine Right before founding indie darlings Broken Social Scene with Kevin Drew. Cookie Duster released their debut album last year.

The 222’s

The 222’s were one of the original 1977 Montreal punk bands and we arguably the first to inject a dollop of glam into the proceedings. Although not an original member of the group 16 year old Chris Barry would soon become the face of the band. After 4 years together they broke up and Chris ultimately left for England where he worked with the likes of Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), James Stevenson (Generation x), Topper Headon (The Clash) and Pete Farndon (The Pretenders). In 2010 the band re-formed and can still be seen on some of the festival circuits. I caught the band a couple of years ago at Lee’s Palace and they still had it.

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad – Meat Loaf

Yet another monster hit from the 1977 album “Bat Out Of Hell”. I worked with the Loaf around the time of “Bat Out Of Hell II”. For three days I would pick him up at the old Four Seasons and we would make the media rounds hitting press, radio and television. He was a good interview and would quickly adapt to  any interviewer and steer the conversation any way he wanted, always getting back on point talking about the release of the new album. On the last day of the tour I had booked the sports/talk show “Off The Record” with Michael Landsberg. I often took musicians to the show as most of them liked to talk about sports and, the ratings were great. We were joined before the taping by Meat’s manager who had just flown in from either New York or L.A. and he wanted to tag along. As we sat out front of the studio he grilled me on the premise of the show and who the other guests would be. He found out that Jimmie “JJ” Walker (“Good Times”) would be one of the other guests and then proceeded to tell me to go upstairs and cancel Meat’s interview as he refused to appear on the show with a washed up TV star. I explained the ratings, the fact we were 10 minutes from taping and the issue of my relationship with the show and the booking of future artists if we pulled the plug at such a late date. He said fine, he would do it. At that point Meat said “If Cam says the show is worth doing I am going to do it. Everything he has asked of me for the last three days has been great and I’m not going to let him down”. He got out, did the show, enjoyed it and even played along with JJ. It was always very gratifying when the artist had your back.

Two Hours Traffic

They were a wonderful little pop band from PEI who released four great albums and three EP’s over the course of their top short career. Their debut album “Little Jabs” made the Polaris short list in 2008 and the band were nominated for dozens of awards until their demise in 2013.

Cam Says – There is a great group of regulars now hanging out on Wednesday nights at The Kensington Lodge. It has become a modern day Algonquin Roundtable of musicians, writers, film makers and other like-minding folk as we swap stories, drop names and share music around the main bar. Don’t be afraid to come in alone as proprietor (and former Lava Hay member) Michele will make you feel right at home, and, if I like the song you ask for, I might even play it.


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



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