Cameron Carpenter: Rock Talk – Past & Present Tens – You’re A Nut Boy!

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I was shocked and deeply saddened  last week to learn of the passing of Dave “Obie” O’Brien. Most of you would not have known him as he wasn’t in the music industry (he was a tax lawyer) and unless you went to Malvern Collegiate or Neil McNeil, or perhaps played lacrosse for Beaches (we both were inaugural members in 1968) your paths likely did not cross.

Dave had pretty straight taste in music compared to me but there was nothing he liked to hear more than “Trash” by The New York Dolls when we partied in high school.

Whenever I needed a wingman in high school to see a concert he was there for me. I dragged him to a New York Dolls show, a Kiss show, and even wrote about him taking me to see Cheap Trick in Kitchener both here at DBAWIS and in The New Music Magazine. I remember the two of us taking our dates to see Al Stewart at Convocation Hall when he released “The Year of The Cat” (the dates wanted to see him.

Right up to  the very last time I saw him we always had an inside joke where one of us would begin with “You’re a nut boy” to which you replied “Tell me again”. You did this three times and then one of us would say “I love this man”. The bit is from a 1976 episode of “All In The Family” with Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner reciting the lines…For some reason it never got old with us and I can’t remember ever not doing the bit.  You can see the routine starting at 3:45 in this clip.

When we were young we would spend hour upon hour in the back of Williamson Road school yard playing two-man burby. With a box painted on the school wall one man would pitch and the other would hit. A swing and a miss was a strike, a ball that hit the inside of the box was a strike, outside of the ox it was a ball. A fly ball caught was an out. The school yard had a perfect burby court as behind the pitcher there was a concrete wall with a fence. A bouncer to the pitcher was a single, the wall in air a double, fence in the air a triple and over the fence a homer.

After burby we might head over to Michaels Steak’n’Burger on Queen East (Poochies) for a little pinball or down to Obie’s basement to the comfort of a couple of bean bag chairs. We grew up and drifted but Dave was there beside me as my best man when I was married in 1982 and I attended his wedding to Michelle a few years later. Kids, jobs, houses and basically just trying to carve out our own careers widened the gap over the years but there was still the occasional all-night poker game over at Mike Tedesco’s house with Gerry Kimura, Billy Tapp, Paul Grimbly, H-E, Brinley  and an assorted cast of other characters.

All Night Poker

Dave was brave about his disease and wrote this stunning piece in The National Post a couple of years ago.

I was thinking of him a couple of weeks ago and wondered why I had not seen him in the neighbourhood. I had heard he was getting better, but maybe that was wishful thinking on my part.

A celebration of Dave’s life will be held from 4 PM – 7 PM at The Mattamy Athletic Centre (at Maple Leaf Gardens) on Friday October 2nd.


I have been working hard on putting together the third annual Reel Indie Film Fest (RiFF) which will take place during Indie Week October 12 -18th. We will have four great nights of films at The Royal Cinema on Bloor beginning on Wednesday October 13 when we present the new video from Indie Week Europe winners Victoria + Jean, a short doc on music legend Bernie Finkelstein, a great doc on the Yorkville scene (“Yorkville“) and a documentary on newly-crowned Polaris Music Prize winner Buffy Sainte-Marie.


We also have lined up a great film about The Seeds, a doc on one of Edmonton’s greatest bands The Smalls, a feature about Cleveland poster/multi-media artist Derek Hess and some other great features and shorts that we will be announcing next week. Once again the Indie 101 conference will be held at the Bond Place Hotel and guest speakers will include former-Smith Mike Joyce. All details can be found at It will be a good one.

I will get back to my past and present tens collection next week.


Come request “Trash” at The Kensington Lodge one Wednesday evening.

You’re a nut boy!


Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59

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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