Cameron Carpenter: Past & Present Tens – Earthquake Weather

Cam Profile Pic

In 1989 the late Joe Strummer released a great solo record by the name of “Earthquake Weather”.  It seems as if we are right in the middle of it right now. Depending on your age and musical taste there recently have been a series of major quakes and after-shocks which are shaking the world of music to its very core. Last week was no exception.

Rene Angelil

Rene Angelil

Before I started to work in the International Department of Sony Records I really didn’t have much of an opinion of Rene Angelil. It was obvious from the outside looking in that he was a very good manager. Celine was at the top of her game when I joined the team and they were in the process of putting together their residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. One of the signs of a good manager is the team that they build and Rene had the likes of Paul Farberman, Dave Platel and Richard Zuckerman working for him. Not household names by any means but to those in the Canadian music industry all three were very well respected.

One of the major duties of working in International is to have your domestic artists records released by your affiliates around the world. The job is very easy when you are working with Celine as you are guaranteed that every territory is going to release the record. When they have released the records they all wanted promotional visits and special treatment. With a superstar like Celine it is impossible for her to visit every country and do all the press and promotion that they would like. When you deliver a Celine interview to print, radio or television you have that person as a key ally and when you are trying to break a developing artist they might do you a favour. Relationships like this work in almost every business.

Celine Dion

Celine and Cam

What we often did with superstars was bring the media to them. Celine and Rene lived in Florida and we carved out five days of interviews which would take place at a private yacht club. Journalists from around the world would converge and we would break the days up by region. A television crew was on-site and they would give the journalists the tape after the interview. The artist would have to work very hard for a week but they would try to make every affiliate feel special. Celine was always a total pro doing these. One day we had a very light schedule to oversee and Rene proposed a round of golf as a bit of a treat. Three of us were taken to The Bear’s Club which is the private Jack Nicklaus club in Jupiter, Florida. We were set up with clubs, balls, and each pairing was supplied with a caddy (my first and only experience with a caddy – dressed in white coveralls fashioned after the Masters).  To say I was intimidated was an understatement but Rene made the three of us very comfortable. He asked about our lives and he was not feigning interest out of politeness. He knew we were looking after Celine and he wanted to know more about everyone on their team. He asked on the 7th tee if we were hungry and if we wanted to grab a bite on the turn. He told us what he usually had (I think it was some gourmet burger) and he phoned into the clubhouse and ordered four along with three pints of beer. A table was waiting for us when we walked off the ninth green.


The Bear’s Club

The rest of the afternoon was spectacular and the course was an absolute joy. I have said before you can take the measure of a person after spending four or five hours with them on a golf course; did they have a temper, did they cheat, did they know the rules, did they play in turn, did they respect the course, did they have a sense of humour, would you play with them again.  Rene’s game was not one of awe. He did not hit the ball long but he kept the ball in play and had a great touch around the green. I had shot north of 100 and when I asked how he did I seem to remember he said “81”. He was a class act and a true gentleman. Thanks for one of my favourite rounds of golf ever.

Glenn Frey

glenn frey

Earlier this week we lost Glenn Frey. The Eagles were never for me but as I in the musical minority. When I was listening to Alice Cooper in my bedroom my older sister Kelly would be blasting them from her room. Bob wrote a touching piece earlier this week and my thoughts go out to my old boss John Alexander who was close to Glenn and a member of the 3E club (the legendary “third encore” party that took place after an Eagle’s show).

Dale “Buffin” Griffin


Closer to the heart for me was the loss of Dale “Buffin” Griffin from Mott the Hoople. It was not a surprise as he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nine years ago, and looked frail when he took to the kit, for one the encore only, on the Mott the Hoople reunion dates in London back in 2009. Growing up with Ian Hunter’s essential read “Diary of a Rock’n’Roll Star”, I felt like I knew every member of the band as Ian described their exploits on their winter tour of North America back in the fall of 1972. This tour would coincide with a Bowie tour happening at the same time and it was David of course who gave them the song “All the Young Dudes”.  We relied on books and magazines to get our band information back then. Mott was a very big part of my life and although they never had a bonafide hit single in North America the list of bands they influenced would be massive.


My thoughts also go out this week to Andrew Matheson on the passing of his father Ronald, an eight times decorated member of the British Royal Navy.

On a happier note I was thrilled to see July Talk’s Leah Fay was nominated for Best Actress in a feature film (“Diamond Tongues”) for the Canadian Screen Awards. I remember reviewing this film for the NXNE Film Festival and absolutely being charm by her performance.  It has nothing to do with the band or their music but might very well be the jumping off point for a great career in front of the camera. Hopefully the band will continue to make music as well.


July Talk’s Leah Fay

I am in the final stages of reviewing close to two hundred videos which are in the running for the 2016 Prism Prize, awarded to Canada’s best music video. We are also starting to go through the submissions for Indie Week 2016 in both film and music. Folks, there is a lot of talent brewing in this country from both musicians and film makers. We are doing something right.



Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59, Instagram @Cambo1959 and Spotify @Cambo59

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7Cameron 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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