Cameron Carpenter – 10 CC – Junos
This Sunday evening the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will hand out the Juno Awards for the 45th time. The Saddledome in Calgary will be packed Sunday night as the awards go live to air at 7 PM Eastern on the CTV network. Making sandwiches for the luncheon honouring Canadian music would now be a year-long job for Stan Klees’ mom (a few old timers will understand).
Some History from Wikipedia….
“Prior to the development of the formal Juno award ceremonies, RPM Magazine began polling its readers in 1964 to determine which artists and groups were considered the best in Canada.The results of these polls were announced through RPM each December.
Record label owner Stan Klees met with RPM founder Walt Grealis to plan a formal awards ceremony for the music industry. Instead of merely publishing the award results in RPM, presentations would be made at a physical venue. The first such ceremony was the Gold Leaf Awards which took place 23 February 1970 in Toronto.
RPM invited its readers later that year to suggest a new name for these awards. The name “Juneau” was submitted, which represented Pierre Juneau, the first head of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission. Juneau was instrumental in establishing Canadian content regulations for broadcasters, to promote Canadian artists. That name became shortened to Juno and by 1971, the awards ceremonies would be referred to as the “Juno Awards”.”
I have probably been to about 25 Junos throughout my career and some of them have been very memorable. One of the first I attended took place at the Royal York and it was more like the Golden Globes (seated dinner and cocktails during the show) then the hockey-rink presentation of today.
Prime Minister Trudeau (Pierre) attended one year on the arm of Liona Boyd and I wouldn’t be surprised to see our current PM attend this year or in the near future. He seems to be down with the arts, which is good news for a lot of us. Many years ago the Junos headed out on the road and I have attended shows in Vancouver, St. John’s, Halifax, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Hamilton and I think Edmonton. Like any awards nominations as well as winners will be debated and judged, and, as only a scant few are ever awarded during the broadcast (more time will be spent hyping Bell Media owned show “The Amazing Race Canada” as Jon Montgomery is the co-host), it will all come down to the performances.
For the last twenty years or so almost all musical awards so have force-fed us for the most part horrible “special musical collaborations” which are done for political reasons (let’s put the country artist with the jazz artist and we can make both communities happy). For every one that works, ten fail, and, a think most people would rather just see an artist play their hit. As each year passes I know fewer and fewer of the performers and I am pretty sure that I won’t be seeing a lot of Marshall stacks and people playing real live instruments while they sing, without backing tracks, live. C’est la vie. The show is not designed for my entertainment anymore and I hope all of the fans and artists have a great weekend.
Last week I did my Top 10 essential albums and this week I thought I would present my Top Ten essential Canadian albums. Sorry, no Joni or Neil here.
- The Pursuit of Happiness – “Love Junk”
A band that is close to my heart and one that I have known since the late eighties when they signed with Chrysalis Records. Actually, Moe Berg and I crossed paths briefly when he was in Modern Minds and I was road managing The Models back in the late seventies in Edmonton. When Chrysalis was getting ready to sign them they came up to Toronto to see the band at the infamous east-end tavern The Benlamond (then called Krush I believe) and Moe was at The Diamond Club when he found out that his musical idol Todd Rundgren was going to produce this record. From the opening crunch of “Hard to Laugh” to the end of “Killed By Love” this is a rock’n’roll masterclass from the music, lyrics, production and performance.
- Sloan – “Twice Removed”
Unlike Geffen Records I loved the sophomore album from Sloan. Again, I was pretty close to the situation as I help broker the Geffen deal and held their publishing at MCA Music. For my money it is their most complete and well-rounded release and contains great songs from all four writers. I think that is the problem that Geffen had as they really wanted a cohesive style and an instantly recognizable front man. Their loss.
- Sons of Freedom – “Gump”
Much like the Smalls, Sons of Freedom were a band that didn’t quite make it coast-to-coast. Like TPOH the band signed to Chrysalis in the U.S. and it looked like the world was going to be their oyster. In Canada this album debuted at #1 on the campus charts with Nirvana’s “Nevermind” bowing in at #2, but shortly thereafter, the band that used to open for them (Nirvana) would be international superstars and the Sons were left licking their wounds. One of the great Canadian rock records and one that still holds up to this day.
- The Lowest of the Low – “Shakespeare My Butt”
Wish I could have made it to their show last week with the great Willie Nile, but, you can’t make it to everything. This album took a little while to get going (CFNY and campus radio) but once it started to get airplay the hits just kept on coming. From “Eternal Fatalist” to “Bleed A Little While Tonight” to “Salesmen, Cheats & Liars” to “Henry Needs A New Pair of Shoes” the album was chock-full of catchy alternative rock. They never really made much of an impact in the U.S.A. but they are adored in Buffalo.
- Teenage Head – “Frantic City”
Their eponymous debut album had some great songs, but the production was awful and never did them any justice. By the time the band recorded “Frantic City” they had the songs all worked out and had performed enough shows to perfect them. This one contained the closest thing that resembled a hit single with “Somethin’ On My Mind”, and, much like The Clash, payed homage to Eddie Cochran and Vince Taylor.
- Segarini – “Gotta Have Pop”
Yes I was close to this one too. If you own the original vinyl you can see my old address as it was where you had to write to get Bob’s mom’s special recipe. I spent time in the studio watching this being recorded and hung out at the video shoots as well. A great musical education both off and on the record.
- Art Bergmann – “Poisoned”
A bit of a misdirect as the band was still actually called Poisoned when they recorded this six-song EP back in 1984 which was produced by Bob Rock & Paul Hyde. This one blew me away lyrically and remains my favourite overall Bergmann recording. I am glad that he is back on the road and recording new material.
- Headstones – “Picture of Health”
It is hard to believe that this record is 23 years old. I remember seeing them perform live for the first time at Ultrasound like it was yesterday. Another band I am thrilled are still making music and touring.
- The Diodes – “Action/Reaction”
Not their best known record but the one this still works as a full entity more than the previous two releases. It was a band that was falling apart but still managing to make great music.
10, The Age of Electric – “The Latest Plague”
This was the first recording from the band and was originally only released as a cassette which was sold at their shows. Of course the two sets of brothers would go on to bigger and better things but this is the release I always think of when I remember the band. They have done one reunion show and it looks like more might be on the way.
Cam’s column appears every Thursday.
Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59, Instagram @Cambo1959 and Spotify @Cambo59
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cameron 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.