Pat Blythe – All Stars, Remembering and ONE(s) More Time…..
Well….unfortunately I wasn’t able to file last Wednesday. Assisting some friends through a personal crisis filled my time and my focus was elsewhere all week. I did, however, manage to get out for a couple of shows during the latter part of each week so today’s column will be playing catch-up. I was on the receiving end of some much-needed tutoring with the new photo editing program (I have a hell of learning curve ahead of me) and a few of the results part of this column. Some experimentation going on as I suss out what I can and cannot do. Having some fun and messing about with a bit of colour but B&W is where my heart is.
So let’s begin…..going back to October 20. Prepared for a night of old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll at The Rock Pile. The Platinum Rock All Stars band which is comprised of Gene Cornish/guitar (Rascals), Geoff Downes/keyboards (Asia, Yes), Phil Naro/vocals (Kiss Army, Brian May, Julian Lennon), Cuban-born Rudy Sarzo/bass (Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Whitesnake, Blue Oyster Cult) and lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N Roses)….who just happens to share the same birth date as me….and of course, drummer extraordinaire Carmine Appice.
L-R – Carmine Appice, Gene Cornish, Geoff Downes, Rudy Sarzo, Ron Thal & Phil Naro
So, this gives me an opportunity (and a great excuse) to take you for a little stroll down that lane called Memory….
Groovin’ – The Rascals
Heat of The Moment – Asia
Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Cum On Feel The Noize – Quiet Riot (Slade cover)
Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
The “name” I knew best was Carmine Appice, who has just released his memoirs entitled “Stick It! My Life of Sex, Drums, and Rock ‘N’ Roll”. Stick It! (love the multiple entendres) is really a compilation of stories of the life of one legendary rock ‘n’ roll drummer who managed to survive the psychedelic 60s, glam rock of the 70’s, hard rock and metal of the 80s…all that “sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”….and make it through in one piece…. to now. His drumming style is very distinct and as I watch many of his videos covering his career, it hasn’t changed or digressed one whit. Always going full throttle, Appice still pounds the skins as powerfully as ever, his timing impeccable, still twirling the drumstick. I can certainly see Appice’s rather wild style in Bonham’s drumming. Appice’s history is a long one, performing with some of the most famous acts in the world including Vanilla Fudge; Cactus; Beck, Bogert & Appice, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and so, so many more. As it says on the book jacket, “Carmine Appice has enjoyed (I would say survived) a jaw-dropping rock-and-roll life…”
Carmine Appice performing at The Rock Pile
“Carmine Appice set the foundation for heavy drumming…before Bonham…before Ian Paice… before anyone else.” (Drummerworld) With almost 50 years of drumming behind him — Appice’s influences include jazz drummers Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa combined with classical training– he continues to be one of the most sought after drummers for both session work and as educator. According to Drummerworld, “… Carmine was the first to legitimize rock drumming with his landmark book, REALISTIC ROCK… It was the first book about rock drumming that was actually written by a rock drummer. REALISTIC ROCK was voted among the top 25 drum books of all time by MODERN DRUMMER magazine and has been studied by such drum luminaries as Greg Bissonette and Dave Weckl. …Carmine was also the first rock drummer to conduct instructional clinics and symposiums held on college campuses, theaters, and music stores around the world, a tradition he still continues. His clinics and master classes continue to break attendance records at venues in every country.”
You Just Keep Me Hanging On – Vanilla Fudge
Keep a close eye on Appice’s drumming on this one.
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? – Rod Stewart
Superstition – Beck, Bogert & Appice
The Long Siblings…Top Left – Wayne Long; L-R Gail Traynor, Sharon Frederickson, Janet Long & John Long
The following night, October 20, I was back at The Rock Pile for an annual memorial event hosted by Johnny and Suzi Long that celebrated the lives of brothers Clifford and Gary Long. Also remembered was Bobby Curtola who was an extremely close friend (more like a brother) of Johnny Long. The private event was attended by author/journalist and former amateur boxer Spider Jones and good friend and former Blue Jay, Kelly Gruber. Of course Bobby’s Girls were in full attendance and the crowd was serenaded by a host of fabulous entertainers. First up was a video of Curtola performing “Stand By Me” with Buddy Miles. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. One of my favourite songs beautifully sung by two much loved artists.
Stand By Me – Bobby Curtola & Buddy Miles
Danny Marks hosted the event, entertaining the audience with his charm and stories and serenading us during two sets with his band. Sam Taylor and The East End Love, Toney Springer and Jerome Godboo also performed to the delight of the crowd. Watching Taylor, Springer and Godboo on stage together was absolutely amazing and rather magical. Taylor, a young and gifted blues guitarist, (add to the mix singer/songwriter)was thrilled to be on stage with two of his favourite artists. With no rehearsal, all the musicians including Jace Traz on drums (one of the tastiest and most artistic drummers I know) and David MacMichael on bass (uber cool and relaxed) gave us all a rockin’ soulful performance we’ll remember for a long time.
Long himself got up to sing, dedicating much of his set to Bobby Curtola and Curtola’s amazing legacy. Curtola was present at the birth of the Canadian music scene and his many contributions put him in the forefront, creating or affecting what we now call CANCON, SOCAN and FACTOR. His love for his fans and all those close to him were paramount. Curtola never lost his voice and sang as sweetly at 70 as he did at 20. His charitable work for children was unceasing. Long’s renditions of Curtola’s songs were remarkable, and if you had closed your eyes, you could actually imagine it was Curtola was in front of you singing. I heard Long once before and was amazed at how beautifully he sang. This time he performed full on and his voice was strong and clear, singing from the heart, impressing the entire audience. Long’s siblings joined him on stage and after a few songs Long called up many of his friends to join them. Taylor’s crooning experience was on full display as he closed out the night, a cappella, with an astounding, mind-blowing performance of “That Lucky Old Sun”, a favourite of Long’s brothers. A truly amazing ending to wonderful night.
A Photo Diary of the evening’s events….
Host Danny Marks
Toney Springer & Sam Taylor
L-R – Toney Springer, Sam Taylor & Jerome Godboo
L-R – Toney Springer, David MacMichael, Jace Traz, Sam Taylor, Jerome Godboo
John performs and the siblings remember
L-R – John Long, Long’s son Steven, Spider Jones & Danny Marks
L-R – Danny Marks, Kelly Gruber, Janet Long, Jerome Godboo and Sam Taylor
Sam Taylor performing Lucky Old Son
Lucky Old Sun – Frankie Laine
So that’s October 20th and 21st covered. October 22 I steered the vehicle towards Oshawa for the ONES show at the Regent Theatre. Apparently “Beatles shows” don’t sell in the Shwa, being a bonafide, hardcore rock ‘n’ roll city dontcha know. Well….120 tickets were sold, with no advertising, the first week they went on sale to theatre members only. Another “unheard of”. Well….the show was 95% sold and the theatre was rocking. Every seat that contained a body was vibrating. People were finding it impossible to sit still. They laughed, they sang, they clapped, they lit up their cell phones (matches and lighters are so passé) and waved their arms in the air for “Imagine”. Another “standing O” and encore and this time the seats emptied. Everyone dashed to the front and filled the aisles. Unbridled dancing commenced throughout the entire theatre. The crowd did not want the night to end and they very reluctantly allowed the band leave the stage even after several encore tunes. I left the band members to their own devices as they were swarmed by the crowd seeking selfies and autographs and headed back into Toronto. For some ungodly reason, more than half-way home, I decided to head to Scruffy Murphy’s to see the aforementioned (somewhere in this article) Sam Taylor and The East End Love. I didn’t realize Scruffy’s was DOWNTOWN!!!! By the time I got settled at a table I realized I had a fever. However, that did not prevent me from enjoying one lovely Bombay Sapphire and tonic….with lemon of course (the yellow one, not that bloody green one!). Side note: What’s with the dearth of lemons in the bars and clubs? Loads of limes, bowls filled with them, but the lowly lemon…nary a one. A proper G&T was originally accompanied by a LEMON, not a damn lime!
Notice……not a single lime!!!
Home….a double-strength ibuprofen and we’re right as rain the following morning. Not sure what helped the most, the gin or the aspirin…….?
Next stop, Monday night was Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto for a book launch. Single By Choice Or Chance by authors Jill O’Donnell and Jackie Porter. It’s a quick read and focuses on the “later life stages for single women….” I snapped a few pics, noshed on a few appies, received my copy of the book (for every book purchased, $2 was contributed to Gilda’s Club). To find out more about Gilda’s Club check their website here https://gildasclubtoronto.org/
The following Friday I was a +1 with friend and videographer Dennis Saunders (who was recording the show) at The Revival to see George Clinton’s Brides of Funkenstein, all the way from California. Featuring Dawn Silva and Gail Muldrow, former members of the Parliament Funkadelic Band (or P/Funk). Previously a background singer for Sly and The Family Stone, Silva, along with Lynn Mabry, joined the Parliament Funkadelic in the mid-70s. George Clinton named the two singers The Brides of Funkenstein, basing the name on a storyline and characters from his album The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein. Mabry left the duo and others have replaced her over the years but Silva has continued as the one original member of The Brides. Guitarist and vocalist Muldrow made her professional debut on Sly Stone’s recording “I Get High On You” at the age of 17. She has toured with various artists including Johnny Otis, Sly & the Family Stone, Prince, and Graham Central Station.
The retro 70s/80s event was sold out and the place quickly filled up. I’ve never seen so many afros in one room at one time….ever. There were some fabulous outfits, Halloween treats galore (you could even fill up your own goody bag) and some really serious dance moves….and I do love to dance.
Earlier in the day on Friday my photographer/drummer friend Karl Anderson brought over his set of digital drums and set them up for me, hooking them into a small speaker system since I do not own headphones. My neighbours are going to love me. Sharing space with my tiny dining table they are neatly ensconced in a corner in front of my Gretsch snare (part of my acoustic set). I’m committed now. Reviewing my charts and trying to make sense of the programming but I’m back at it again. Now, to get the co-ordination figured out…..pat your head and rub your tummy….now reverse…..not so easy eh?
…and now a little blues to end the day….just because…..
Boom Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker
All photographs by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”
Drummerworld, Wikipedia, various websites
Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.
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“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence — 33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!