Pat Blythe – Herve Bassett, Tom Cochrane and Blonde…James Blonde…..

I always seem to playing catch-up. I’ve managed to reduce the number of projects by a whole two. There’s a very, very, very long list of shows and photo’s that need to be addressed (metaphorically speaking) before I start loading up the flash drives on the camera again. September came and went in about 30 seconds….and in that 30-second clip it was go, go, go with music, music and…….yep, more music. When at home there were brief forays to the fridge for what sustenance could be found and the occasional trip out to the back deck to savour a Bombay Sapphire. With the weather being what it was, and still is, we can all be excused for thinking it’s still mid-August and Christmas is months away. Ya right!!!! Heeeeeere’s October and the back end of Thanksgiving. Hang on to your hats, it’s December tomorrow……

In remembrance….

For some reason this particular show event is not showing in my calendar, a calendar I thought I religiously kept up to date. Apparently not! It was while searching through file folders of photos I noticed his name, Herve Bassett. So, we head back almost three months to mid-July when many in “the biz” headed to the Rockpile for a tribute to Herve Bassett. On June 27, while performing on stage at Cadillac Lounge, the much revered, loved and deeply respected keyboardist, collapsed from a massive heart attack. Although conscious and lucid when paramedics took him to the hospital, Bassett passed away shortly afterward. There was a memorial held at Hideout July 1 which was followed by a tribute at the Rockpile on July 19. It was the latter I attended.

According to daily music magazine Toronto Moon, “Basset was an enthusiastic performer who was happy to add his zesty but tasty musical presence to a band of pretty much any style or work in the background providing fills for a long list of marquee singer-guitarists with whom he teamed up over the past few decades on the TO scene. He also functioned as a steadying, calming influence for many artists, serving as a mentor for some, coach for others and cheerleader for more than a few.”

Performers were a who’s who of the Toronto music scene and included Toney Springer and Guenther Kapelle from Wild T & the Spirit; guitarist James Green Blushing Brides and James Green Electric; Frank Cosentino; Dale Harrison from the Headstones; Susan O’Quinn; Jerome Godboo; Laura Lee Montgomery; Marshall Dane; Shawn Brady who was Bassett’s partner in the Brady-Bassett duo; Mike Hopley of the Tequila Rocking Birds and so many more. The place was rocking and voices were in top form. A wonderful, heartfelt send-off to a man who was much loved and touched so many lives….a man who’s oxygen was music.

A few of the performers………

Shawn Brady

Susan O’Quinn

Lisa Shaughnessy

Marshall Dane (l) and Guenther Kapelle (r)

Mike Hopely (Tequila Rocking Birds)

Randy Charlton

Frank Cosentino

Tim Gittens

Stan Miczek

L-R – Jerome Godboo, Guenther Kapelle & Kathleen Lovett

Soundbites 2017……

Tom Cochrane

A free concert, part of the 4th annual Soundbites 2017 in Mississauga…..I’m there with bells on!! Fresh off their Mad Mad World tour across Canada and the U.S., Tom Cochrane and Red Rider (Jeff Jones on bass, Ken Greer on guitar, pedal steel guitar and keyboards and Davide Direnzo on drums) blew into town to perform at Celebration Square for a very excited audience. The place was packed, no wiggle room at all. There were two opening acts….Anjulie and Francesco Yates, both of whom, in my doddering years (she says tongue-in-cheek), I have never heard of. I had no idea what to expect and was more than “pleasantly surprised”. Both performers were, in a word, brilliant. Dance music….check. Real musicians and a full band…..check. Happy feet…..check.


First up was singer/songwriter/producer and Juno award winner Anjulie. Born and raised in Oakville, Ontario, the Indo-Guyanese singer bounded on stage and didn’t stop moving, bouncing from one side of the stage to the other. With a strong, clear, passionate voice, she puts her all into every song and quickly builds a strong rapport with the audience. Anjulie has collaborated with Diplo, Kelly Clarkson, Nicki Minaj and Benny Benassi and wrote Kreesha Turner’s hit song Don’t Call Me Baby. Her songs have been featured on the MTV series The Hills and The City; ABC’s series Eastwick; The CW’s Melrose Place and The Vampire Diaries as well as Canada’s Next Top Model. A very busy woman, Anjulie writes an editorial series with VICE called Chicks Who Write Hits and is member of the female songwriting group SVNG, (Songwriters Under New Government). She is also strong supporter of the Canadian Woman’s Foundation and UN Women, both of whom have used her self-produced song “Dragonflies” for their Violence Against Women campaign.

Stand Behind the Music – Anjulie

Brand New Bitch

Don’t Call Me Baby – Kreesha Turner

Holy firecracker! …..then there’s Francesco Yates. This ball of lightening blew on the stage and didn’t pause for his entire performance….and he doesn’t even sweat! Yates has enough energy to light up the city….any city. A 22-year-old wunderkid with an incredible amount of talent wrapped up in one individual. He’s got a voice that stops traffic, supremely confident….he owns the stage…..moves like MJ, and his band is so solid and tight they can read his every nuance. The whole show just clicked. A mix of pop and R&B, you can’t stop moving to his music or take your eyes off him. A dancer’s delight…..and the young girls were swooning. Perfect pop….at least for this night.

Francesco Yates with his bassist*

Writing since the age of 11, Yates released his first EP at 15 after signing with Atlantic Records. He and Carly Rae Jepson were the opening acts for Hedley’s 2016 Hello World Tour. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, piano, drums and harmonica) Yates was on fire. His distinctive, trademark Afro leaves an immediate visual impression but it’s his crystal clear falsetto that has drawn the attention of both Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams. Williams not only co-produced Yates’s debut but used his guitar skills on his song Gust of Wind for his new album G I R L.

According to Yates, “I just want to make really important music that can last, and is not stamped to one timeframe.”

He’s well on his way.

Sugar – Robin Schulz featuring Francesco Yates

Call – Francesco Yates

Better To Be Loved – Francesco Yates

…and now, the “piece de resistance”….

I have always wanted to see Cochrane and Red Rider in action and this was THE opportunity. There was some time between Yate’s and Cochrane’s performances and I had long been anticipating a drink and maybe hitting one of those food trucks. Positioned right up at the front, stage left, for almost three hours, my stomach was starting to protest and some sort of movement other than standing was in order. When I turned around I was confronted by a HUGE crowd, one that had been growing steadily behind my back. It was a sea of bodies and if I left my position, I’d never get it back. Decision made, I rustled up a couple of Tic Tacs and stood my ground. Refreshments of any kind would have to wait.

L-R – Jeff Jones, Ken Greer and Tom Cochrane

I’m at a loss for words. It’s been so long since I had attended an honest-to-goodness rock concert….it was heaven. When you know the songs and are so familiar with a performer it’s beyond surreal to see them live. My camera went into overdrive and since I couldn’t move, the creative part of my brain (the only active part at that point) kicked into high gear as I looked for unique shots and perspectives. Over a thousand shots later I got 71 I’m supremely happy with. Thrilling, exhilarating, my teenage self was blissed out.

Lunatic Fringe

L-R – Jeff Jones, Ken Greer and Tom Cochrane

Red Rider was formed in 1975 by guitarist Ken Greer, drummer Rob Baker, keyboardist Peter Boynton and bassist Jon Checkowski. Following the departure of Checkowski, Jeff Jones joined them and at the same time Cochrane became the band’s front man. After signing with Capitol Records in 1979, Red Rider recorded their debut single White Hot. Their first album, Don’t Fight It was released in 1980. The following year their second album As Far As Siam was released and went platinum. It currently ranks as their most popular work to date and features what’s become the band’s “signature” song, Lunatic Fringe. The song has appeared in the film Vision Quest and the TV series Miami Vice. Throughout the ensuing years Red Rider has had a few members come and go and at one point Cochrane went solo. The band was reformed in 2002 with Greer, Cochrane and Jones as Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. The current lineup, with Davide Direnzo pounding the skins, continues to perform and tour in North America.

White Hot – Red Rider

Still can’t get the drummer!!

No Regrets – Tom Cochrane

Blonde…James Blonde….

Phil Taylor

Lord there is so much talent out there but these three…..these three are a standout. Performing together since high school, Neil Carson (bass/vox), Steph Mercier (lead guitar/vox) and Phil Taylor (drums/vox) are a harmonic force in James Blonde. Able to sing a cappella at the drop of a hat, they are also amazing musicians and superb songwriters and their new self-titled debut album proves this… abundance. Their turn with a phrase, witty one liners and beautiful melodies all tie together in songs such as Heartbreak, Golden Vibes, a personal favourite Take That Love and Cynical (to name a few). Pop/rock with a dash of funk and ALL danceable.

Don’t Lock The Door – James Blonde

Cynical – James Blonde

Neil Carson

The Toronto album launch was held at the Drake Underground in Toronto’s west end. Their entire performance was the album brought to life. I was astounded. Attempting to replicate a studio production on stage is at best, difficult. James Blonde pulled it off effortlessly. A live action turntable…. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to their music and watching them grow and expand during the past few years….I suppose “mature” is the word I’m looking for. Their music has changed and there’s a distinct confidence that comes with years of performing and writing together. I love the music and the band. These guys are a must if you get the chance to see one of their shows. You won’t be able to sit still.

Steph Mercier

Shut Up and Dance With Me – James Blonde (cover)

That’s it for now. It’s almost 2:30am and I need some shut-eye. Dance class tomorrow and continuing to work on the “GingerPennies” project.


All photographs copyright A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” unless otherwise noted.


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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dbawis-button7“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 little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso 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! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Herve Bassett, Tom Cochrane and Blonde…James Blonde…..”

  1. […] free concert at Celebration Square in Mississauga. You can read about her in a previous column here… Having written hit songs for other artists including Kelly Clarkson, Niki Minaj, Kreesha Turner […]

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