Pat Bythe – Saying Goodbye…and Music!

A blank page. I’m staring at a blank page. (ok, not anymore). A few words have appeared. It’s not the dearth of things to write about, it’s the overabundance.


This week I am preparing for a trip south of the 49th. Heading to Oregon to say one final goodbye to a dearly loved friend. One last drive. Play a Research Turtles song in my head. Gift mother earth with his ashes and hopefully some of his heart and spirit. Wish him a happy, music-filled journey wherever he is and head home to a world a whole lot emptier without him. This is not going to be easy.

Waterfall – 10cc

It’s funny (in a good way) the friendships we make and the bonds we create with the most unexpected people…..and it’s all based on circumstance. The time of your life, a place you never frequent, the party you didn’t want to attend, the sudden change in plans, the introduction, a stranger’s helping hand, a death, a Facebook message….how we meet and connect with people is truly an amazing thing. I’m a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”. People walk in and out of our lives every day. Some you know will always be a part of your life wherever life takes each of you. Some are present for only a moment but leave a distinct imprint. Some whisk through long enough to say hello and are gone in a flash, barely remembered. Some you can just “feel” when they walk into a room. They fill it in an instant, a presence that simply shines. You don’t even have to turn around to know when they’ve “left the building”.

Relationships develop, friendships deepen….all built on mutual loves, likes and respect but with enough differences to learn from each other. Spirited discussions, shared experiences, caring, support, open minds and hearts. It is truly an amazing thing. These friends…..they walk with us as we travel the various pathways of our lives, joining us at varying points, sometimes leaving us to continue on our own, sometimes remaining with us until our own journey is complete.

We carry or are carried, we fix each other’s booboos, cheer each other on, pick each other up when we trip or fall, we guide, advise, learn from and warn each other. We struggle. We are honest. We care. Perfection? No. But that’s what makes it all so exciting and worth the effort….this is what carries us through our lives. Like stepping stones the best ones are solid, genuine and sure.

Frank Gutch Jr. was one such stepping stone. He landed in my life through a reconnection and an opportunity to write this column. It had been just over a year since I had lost Chris and Frank somehow eased into my void and I his. Our deep friendship developed during the ensuing three years with many calls, Skypes and the like taking us late into the night and early mornings. There was just so much to discuss. Commonalities that drew us together were drums, photography (his, mine, Cheeto’s (sic) and Chris’s) and of course, music and writing. There were no barriers to what we talked about with so many stories on both sides. It was refreshing and something to look forward to. Even now, every night I come home from the clubs and festivals and can’t wait to get online and share the excitement with Frank.

A friend recently received a posthumous package from Frank. He loved to share his music and would send her albums he thought she would enjoy. The package was labeled and ready to be mailed when he died suddenly. She was overcome when she received it and sent me this message, “I burst into tears the moment I got it. He really was the kindest man and now I really wish I’d paid back his kindness more than I did. You always think there’s more time.” My response was this, “We always think there’s a tomorrow. We’re programmed like that. Otherwise we’d all be doing nothing else but frantically running around ringing our hands constantly worried about time. Even though we know the next breath could be the last (either ours or someone else’s) we still carry on with our day-to-day lives, assuming in our hearts, there’s always more time. Frank thought so too….”

So, for all those beautiful people that mean so much to us, reach out a send a quick message, call (I’m sure they’d love to hear your voice), take the time to write a note and actually post it (shocking I know), invite them for that walk, meal or coffee, share yourself. For those that have left us, do a good deed in their memory, share the memories and their stories… and be thankful you knew them. The real blessing is, no matter how much they are missed, you carry the gift of them around with you always. They will remain in your heart until you breathe your last. As cliché as it sounds, there may be no tomorrow and by jings, we’re not getting any younger.

One more thing … difficult as it is to see sometimes, you are just as important to them. You too have been invited and embraced to share in someone’s journey. Travel with care.

Clubbing and picking up from where I Ieft off last week…..

Stuck On Planet Earth….I didn’t have time to edit any more photos for last week’s column so here are a  few. I look forward to seeing this band again. Their videos are very graphic and impart some interesting messages cutting through images and hypocritical beliefs with a very perceptive eye.

l-r – Adam Bianchi (vocals/guitar) and Andrew Testa (drums)

Al Capo (vocals/bass)

Use Me – Stuck On Planet Earth

After the Phoenix and leaving behind the energy and sweat of Adelaide Hall I sauntered over to Cherry Cola’s. Famed Melody Maker photographer Barrie Wentzell was sitting outside having a smoke. We had met at the Female Eye Film Festival last year and chatted at length about archiving negatives and photography in general. I think I’ve only run into him once since then so I was surprised that he remembered me. Wentzell was THE photographer from 1965 to 1975 for British newspaper Melody Maker, a musicians broadsheet. He had carte blanche access to many of the current and up-and-coming rock ‘n’ roll stars of the day including The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Kinks,  Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Ian Anderson….the list is damn near endless. Leslie Ann Coles has produced and directed the award winning documentary Melody Makers: Should’ve Been There featuring Wentzell and his photographs. Ten years in the making, the documentary has been garnering many award around the world for Coles. If you get the chance to see it….DO!!!

Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson

I walked in the club still chatting to Wentzell and then left him with his friend while I proceeded to the back of the club. Dylan Hennessy was on stage and Blackdog Ballroom were up next so perched on a stool at the far end of the bar I hauled out my gear while the lovely Randi poured my drink. It’s something special (at least to me) when I can walk into a club and the bartender (who in this case is also a friend)  knows not only what I drink, but how I like it.

Dyan Hennessy

Michael Stanfield of Blackdog Ballroom

I noticed the back area curtained off but paid no attention. It wasn’t until somebody asked me if I’d been to the concert I found out why. “Which concert? I’ve been to three already,” was my response. Well, apparently I hadn’t seen THE concert….Jack White….and apparently he was on his way over to the club after announcing it from the stage. I had no idea!! Well….my camera was out but I hate being intrusive so no, I did not get a photo of him. I don’t care how famous you are and how itchy my trigger finger is, I don’t invade someone’s privacy. A “pleased to meet” can sometimes be suffice without sticking a lens in somebody’s face. No cameras are allowed at my Christmas open house. Let those who don’t often get the chance to just be…

While all this was going on and people are beginning to pack the bar, Blackdog Ballroom filled the room with music. It’s always a pleasure to see these guys perform. All part of NXNE, the venues were open until 4am. I crawled into bed at 5am.

This past Friday, June 15 I did some dancing at The Duke to the tunes of DJ Michael Williams and then headed into the Beach to the Salty Dog Bar & Grill for their open mic blues night. Holy smoke!!! The place was crammed with all sorts of ne’er-do-wells packing these things called musical instruments….and then there were those simply enjoying the vibe. Blues bassist Jerome Tucker, harmonica player Steve Grant (Buddy Guy), drummer Kid Carson, guitarist Greg Godovitz, bluesman singer/guitarist Sam Taylor, Maia Van Raes on keys and sooooo many more. Hosts Mike Sedgewick and Robin Hutchinson seem to have one of the busiest and most popular blues jams around, right smack in the middle of my hood! What blast!

Steve Grant

Jerome Tucker becoming one with the music

Sam Taylor

Kid Carson

Jerome Tucker and Maia Van Raes

l-r – Greg Godovitz, Sam Taylor (behind him) and Steve Grant

It’s Sunday so it must be Sam at Sauce….Sam Taylor that is….at Sauce on the Danforth. Again the place is jammed to rafters with blues lovers. Taylor, along with Jace Traz (drums), Maia Van Raes (electric and acoustic keys) and guest Steve Grant (harmonica), had the place vibrating. Taylor and his band now have residency at Sauce the third Sunday of every month, 4pm-7pm, Get there early to catch them in action….. It’s SRO by 3:30pm.

Taylor under the moniker Little Magic Sam has just released his latest single Can’t Stop, a kick-ass, blues infused rock song that is redolent of the days of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Bet you can’t sit still…. Check it out here

That’s it for now. I will be in Oregon next week so there will be no column. I’m sure there will be many stories to share the following week. I truly hope everyone is having a great summer so far.


All photographs ©2018 A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” unless otherwise noted.


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

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! 

3 Responses to “Pat Bythe – Saying Goodbye…and Music!”

  1. Jain McMillan Says:

    So sorry for your loss…

  2. Peter Montreuil Says:

    What an amazing column!

  3. Christine Romard Says:

    A lovely reminder Pat. Well written.

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