Read Robert Write Away

When DBAWIS launched 11 years ago, it was a column in the online cut and paste blog of David Farrell’s called ‘FYIMusic’. I started writing there when Old Chum and fearless supporter of yours truly, Greg “The Toker” Simpson, was offered a column there, turned it down, and suggested David give me a call. He did, and I said yes. He was offering the princely sum of 25 dollars a week or so, and seeing as how I never have enough money, even that small amount would be welcome. I have never been paid what I am worth …but then again, I have never made money my first priority.  I’m not perfect, you know.

All I thought was, “Here’s an opportunity to learn a new skill by doing it …my favourite kind of schooling ….

I was working at SIRIUS Sat/Rad at the time, and didn’t think I would have any problem popping out a 500 – 900 word column once a week, and at first, I didn’t. …but I did not know that the writing tick would shove its head beneath my skin and give me the fever.

I realized after a week or two that I had a lot I wanted to stay, and one column a week became three, and I never looked back. Like Robert Heinlein so eloquently put it, “The only thing worse than writing …is not writing”.

No truer words were ever spoken.

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I started turning out 3 columns a week. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

They became themed after a bit, with Mondays devoted to ‘mail’ from readers, which became an open forum of sorts, like a thread on Facebook, Wednesdays became personal stories and serialized opus’ like “Wacker Drive”, “When Radio and Records Ruled the World”, and “The Art of Touring”, a few of which ran over 3 months.

One I wish I could rerun was called “Sex and Drugs, and Rock and Roll”, and was the history of sexual innuendo in rock lyrics, drugs in the industry and musicians, and of course, why ’70s music was mainly drug fueled in the pursuit of groupies.

Fridays were reserved for the ‘Weekend Roundup’ where I just wrote about whatever had my attention at the moment.

Unfortunately, when Farrell hooked up with investors and became a website, he tragically deleted the entire FYIMusic catalogue. All of it. Gone. He had given me a heads up, and I managed to rescue quite a bit, some of which has been reprinted here, but Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll is gone forever. Months and months of research, lost recordings, and great stories. Most of FYI ws simply cut and paste, but DBAWIS was original, hard won, personal, and, like my music, my children.

The wound is still open ….

Somewhere in my archives, I do believe I have a few chapters from the series. Unfortunately, all the groundwork, the beginnings of the history, the first 3 or 4 chapters, were deleted and are irreplaceable. If I ever find the chapters I do have, I will try to rerun them.

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Earlier this week, while looking for something else, I found the 5th ever column I wrote for FYIMusic.

It was an eye-opener.

Because we had an industry-heavy readership, I received a lot of comments in the ‘Reply’ section at the bottom of every column I have ever written. Sometimes there was so much feedback and response, I couldn’t print it all. The Mailbag below was the product of just 4 columns. The first four I wrote for FYI.

I’d like that option to happen again. My fellow writers would love to hear what you have to say about what they write, and frankly, so would I. It would help us find out what you like …and what you don’t like …and give you a chance to speak your mind about the topics we write about.

So …the Reply section is down at the bottom of every column, and I get an alert every time someone posts a comment. Just scroll down past the writer’s bio at the end of each column, and you’ll find it.

We want to hear from you. And I will make sure your comments are responded to by the writers you reply to.

In fact …it would be lovely to devout the Mondays of the month to the DBAWIS “Mailbag” like we used to. One monday a month belongs to Gary Pig Gold …but the other three could look like this.

And now…the mail ….

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Bob,
Congrats on the new gig!
“Rock The Boat”? Lame name. That’s got Walt & Stan written all over it.
“Don’t Believe A Word I Say” is much better — and it’s a deliberate
reference to you. – Verm

Seg Sez – David, (Farrell), had already decided to change the name before you suggested it, but once again, you were right on the money.

“Verm” is the nickname of Jaimie Vernon. President of Indie Label Bullseye Records, and a fine singer/songwriter with several great albums to his credit. “Dear Chum”, and his “Life’s A Canadian Rock” are classics. Jaimie is also the author of the ongoing Encyclopedia Of Canadian Pop Music, and one of the founders of http://www.radiothatdoesntsuck.com

“Way to go Bob…. You continue to “Blow Me Away” in 2009!!!! Just as you did in 1960!…. A true “Artist” is defined to me as a person that is relentless in the pursuit of his “Art”. You are an Artist my friend – Gary Lewis Smalley

Seg Sez – I went from kindergarten into high school with Gary. He was a smart guy, a good friend, and has a fine life in California. I dropped out in the 11th grade, got a record deal, got into show biz, and eventually  moved to Canada. Go figure.

I may get hammered for this next comment, but here goes.  I’m not a Justin Timberlake fan, but I don’t think he sucked at all, in fact, I rather enjoyed his performances on the Grammys.  I enjoyed his humor and the seemingly genuine interest he has in the art and history of music.  Yeah, he’s marketed to death, but I do think he has talent.  And, c’mon admit it, you laughed (or at least smiled a little) at “Dick in a Box”.  That being said, he did help hang Miss Jackson out to dry. – Sheila Lum

Seg Sez – I like JT. I’m still not a HUGE fan of his singing, but the boy has talent, plus…he’s boned just about every hottie in Hollywood. Gotta have something going on…
Truth be told, I watched a great Samuel L. Jackson film called, “Black Snake Moan” on TMN one night. Sam and Christina Ricci were their usual great selves, and so was the actor that played Ricci’s boyfriend.

Didn’t know it was Timberlake until the end credits rolled. That, and the hilarious Pepsi

commercials,…gotta give him props.

Nice column…just read it aloud to my staff meeting at http://www.pacificav.com…don’t know when I’ll be in TO next but will let you know – Tom Lavin

Seg Sez – Tom of course, is the leader of the legendary Powder Blues Band and also has a real life and stuff…

A good read, Bob.  I put it on twitter so my thousands of adoring followers (okay, 28) can read it too if they choose.  I’ll be very sorry to see Sirius go, if it does … I have become quite attached to it. – Del in Tampa

Seg Says – It won’t go Del, it’ll just change, or change hands.

Del has a fine band down in Florida called Ferengata.

Just read your column and totally agree. Hated the Grammys, hated the weird pairings – and Paul McCartney? – John Lennon is groaning in his grave. Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers? Please spare me. And last but not least, hate hate hated the rap stuff. – Carla Lockhart

Seg Sez – Last time I saw Carla she was married to Ray from Dr. Hook. She’s a dear friend from my sordid past.

Here’s a few more posts from Jaimie Vernon…

Sirius and XM both stopped doing what initially
attracted subscribers in the first place…which was free-style
playlists and no few commercial interruptions. They then adopted a new
‘greed’ policy similar to the one that is killing terrestrial radio.
And it is THAT part of the equation that has hit a brick wall because
of the recession… but not necessarily the cause. – VERM

 …and Seb Agnello

Bob, you should’ve reminded Al that pre-CanCon, he had his first #1 hit with The Lords Of London. He worked his ass off and it paid off. – Seb

Seg Sez – Seb is a National Treasure. The Lords Of London, S.C.A.B, and many other musical projects over the years. He has been an independent recording artist longer than anybody else in Canada. And one of the sharpest, most prolific writers and performers I know. The Lords first single, “Cornflakes And Ice Cream” was the first number 1 on the CHUM Chart by a Canadian group in the rock age.

But, Seb…with CanCon in place a manager/label/ artist doesn’t HAVE to
work their ass off…they’ll have a radio add handed to them on a
silver platter just because they are Canadian….NOT. – VERM
Who stopped putting MAPL on product because it did NOTHING to help get
radio play or stimulate sales.

Hi there! I love your style and your column! You are exactly right about people knowing nothing about radio or satellite being part of the demise! I have forwarded your piece on to a guy named Jerry Del Colliano…ex radio guy, ex PD, ex communications prof at USC and founder of Inside Radio. You and he are on the same page! – Andy Neill, ex Canuck radio guy, third generation, Fortaleza, Brazil

Seg Sez – Thanks you for your comments. I read Jerry, and Lefsetz, and all those guys. I’m flattered that you sent my column to someone I admire.

…and for the love of God, please send us your weather.

Now…one more from Jaimie

Bob, Excellent as always. Two things: 1) Norah Jones isn’t Canadian. Her elbows aren’t even Canadian — she’s Ravi Shankar’s daughter and has lived mostly in New York City her whole life. Maybe you were thinking of someone else? 2) When we took PEI native John Boswell to radio in Spring 2002 he competed AGAINST Norah (how ironic), Alanis and a shitstorm of other female acts and boy bands. His track “Forgive Me” got the attention of CHUM-FM which earned him a not insignificant 14 weeks on the CHUM Top30 (including the video show on CITY-TV). He filled an opening in the station’s CanCon hole the week it started getting airplay. But, when we went to them with the second single in September we were turned down, not because the song wasn’t good (au contraire, “Caught In Your Orbit” was actually a hotter track than “Forgive Me”), but because they’d already ‘filled’ quota going into the September ratings.

Some ridiculous figure was bandied about at that time period that only 6% of all Canadian content came from independents — and 5% of that was at Country radio. As defender and cultivator of all things CanCon — having written the Canadian Music Encyclopedia and re-issued Canadian Classic Rock for the better part of 24 years — I could no longer sit back and watch our great talent be ghettoized by legislation.

We began sending our tracks to Canadian radio from AMERICAN trackers without the MAPL logo attached. We deliberately left cities of origin and names of recording studios off biographies. Our ratio of getting airplay vs. NOT getting airplay went UP…because we were no longer competing for the six points allotted to indies out of the 33 – 35% CanCon pie. We were competing for all of the 66.7% pie that was left over. To that end we managed a significant amount of airtime for both Dave Rave (who spends much of his time Stateside) and Toronto’s The First Time. I guess we’ll get less now that I’ve let the cat out of the bag.Jaimie Vernon, President, Bullseye Records

Seg Sez – I stand corrected on Norah Jones. I meant Nelly Furtado. Funny, Norah did it with an almost all Canadian support system, and Nelly did it using American clout.

Bob, Good posting. At least you got to feel what we did for a while at Iceberg (pre “95”). There’s nothing like going to work an an atmosphere that’s absolutely crackling with creative energy. And, unfortunately, nothing like the feeling of betrayal when it’s taken away from you, in our case by totally inept management. Of course that management was kept on at Iceberg after Gary bought it, which is a whole other conversation for a whole other day. Cheers – Don Berns

Seg Sez – The legendary Don Berns. great on-air personality and one of the pioneers, along with David Marsden, Hedley Jones, and others, of Internet Radio. The Iceberg he refers to was Iceberg.com, a project waaay ahead of it’s time, just like the dot com I was involved with at the time, musicmusicmusic.com. I did put together an all Canadian Channel for Iceberg called The Great White North, (I wanted all the original SCTV folks to do the imaging), for J.M Heimrath as a test run for Sat/Rad and Iceberg 95. Speaking of which, I had a great time working with Gary Aube there.

The DBAWIS Question of the Week

Favorite Radio station from your youth and why. Whether it was coming out of a transistor radio under the covers at night, your dad’s console radio when the folks were out to dinner, or in the car when it was the only way your parents could shut you up. The station with the hits, the Boss Jocks, the laid back fm pioneers, or the provider of the music that changed your life. What was that station, and why did you love it?

Post your answers in the “Reply” section below.

Here are the replies to last week’s Question of the Week – What record/artist makes you want to shove your foot through the radio/player?

Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners..
right from the Poor Old Johnny Ray….like a smoke alarm
I have to do something to make it stop…
Take On Me   by AHA would be a close second…
thought the video was almost cool though..
and watched it with the sound off…
Ooh that Smell   by Lynyrd Skynyrd…
speaks for itself. – Lawrence Ingles

Seg Says – I didn’t see ANY of those coming.

Anything by Celine Dion:
Pretentious, bombastic blather.  Even if the songs were good… which they
ain’t… her singing them in that obnoxious, pseudo operatic,
power-caterwaul of hers make my back teeth hurt.  Good gawd Celine, put a
sock in it, take your millions and disappear!!! Anything by Whitney Houston:
See above.  That plus those obnoxious runs she does.  I’m convinced that
singers who resort to using runs like that every 2 bars, are people who
simply can’t hold a note for 5 seconds.  Either that or they have terminal
ADD, and lose interest.  Either way she makes my front teeth hurt.  Those
two back to back on the radio, and I’m on my way to the dentist!! – Pat Bergin (CHUM’s Scott Carpenter)

Seg Sez – Normally, I would agree with this wholeheartedly, but several years ago, I was putting together a Christmas channel for radiomoi.com. I sent someone out to buy a pant load of Christmas CD’s, and they returned with a treasure trove. Of all the versions of Mel Torme’s, ‘The Christmas Song’, I wanted to use the best one I could find. The one that really nailed the song, and the emotion it contained. As much as I love Torme, Nat Cole, Bennett, and all the others,  Celine Dion’s version was the best. Scared the crap out of me”.

A song a friend loves, that listening to makes me crazy??  This is the one. It says so little and the same thing over and over and over that it makes me want to scream!  I’ve asked to be let out of the car to keep from having to listen to this when the person refused to skip past it when I asked.  Then, worse, the melody gets stuck in my head for what seems forever. That song?  Reason To Believe by Rod Stewart – Michele Hartley

Seg Sez – Rod Stewart is tall…by British standards.

Anything by SRV or Zed Lepplin. Not that SRV gets any airplay these days, but when he does, I can’t change the station fast enough. I have no idea why. He just sounds like “wankwankwankwankwank”. Zeppelin? Bad recording, stolen songs, drunk drummer, cat in heat singer. – Bennie G

Seg Sez – Back in 2000, three of my friends and I went down to Cincinnati to sing at the Harry Nilsson Fest. We stopped in Cleveland and went to the HOF. We had been on the road for about 4 hours, so the first place we headed was the café on the top floor. There was a nice balcony, ice cold beer, and hot dogs that were so good, they didn’t need any condiments. For some bizarre reason, the manager of the café decided that I was her bestest friend ever, and comped us food and beer all day. After an hour, we were singing acapella 4 part harmony to a great audience. We were still at it when the place closed, the manager having told us she, (and everyone else), was leaving, and there were 4 more pitchers of beer on the counter for us. By the time we left, we had to find a janitor to let us out. We only saw one HOF artifact on the way out …Stevie Ray Vaughn’s hat.

Who let the dogs out? Who let these guys record? – Phil Bronner

SEG SAYS – I really liked this record. Especially driving around 80 miles an hour with my head out the window ….

Sugar Sugar by the Archies. My daughter loved this single so much, my ex-wife bought it for her. It played non-stop for 3 months. …Hence the EX-wife. – Paul Kleppinger

SEG SAYS – 3 months! You’re a better man than I am, Mr. Kleppinger.

Bat Out Of hell. The whole album. I cannot imagine people liking this record, but all my friends just loved it. It was this album that convinced me that the English did not own the rights to pretension like I had thought up until I heard this overwrought claptrap. Meatloaf, anything that has any connection to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael, “Jesus, cut your crappy hair” Bolton, and the enormously over-rated soundtrack to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, all horrible to me. House parties where these records were played resulted in me either being thrown out, or in a fist fight. I once had to replace a friend’s stereo receiver because I threw a full can of Budweiser at it and totally fucked it up. – Michael Sizemore

SEG SAYS – I have nothing to say …(yes I do …but Mr. Loaf will shoot both of us).

Remember this week’s question:  Name your favorite Radio station from your youth and why. Whether it was coming out of a transistor radio under the covers at night, your dad’s console radio when the folks were out to dinner, or in the car when it was the only way your parents could shut you up. The station with the hits, the Boss Jocks, the laid back fm pioneers, or the provider of the music that changed your life. What was that station, and why did you love it?

Post your answers in the “Reply” section below the column. Thank You.

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Segarini’s regular columns don’t get sexually assaulted in prison anywhere near as often as Republicans will.

dbawis-button7giphyBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

3 Responses to “Read Robert Write Away”

  1. Greg Simpson Says:

    Thanks for the name drop…and happy anniversary…

  2. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Well written, as always. I am proud to be part of the crew.

  3. Greg Simpson Says:

    Is there any chance you can call me or send me an email?

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