Bob, Goddard, and Cosford Explain The Iceman – The Myth, The Legend, and The Bar Tab

I was going to write about the psychological impact of current pop music on housecats compared to the physical impact of dropping an armful of classic rock vinyl on them, when The Universe (in its mysterious and drug-addled randomness) conspired to intercede because (apparently) it was bored and felt like fucking with me.

Where I reside, (as decided for me by said Universe 42 years ago – in Toronto, Ontario, Canada), my reputation stems more from my time spent on the radio as this character, than on my musical accomplishments as Bob Segarini/Wacker/Dude/Dog, since 1966.

Before I add my 2 cents, (16 dollars Canadian), let me say that being The Iceman was just like being Batman but without Bruce Wayne’s money and all those fabulous toys …as long as I keep my mouth shut, I cannot be recognized as The Iceman …but once …standing in line to cash my meager Q107 paycheque, the man behind me said, “You’re the Iceman!” when I asked the teller (remember those?) to give me the cash in 10s, a 20, and 3 quarters, 2 dimes, and a penny (remember those?).

When I turned around to see who had recognized me, I saw him …sunglasses, service dog, and a red-tipped white cane. Bob as Batman drawn by Ty Templeton

I done got recognized by a blind guy.

If I were Batman, he would have ended my secret identity AND my crime fighting career right then and there.

Criminals would never be afraid of anything named ‘Bruce’.

I should have learned from the turkeys

=0=

On April 1st, FYIMusic, a lovely cut and paste online music mag with a couple of good writers (Hi, Bill, Hi, Kerry) must have needed some filler, so Hall of Fame bound David Farrell, must have figured this would do, and reprinted the following from Warren Cosford’s List, a well respected and read newsletter covering radio, music, politics, and Chinese Restaurants …well …here’s David to explain in his own words, followed by Warren’s tale of The Cometh-ing of The Iceman, followed by Warren’s wonderful assessment of how truly epic the era was for radio and music in Toronto back then. ….

From FYIMUSIC April 1st, 2019 edition –

The Iceman in redux

Warren Cosford this past weekend recalled one of his magic moments at 1331 Yonge Street, the address for CHUM Radio under the ownership of the Waters family. In this particular reminisce, republished in full from Warren’s List, his self-published newsletter sent to interested parties across North America (and beyond), he recalls the magic of Bob Segarini as he made the transition from band leader and pop prodigy to radio star. In Warren’s inimitable style, the essay doesn’t follow in linear fashion but wanders wondrously all over the track to encapsulate moments in time about Warren, Toronto, radio, its personalities and the magic of a bygone time.

 What follows is in Warren’s own words.

WARREN COSFORD

THE ICEMAN COMETH

It was 1981.  The Morning Shows on both CHUM and CHUM-FM sucked.  Q-107 was The Hot Rocker in town.  CFNY was The Hip Rocker.   The CHUMs were living on Heritage.   We needed to shake things up.

My Boss….J. Robert Wood….asked me to conduct “the most extensive Talent Search in The History of Radio”. 

You think I’m joking?

We put a kid from The CHUM Newsroom into a CHUM news cruiser sent him off to tape every Pop Music Station in North America from Boston in the East, to Minneapolis in the West and Nashville in the South.  He was gone for three months.  And came back with many miles of aircheck tapes.

While he was doing that, I got on the phone and called Everywhere Else. A Simple Ploy.  I asked the PD of Radio Station A who they would like to get out of town.  Then I called Radio Station B and asked the same question.  Both sent me airchecks.

But might there be Someone Local?  I already had some success recruiting Kelly Jay of Crowbar fame for all nights and Jim McKenny of Maple Leafs Hockey fame for sports.  Who else?

And then I thought of Segarini.

Bob Segarini was an American from California who had adopted Canada.  (Although I always suspected he was “wanted” back in Stockton).  Over the years he had been in bands that always had a “buzz” but rarely any hits.  As a solo act, we had produced a CHUM-FM/City-TV Simulcast with him which was one of my favourites because it contained the First Music Video any of us at CHUM/City had seen. 

“Don’t Believe a Word I Say” was a single from his “Gotta Have Pop” album.  It is a hilarious song about picking up girls.   In the Video Bob is standing at a bar singing pickup lines to an attractive woman.  And then he turns to The Camera and says what he’s really thinking.

I thought…..Toronto Radio needs someone with that kind of creativity.  So Bob and I had a drink.  In fact, we had many drinks.  I seem to recall it became a Scotch Tasting Party.

At The End of The Night, we had The Plan.

Using the name, The Iceman, Bob would send audition tapes to CHUM-FM hoping to become an announcer.  Of course, we would send letters of rejection.  I would tell people at the station about “this crazy kid from Scarboro” who won’t take “no” for an answer.   Bob would then call The Control Room and pester the evening announcer….Larry Wilson.   In fact “pester” enough so that Wilson would remember him.

Then one weeknight at midnight following a suitable amount of static interference, Larry Wilson’s Show on CHUM-FM would be “interrupted” by a voice claiming to be “broadcasting” from Scarboro and technically able to intercept CHUM-FM’s signal from studio to transmitter and replace it with his own.

The Iceman Cometh.

“Ice” would then explain that this was his way of “auditioning” for a job at CHUM-FM despite having been rejected many times because he had “no experience”.   Unfortunately, he was only capable of “intercepting” CHUM-FM’s signal for an hour at a time, but he planned to continue to “audition” each night at midnight until he had “the experience” he needed to be hired.

The next morning, CHUM-FM Chief Engineer Bruce Carnegie would be interviewed on The Morning Show explaining that what had happened was “technically impossible” and “without precedent” and that he would be personally standing by at the CHUM-FM transmitter to make sure that The Iceman would not be successful again.

Of course “Ice” would continue to Cometh.

After that, The Plan was to play things by ear and take our cues from The Audience.  We had lots of ideas.  For example, Ice could take requests by calling various phone booths throughout Toronto which he would identify beforehand on the air.

The key to The Stunt was that only Allen Waters, J. Robert Wood, Bruce Carnegie, Segarini and I would know what was REALLY going on.  Everything would be pre-taped outside the station earlier in the day and played back from a tape machine at the CHUM-FM transmitter.

Would The Audience have bought it?  I think so.  A few years earlier I produced a Jay Nelson character on the 1050 CHUM Morning show named Shredney Vashtar jumping over The Niagara Gorge on a 10 Speed Bicycle on a Sunday Morning.  Much to our surprise, a few hundred people showed up in Niagara.

The Iceman Stunt was far more believable.

Alas, management wouldn’t go for it.  But we did hire Bob Segarini as The Iceman.  Later in The ’80s, he would work at Q-107.  And as I write this The Iceman is Back on the air at Q twenty-two years later.

Warren Cosford

May 2003

Well….we may not have been able to convince them to let us do The Iceman Stunt Bob……but just dreaming it up was a great way to launch you into Radio.

You and Kelly J confirmed to me that a Great Lead Singer would likely be a Great Radio Personality. That you guys launched your Radio Careers in Toronto Radio was no mean feat.

Beginning in The ’70s thru most of The ’80s I would argue that The CHUMs/CFTR/Q-107/CFNY/City/MUCH were the most powerful Pop Culture Media Phenomenon in North America.

In The ’60s Paul White showed that you could “do it” from Canada when he “heard” The Beatles before most of us, but it really got “legs” with Supertramp thru Genesis, Meatloaf, Elvis Costello, The Police and all The Canadians from Gordon Lightfoot through The Guess Who and Anne Murray.

And then there were The Clubs. The El Mocambo. The Edge. Did you know that CHUM-FM broadcast 63 concerts in 1978 alone? And then there were the Radio/TV Simulcasts.

Yet…before there was MTV…..there was Moses Znaimer’s City-TV with John Majhor in his bare feet evolving to John Martin’s MUCH.

It wasn’t just Radio/TV. It was The Record Guys too. The Saucy Independent ATTIC and The Internationals WEA, A&M, Capital, CBS were more than just Branch Plants…. with Walt & Stan at RPM and David Farrell and The Record sensing The Next Big Thing no matter where it was born.

Walt & Stan’s Junos encouraging Canadians with Awards? Not enough. David Marsden invented The UKnows for everyone else.

And then, of course, there was Michael Cohl’s CPI….Concert Productions International….who took Concert Promotion to The World much in the same way J. Robert Wood’s CHUM put over 100 hours of Rock Radio Documentaries on Radio Stations everywhere!

Can you feel The Energy Bob?! It was AWESOME!!!

We were lucky. The Sun, The Moon, The Stars came together….and for a relatively brief moment in time and……

WE WERE IT!

=0=

I was a verrry small part of that wonderful landscape, but I am proud of what I did. Of course, what I did is more than likely why I’m not able to get work in radio anymore, because originality, creative chances, risks, and a sense of fun and humour, plus hangovers, drugs, and showing up 20 minutes late for your shift, are no longer regarded as plus points.

Rebelling against the Empire is a no-no.

I wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the broadcast business these days.

Kinda like Rollerball.

If someone stands out or doesn’t follow the playbook …they send a rollerball team to take him out of the game.

In my case, I just can’t rock the corporate rulebook …and I don’t have a Ryan Seabiscuit delivery or smile.

Fun Fact – When LAX is fogbound, Ryan gets big money to smile at the runways so planes can see them and land.

=0=

Warren’s take on the period of time and The Iceman’s entrance onto the landscape is pretty damn accurate, but I can reveal to you how The Universe conspired to make sure Warren’s great idea would have me attached to it.

For YEARS I had railed against radio in Toronto, urging them to play more local records, be more involved in presenting shows in the myriad clubs both downtown and in the suburbs. So adamant was I, that I was physically tossed out of The El Mocambo (RIP Reggie Bovaird …We still miss you) because I got into an argument with a MAJOR LABEL EXECUTIVE about the importance of the new Punk/New Wave scene.

I do not recall his name, but his MAJOR LABEL is now a Yarn and Fabric outlet.

=0=

So I stop playing music and am sitting at my dining room table drinking Heineken at 10 o’clock in the morning trying to figure out what to do with myself, my wife is off to work, and my newly-minted daughter is wondering why I’m sitting at the table wearing a blanket, and looking sad, when the phone rings.

When I answer, a voice says, “Hey Bob, it’s Warren. How would you like to be a disc Jockey?”

I already had a reputation for dissing radio …I had even been given the Front Page of the Saturday Toronto Star to bitch about the labels and stations being out of touch and behind the times. This has got to be a prank, a joke. Just one of my friends just getting home from a night of boozecans and blow trying to be funny. So I answered the question posed by the voice …”Fuck Off!” and hung up.

The phone rang again.

Rinse, Repeat.

On the third try, I realized it really WAS Warren. …and Warren already explained what happened after that.

=0=

PETER GODDARD

Peter was the music critic for the Toronto Star.

An educated, well spoken man with a vast knowledge of music, an impressive library of books on art, science, music, and culture, a lovely home, and an annual Christmas party that rivaled Andrea Martin’s and other movers and shakers who invited lesser lights into their homes.

He was a part of the Journalistic Mafia in Toronto that had Wilder Penfield, Martin Melhuish, Jonathan Gross, David Farrell, and others as members …and a more educated, fun, passionate, and involved crew you would not be able to find anywhere.

They were always on the front lines, always in the clubs, the concerts, the record releases, and the backstage areas where the music lived and breathed. They paid attention, they became friends and fans of the artists. The built careers, told the truth, and didn’t recite press releases or snort any bribes.

At least …I’m pretty sure they didn’t.

Peter was at the top of the heap, I mean the Toronto Star was well respected and read from coast to coast.

I was flattered and grateful that he was a friend …and was brave enough to give me the opportunity to speak from the heart about what I was passionate about.

That’s some pretty ballsy shit, right there.

When he approached me about writing an article for the paper about what I had been yelling about, I took the offer. It ended up not only on the front page, but continued inside the entertainment section. Not one sentence had been edited out. I can’t even imagine how he convinced the powers that be to even publish 500 words of it, let alone the whole thing.

And with the exception of Peter editing it to make me sound like less of a high school drop out, when the paper was delivered to my door a week later, I was shocked to see it touted on the masthead of the FRONT PAGE of the paper, but seeing it be the entire front page of the Entertainment section.

I do not have a copy to share that you could read …maybe someone does and will scan it and send it to me, but I do have the front page.

=0=

A couple of years later, after I had left performing and the call came from Warren, Peter wrote this review of my radio persona after I had gone from CHUM FM over to Q107.

THAT story, and the foresight of Gary Slaight, is a story for another time …the Q107 period deserves its own column and a movie.

Here’s Peter’s review from 1983 or so ….

This newspaper article from my past was saved and sent to me by a dear friend I have not seen in years. She triggered this column along with the other incidents mentioned above, which is why this column is so late …she spoke for The Universe and I had to drop what I had planned and do this. So glad I did.

Thank you, Louise LeClaire. Be well and Stay Safe

=0=

There is more to share with you; going back to Q107 twice, SIRIUS Sat/Rad, and other Iceman related garble, but I’m tired, I’m hungry, and it’s getting late.

See you again on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.

=0=

Segarini’s regular columns will enter your dreams and make you send Bob money every week

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.

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