JAIMIE VERNON – THE RETURN OF THE REVENGE OF VERNON


Did you miss me?

Long, long  ago in a social media black hole that time forgot I wrote spiffing weekly diatribes for his Bobness. Then life got in the way and drove a spike through my frontal lobe preventing me from rational thought and interesting story arcs. It was 2016 and Donald Trump had yet to destroy the United States of America.  Maybe I should have stuck around and fought the good fight on the political frontier. But that’s not really what “Don’t Believe A Word I Say” is all about. What it’s actually about is filtering pop culture through the collective experiences of its writers. By 2016 my pop culture experience was all pooped out. I was burnt out and wallowing in my old-man-ness. No one was more tired of the “get off my lawn” screeds than I was.  One needs to know when to stop wandering into to traffic with no pants on.  I decided to focus on my newly minted granddaughter and getting a real day job.


I’d had the delusion in 2015 that I could quit being a Cemetery Cop (patrolling Toronto cemetery’s protecting the dead from the morons who were still alive) and rejoin the ranks of corporate record label weaseldom by re-launching my dormant record label – Bullseye Records of Canada. Someone should have punched me in the throat. https://www.amazon.com/True-Tales-Cemetery-Cop-Protect/dp/1537138022

Through a GoFundMe campaign, I was able to raise enough cash to retrieve our master tapes and archives which were being held hostage by a 50-something retired school teacher in Scarborough.  I should have just sent black ops in to steal the stuff in the middle of the night, but she made awesome cookies.

By early 2016 I’d licensed fresh new Canadiana to re-issue from the legendary Gerry Young’s Current Records, and had secured a new distribution deal through a sub-label that was in bed with a major label.  Suffice to say that my general cynical take on that latter arrangement was well founded when they dropped the ball and botched the manufacturing of the new Strange Advance CD we’d put out. Oh, and then retail collapsed when HMV finally shot a bullet through their own brainpans. I put Bullseye Records back in the closet and walked away a second time (the first time had been in 2010 when the world economy had eaten its own ass).

Without a single ounce of useable skills, I somehow convinced a well-respected Oakville company that they should stick safety gear on my ever-expanding body and trust me with some complex (and expensive) electronic equipment that resembled a Geiger counter to look for buried utilities in busy roads, occupied sidewalks, and well-manicured front-lawns, and then paint pretty lines on the ground to let the world know that rainbows do, in fact, exist.  That was February of 2017.

In January of 2018 I made not one but two back-to-back field errors and nearly took out an apartment building in North York and part of Liberty Village itself when I mis-identified the location of gas services. Surprisingly, the company didn’t fire my ass. They sent me back for retraining. Then I was banished to my own neighbourhood in Scarborough to look for hydro services instead – which was less likely to blow up houses should I paint a line on the ground in the wrong location. You’d merely have had your service interrupted just like any other week in Toronto.

The grind was killing me. I was too old for that shit. I’d been a desk jockey for the 30 years preceding this job. Taking a labour intensive outdoor gig at my age was a prescription for a heart attack or a bad back or both. The company gave me a desk job. It involves drawing complex digital maps for construction companies to use in the field – and a guide to making sure nobody gets blown up when they put shovels in the ground (“Call before you dig!!”). It was something I did have experience with dating back to my days working at the City of Scarborough in the 1980s. Back then, I was on the team that created the grandfather software to what we now know as Google’s Geographic Information System.


And I excelled at this mapping thing. By the end of 2019 I had become a quality assurance auditor for other mappers doing the same work and mentor to the younger staff trying to imagine what a street corner looks like in 3-dimensions just by a description given to them by a guy who drives a back hoe.  I’ll celebrate my 3rd anniversary with this company on February 13th.

But I don’t live and die by my day job. It’s great to contribute to society and keep a roof over my head, but my DNA is deeply tattooed with music. It’s the embodiment of who I am as a human being. Part of my frustration in 2016 (and many years preceding it) was that I had no music outlet. Every waking hour was spent trying to make rent, so recreational time was rare.

In 2018, shortly after moving from my field job to doing my mapping work from the comfort of my living room couch, an old guitarist band mate of mine – Simon Bedford-James – dangled a new project at me. He and the drummer from the Mahones were assembling a new original band and would I like to play bass in it? I didn’t hesitate. Simon and I had met in high school. We formed Moving Targetz in 1983. We created Bullseye Records in 1985. He ultimately went on to form Swedish Fish and then join major label act MADE in the 1990s. He and I hadn’t really worked together in a band since 1986. I was all in.

The group became Mr! Mouray. After a full-length debut in 2018 called ‘Bats In Disguise,’ follow by a Christmas single (“Christmas Belles”), and an EP entitled ‘Atlantic’ in early 2019, the drummer left. Our second guitarist Nelson Pereira – who had also been in Swedish Fish and Simon’s late solo act The Last Band – suggested a drummer friend of his named David Otanez. It was a tenuous beginning but after figuring out that we all wanted to be primarily a recording unit first with the occasional live foray, it clicked. We released two more EPs (‘Joy Luck Division’ and ‘Spares’) in 2019 and have established an interesting little niche on YouTube with thousands of views of our catalog songs. On February 1st we began laying down the first seven songs for our sophomore LP tentatively titled ‘What’s the Stouray, Mr. Mouray?’ Our latest single is called “Sick Day” featuring Honeymoon Suite/Spoons keyboardist Rob Preuss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efPh0LbHeGc&t=2s

Meanwhile, music is also cerebral for me. I like talking about it which flies in the face of Frank Zappa’s contention that it’s like dancing to architecture.  To that end I’m now 22 years into the legacy of my Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia. Something that I began writing in 1986, which became a valued website reference in 1998, and turned into physical books starting in 2012. This past January I signed a deal to have the Encyclopedia added to the Repertoire International de Littérature Musicale . It’s a database housed at New York’s Columbia University for musicologists and researchers searchable through Universities and libraries worldwide.  It’s no small feat given that the database currently only has 155 other documents in it dating back to the 1700s.

Oh, and I compiled and released the final interviews done by late Lighthouse drummer Skip Prokop called “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” It was a bittersweet labour of love that we started in 2012. Alas, Skip’s health took a turn for the worse and he passed in 2017 before we were able to complete the book together. His family asked me to do the honours and I was very happy to oblige. It’s now available on Amazon or through my website here.

Should anyone think that my three new columns per month will be a self-serving ode to my own accomplishments you’d be half right. I do plan on talking about other artists and pop culture items that I find interesting and feel should be shared with you dear readers. Stay tuned for further installments. I’m not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. You’re stuck with me. Again.

=JV=

Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 41 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 24 years. He is also the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and editor of “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” Available through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jaimie+Vernon 

4 Responses to “JAIMIE VERNON – THE RETURN OF THE REVENGE OF VERNON”

  1. Jim Chisholm Says:

    Welcome back Jaimie.

  2. James Rogers Says:

    Well done

  3. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Well written, Jaimie! It’s great to have you back!

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