NEW ROCKERS OF THE PEERLESS AGE by JAIMIE VERNON

I’m updating the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia once again. This time it has a global purpose and will soon be available to music researchers via a data base known as Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale worldwide to Colleges, Universities, and libraries. It is literally my life’s work and is expected to remain available in perpetuity. To that end I’ve been tasked with updating annually until, well, I’m dead. I can just see me now in a senior’s home skipping Bingo and sing-a-long nights while I sit by the glow of the Google engine looking for the elusive catalog number of Whaleman’s 1991 “Sings!” album and gumming a soft-bun and apple sauce for 4.30 dinner.


I started researching in 1986. The website went online July 1, 1998 as a contracted gig with the late-great Toronto Sun Jam! Music CANOE website. In 2012 I committed the material, in toto, to two large telephone-book sized volumes (the cleverly named A thru K and L thru M). In 2017, I created an abridged version that I sold at record shows around Southern Ontario. The fine lads at The Records Vault paid for printing and stuck me in hockey rinks and legion halls to sell my wares. It went from a trunk-of-the-car operation to a serious best selling proposition. The re-emergence of vinyl by the industry that killed it off in the first place (their version of reviving platform shoes) sparked the spike in sales.

That last edition focused on vinyl from 1929 through 1995. I completely scuttled my research for the majority of the digital age. This new update brings me back to including everything this fine national has created from 1929 until NOW. To that end, I put a call out on the socials that I was looking for recording artists that have emerged in the last 10 to 15 years who should be included. I was bombarded with a list of about 350. I’ve spent the last week deep diving and I’m seeing a trend, really, of an underground movement filled with latent rockers; the acts that are really at the core of everyone’s complaints that “music sucks now.” What people actually mean is that there are no rock-oriented acts that sound like the ones they discovered in high school and have never bothered to seek out any further.

Well, kids, here’s some you might want to investigate further. They are the next generation of rock acts carrying the mantle for the Zeppelins and AC/DC’s and Aerosmiths…some generically so…which makes them perfect surrogates when you smoke your CBD oil and cash those pension cheques.

BLEEKER

Orillia, Ontario’s Bleeker were originally known as Bleeker Ridge. Two sets of brothers Taylor and Cole Perkins, along with Dan and Dustin Steinke all met when they were 12 at a music store. Their common interest in Hendrix and Joe Walsh led to two EPs. They were scouted and signed to Universal Records at age 14 and subsequently released their debut on Road Runner Records in 2010 for the ‘Small Town Dead’ album. Mike Vandyk joined on bass shortly after. 2013 brought ‘Four’ was self-released and by 2016 they’d renamed themselves and signed with Five Seven Music to produce the album ‘Erase You.’ The album broke them nationally and garnered a JUNO nomination. Dustin Steinke left the band in early 2016 to join Nikki Sixx’s band Sixx: A.M. The band’s next album, ‘Self-Made,’ is due in May.

THE TREWS

I discovered The Trews in 2003 at a club in Halifax during the East Coast Music Awards. I got on the phone in the middle of one of their future hits (I think it was “Not Ready to Go”) and screamed at my wife that they were the band that she was looking for post-1990s Grunge. I wasn’t wrong. They became her forever band in no time flat and now runs their official Facebook fanpage. I’ve had several occasions to meet them. Upstanding and friendly guys all around. John-Angus even took a photo of the two of us on the occasion of our anniversary when we drove down to Cleveland to see them a few years back.

The group consists of brother Colin and John-Angus MacDonald, Jack Syperek, Chris Gormley, and in recent years keyboardist Jeff Heisholt. I could write an entire blog about the band. They are parts Celtic traditionalists and straight up rockers blending elements of 1970s Brit Rock (think The Faces, Status Quo) and the best elements of the Tragically Hip.
Their six studio albums deep, two live records, several EPs, and a ‘best of’ package. I encourage folks to dig deep. They’ve got plenty of meet in their deep album tracks.

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS
Saw this band in its embryonic stage at the last location of Rock and Roll Heaven in Toronto back in 2009 when Goddo’s Greg Godovitz was producing their first independent release ‘Out of the Pit.’ That’s a long growth period for an act that has finally gotten its first JUNO Nomination. The focus is on classically trained singer Brittany Paige, who along with the remainder of the band – Jasio Kulakowski, Brad Kennedy, and Marcus Lee – they conjure a melodic metal vibe that has elements of Evanescence. Currently signed to Napalm Records, they’ve got half-a-dozen albums in their arsenal and apparently put on a pretty amazing live show which they’ve honed in Europe over the last decade.

LITTLE FOOT LONG FOOT
Joan Smith, Isaac Klein, and Caitlin Dacey were Little Foot Long Foot – a raw grrl rock act that frequented Cherry Cola’s in Toronto. They’ve since packed it in and Joan’s gone off on a solo excursion. But while they were here they brought back the true grit of uninhibited rock and rule. Did the video for ‘May.’

GREEN STREET UNDERGROUND
While working at one of the many record shows around the province I’ve come to friend a Cobourg vinyl dealer named Del Siblock. Never without his top hat, Del presents himself as a well read, laid back, music aficionado. Imagine my initial surprise that he’s also a songwriter and musician. In 2017 he pressed his own vinyl LP under the name Green Street Underground called ‘The Mystery of…’ Produced by David Baxter (The Sharks, Sherry Kean), it’s part blues, part rock, part pop, part psychedelia. It’s everything lacking from commercial rock in the last 30 years. When we last spoke, Del was intimating that the follow-up album could be nigh.

=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 

 

One Response to “NEW ROCKERS OF THE PEERLESS AGE by JAIMIE VERNON”

  1. Welcome back Jaimie. I sometimes wonder what happens to of those bands I photograph in the various clubs. I shoot, I write, they disappear. Nice to see some of them are going to be captured in your new-and-improved encyclopedia. Wish you and my husband had met. You both have the same, shoot from the hip, wickedly frank, take no prisoners sense of humour. Nice to see you’ve taken pen to paper again (so to speak). — P

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