GWNtertainment #4 by Jaimie Vernon

We’ve moved into February on the cold back end of January now – commemorating the 44th anniversary of the Blizzard of ’77 (uphill, both ways, with no mitts or boots or common sense). Thankfully, we still have music to listen to, and help get us through this opening lap of 2021. Hunker down with a hot cocoa, some Bailey’s, and dig the latest from the GWNtertainment action blotter.

* Former NOW Magazine editor Michael Howlett is back with a music and culture magazine – including a news stand edition – called >|NEXT

* Helix front man, Brian Vollmer, is organizing a virtual telethon event along with Lee Aaron, Ray Lyell, Danko Jones, London Ontario’s Bobnoxious, singer Sarah Smith, Al Harlow (Prism), and rock band Syre among others to raise funds for a stem cell treatment for Tristan Roby. Roby (now 18) was seriously hurt in July 2019 during a hit-and-run car accident while riding his bike in southwest London. The accident left him in a coma for weeks and in hospital for months. He finally returned home in October 2019 where his family has taken care of him 24/7. The telethon, which will feature artists playing acoustically, will be streamed February 27. For now, people can donate to the Tristan Roby fund here:

* The Dutton Vocalion label has announced its first batch of hybrid SACD releases (playable on all CD players) for 2021. Besides three re-issues of classic Mott the Hoople titles, Dutton Vocalion is offering two collections from Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings. Michael J. Dutton has re-mastered everything from the original analog tapes.

Randy Bachman departed the band he co-founded at the peak of their success in mid-1970 on the heels of the American Woman album.  Bachman first resurfaced with another ex-Guess Who mate, Chad Allan, as part of Brave Belt.  But after two unsuccessful LPs – the second of which welcomed vocalist C.F. “Fred” Turner to the lineup – Brave Belt morphed into Bachman Turner Overdrive. Vocalion has brought together BTO’s first two albums Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Bachman-Turner Overdrive II (both from 1973 on Mercury Records) in high-resolution stereo and quadraphonic as one two-SACD set.  The second of these albums introduced the hit “Let It Ride” and BTO’s signature song “Takin’ Care of Business.”

Meanwhile, Burton Cummings struck out on his own as a solo artist on CBS’ Portrait Records imprint, releasing three albums between 1976 and 1978: an eponymous album (1976), My Own Way to Rock (1977), and Dream of a Child (1978).  His solo debut yielded the hit “Stand Tall” (No. 10 Hot 100/No.  2 AC/No. 4 Canada/No. 1 Canadian AC) and other hits soon followed including “I’m Scared,” “Timeless Love,” “Break It to Them Gently,” and “I Will Play a Rhapsody.”  Vocalion’s new release is in high-resolution stereo and quadraphonic on Disc 1 followed by the first part of the stereo-only My Own Way to Rock.  That album concludes on Disc 2, with Dream of a Child in stereo only closing out the set.
Burton Cummings

* Beverly Kreller has let us know that following a spectacularly successful first year, organizers of the Second Annual SPEAK MUSIC Be Kind Festival – taking place February 5-6, 2021, as a free, virtual event – are excited to announce a sensational lineup and proudly declare once again, it’s diverse, and gender-balanced! Artists will be presented in pre-recorded video performances from the festival website and the SPEAK Music Be Kind YouTube channel. All net proceeds and individual donations this year will go to Black Lives Matter Canada in response to the current climate and as part of Black History Month.


7:00 pm Emilyn Stam & John David Williams
8:00 pm Desirée Dawson
9:00 pm Communism
10:00 pm Nick Sherman
11:00 pm Alysha Brilla

7:00 pm Al Qahwa
8:00 pm Mama’s Broke
9:00 pm JV’s Boogaloo Squad
10:00 pm Mimi O’Bonsawin
11:00 pm OKAN

* Ottawa writer Jim Hurcomb has just released a new book entitled “Rockin’ On the Rideau: Ottawa’s Golden Age of Rock and Roll.” Here’s the description for those interested in the Capitol City’s music history: “The music world exploded into Technicolor on February 9, 1964, when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and ignited the music phenomenon dubbed “The British Invasion”. In the weeks and months to come, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Ottawa teenagers put away their hockey sticks and picked up guitars, starting up bands in basements and garages, with visions of screaming girls and stardom dancing in their heads. For some, that dream came true, in packed High School Gymnasiums, Church basements, bowling alleys and every other venue they could find. Groups were working three or four nights a week on both sides of the Ottawa River. The Esquires, The Staccatos, The Townsmen, Don Norman and the Other Four and many others cut records that were as good as anything coming out of Britain or the States. DJ’s Gord Atkinson, Nelson Davis and Al “Pussycat” Pascal make them stars by playing their records. Sandy Gardiner followed their exploits in his weekly “teen” column in the Ottawa Journal, and we checked out the weekly “Swing Set” to get the lowdown on the newest groups. From the day Elvis Presley came to town in 1957, to the release of The Five Man Electrical Band’s mega-hit “Signs”, we relive those memories with the bands, the clubs, the concerts and the colorful cast of characters who made it happen. Pull back the curtain on the magic of “Ottawa’s Golden Age of Rock and Roll.” Get the book here:

* Seven guitars belonging to Vancouver band 54-40 were stolen from a cube van parked in New Westminster in October 2018. Five of the instruments were recovered from a storage unit a few days later. Two guitars have remained missing ever since, but this week while investigating a series of break-and-enter robberies, RCMP in British Columbia discovered one of the other missing guitars in a stash of credit cards, firearms, jewelry, and electric scooters worth an estimated $70,000. That leaves one guitar remaining. Here’s hoping the Mounties get their man (or woman).

* Long-time internet radio owner of Todd Miller has made a move to terrestrial radio with a weekly independent music show on Bluewater Radio’s ( CFBW 91.3FM. Todd’s ‘Canadian Indie Music Hour’ can be heard on the FM dial (or streamed) Fridays at 6PM EST. If you’re a Canadian recording artist that wants to have a shot at being showcased here send your music to for digital. Physical mailing address is RTDS, P.O. Box 93, Leaskdale, ON., L0C1C0

* Chris Murphy of Sloan posted on Instagram this week that he’s been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy – generally a temporary paralysis of the face muscles. “So, no joke – on January 11th, I noticed my mouth seemed imbalanced and I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy that evening at emerge meaning one side of my face is paralyzed. Tough break for a guy who has clearly traded on his looks! Ha! It’s crazy. I have to tape my eye shut at night etc. I remain optimistic that my face muscles will reanimate but it’s not guaranteed and it mightn’t happen for a few months, regardless. Looking on the bright side, it’s probably the best time this could happen. I can just be home and wear a mask outside. It’s a drag but it could be worse. I have a great doctor who is on top of my treatment. Of course, I hope I get better. If I had to sum up my feelings in a facial expression, it’s the one I have.” GWN wishes Chris a speedy recovery.

* The newest single from Canadian singer/songwriter Paul Manchin is “Gratification” which was co-written and produced by Grammy Award winning David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Rush, Smashing Pumpkins). Manchin has previously released seven digital albums, and his music has been included on a number of compilation recordings. His music has received airplay on MTV, VH1, Bravo!, Sirius/XM, CityTv, and Galaxie. Manchin has also worked with such luminaries as Matt Forger (Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson), Chris Birkett (Sinead O’Connor, Buffy Sainte-Marie), Moe Berg (The Pursuit of Happiness), Fergus Hambleton (The Sattalites), Paul Milner (Keith Richards, Sting), Norman Orenstein (Alta Moda, Molly Johnson) and Brent Bodrug (Alanis Morissette, Jacksoul). Check out the single here:

* Jerry Fielden tells us his band (with Michelle Macpherson), Arapacis, is putting the finishing touches on its 8th studio album (11th release overall) entitled ‘Waterdog.’ The album also features keyboard work from David Stone (Symphonic Slam, Rainbow, Max Webster). The first single from the album, “The Champ,” was released in December. The album will be out in the spring on Blackhouse Records (physical) and Bullseye Records of Canada (digital)

* Carol Welsman and Randy Bachman have teamed up for a new jazz-infused single “A Taste of Paradise.”

* Guitarist/singer Sonny Boy Mick has been holed up in Muskoka during the pandemic and hasn’t been idle. He’s recently posted a new social distance video cover of Sass Jordan’s “You Don’t Have To Remind Me” with vocals by another Mick.

* Our favourite west coast rocker, Alison Solo, has let us know that that on February 5th, you’ll be able to get your copy of her new album ‘Plutonian‘ on 12″ Black Vinyl LP (the first 25 will be signed) or 12″ Limited Edition Vinyl LP pressed on Orchid colour – all signed and hand numbered with a free custom Alison Solo pick.

* Jessica Stuart’s project JESSA returns with a new single from the 2020 album ‘Simple Songs.‘ The new track is called “Not FOr You.”

* Toronto electronic duo World News – Bill Cutbill and Tyler Cooksley – have a new video for their song “Descenending” from last year’s album ‘Safe Sounds.‘ The track is also being released with remixes by Paulo Sinski (Toronto), Know Itself (Berlin), rryrry (Sweden) and Sages.

* Toronto Rapper Connor Price has scored two famous actors for his latest video “Courtney Cox.” Check out the story by Nick Krewen in the Toronto Star for the full story and a link to the video.

* 1980s Ottawa synth-pop act Eight Seconds have reunited once more for a cover of Wang Chung’s “To Live And Die In L.A.” The virtual video features original members Marc Parent (guitar), Andrés del Castillo (vocals), and Scott Milks (drums). They are accompanied by Peter Dowse (bass) and Serge Côté (keyboards) sitting in for original retired bassist March Cesare and keyboardist Frank Levin who died unexpectedly in 2017. The group, best known for their chart-topping Canadian hit “Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous),” toured with Wang Chung in 1987.

* Do yourself a favour and check out the incredible new track by Clockwise’s Claude Kent entitled “Starting A New Fire.” Claude says, “The intent of this song is to entertain, stimulate and thought-provoke the listener to perhaps spur positive social action and change.”

* Calgary’s Bent Roads Tavern are working on a new studio album and have dropped the lead-off single called “Let’s Go To Newfoundland.”

* Musician Chris Scerri presents the ‘From Home Music Series’ which profiles local musicians throughout the Bruce/Grey/Simcoe region of Ontario. New videos are added weekly of both original tracks and cover tunes by artists such as Emma Wright, Tyler Yarema, Chris Scerri, Shakey Trill, Paul Woolner, Jaret Koop, Karla Crawford, Jeremiah Hill, Abby Woodhouse, Marshall Dane, and so many others. Check out the home page and take a deep dive.

* Alfie Zappacosta (Surrender) is back with a new album entitled ‘Saved.‘ The new single is “Unspoken.” The album is now available on all streaming services. Check out the track here:

* The Toronto and Canadian punk music community are shocked to learn that singer-songwriter Rude van Steenes [aka Rudy Tuesdai] of Arson has passed away unexpectedly on January 29th. Rude, Marcel Lafleur, Tony Lester, and Nick Neurotic formed Arson in 1978. In 1979 Steve Goode, from The Poles, rounded out the line-up on bass soon to be replaced by Spike Bandito. The group fought tooth and nail for their own gigs including opening slots for The Ugly and The Viletones. Legendary Toronto promoters, The Gary’s helped the band out by slotting them in on Dead Boys tour dates alongside London, Ontario band The Demics. Arson were recognized as one of the first independent acts to self-finance and organize their own tour taking them through Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Long Island and two weeks in New York City. The band split up in 1982. Rude would drop his stage name and, as Rude Van Steenes, established popular Toronto underground act Glamatron! and then Vis-A-Vis for a modicum of success on College Radio and CFNY-FM. In the fall of 2010 Rude and Lafleur reconvened Arson with bassist Shawna From Torawna (Sluts On 45, Outbred Inlaws) and drummer Tim Timleck (Carole Pope, The White, Universal Honey) who would then be replaced in 2011 by David Quinton-Steinberg (Mods, Jitters, Stiv Bators). Several live performances led to the new 2013 CD ‘Not Always About You’. GWN offers its heartfelt condolences.

* Condolences to friends and family on the passing of Toronto-area guitarist Mike Heron who died in a car accident on January 24. He was a mainstay in the local bar circuit and will be greatly missed.

This issue was brought to you by the Jewish Space Laser Consortium. Send us your news, views, and all manner of CANADIAN musical releases to promote and wave a flag for. Join the GWN Facebook page and drop us a message:

Keep up the fight!
Jaimie Vernon, 2021


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. 

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