Gary Pig Gold Went To A Dance, Lookin’ For IMANTS

IMANTS KRUMINS:

Above-ardent Fan, Collector and Champion of Good Music

(and Credit Risk Analyst for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce by day)

born April 6, 1952, Leamington Spa, England

died June 9, 2011, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

age 59

Like so many others around the world, my first-ever words with Imants Krumins were exchanged beneath the glorious din of an up-and-coming band belting out a brand new song at one of their very first shows. Imants would be there, as close to the stage as possible, not only encouraging his latest discovery but yelling heartfelt praises about and for them towards all within ear- and arm-shot.

I was to learn this was more than just another night out for Imants. This was a passion. His passion. And whatever the time, place, or style of music being presented on any given night, he made sure it would soon enough become YOURpassion as well.

Personally speaking, I had decided to start a rock and roll magazine out of my parents’ Port Credit basement in 1976. But finding little of musical value at that time worthy of expending precious typeface on, I was more than thankful Imants came my way at this precise moment. Introductions quickly made, he led me outside to his car, placed into my hands two rare, newly imported records from amongst a hundred such gems he always carried in its trunk… and I owe the man at least one of my careers in helping me become perhaps the very first Canucklehead to ever write about The Saints or Nick Lowe’s Bowi.

That car, not to mention spirit and enthusiasm of Imants’ went on to play an incalculable role in kick-starting and even shaping what soon became known as the Canadian punk and/or indie rock movement. No, Imants never played an instrument or wrote a song himself that I’m aware of (though he could always be relied upon to sing along with Metal Machine Music in a way Uncle Lou should be more than envious of). Yet with just the simple act of being the first to drive members and fans of Teenage Head, Simply Saucer and the Forgotten Rebels out of the Hammer along the QEW straight in to the nascent Toronto alt. music scene, facilitating the socio-musical cross-pollination which resulted he made a deeper and more lasting impression than Imants the mere performer, writer, or rec. co. exec ever could have.  

By the late Seventies – and it pains me to say in a way our www’d generation now takes for granted – Imants’ one-man campaign to connect the best music with the best people turned truly global as his tall, impressive frame could now be spotted outside a Kinks koncert in Buffalo, jetting to the UK to scour Portobello Road for yet more DIY vinyl, or accompanying yours truly one adventurous afternoon to the ultra-clandestine San Francisco offices of Ralph Records to find out, once and for all, just who The Residents really were.

Amazingly, as many of his contemporaries unplugged, settled down and for some reason began opting for eight hours’ sleep per night, the Imants of Century 21 was still making regular jaunts to investigate the hardcore clubs of Osaka, for instance, then embracing the blogosphere to report on his latest discoveries in a way he could scarcely have imagined at a Viletones show circa ’77.

In fact, the last time I saw the man was over dinner at a reunion concert for The Trashmen at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ on 10/24/09. And, ever the gentleman, I had to coax him to approach the merch table afterwards in order to collect his very own seven-inch commemorative vinyl of the night. He didn’t want to “bother” the band, you see.

His was always a gentlemanly, soft-spoken and generous existence. But I know I am far from alone in knowing that because of the man and the inspiration of Imants Krumins my record collection – to say nothing of my life as a whole – is a lot, lot bigger, better, and louder for having encountered him.

=GPG=

Gary appears here whenever he wants

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gary pig gpld facong left

Gary Pig Gold may have grown up in Port Credit, run away to Hamilton to join his first rock ‘n’ roll group, hung out with Joe Strummer on his first-ever night in the UK, returned to T.O. to publish Canada’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll (fan)zine, run away again to Surf City to (almost) tour Australia with Jan & Dean, come home again to tour O Canada with that country’s first-ever (authorized!) Beach Boys tribute band …but STILL, he had to travel all the way back to the USSR to secure his first-

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