Segarini Gets a Label and an Album: The Cliff Notes Version…

I have been working on my first new column in months, but it is taking longer than I thought it would. Fortunately, I found this excerpt from a column written and published 11 years ago in 2012, that leads nicely into the one I am working on, which, God and the Grand Wozzel willing, I will share with you next Friday. That said, there are a lot of new words and pictures here, so, yeah, we’re not here to waste your time.

A group of extremely talented musicians …and me.

This is where we are when we pick up the story of The Segarini Band. You can find all 3 Episodes of this series and more, by typing “The Story of the Segarini Band” in the Archive window on the Home Page of DBAWIS, or by just clicking HERE.

Segarini gets a label and an album: The Cliff Notes version…

The phone rings. It is Wolfgang Spegg saying Bomb wants to sign the Segarini Band, and would we please go back into the studio and finish the record.

Everyone except Drew, (who hasn’t moved to Toronto yet), goes back into Phase One and we complete the vast majority of Gotta Have Pop.

Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot, the album is almost finished

There is one more song to record before I start the mix. On my birthday, August 28th, 1978, Drew takes the train from Montreal to Toronto and officially joins the group. P.S. – I was born in 45, and turned 33 1/3 in 78.

The complete band goes into the studio and records the last track for the record, Love Story.

Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot, Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot, Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot…the album is ready to mix.

Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot, Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot, Jack and Coke and Beer and Pot…the album is mixed.

Wolfgang, true to his word, sets a quick release date for the album. The band is ready to go.

Rodney Bowes shoots the album cover, I write the liner notes, respected comic book artist, Ken Stacey draws amazing illustrations for ‘Steady Eddie’, and ‘Don’t Believe a Word I Say’.

The record is pressed on pink/blue/bubblegum vinyl, and Wolf sends out an invitation. Bomb Records is doing everything right.

This time, it’s personal…

Over a year after the work on Gotta Have Pop was started, it is a reality. Another album. Wow. Let’s see, The Family Tree, one with Roxy, 4 with the Wackers, (with 3 of them released), 1 with All the Young Dudes, and now this one. That makes 8 albums and an EP in 10 years, not to mention guest appearances on other records. Not bad for a middle class kid from Stockton, California that should have been a grocer.

This album was different from all the others, though.

My name was on it.

You can always reinvent yourself if a project fails and you are part of a group, but when the group has your name, well…there is an added amount of pressure to deliver the goods musically.

Fueled by that realization, I worked my ass off writing songs I thought were of merit, and finally recorded previously written songs I had believed in that previous labels hadn’t. The song Gotta Have Pop had been written and recorded for a second Dudes album, but rejected by CBS in the States. The Segarini Band re-recorded an almost identical version, and this time, it was going to see the light of day. It was pretty exciting. For once, I was with a label that heard what I heard, liked what I liked, and trusted us enough to concentrate on the business end of breaking a record while leaving the music itself to us. It was empowering, but at times, the pressure was overpowering. By the time the record was pressed, however, we all pretty much agreed that we could not have made it any better. Even today, almost 45 years later, it still sounds fresh.

Shew says we did a week of warm-up dates at a dive called Duffy’s in Hamilton, and he’s probably right about that. The first real ‘show’ was our album release party the day before Halloween in October of 1978. Eleven days later, on November 10th, 1978, we played before an invited audience of media and contest winners from Q107 for a live broadcast from Thunder Sound which Wolfgang let us record, and eventually became the band’s 3rd album. I personally numbered and signed 2000 of them in my dining room as giveaways, which eventually became part of the overall release after Goodbye L.A. Even by today’s Indie Label standards, Bomb was Uber cool to do all the great things they did for us.

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We’re gonna party like it’s 1978…

Back in ’78, one of the hippest things you could do was have an album release party. It was the providence of Major Labels until the advent of the Punk and New Wave scenes, when even the tiniest label could muster up a great party with at least free beer and some salty snacks. They were actual ‘parties’ where people dug the music, got plowed, danced, and had a great time. It wasn’t an excuse to network, be seen, or make new friends, although a lot of people did. Mostly, it was the bands friends, fans, and record company, and if you were lucky, a couple of folks from the press and maybe an already established artist or two who liked your music and showed up to be supportive.

Wolfgang went all out for ours.

We decided on a ‘50’s theme because so much of the music on Gotta Have Pop was conceived as singles. Songs that stood alone, were short, hooky, and sounded like they belonged on the radio. I tried to take the best material I had written, no two songs sounding alike, and create almost a ‘compilation’ album of hit singles from an alternative universe. I embraced my influences, old and new, and ran the gamut from doo-wop and Elvis, through the British Invasion, R&B, and singer songwriters like Paul Simon and Randy Newman, and blessed with a band of absolutely wonderful musicians, make a record that sounded like the songs were already hits. I don’t know if we nailed it, but we gave it our best shot, and everybody busted their asses to make it something special.

Cherry Beach at 6:00am on an October Morning covered in freezing cold lake flora. Do Not attempt sober

This is not to say the songs were contrived or had been constructed from some formula. They were all from the heart, and basically evolved into what you hear because we always asked ourselves what would fit the song. My theory has always been that the song is the star, so if it didn’t call for a solo, we didn’t put one in, if a harmony part would take the song up a notch, we sang one, and if it needed a texture change or something new to draw attention to the lyric, we searched for it. It was a labour of love, like all recording should be, only, for the first time, this one didn’t have a producer with an agenda, a label that wanted to mold us into something we weren’t, or a giant fucking clown on the cover or 6 guys in suits dancing on a HUGE art deco piano.

This was as good, and as honest, as we could make it. Period.

Me

These songs and this album were for ME. Of course I wanted people to like it as much as we did …but every note was in service to the song, NOT there to cater to an imaginary audience. I still do my best to write things I love, that I can live with, that I can be proud of. The very idea of being more concerned about how MANY others liked it was beyond my ability to put commerce before what I wanted to create. It is a failing I embrace to this day. If I was smart, maybe I’d be rich …or would have O.D’d when I was 40 surrounded by strippers in one of my Maybachs holding what’s left of an ounce of coke and a bottle of Eagle Rare.

Our stage show would evolve the same way. Little things that would happen spontaneously would find themselves a part of future performances. Songs that we had recorded would take on different grooves or musical improvisation depending on the night and our mood. Nothing was written in stone except for one thing:

Play as good as you can, and have fun doing it. If we were having fun, so would the audience, a rule that still holds true.

Sometimes that attitude would lead to train wrecks, but we discovered it also made people want to come and see us again and again and again.

They wanted to see what would happen next. For almost 2 years, we never saw an empty seat at one of our shows.

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So we ate burgers and hot dogs and fries and onion rings, egg creams and milkshakes as well as liquor and beer.

Wolf had Gotta Have Pop glasses made up and served all the drinks in them, and you could take one home with you. The club was packed and everybody seemed to have a great time. Bomb had rented a club for the occasion, and everyone liked it so much, he leased it and brought in an old friend of mine from Buffalo New York, Gary Sperrazza, to run the place. Sperrazza had been a big fan and supporter of The Wackers and All the Young Dudes, and had written about us in lots of magazines, and continued to help the band gain it’s footing in Toronto. We had the best support team you could ask for. Colleen Irwin, Dave “Daddy Cool” Booth, a young guy named Kim who died suddenly and tragically at a very young age, and Rodney Bowes and Dave Cousins, who did our album covers and artwork.

The release party was a big success, and so was the live broadcast 11 days later …and we talk about that live broadcast and the lesson I learned from it next Friday

We were on our way.

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Segarini’s regular columns are not really that regular. They just sometimes show up like a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving, or a Jehovah’s Witness at 8:00am on a Saturday Morning.

Please leave any comments in the “Reply” section below

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Bob “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.

4 Responses to “Segarini Gets a Label and an Album: The Cliff Notes Version…”

  1. Jim Chisholm Says:

    Further! You know Bob. It’s nice to read this and relive the memories of the day. One day I heard this amazing song on the radio station in Calgary (KIK FM) and I knew it was you. It had been 5 or so years since The Wackers and The Dudes and I did find a copy of that 4 song EP. When The Lights Are Out sounded like Bob Segarini and sure enough, when the song ended on the radio that night, the DJ confirmed my confident assessment. As soon as I could make it so, the pink/blue/bubblegum vinyl, (I thought it was yogurt!) ended up on my turntable. Looking forward to next weeks offering. TIA

  2. David Cousins Says:

    Hey Bob – any chance I could get one of those glasses…?

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