A push-me-pull you kind of guy, one of my writing jobs was covering rock'n'roll in Toronto in the late sixties and seventies.
Wow, what a switch from trying to be the Nicholas Gogol of Newmarket.
Get out your guitar and now we're going to sing the blues?
I guess to some extent I was always sort of the white Russian guy who dug bluegrass, and in fact one of my favourite movies had been "Bering Strait", where this Russian bluegrass group, tried to make it in Nashville. You can imagine.
But I was hooked on country and rock and roll since a kid in Hamilton, so the transfer from straight writing to rock column wasn't that difficult.
But wow, the Toronto rock scene in the late sixties and seventies:
Major Hooples Boarding House
Robbie Lane and the Disciples.
The Band ("Virgil Cane is My Name.") And Robbie Robertson.
Blood, Sweat and Tears
... many many others for whom Canadian content rules allowed local Ontario bands to make it big.
Well, there I was with my three-piece suit, covering a Brower-Walker rock event...and it seemed to all that I was so square.
But at the Toronto Sunday Sun they gave me a rock column.
I was to use the pen name of John Pope, and once I started to write about rock (after consultation with entrepreneursRitchie Yorke and Richard Flohill, I as n my way.
To my surprise my column sort of rocked and I was soon in the middle of Toronto's rock scene, interviewing the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Whiskey Howl, Tokyo.
(I must say that today, listening to old tapes, they're all about as old as me, with only Gordie carrying on and on--and good for him!). Today, everybody seems to have grown old, like me, but they have those wonderful memories. And me too, of them.
Ah, it was great to have been a rock critic.
Except that my subjects all today have royaties.
And I am close to hearing old blues tapes and living in a tree...Well, that's blues ain't it?