Saturday, 23 February 2013

An Overheard Conversation from a Scarborough High School Parking Lot in 1973.

An Overheard Conversation from a Scarborough High School Parking Lot in 1973.

LONG HAIRED GUY 1: Dude! Have you heard the new Floyd? Dark Side of the Moon?

LONG HAIRED GUY 2: I know! It's far out!

LHG1: I was so totally psyched. Last night, I lit up and hit the headphones. When those clocks kicked in I thought my head was going to explode.

LHG2: Dude, it's a total freak out.

LHG1: And the cash register!

LHG2: Freaky-deaky, man. That's Floyd saying that they hate money and they hate corporate success.

LHG1: Right on, brother. Gimme Five! Floyd don't care about making money. After this album I heard they're calling it quits.

LHG2: Here's the skinny, my man, Floyd have been around since 65. Those dudes are getting old and no one lasts more than 8 years in the music business.

LONG HARD GUY 3: Hey is that the new Floyd?

LHG1: Totally.

LHG3: What did you think of all those voices?

LHG2: What voices?

LHG3: The  voices!

LHG1: Dude those voices freaked me out. I was tripping.

LHG2: What voices?

LHG3: There's no way anyone could ever pull it off live.

LHG2: What voices, man? I'm scared of the voices?

LHG3: I mean, could you imagine if a band pulled the entire album off live, note for note? Impossible.

LHG1: I have an idea…

LHG2: What voices?

Craig Martin
Classic Albums Live

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Breakfast in America

in 1980
i was selling records
tons of them
i worked for the hudson bay company
scarborough town centre

selling records for the bay
was the greatest straight job anyone could have asked for
i'd spin albums all day
on sunday's they'd ask me to play easy listening
i'd put on side 3 of the wall

there was always a ton of cash in the register
everyone bought records
there were daily shipments
and we sold tons of really strange stuff
like hagood hard
the knack
nana mouskouri

but the album i remember selling more than any other album
was breakfast in america
in our little corner of the world
we must have sold 5000 copies out of that one store
and this was going on everywhere in the world

i saw supertramp in concert
at the canadian national exhibition
and the show was exact
the contrast of roger and rick
two gentlemen
both young
and at the top of their game
both of them composing absolute works of genius
and bringing them to the band
to learn and interpret
what an experience
supertramp are like nasa
they're rocket scientists with notes

we recently had a fun connection with roger hodgson
a cat from roger's camp
got in touch
and told us that roger had been checking us out
and would we be open to working together?
i said we would very open to working with roger
just tell us what to do

but it didn't happen
roger tours all the time
he works hard
i just don't think that time allowed for it
but i remain hopeful
i don't push
we're at his beck and call
it would be an honour

i'd have to insist on note for note
perhaps over the years
roger has gotten used to playing a certain phrase in logical song
ever so slightly different
we'd have to correct him
the nerve!
could you imagine?
i have this same scenario played out with paul mcCartney and roger waters
clearly i have issues

breakfast in america is a perfect album
perhaps the greatest slice of pop pie since the beatles disbanded
the british classical element
zep had it
the beatles had it
certainly the who
and supertramp had it too
masters all

we begin to perform breakfast in america this month
so wonderful
a miracle
it was beautiful

february 10, 2013
tea and cookies

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sgt. Pepper at Roy Thomson Hall

Sgt. Pepper is such a common part of our lives. It's like ketchup. It keeps showing up. For the past 46 years we've had Pepper journeying alongside us as we trip through life. And lucky for us The Beatles put Diamonds in our sky.

There's been a ton of writing and critical praise already heaped upon the album that it's close to impossible for a piece of art to stand up to such lauding. But Pepper does in fact stand up. And I'll go as far to say that it's the most important piece of art ever created. So much so that it makes the Mona Lisa frown. And unlike monumental feats of architecture, you don't have to travel to the other side of the world to experience it. More people have listened to Sgt. Pepper than watched Citizen Kane. Combine and add up all the Bach, Brahms and Beethoven record sales and you'll find that they don't come close to selling as many albums as Pepper.

Sgt. Pepper is the first classical rock album. All the albums that Classic Albums Live performs are classical albums, but Pepper is the flagship. I can hear all the stuffy, traditional classical lovers snorting their grunts of disapproval. But who cares? A Day in their Life is different from mine. They can go fly a Kite. This is classical music, baby. It's enduring with Telecasters and Ludwigs sounding the battle cry.

When Classic Albums Live first salted ourselves with Pepper, I remember us being intimidated. Here was a bunch of shaggy musicians tackling the most important piece of music ever made. And being led by a guy from Scarborough. But we buggered on a found the heart of the album. The George Harrison track - 'Within Without You' - proved not only be the most challenging but the most rewarding. Whenever we play the song live you can hear an audible gasp from people in the audience. Growing up, this was the track that we used to get up off the couch and lift the needle on, but now it's the most compelling track and demands attention. Funny that.

The first time we performed this album, I remember there being a palpable buzz in the air. No one had ever performed the entire album prior to us, let alone boast the 'note for note' claim. The show was magical. A historical night. The next morning I remember Leaving Home for the corner market. I picked up the Toronto Star and there was our review. They called our show "Joyful" and "Thrilling".  To this day those are my two favourite adjectives.

It's an honour to be on stage at Roy Thomson Hall with this incredible piece of music. We know how to perform this album. We've been doing it for 10 years and living with it our entire lives. And we keep Getting Better. All the Time.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Guest Blogger: Vanessa Jurek!

thanks to v for a great article

America's 40th anniversary tour at Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts January 26, 2013

Now in their 43rd year of performing America took to the stage of Oakville last night with their sold out show.
This was their second show at the Centre with their lst appearance happening on Jan. 31 2008
The theatre appreciates feedback from their patrons and I had been so in awe of their previous performance that I
had requested a return booking which took place to my delight last night.
Founded by Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell with their third bandmate Dan Peek who the music world lost in 2011 and had left the band in 1977
after an amicable split.
The bandmates were barely out of their teens when success started to happen for them. In 1972 America won a Grammy for Best New Artist
Performing 100 shows a year has kept America in fine tune and practically note for note showcasing their musical talents not only with
their  many hits in the 70's which you could not help but hear on Top 40 stations everywhere.
their presence on the music scene came to prominence when Sir George Martin was appointed their producer-arranger from 1974-1979.With this Beatle connection I
truly believe it made me more of an America fan than ever ...and Sir George still keeps in touch with the band and was in attendance when the band received their star on the
Hollywood walk of fame in 2012.
This tour included songs from their current release Back Pages which is an album of covers...songs that America "wished that they had written" as well as a 40th anniversary release
of their greatest hits.
America is a band that is so much more than their string of hits in the '70's.Their music contains a fusion of folk rock pop with a combination of styles from soul-baring ballads to up tempo
rockers which thrill their fans and has endured throughout the years. They do not disappoint in performance ...and they have a philosophy that is similar to Classic Albums Live..
"it's all about the music"... if you have the opportunity to catch their tour in a city near you it will be a night to remember.
The theatre is a warm intimate almost "living room" setting for the band and it holds a sentimental attachment for me as well. This is the venue where I attending my first ever Classic Albums Live
show in 2005. I would recommend that History...America's Greatest Hits would be a suggestion for a future show at my favorite venue.
America has seen many changes in the music industry throughout the years yet continues to entertain and inspire musiclovers everywhere. To see them interact with their legion of fans
is proof of that. America is the real deal  Long may they showcase their high quality musical standards as they continue to tour the world in 2013 and beyond.

The current band lineup includes the following

Gerry Beckley on Accoustic Guitar keys and vocals
Dewey Bunnell on Accoustic Guitar and vocals
Michael Woods on Fender Strat
Rich Campbell on Bass (America alumni for 35 years)
Willie Leacox on Drums

Set List

You can do magic
Don't cross the river
Daisy Jane
Three roses
Ventura Highway
I need you
Tin Man
Woodstock (Joni Mitchell cover)
Cornwall blank
From a moving train
Lonely People
Til I hear it from you (gin blossoms cover)
The Border
Woman tonight
only in your heart
California Dreamin' (Mama & Papas cover)
Sister Golden hair


A Horse with no name