Tag Archives: Band

Vancouver station to Winnipeg crossroad with “Portage and Main” – Tracks 10 years, part 2

The videos from that Vancouver to Toronto train trip with the rock ‘n’ roll bands 10 years ago started coming out in a series of 10 – here’s part 2 with “Portage and Main” / I think you will really enjoy.

10 years distant, songs were sung – for children & mothers – beards were combed, tracks were rolled. You wanna come along?

Blurb: “we’ll find him in the park with a kite.. . blowing bubbles” 

As the Canadian scenery flashes by in impressionistic hues for greens, box cars and rain, the affable fellas of twin acoustic guitar folk rockers ”Portage and Main” talk about their wonder, disbelief and excitement about being on this “Festival Express-esque” journey while sharing their heart felt Canadiana songs.

So continues the Tracks on Tracks journey, a 2012 Vancouver to Toronto train adventure with 10 bands and dozens of music enthusiasts exploring the Canadian landscape aboard the classic VIA Rail Canadian. Fortified with a spirit of camaraderie and pure creative expression, the bands head towards NxNE festival with the mantra of “Every night! Every night!”

Named for the fabled Winnipeg intersection, their songs evoke themes of searching, growing up, being away and coming home. John, Harold, and George move from upper deck dome car with spontaneous collaboration with chartreuse Adaline, to activity car with wide-eyed audience noting the serendipity of the experience paired with the song, to a jam packed sleeping berth with late-night improvs including a sizzling fiddle solo.

Yup, it’s all happening, all at once. Produced by Green Couch Films and now available to spark your dreams of adventure. Get aboard, there’s more to come.

daveo for Green Couch
take a break Driver 8, on the way to Winnipeg (PS evidence i was there :) dvo)

Epilogue: I mostly really glad that George gets a lot of screen time, he’s a really top-notch dude (check out his digital recording demonstration videos, often out in nature in his VW bus) … In other news, John as “Johnny 99” has a new album out shipping *today* on vinyl, and Harold has done some wonderful online sing-along/a cappella/piano lessons on IG.

“Topless” Dance party on the train – Tracks 10 years, part 1

The videos from that Vancouver to Toronto train trip with the rock ‘n’ roll bands 10 years ago started coming out today in a series of 10 – here’s part with “Topless Gay Love Tekno Party” (AKA Topless AKA TGLTP) / I think you will really enjoy.

Splash! It’s all happening (as the train risks going off the tracks like a glitter piñata into InterGalactic space)

Blurb: “I like the place the music creates” 

A train car packed with sweaty shirtless dancers, streamers and balloons, and a dance groove sextet called “Topless Gaylove Tekno Party” bursting like a glitter explosion compelling the effervescent passengers dance so hard there was *a legitimate concern* the mighty VIA train could launch into an intergalactic stratosphere as they sing full-throated along with the band – all of them in utility-grey onesies, “I’m not a diamond, I am not cold to the touch” dancing to the sway of the rails. 

So begins Part 1 of 10 of the long-awaited Tracks on Tracks video series, a 2012 Vancouver to Toronto VIA Rail journey with 10 bands onboard, exploring the Canadian landscape and creating culture through performances and collaborations from dome cars to sleeping berths to whistle-stop shows. 

Along the way, the “Topless” members discuss their song-making process, the importance of naps, the logistics of wearing onesie uniforms, sleep-over steam-rollers, Ulysses as a bedtime story, and the joy they find when making something magic together.

Produced/directed by Green Couch Films, you’ll see unique points of view including verdant greens in the ever-changing scenery, freight trains whisking by, and views of the spectacular art-deco rolling stock and so many amazed and enthusiastic faces chanting  “everynight! Everynight!” in joyous disbelief this is actually happening. Get on board, quickly, there’s more to come.

daveo for Green Couch

Rainy Days and Mae Maes #video

Rainy Days in Japan brings a cute new video from my wife’s band Mae Maes for song called “Ame” (rain).

++ includes Ichiro Stanley a few cameo peeks of our house.

Say hello to メーメーズ  Ryoko, Rie, Hatsumi, Keizaburo & Mitsuko.

PS Find Mae Maes on Youtube & FB if that’s acceptable to you. 

Shot at Live House Bird in Okayama

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014, gatefold

Bad Wougar is/was a hard rocking band in Vancouver BC with four fine gentleman who practised diligently in a room called the “the Den” which I’ve visited several times – occasionally playing some drums, especially extended jams to “Cortez the killer”. The name “Bad Wougar” came from a campfire myth about a dangerous animal which was a mix of a wolf and a cougar.

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014, cover

On a trail walk one day, I recorded a myth about the creature for the bands use and amusement. They then invited me into the glorious brand-new Monarch Studio (which has an origin story to share another time) to record a few snippets from the riff for the songs. In all, my voice/words appear in two tracks on this final release which was distributed on CD with a paper gatefold cover (i have 2, Mac Kobayashi has 1).

For the record, released: February 28, 2014 (noting this was a high point in an otherwise tough tough year).  As mentioned, the four members of the band (including a non-related Olson) were each fantastically kind, interesting fellas as well as quality musicians and it’s a privilege to know them.

So it goes, folks have other commitments and adventures in life so they don’t play anymore but I hope this CD/album is more widely distributed in future / Kind of band that would be big in Europe.

Artifact: Bad Wougar album, 2014, back with track list

 You can check the Bad Wougar Bandcamp or Soundcloud + Youtube Discogs + a review in UberRock, a snippet: 

… every time I sling this album on the stereo I can’t but feel like I’ve been transported to a wood-panelled backwoods bar where the band are plying their gnarled rock ‘n’ roll trade in such a fashion that the venue’s customers are worried that the whole place will go up in flames, the sounds so incendiary….

There’s a grubby charm to this band and its self-described brand of hard charging rock ‘n’ roll. It’s garage rock by way of the forest and you can’t really ask for anything dirtier, earthier than that.

As the stoner-like riff of final track, ‘Spoke Too Soon’, rattles the fillings out of my teeth I’m left wondering if maybe what I just listened to was part of a crazed fever dream. Then I look up and see the album cover, the eyes of the Bad Wougar appearing to follow my every move…..

Another review in Permanent Rain references my spoken-word bit, ergo:

This spoken kick off made me realize I was in for a fun ride, just as if I was watching a movie–and I was not disappointed. …

The album itself has a delightfully punk element to it, often mixing with elements of classic and progressive rock. It could have been released in 1984, 1994, 2004, or 2014 and reflected the music of its time period.

Memento: “Bobless” at Experience Music Project, Seattle / 2001

Memento: “Bobless” on stage at Experience Music Project, Seattle / 2001

In 2001, three of my four brothers and Dad gathered in Seattle (some of us came from Olympia WA, others down from Surrey BC) for some activities including a visit to the Experience Music project which is a sort of interactive museum at Seattle Center.

Amongst all the fine exhibits is/was a “live concert simulator” in which you are announced on to the stage with lights and crowd and play along in a kind of *deluxe karaoke* of sorts / with if I recall correctly ” twist and shout”. Really quite fun. 

Brother Bob wasn’t in attendance so, we called our band “Bobless” which has become sort of our de facto codename for events and activities in which Bob is elsewhere.

Related: brother Dan and I were charter members of the Experience Music Project and received a special piece of tile as an artefact to commemorate this membership I will share this elsewhere in this archive at some point, probably/maybe.

Letter: from A-Ha (band), SLC, 1991

Artifact: Letter from A-Ha (band), SLC, 1991

Received while busking with Chris Sullivan, downtown Salt Lake City, Utah > folded and dropped into guitar case with no comment /

Note: A-Ha is/was a popular Norwegian band with a huge hit “Take on Me” which still circulates widely #royalties

Posters: Spot (the wonder band), 1991

Posters: Spot (the wonder band), 1991

“Spot” was a band i played with Chris S, Dan T, Eric ? and Brandon K in Sat Lake City (Utah) in 1991. We rocked hard, developed an audience quickly, got great gigs and then Chris went to Alaska to do something with crabs, borrowed money to get there in his rugged ole plumber van and that was it. More to say another time (we coulda got the opening gig for Dino Jr and Nirvana and for example) but hey… one of these days, a guy called Sohaib in New Jersey will mail me the only known recording of our excellence. Until then, here are a few handbills/posters/flyers.

Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana at Pompadour, SLC, Ut, June 11, 1991 (the gig we coulda had…)
Posters: Spot (the wonder band), 1991
Posters: Spot (the wonder band), 1991

Artifact: AOT sticker on boombox, 1985

Artifact: AOT sticker on boombox, 1985

This boombox travelled far, abandoned like most of my possessions of the time in beloved VW bus “the Earthship”. AOT was band with friends (and i was like part0time extra member, JV if you will) in Surrey (Vancouver), BC. There is a cassette “Music to Eat Lightbulbs By” (and some photos to come in another dossier at some point) and a post at Melonville Hardc0r3 with more riffs and a comment by me (re-purposed below):

I was neighbours and friends with Kamel Gill and the rest of the band during this time. Brad Rees who played drums is next to Eric (second from left) in the photo above. This was at John Barley’s on Cordova St gastown. Eric was only one of legal age. The poster from the Bumper’s gig was DOAs first time in Surrey (Bumpers was an “all-ages” club with rockers on one side and “wavers” on the other). AOT rocked it and was a super fun night. Yeah the band was from Surrey / Whalley. Kamel lived near 96th and 124th st. Dan Walters who contrib’d the above did Terminally Stupid fanzine and i an archivist of Van punk/hardcore/whatever history. Now plays in Christ Air. I know Eric does photography and i think a CiTR show. Brad (drummer) was my best pal and great musician. I also make VOM fanzine with Kamel in 84-85 before i moved away.

Mae Maes / gig in Tamano, March, 4, 2020 #poster

Konnichi-Mae!

Ryoko and her bandmates have a showcase gig coming up in March in Tamano with a variety of guests and surprises and fresh swag.

More details to follow on メーメーズ FB page but so happy to see this new flyer, i was/am eager to share.

Roll east, young artists: #TracksonTracks creating a cultural journey (as seen in Vancouver Observer)

As published in Vancouver Observer in Uncle Weed’s Dossier column – here for archival and reference purposes.

Bands, documentarians, photographers, social media makers onboard a VIA Rail from Vancouver to NxNE Fest in Toronto: what hijinks could possibly occur?

Nine bands, a documentary film crew, ace photographers, curious broadcasters and rengade storymakers leave Vancouver on Friday, June 8 aboard VIA’s Canadian special serive en route to to NxNE Music and Interactive festival in Toronto and carve out a wee bit of culture, fellowship, and adventure along the tracks.

via train stop

Trains, sure they sound romantic to roll across the vast spaces sipping bevvies and perusing poetry… but just as easy train trips can turn into something cramped and rollicking in all the wrong ways. Just watch Dr. Zhivago or travel Eurail on a shoestring for evidence. Ideally, train trips should be a bit weird, evocative and creative, which is where this story begins.

Get on the Couch

A couple of good Canadian kids Michelle Allan and Johnathan Krauth grabbed hold of a vision and invented a plan which pulls out from our lonely train station Friday bound for Toronto.

They started the quest with a Tweet ‘ed suggestion @VIA_Rail about bringing their ugly green couch for a session aboard the train. The erstwhile couch – found in a Vancouver West End alley – is the set for a generous series of live performance videos shot with emerging and established bands over the past three years. Creative, unique, quirky and quality – If you love music, start watching the Green Couch Sessions.

The train’s manifest includes: nine bands of various genres, CBC Radio 3’s Grant Lawrence, the green couch film crew, social media makers, a few contest winners, and me. We’re riding in two cars attached to VIA Rail’s normal Canadian service and making stops for mini busking-style concerts along the way. Melville, Saskatchewan – beware and keep your beer store open!In between stops, the bands will perform on the couch, conduct interviews, play for unwitting patrons, and miscellaneous hi-jinks not to be disclosed (with Topless Gay Love Tekno Party onboard, this is a given).

Once in Winnipeg, the bands roll out for a half-day festival (ideal for the band called Portage and Main) before crossing the Canadian Shield and arriving in Toronto in time for the NxNE music and interactive festival. The bands will all play a CBC Radio 3 showcase and i’ll share my social media stories in a keynote spiel. Everyone happy, History made.

Festival Refreshed

A while back, I shared a dossier of ideas and backgrounders about a trip to refresh and respect the Festival Express, the freewheeling 1970 tour which failed miserably for the promoters but the bands loved the trek as they (tried to, at least) bring the music to the fans instead of bringing them all to Woodstock or Altamont.

The film footage survived in garaged boxes for decades before a recent release which shares mind-pleasing-chilling footage of Rick Danko, Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia in hammered late night jams with Buddy Guy stepping in, juxtaposed with live footage of their bands at the peak of their velocity – The Band with all healthy and alive, Grateful Dead with dual drummers and PigPen and Janis owning each note.

This chapter, almost lost all but the most crunchy Canadians, makes me wonder – what would happen if Janis in full wailing grandeur had auditioned for American Idol?

But this isn’t about recreating that rollicking, gonzo train, but instead taking a wee slice of inspiration from it onto the late night cars careening o’er prairie, and see what magic we can draw from the tracks and scapes in our own way.

Story Making

UW with Suitcase

As the un-ordained minister of miscellania and anecdotes for the trip, I’ve set out a few quests to earn my train scout badges, ergo:

I’m toting my old-timey suitcase filled with recent paper point slides to share “Fck Stats, Make Art” a soliloquy for creativity in the ephemeral digital age (see TEDXCapU for a reasonable facsimile) and, “Vancouver Counter Culture Anecdotes” as I shared at Pecha Kucha All-Star night at the Vogue Theatre.Social kung-fu: As my rock n’ roll dreams are long over, I can help bands by sharing my knowledge of blowing stories up with the social webs. I’ve surveyed the bands and prepping cold ones to share tactics for building audience, selling merch, and booking tours using all that Twitters and stuff. Also, intro to Marshall McLuhan since we are Canadian.

Canadian documentation: I’ve made a list of topics to discuss with Grant Lawrence who, between building Canadian indie music into a global cult, he’s promo’ed his book of uniquely left-coast stories. I have topics to riff to complement his banter including: our literary history from Mowat, Berton, Coupland; bio-regional music scenes; goalies and poetry; and what really went down in West Vancouver high school elections.

Bonus Ideas and humble suggestions: Yeah, I’ll be Tom Sawyering bands into schemes for posterity:

– Band collaborations for train-themed songs (imagine The Matinee playing Canadian Railroad Trilogy, or Maurice singing Train in Vain, or Sidney York performing Peace Train, Chris Ho sings Train I Ride… I have a list.

– Bands share tips: With many hopeful bands among the virtual audience, how about bands interview bands to share their tips for booking first tours, staying healthy on the road, avoiding the wrong deals, working through writer’s block, dealing with band dynamics? Send your questions via Twitter and answer right from Adaline or The Belle Game.If none of the above are accomplished, I’ll have at least for my part, return to my accidental birthplace of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (which I’ve spent my life spelling for Americans) after hitchhiking and traipsing around 30 countries and 48 states.

Get Onboard

Too late to get aboard (well maybe)… but you can follow along on a bonanza of social channels:

Transport Specifics:

Can You Hear It? 
As for the cross-Canada media, I expect once the train pulls out, folks will wonder what VIA has set out to accomplish, and interact with the digital artifacts as the musicians, documenters, storytellers, and associated renegades collaborate to chart a new tale in the Canadian pantheon of culture, adventure, and fellowship.
I’ll share the answers as i see ‘em emerge from the cars or the windows or from a bottle of Wee Angry Scotch ale. It might not be Gordon Lightfoot contextualizing this contemporary train story – it’ll more likely be you. I hope so.