Halifax, Oct. 20th.
It’s the first official book launch and Halifax is a fitting place for a party. Thanks to an invite from The Halifax Pop Explosion, and sponsorship from Coast Magazine and Frog Hollow Books, we held a happy gathering for many friends, colleagues and interested festival-goers. The place was crowded with familiar faces and even a few camera crews and reporters.
Of course, they weren’t just there to see some author. The promise of a surprise musical guest drew some and they weren’t disappointed. My long-standing and good friends, Eric’s Trip, took to the stage to perform a four-song set, including a number from their landmark Love,Tara album, which you’ll find in The Top 100 Canadian Albums book at #39. My great thanks go out to the band, whom I’ve known since 1992, when I was a CBC TV reporter in Moncton and they were being signed to Sub Pop records, the hottest label in the world at the time thanks to the Nirvana explosion. The Trip were the first Canadian act signed to the label, and the Love, Tara disc has gone on to influence musicians all over. In the book, Hayden pays tribute to the influential DIY recording techniques of the group, and of course, not many acts have The Tragically Hip referencing them in their lyrics.
Eric’s Trip has reunited several times for one-off shows, and even lengthy tours, including this year’s trek. Halifax was the final gig of the tour later in the night, and it was already sold out. It’s been an honour to watch them play and develop over the years in their many offshoots and incarnations. Rick White’s artwork has graced album covers by Blue Rodeo and The Sadies (Top 100 entrants themselves); he’s also made several excellent discs with Elevator, The Rick White Album, and the Rodeo-Sadies-White supergroup, The Unintended. Chris Thompson, as Moonsocket, has blown my mind with his solo work – he’s the George Harrison-type ‘Quiet One’ of the group. Mark Gaudet, a drummer admired by artists and music heads coast-to-coast, anchors several bands. Julie Doiron continues to charm the world with her albums as a Juno-winner, a Polaris Prize nominee this year, and currently as the drummer (!) for the new act Blue Heeler. Julie’s off to Europe next. Too bad Tribeca’s stage didn’t allow for Mark’s drums, so it was really a unique three-piece Trip that took the podium, but if you know Mark, you know he can always use the extra sleep. A great thanks to one of my oldest friends, Peter Rowan, for making this happen, as well as the Pop Explosion’s Waye Mason, and the crew at Tribeca. You can see more Eric’s Trip and launch photos at The Top 100 Canadian Albums flickr page.
Folks in the crowd included many of the people who helped with the book, from providing lists to long-time support and friendship, including John Poirier of Warner Music; Kirk Lahey of Universal; Nicole Asaff of Select/Outside/Fusion 3/Naxox; Ruth Minnikin - solo artist, Heavy Blinker and session player of choice in Halifax; Dave MacIsaac, the noted guitar player; Ron Hynes’s manager Lynn Horne; writers Lesley Choyce and Brian Bartlett and their significant others; Matt Charlton of Pidgeon Row Records - home of Sackville, NB’s Shotgun Jimmy; Goose Lane’s art director Julie Scriver and whiz kid designer Kent Fackenthall who were responsible for the incredible look of the book; Halifax pop/rock artist Jon Mullane, who just released his new disc (haven’t had a chance to think, let alone listen yet JM); beloved friends Wendy Salsman and Phil Secord; my first cousin once-removed Michelle Mersereau from the Halifax Daily News; my new boss Andrew Cochran, the regional director of CBC TV in the Maritimes; TV producer Rhona Delfrari; Goose Lane’s fantastic Halifax sales rep (and my Halifax handler) Genevieve Loughlin; buddy Jeff Cotter and charming family; my sisters-in-law Wendy Kitts and Cynthia Cain and her husband Rob; Steve Cooke from the Chronicle-Herald (escorting the Australian delegation); and Halifax scene-maker himself, the near-legendary broadcaster, writer, musician’s friend and Joel Plaskett co-manager, the man who introduced me so eloquently, Mike Campbell.
A great night and thanks to all - sorry if I’ve missed anyone. It’s late and I’m already off to Vancouver.