Sunday starts early on one coast and within a few hours I’m on the other. It’s strange to travel right across the country so quickly, but at least the weather was pretty much the same. Halifax was pouring rain Saturday and Vancouver was exactly the same today. My only disappointment was not being able to see the mountains. I’m told by my hosts it’s an incredible sight.
It’s my first visit to Vancouver, having never been past Calgary before. My longtime friends Andrew and Joanne play tour guides and fill me with Left Coast info. It strikes me what a small country Canada is; Saturday I saw Andrew’s brother, poet and book juror Brian Bartlett, at the Halifax book launch. Brian took the terrific photos of the launch you see on this website as well as on The Top 100 Canadian Albums flickr page.
A fine dinner is had by all at a great Malaysian place, Banana Leaf. Very affordable too. We’re joined by another old Fredericton friend, Grace Bauer.
Monday sees the interview schedule crank up again. The Fox rocks, of course, as does Rock 101. Phone interviews come in from contacts I’ve made among jurors who sent in lists for the book. I hear from Bruce LePerre in Dauphin, Manitoba, Steve Sutherland checks in from CBC Cape Breton, Scott Alan at CFOX here in Vancouver, John Threlfall in Victoria, the Jenn and Joe show at Vancouver’s CFUN, Jenna Chow at CBC Vancouver, and Rob Pingle at UVic. Breakfast Television awaits me Tuesday morning in Vancouver and then I’ll be off to Calgary and more of the media.
One other important note. There’s a book launch in Calgary on Wednesday night, so if you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello. It’s at 6 PM at the McNally Robinson store at 120 8 Avenue SW. We’ll be doing a Q & A about your favourite Canadian music.
One other great thing about this tour is that I get to connect with people whom I’ve worked, and who’ve helped with the book. As I’ve never been to Vancouver before, I had only limited contacts on the west coast, and needed help getting the proper amount of jurors. Someone who helped me immensely was Ken Beattie. Ken runs a music publicity company called Killbeat. Ken gladly offered up names, and not only that, sent the request out to many of his contacts, both journalists and musicians. That’s how I got people such as Mark Browning of Ox and Geoff Berner to take part.
I have to stop here and say hats off to those hard-working promo people. When an artist isn’t signed to a major record label they have to find some way to get the word out about their new disc or tour. They go to people such as Ken. He has contacts across the country and into the States, and works hard to promote these artists, to tip off reviewers to good shows coming through their town, or quality albums that fit their style. I certainly have profited musically from knowing Ken and being on his mailing list. When I hear the wild and Tom Waits-ian Klezmer music of Geoff Berner, it’s a startling discovery, and one I would never have enjoyed without Ken.
And tonight, I also got to enjoy a couple of fine red draughts in his company on Granville Ave. It’s always such a pleasure to sit for a couple of hours over refreshments and talk about all the music we love. Ken grilled me non-stop about the various aspects of the book — where was this band, what about that, and he put me through the paces just like all the other interviewers, only longer! But there’s nothing I like doing better. Of course, I knew we were on the right foot, in the right bar, when as we entered some good old Clash was on the sound system.
Ken mentioned he was just back from the Western Canadian Music Awards in Moose Jaw. It’s an excellent idea to move these events around. Ken reports the scene was great, with all the venues being within a five-minute walk of each other, so he and others got to see plenty of music, and that’s the point, isn’t it? I hear former Walton, Jason Plumb, has a cool new disc coming, and he was at the event. Ken also reports plenty of talk about the Top 100 book, still causing plenty of debate and chatter.
The National Post featured the book today (Monday), with a full-page write-up, a great layout listing all the albums, and the story prepared by Vancouver’s Tom Harrison, who had interviewed me last week for the Vancouver Province. Nice to see it picked up nationally; I liked Tom’s article a lot.
So, get ready Calgary, I head your way Tuesday, for two fun-filled days, and a family reunion with my much older sister, Dorothy.