Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995
(co-written with Michael Barclay and Ian A.D. Jack)
ECW Press (2001, revised edition 2011)
Capturing the spirit of Canadian rock from the late 20th century, this history tells the stories of the musicians and bands that made an indelible mark on Canadian culture and the global stage. Regarded by critics and musicians as the definitive history of the era, this massive tome has been updated to include brand-new interviews and up-to-the-present histories of the bands from Canada’s homegrown music industry, including Blue Rodeo, the Tragically Hip, Sarah McLachlan, Sloan, Barenaked Ladies, Daniel Lanois, and many others. Rich, extensive first-person interviews pair with a treasure trove of rare photos in this one-of-a-kind masterpiece, making it one of the seminal works in the field of Canadian music writing and a must-read for any Canadian music fan.
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1. Slow – Have Not Been The Same
2. Poisoned – Final Cliche
3. No Means No – Dad
4. The Nils – In Between
5. Doughboys – Long Hall
6. Rational Youth – To The Goddess Electricity
7. Jane Siberry – Symmetry
8. Hunger Project – The Same Inside
9. The Pursuit Of Happiness – Wake Up And Smell Cathy
10. Change Of Heart – Smile
11. Jr. Gone Wild – God Is Not My Father
12. Three O’Clock Train – A Fire I Can’t Put Out
13. Skydiggers – When You’re Down
14. Crash Vegas – Moving Too Fast
15. 13 Engines – Beached
16. Weeping Tile – Pushover
17. Grapes of Wrath – Misunderstanding
18. Sloan – Lucky For Me
19. Jale – Jesus Loves Me
20. Bob Wiseman – Gabriel Dumont Blues
21. Local Rabbits – Play On
Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music, from Hank Snow to The Band
ECW Press (2009)
Providing the first comprehensive history of Canada’s songwriting legacy, this guide traces a distinctly Canadian musical identity from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s. The discussion shows how Canadian musicians have always struggled to create work that reflects their own environment while simultaneously connecting with mass audiences in other countries, particularly the United States. While nearly all songwriters who successfully crossed this divide did so by immersing themselves in the American and British forms of blues, folk, country, and rock `n` roll, this guide reveals that Canadian sensibilities were never far beneath the surface. Canadian innovators featured include The Band, Ian & Sylvia, Hank Snow, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, and superstars Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Lively anecdotes and interviews round out the history, but the emphasis is always on the essential music—how and where it originated and its impact on the artists` subsequent work and the wider musical world.
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Blue Rodeo 1987-1993 Box Set [Booklet Essay]
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Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session (2017) [Liner Notes]
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Before They Make Me Run: Keith Richards and the Bust that Saved the Rolling Stones
In the mid-1970s, after a decade as the undisputed “greatest rock and roll band in the world,” The Rolling Stones were confronting not only the cold reality of the new punk rock era, but how they could even exist within it in the face of guitarist Keith Richards’ mounting personal problems.
Keith’s glorified image as rock’s ultimate outlaw, as a counterpoint to singer Mick Jagger’s image as rock’s ultimate sex symbol, was the basis of the Stones’ mystique. But at the start of 1977, as the band agreed to work on a new album in Toronto and spark the creative process by playing a small club there, Keith’s good fortune was slipping away.
Before They Make Me Run, by veteran Canadian music journalist Jason Schneider, is the first accurate account of the three years spanning 1977-1979, which marked both Keith Richards’ and The Rolling Stones’ darkest period. From the raid that found Keith facing a lengthy prison term for heroin trafficking, to his ultimate redemption by playing undoubtedly the most unusual benefit concert in history, no detail is overlooked or unexamined.
Along the way, Schneider uncovers the truth behind the El Mocambo concerts, what Canadian First Lady Margaret Trudeau’s involvement with the Stones really was, the creation of the band’s last true masterpiece, Some Girls, and the inner workings that led to Keith’s exoneration.
Before They Make Me Run is an essential addition to any Rolling Stones library.
3,000 Miles [A Novel]
ECW Press (2005)
Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain could not have envisioned what his death would mean to Generation X – or that he would influence one young man from small-town Quebec to take his own life . . . 3,000 Miles is the story of Andre, a man entering his twenties with very little going for him. The only stabilizing influence in his life is music, but the news of Kurt Cobain’s suicide finally pushes him over the edge. He leaves town and joins his friends Richard and Stephane in Quebec City to sell drugs. Eventually, the reserves of his self-centred nihilism run dry, and this prompts him to devise a plan: the trio will embark on a journey across North America. When they reach the end—Seattle—they’ll sacrifice themselves. Andre’s problem, of course, is convincing his friends to join him, but they decide to call his bluff. Their own young lives are in constant turmoil, and a road trip seems like the perfect distraction. But things quickly move from bad to worse when Andre’s spurned girlfriend, Sylvie, makes her own cross-country journey in a last-ditch attempt to prove her love. If Kerouac’s On The Road mapped the landscape of a new America, 3,000 Miles explores its ultimate dead end.
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Philip Snowcroft’s Finality [A Novella]
Blaurock Press (2009)
A Manhattan fable of talent and mediocrity, ambition and genius, art and commerce, crime and punishment. Owen Higdon, hungry artist’s-agent, likeable chancer and compulsive gambler, has staked everything on selling Philip Snowcroft’s new painting. Finality is his friend’s culminating achievement as an artist, a work of epic scale, raw passion, moral authority—and worth a lot of money. Unfortunately, there are other stakes in play, in an increasingly desperate and dangerous game. Owen must choose. The next roll of the dice will be for his own soul.
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