Here's the weekly gig news which many of you have come to expect. You know the drill...
TUESDAY AUGUST 29th:
Timothy Cameron (with me portraying the role of me) at Castro's Lounge, 2116 Queen Street East (still) 9pm to 11pm. with special guest Michael Proudfoot.
Bruce Gary passed away yesterday at the age of 54. He was the drummer for The Knack. You know, "My Sharona"? That thundering, incessant, primal, tribal drum pattern that opened the song which pretty much sealed my fate as a musician. When I was a kid, I sort of knew I wanted to be a musician, but at the time the airwaves were clogged with disco and shlocky 70s soft rock, most of which I despised. Thanks to the efforts of my aunt Eva and my best friend at the time, Chris Patchett, I'd been exposed to a steady stream of Beatles, Rolling Stones and all the great stuff that had happened during the Great Pop Music Renaissance of the mid 1960s. Disco might have been okay to dance to, but beyond that it couldn't touch the stuff that I was raised on.
I'd started battling an ancient acoustic that I'd begged my parents to buy me (for the princely sum of $25 if memory serves), and I'd begun writing songs that had more in common with my (supposedly) passe heroes than what was actually in style at the time. Musically I was an outsider. Most of my classmates thought my musical tastes were anywhere from quaint to laughable, but I didn't care. I knew what I liked.
And then one day in the fall of 1979, I heard it. That same driving, relentless, almost maddening drum pattern came roaring out of my radio, hit me square between the eyes and pinned me to the wall. It would have been one of the FM stations (either CHUM or Q107) that I was tuned into, because "My Sharona" was followed by three or four more songs from The Knack's debut album (FM radio used to do that sort of thing). It was like somebody turned on all the lights.
Some hacks accused The Knack of being Beatle-ish almost to the point of being derivative, but for those of us who were sick and tired of the then twenty-something Baby Boomers telling us that we'd missed it all, this was our revenge. And when I picked up my copy of Get The Knack (which I still have), there they were on the back cover, decked out in white shirts, skinny ties, drainpipe trousers and Cuban-heeled boots, and a voice inside my head said, "this is it".
Twenty-seven years later the album still stands on the musicianship alone. The Knack were incredibly tight, and Bruce Gary's ability to walk a fine line between the manic attack of Keith Moon and the straight-ahead drive of Ringo Starr is nothing short of miraculous. For those of you who have a copy of Get The Knack, go play it right now and listen to the drums, you'll see what I mean. For those of you who don't have the album in your collection, haul yourself over to iTunes or wherever and prepare yourself for a lesson on How To Play Rock 101.