In this issue:
* Chuck Berry’s Right-Hand Man: Ed Glinert
* UK producer Ken Nelson Freezes His Buns in Manitoba
* The Black Halos Will Forever Have Montreal
* A Jeanne Beker Doll. Do Ken & Barbie Know?
* Alanis: All Grown Up
* Madonna Makes Canadian Chart History? Er, Not Quite.
++ Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor makes no secret of his distain for major labels. He also makes the most of his recently hard-won freedom on the 2-disc, all-instrumental “Ghosts I-IV” album. It's the type of recording that Universal Music-affiliated Interscope Records likely wouldn't have allowed him to release when he was under contract. So it is surprising that Universal Music Canada scooped up digital distribution for the new NIN album in Canada with FAB Distribution handling retail distribution nationally.
++ Rogers Wireless, with Live Nation, has launched Wireless Box Office, which allows cell phone owners to buy tickets directly. The handset is virtually the ticket (a barcode is embedded in the wireless ticket that can be scanned at the venue’s door). To launch Wireless Box Office, Rogers is sponsoring Simple Plan’s national tour. Rogers will also sponsor 10 concerts at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto and 50 concerts at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. It is also partnering with MTV Canada to host music events at the Masonic Temple in Toronto .
++ Toronto entertainment writer Geoff Chapman will be honoured with the Ken Page Lifetime Achievement Award at the 7th Annual National Jazz Awards April 8, 2008, in Toronto. As well, the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award will be presented to Edmonton pianist/educator Chris Andrew.
++ While websites featuring Canadian music trivia are plentiful, Five Bucks On By-Tor, operated by Toronto collector Yves Perret, is a head-turner. Recent postings have featured informed articles and photos on such Canadian acts as the Raes, Gary & Dave, David Clayton-Thomas and the Shays, Ronney Abramson, the Kensington Market, Simply Saucer, the Beau-Marks, Irwin Prescott, the Rhythm Pals, and the Good Brothers. Go to: http://fivebucksonbytor.blogspot.com
Meanwhile, Canadiana is heavily featured in Naked Eye magazine’s current music issue. It has interviews with Michael Buble, Feist, Esthero, and City and Colour.
++ It’s Spring and two new Canadian country labels have blossomed. On Ramp Records, headed by veteran Louis O’Reilly, debuts with Deric Ruttan’s sophomore album, First Time In A Long Time, on Apr. 1, 2008. The Saskatoon-based label is distributed in Canada by EMI Music Canada. From Calgary, Alberta, comes Raw Country Music (see below).
++ Linus Entertainment and the Borealis Records have signed a mutual global licensing and distribution agreement to market and administer their roots and folk music-based catalogs internationally.
++ UK producer Ken Nelson, who has helmed recordings by Gomez, Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, Polly Paulusma and Paolo Nutini, certainly knows about Manitoba’s cold continental climate following sessions at a local church in rural Kelwood with singer/songwriter Alana Levandoski. Temperatures dipped to –21 degree C. Final sessions for the album start at the world-class Parr Street Studios in balmy Liverpool, England, on Apr. 1. For her sophomore album, Levandoski co-wrote in Nashville and Muscle Shoals with American songwriters Quinn Loggins, Sam Ashworth, James LeBlanc, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Rachel Thibodeau, and Gary Nichols. She also co-wrote with Simon Wilcox in Toronto.
++ Members of Vancouver's glam punk band Black Halos will forever remember Montreal. It was where their van and trailer were boosted, along with gear, merch and 400 CDs of their We Are Not Alone album—all uninsured. Here is a partial list of gear stolen:
## Ludwig 4 piece drum set Red Glitter Metal Flake in hard shell black cases marked with yellow Black Halos
## 1960 Gibson Les Paul guitar (sunburst finish)
## Black custom made Sparrow 335 Electric Hollowbody guitar. The name Vanessa is painted on headstock.
## Black custom made Sparrow 335 Electric Hollowbody guitar. Blue with purple artwork.
## Sparrow rat-rod guitar with a black pick guard and has Black Halos logo on the body.
## Fender Precision Bass. Sunburst finish with black pick guard.
## Rickenbacker 4003 Bass. Jet Glo (Black)
## Bogner guitar head. 100 watt model (The Ecstasy). Black.
## Fender 4/10 Deville guitar amp. Black/silver
## Peavey 100 watt Classic Guitar amplifier head.
## Traynor TC810 bass cabinet
If you have any info, contact Danny Cameo at: email@example.com
++ Macklam Feldman Management in Vancouver now handles worldwide representation of producer Brian Howes, who is the owner of Van Howes Studios, and the head of the Interscope-affiliated Wreck Beach Records, both in Vancouver. Howes is best-known for producing Hinder’s Extreme Behavior album and co-writing the band’s mega-hit “Lips of an Angel.” He also has produced Hedley, Faber Drive, and Revelation Theory.
++ Jensen Music International in Charlottetown, PEI, has signed Newfoundland’s Ennis (formerly the Ennis Sisters) as well as the newly-formed trio, Rankin, Church & Crowe. The latter consists of veteran Atlantic Canadian vocalists Raylene Rankin, Cindy Church, and Susan Crowe.
++ Canada’s Country Music Hall of Fame will soon move from Calgary, Alberta, to Merritt, British Columbia, the home of Canada’s largest annual country music festival, Mountainfest. Before cancer claimed Gary Buck's life in 2003, his museum--a log cabin on Stampede Grounds--was open year-round, attracting 25,000 visitors annually. After Buck’s death, the museum was shut down, other than during the annual Calgary Stampede. For four years, Buck's widow Deb fought to keep it in the city.
++ Veteran Canadian journalist David Farrell has returned to the music industry wars with FYIMusic, an on-line news service focusing on the Canadian music industry. Its website, www.FYIMusic.ca, officially launches Apr. 7, 2008. Farrell, former co-publisher of The Record, is partnered with Toronto-based digital media distribution firm Yangaroo Inc., and Toronto entrepreneur Gary Slaight.
++ "FT-Fashion Television" host Jeanne Beker has partnered with Bratz for a new Bratz Fashion Reporter Doll named “Jeanne B” that comes equipped with the former MuchMusic VJ’s new book, Passion For Fashion: Careers in Style.
++ Effective Monday, March 31, 2008, Sony BMG Canada’s head office will be located at 150 Ferrand Drive, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M3C 3E5.
++ In its press release of its launch, Calgary-based Raw Country Music promises to "shave off years to the rise of stardom." RCM is a “full service independent record company providing management, production, distribution, and publishing to the independent country artist.” RCM, operated by Rob Russell and Pamela Poole, plans to sign and develop 6-8 artists over the next three years.
“When an artist works with Raw Country Music, they don't have to spend time developing business relationships or learning the business of music; they can just concentrate on their art", states Poole in the press release.
This launch takes part in a climate of increased acrimony between artists and labels and while many artists are unclear of what career decision will benefit or destroy them, didn’t American indie labels Roulette, Chess, Modern, and Atlantic use the same pitch with artists decades ago? Just asking.
++ Karen Lee Cooper was jailed for 8 years in the Brisbane Supreme Court in Australia for stabbing to death her de facto husband Kevin Lee Watson two years ago because he'd stopped her listening to her favourite Bruce Springsteen album. "Who doesn't like Springsteen?", the 50-year-old wife complained to police.
++ There’s a blog page seeking to draft journalist/musician Nardwuar the Human Serviette as host of the 38th Annual Juno Awards being held in Vancouver in 2009. Hosted by James Kingsley, the amusing blog can be found at: http://nardwuarforthejunos.blogspot.com. Hosting the Junos would be revenge for the savvy "guerrilla journalist." He was, I recall, bounced from the 1998 Juno press conference in Vancouver after confronting Juno folks with some daffy questions.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
++ Ron Rogers has been named Program Director, Entertainment Business Management, at Metalworks Institute in Mississauga, Ont.
++ The Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) is accepting applications for the position of executive director to start July 7, 2008. Candidates must be able to demonstrate experience in a leading role in a not-for-profit organization; be experienced in writing grant applications and reports; and have a “passionate” commitment to the performing arts. Submit a cover letter, resume and three references to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 30, 2008, in Word or PDF formats.
++ After an 11-month battle with cancer, Toronto Sun entertainment reporter Sherri Wood died March 24, 2008, of brain cancer. The Etobicoke native was two weeks shy of her 29th birthday. Wood began writing for the Sun as a Humber College intern. She quickly became an interviewer, reviewer and clubs columnist. As well, she compiled the weekly “Sun Spots” events listings, and was featured in guest spots on “Canoe Live”, SUN TV's current-affairs show.
++ Gary McGowan, one of the pillars of Edmonton's music scene, passed away from brain cancer on March 8, 2008. He was 50. Following a stint at University of Alberta radio station CJSR as program manager, and as music and program director of K-97 (now K-Rock), McGowan co-founded B.A.D. Concerts, which brought hundreds of punk and metal acts to Edmonton. He briefly managed local blues artist Bobby Cameron and was co-owner of The Starlite Room. He became head of A&R rock music at Icon Music in 2007.
CASABLANCA LANDS ARC MUSIC & FIRST STATE MEDIA
Canada’s leading independent music publisher, Casablanca Media Publishing, in Toronto has signed an agreement with Arc Music Group and First State Media Group Ireland to administer their publishing catalogs in Canada.
Arc Music Group is the parent company of Arc Music, Conrad Music, Regent Music, Jewel Music Publishing., Sunflower Music, and Sunflower Entertainment Company. Its catalogs include songs by key blues and rock and roll figures and many from the Chess and Vee Jay labels. It includes songs by such legendary artist/songwriters as Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”, “Maybellene”, “Rock & Roll Music”); John Lee Hooker (“Boom Boom”, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, and “Dimples”); Memphis Slim (“Everyday I Have The Blues”); Bo Diddley (aka Ellas McDaniel) with “Bo Diddley”, “I’m A Man”, and “Who Do You Love”); and Howlin’ Wolf (aka Chester Burnett) with “Smokestack Lightnin'”, “Killing Floor”, “Moanin’ At Midnight” and “How Many More Years.”
The deal also covers publishing rights, coupled with access for master rights from Sunflower Entertainment, for a wide-range of Latin repertoire by such leading Latin acts as Sonora Carruseles, Joe Arroyo, Calixto Ochoa, Alejo Duran, The Latin Brothers, and Maria Victoria.
“Casablanca is excited to represent the Arc Music Group catalogs”, says Ed Glinert, President of Casablanca Media Publishing. “I grew up listening to these legendary blues and rock classics and working with these artists. So I appreciate what an incredible body of work these catalogs represent. We are also anxious to introduce music supervisors to the one-stop synch licensing opportunities available in the Sunflower Entertainment catalog. This extensive catalog continues to grow with new signings and releases.”
Included in the First State catalogs are the DreamWorks and Wind-Up publishing catalogs that contain such evergreen copyrights as “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, “Day-O”, “Take The A Train”, “Disco Inferno”, “Misty Blue”, and “Get Up, Stand Up”, as well as such contemporary copyright as “Bring Me To Life”, recorded by Evanescence, and “Because of You”, recorded by Kelly Clarkson.
“The diversity and depth of the First State catalog is impressive, and we are excited about the opportunities that exist to license the songs in Canada”, says Glinert. In 2001, Glinert set up the privately-owned parent company, Casablanca Media Acquisitions, to capitalize on an increasing demand for entertainment content from global cable and digital broadcasters. The company has since acquired significant catalogs of music, TV and video properties while serving as Canadian representative for a handful of powerhouse international publishing houses.
WE OUGHTA KNOW BUT WE DON’T
Alanis Morissette was recently inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. How can it be 13 years since the Canadian singer/songwriter became an international wunderkind with her 1995 Maverick Records’ debut, Jagged Little Pill? Since its release, Jagged Little Pill, featuring the confessional hits, “You Oughta Know”, “Hand In My Pocket”, “Ironic” and “You Learn”, has sold over 30 million albums worldwide--14.4 million copies in the U.S., and over two million units in Canada.
In 1996, Jagged Little Pill won four Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance (“You Oughta Know”), Best Rock Song (“You Oughta Know”) and Best Rock Album. The following year, Alana won a Grammy Award for “Best Video/Long Form.”
To commemorate its 10th anniversary in 2005, Morissette released Jagged Little Pill - Acoustic. In conversation, Morissette is remarkably at ease talking about her musical past. It's an incredible journey in which she has transformed herself from being a Canadian teenage pop idol into one of the biggest-selling musical artists in history.
“I have found an equilibrium in my life”, she says. “When everything was happening in the mid-90s, that was not a sustainable lifestyle. Now, I can easily maintain my lifestyle."
At the age of seven, the Ottawa native began dancing and playing the piano. She knew she was going to be a performer of some kind.
“My parents have said that even when I was three or four I would sing with a nail polish bottle. I knew at an early age that I would be writing, dancing, singing or acting. I’ve always considered myself as a writer first”, she adds. “The performer aspect of [the career] came because I started writing songs when I was quite young. Somebody had to sing them.”
When she was 9, she wrote her first song, "Fate Stay with Me", and sent it to local Ottawa performer Lindsay Morgan, a family friend. After he began working with her, the song was released on Lamor Records but failed to gain her attention. In 1988, John Alexander, now Senior VP, Creative Affairs, at ASCAP in Los Angeles, signed Morissette to publishing and label deals while he was VP, MCA Publishing Canada. MCA Records Canada released Alanis’ dance-pop album, Alanis, in 1991. She co-wrote the album with producer Leslie Howe. The album went platinum (100,000 units); its first single, "Too Hot", reached no. 4 on The Record’s singles chart.
Morissette won a Juno Award as Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1992. “That night was a real nerve-racking experience”, she recalls. “I remember having a huge crush on Bryan Adams, who I saw in the audience.”
In 1992, MCA released her second album, Now Is the Time, co-written with producers Howe and Serge Côté. The album, however, failed to sell as well as her debut. Now living in Toronto and re-evaluating her musical direction, Morissette began working with established songwriters in Toronto, Nashville and Los Angeles.
“I remember writing something in Canada that was a foreshadowing of how I would write on Jagged Little Pill and since”, she recalls. “The person I was writing with said something like, ‘I don’t think MCA is going to want to hear this from you.’ I left ten minutes later. Anyone who has a preconceived notion of what I should be doing as an artist, I just cannot work with.”
In 1994, MCA Publishing’s Kurt Denny in Los Angeles contacted veteran producer/songwriter Glen Ballard about working with Morissette. Within 10 minutes of meeting, Morissette and Ballard had begun working on songs for Jagged Little Pill. Soon afterwards, Morissette signed a deal with Maverick Records. Three years after her breakthrough, Morissette pulled off the difficult task of creating an album that met the demands of fans, critics, and herself.
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, with the hits, “Thank U”, “Unsent” and “So Pure”, debuted at no. 1 on Billboard’s album chart in 1998. Morissette has since developed and matured as an artist. Her audience also has developed and matured, particularly outside North America. Her strongest markets today include Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium and Poland. Further afield, she has impressive followings in Japan, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and across S.E. Asia. While putting the finishing touches last year on her upcoming album, Flavors of Entanglement, (due this Spring), Morissette decided to play the lead in a film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, Radio Free Albemuth.
"I'm offered a lot of movie roles, but I have to turn most of them down because it conflicts with the music”, she explains. “It’s a great role, and I thought, ‘Goddamn it, I'd like to do this.’ The character required me to dig deep into my own humanity. I loved it. I look forward to more [acting].”
THE ORIGINAL CASTE RETURNS
It slipped under my radar but The Original Caste has apparently returned after more than 30 years. And without dynamic original lead singer Dixie Lee Innes. The Original Caste—with its original leader/founder Bruce Innes (Dixie’s former hubby) and with new vocalist, Jilla Webb, a featured artist with Las Vegas show, "Superstars Live in Concert", recently re-recorded its 1970 hit, “One Tin Soldier”, with the Nashville Children’s Choir. A new CD is planned this year.
Original Caste scored a minor Canadian hit, “Can’t Make It Anymore”, two years before "One Tin Soldier" reached #6 on the RPM Weekly Chart in Canada and #34 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in the U.S. The follow-up, "Mr. Monday", was a #4 hit in Canada but stiffed in the U.S. Still, the group landed opening slots there with B.B. King and Glen Campbell.
"One Tin Soldier” had another life. As recorded by Coven, it was featured in the 1972 red-neck cult film classic, “The Legend of Billy Jack.” During the '70s, Dixie Lee and Bruce recorded as solo artists and with different lineups of Original Caste. When the band finally split in 1980, so did the Inneses. However, with the release of The Best Of The Original Caste in Japan in 2005, the Original Caste returned with a line-up headed by Bruce Innes and Cheryl Morrel on vocals. If Original Caste can return to life on the basis of a pair of hits, what other Canadian acts can we also expect to return? Kish, Belinda Metz, Lydia Taylor, Organized Rhyme, Trans-X, Alta Moda?I’ll hold the door open for Remy Shand.
MADONNA SETS CANADIAN RADIO RECORD--LET THE RECOUNT BEGIN
A recent Warner Music Canada press release bleated: “MADONNA SETS RADIO RECORD IN CANADA—‘4 Minutes’ is the fastest single to hit #1 in Canadian radio history.” Er…maybe.
“4 Minutes”, the first single from Madonna’s forthcoming album, Hard Candy, has debuted at #1 on the Canadian CHR Audience chart. Broadcast Data Services (BDS), says Warners, indicates that this marks the first time any single has entered at the top [of either the audience or spin] CHR charts in BDS’ history. Er….okay.
Warners’ assertion, however, that “4 Minutes’ is “the fastest single to hit #1 in Canadian radio history” is a bit of a stretch. It is, however, the fastest single to hit #1 only since Nielsen BDS arrived in Canada. While Nielsen BDS, which tracks airplay of recordings by radio stations, was launched in the U.S. in 1989, it didn’t arrive in Canada until 1996.
Somewhere out there is a chart snoop who will know the answer of “the fastest single to hit #1 in Canadian radio history.” I would have guessed the Moffats’ "Bang Bang Boom" in 2000 or Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do For You” in 1991. And there’s the 1964 string of Beatle singles, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “She Loves You”, and “Love Me Do”.
Journalist/broadcaster/researcher Larry LeBlanc has been a leading figure in Canadian music for four decades. He has been a regular music commentator on CTV’s “Canada A.M.” for 35 years, and has been featured on numerous CBC-TV, CTV, YTV, Bravo! MuchMusic, MusiMax, and Newsworld programs in Canada; VH-1, and EEntertainment in the U.S.; and BBC in the U.K.
Larry was a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record, and, most recently, the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard for 16 years. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the New York Times.
To be added to his email list write: LJLE@aol.com
The LeBlanc Newsletter is exclusively carried and archived by Canadian Music Week in Canada at: http://www.cmw.net/cmw2008. It is available in the U.S. at Encore Celebrity Access: http://encore.celebrityaccess.com