Friday, January 30, 2009

Zamboni Joe A Finalist!


I got a call from Melissa Martin from the Winnipeg Free Press last night to inform me that Zamboni Joe's song, Mayor Of Funtown is a finalist for the My City/My Song contest sponsored by the Free Press. Melissa told me the song caught the attention of the judges who recognized the references to the show (Archie And His Friends) and that they really thought the song captured the passion and emotional impact this show has had on many people's youth. She said the paper wanted a photo of some of the finalists and asked if the members of Zamboni Joe we're available on short notice.

The three members of the band, Cheryl, David and I reunited for a photo shoot this afternoon (Friday) at the Forks and supposeably our photo will be in Saturday's paper. We met with the paper's photographer, David and set off to find a location for the shoot and just as we entered the Fork's middle skating rink area, we spotted a Zamboni that is used to clean the ice on the river walk. We all looked at each other and asked, "it would be so cool to have the Zamboni in our photo!" Our photographer went over and asked if we could borrow the Zamboni and as luck would have it, he knew the Zamboni driver and gladly let us use the machine. We proceeded down to the river and used a skating rink for the site of the shoot, Cheryl and I climbed inside the Zamboni and David took the driver seat and started and revved it up. Our photographer took many photos of us inside and in front of the Zamboni, I'll be interested to see what photo they use in the newspaper. (I've posted a photo the Zamboni driver took of our shoot... Special thanks to Dave the Zamboni driver!!)

This whole experience was completely random and fortuitous, a real Zamboni for a Zamboni Joe photo shoot, what could be more perfect! If we do win this contest, we'll have to reunite again to record the song and that would be nice, but if we don't win, this day was still an amazing and unbelievable experience!

One last thought, I checked the Free Press website and they have posted the top 10 songs in the My City/My Song contest, you're invited to listen and leave comments...but if Mayor Of Funtown is a finalist, shouldn't it be at least in the top ten? Isn't a finalist ranked higher than the top ten? Just wondering...Check Saturday's paper for the final results!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My City...MY Song!


ZAMBONI JOE- Mayor Of Funtown

The Winnipeg Free Press has a contest (the deadline passed January 23) asking readers to submit a song they wrote and performed about Winnipeg. The song will be judged by a "qualified" jury and it will be judged on "lyrical content, musical structure, overall musicality and how much it reflects on life in Winnipeg". The winner will get to record the song in a real studio with renowned producer Jack Shapira, along with airplay (I'm sure they'll only play it once) on CBC One.

I felt it was my duty as a true Winnipegger to put my money where my mouth is (...or whatever the saying is?) and to submit a song to this contest. I know what you're thinking, how could I, Mr. negativity stand to write a positive song about Winnipeg? Actually, the song can be the good or the bad about Winnipeg, so that should make it easier, but instead I took a different approach. I used a song I wrote a few years ago for my band, Zamboni Joe, about a late great TV show aired exclusively in Winnipeg, to me it's kind of synonymous with our city and the people of this town. Yes, I'm talking about Archie and His Friends and the Sunday morning spin off show, Funtown. Any kid that grew up in Winnipeg in the 60's and 70's surely remembers this program with Archie Wood, Tammy True, Petite, Marvin Mouse and Uncle Bob on this weird, yet somewhat memorable show on CKY-TV. Go to the Free Press My City/My Song web-page, and they have posted a sample of some of the submissions they have received. I noticed a lack of my song, but I'm sure it's just an oversight by the webmasters for the F.P. and not because my song doesn't suck up to the paper with a glorified travelogue of our city. The songs are pretty much what I expected, songs about the cold weather, mosquitos, Portage & Main, the Jets and all the other typical references about Winnipeg. So far nothing about Funtown or Marvin the Mouse!

Judge for yourself, I've posted the song (above) plus as a bonus, (and reference point) some YouTube links to the TV show.
Archie And His Friends part 1, part 2, 3, 4
Archiepalooza (memorabilia display)
Funtown part 1, part 2, part 3, 4, 5, 6

Monday, January 26, 2009

Neko On "Q"


While I was at the dentist this morning getting my annual fillings on my teeth, I received a phone message from Brian my co-worker to let me know Neko Case was on CBC radio 1's arts and entertainment program "Q". I missed the entire interview, but later downloaded today's episode mp3 from Q's podcast page. Neko talked about her much anticipated upcoming album, Middle Cyclone which is a followup to her critically acclaimed CD, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, which I have talked about at great length on past blog posts.

I'm posting an mp3 of just the interview and the song she played live in the studio, so you don't have to listen to the whole program. Since I didn't hear the program live, when I listened to the show mp3 they omitted what I assume were tracks from the new album. In the interview, host Jian Ghomeshi introduces a couple of songs, but the interview continues on without the songs, is this because the album has yet to be released and the CBC doesn't want to infringe copyrights? (Check out her myspace page for a preview) Can someone confirm whether she played more than one song live in studio?
Thanks, enjoy!

NEKO CASE CBC Radio One on "Q" January 26, 2009
1. Interview
2. People Got A Lot Of Nerve (performed live-in-studio)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Plumtree- Flutterboard


Back in the early and mid-90's Halifax was the "hot-bed" of indie-rock talent in Canada. Bands such as Sloan, Super Friendz, Thrush Hermit, the Inbreds and Jale caused a wave of excitement and promise that captured the attention of music fans and opened doors for other East Coast bands in Canada and the US.

One of my favourite bands from Halifax was Plumtree, who released 3 full length CD's and a handful of 7'ers and many appearances on compilations. Plumtree toured extensively across Canada and the US (they only toured in summer months because of university classes) during their 7 year career and I saw the band live four times. I also had the pleasure of talking to guitarist Amanda Braden of Plumtree after a show in Steinbach (30 minutes outside of Winnipeg) back in 2000, we talked about their tour and music and of course got all the band to sign their third CD, This Day Won't Last At All. In case anyone is interested, I recorded the Plumtree shows on my trusty Walkman tape recorder.

I have for your listening pleasure, Flutterboard, a six-song cassette (available only on tape) that the band released a year before their first full-length CD, Mass Teen Fainting came out. It features exclusive songs that are not available anywhere except for an early version of In The Sink. This tape is hard to find and long out of print, but is by no means their quintessential work, I urge you to seek out all of Plumtree's CD's if you love catchy melodies and all-girl vocals. The quality of their sound improves on each release and I consider their final CD, This Day Won't Last At All, their masterpiece. The band broke up in 2000, but Lynette and Carla Gillis are still actively playing music. They formed Bontempti in Vancouver, Bells Clanging and now a new project, Sister with sister Lynette and Ryan Myshrall from Local Rabbits.

PLUMTREE Flutterboard ep (1994)
1. In The Sink
2. Let's Hope There's A Heaven
3. Hey! Whiskers!
4. Depp
5. Festooned
6. Good Time To Tell Me

Friday, January 09, 2009

Freak Out It's...Bromeo


Before he released his first solo album and just after his band Radish disbanded, Ben Kweller released a series of self-released ep's. They were mainly homemade that consisted of recordings from Radish's unreleased Discount Fireworks and demos that would eventually end up on his solo debut, Sha Sha. Many of these demos were recorded in his apartment on a laptop computer.

I knew about these ep's but have never heard or seen a copy until I stumbled upon 2 of them on a an outstanding blog, Wilfully Obscure. These are awesome recordings and are a must of any Ben Kweller fans, this kid displays his prodigy-like talent with these self-produced, self-financed releases without sounding amateurist or self-centered.

Bromeo features songs that are mainly exclusive to this release except for I Don't Know Why and Different But the Same that were re-recorded and included on later albums. Freak Out It's Ben Kweller...features songs that were more or less demos for Sha Sha, but they are different and altered recordings and in some ways more satisfying. Freak Out...apparently caught the attention of Evan Dando of the Lemonheads who invited him out on tour with him.

BEN KWELLER
Bromeo (2000)
(download or listen: Bromeo)
I Have The Power
Panamanian Girl
Debbie Don't Worry Doll
New And Improved
I Don't Know Why
Different But The Same
Concentric Town
Until I Die

Freak Out It's Ben Kweller (2000)
(download or listen: Freak Out...)
BK Baby
Walk On Me
How It Should Be (Sha Sha)
Make It Up
In Other Words
I Don't Know Why
Lizzy
Problems
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