The highway of life once again has Prince George on the map. Tom Cochrane, the bard of ragged ass roads everywhere, will be live at CN Centre on Monday night. For a lot of fans, life must be like the Autobahn because the brain careens to realize it has been 25 years since the release of Cochrane’s mega-album Mad Mad World.
Back in the day, I was the road manager for the best power pop punk band in the country, The Pointed Sticks from Vancouver. It gave me an automatic backstage pass in the west coast music scene. That was my introduction to Jeff Jones. In 1980 the other black guys in rock ‘n’ Roll were Jeff Jones with Red Rider and A-Trane Boynton with The Payolas.
Dapper Toronto bass player Jeff Jones, who plays behind both Burton Cummings and Tom Cochrane, had a wild time playing with both in central Manitoba within two days. On Saturday, he played outdoors with Burton Cummings after a downpour. “But the crowd was big and they were great — very enthusiastic,” he said of the stalwart folk at Steinbach’s Summer in the City. Later in the night, Cummings showed up for a bite at the Sals on Pembina and Stafford, where he has a financial stake.
There are few crack elite live and studio session bands in the country that are bands for hire. They learn new material all the time, translating it with skill, accuracy, and speed, bringing out the originality and authenticity in all the music they play. One such unit is The Carpet Frogs. I talked to founding members Jeff Jones and Nick Sinopoli.
Many of my clear readers know that my all-time favorite band is Rush. By the way, Rush fans and potential Rush fans should run right out and purchase the relatively recently released DVD by Rush,”Snakes & N rows Live” – ifs outstanding. Some of you probably are saying: “‘What in the world does a Canadian rock band with three white guys (Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart) have to do with Black History Month, Jay?”
Ocean formed in Agincourt, Ont. While still playing the high school dance circuit, it rose to the top of the charts worldwide in 1971 with catchy, religious-flavoured pop songs. The group’s personnel changed through the years, but original members were Greg Broum, Janice Morgan, Jeff Jones, Dave Tamblyn, and Chuck Slater. With the exceptions of Brown, who lives in Oshawa, and Slater, who died a few years ago,the former Ocean members live in Toronto.
This was supposed to Red Rider’s year. After the Neruda album established Tom Cochrane as a thoughtful, ambitious songwriter and Red Rider, at last, as a smart, cohesive unit, Cochrane, manager Bruce Allen and EMI Records put aside any notions of Orwellian paranoia and pegged 1984 as the year in which Red Rider broke through in the United States.
Poor Tom Cochane’s got it all wrong. Doesn’t know you just can’t try and be intellectual in rock ‘n’ roll, especially the Canadian variety?
For a couple of years, Tom Cochrane’s Red Rider has been Canada’s most underrated successful rock band.
Tom Cochrane’s living room is a small, cosy niche located at the heart of Cabbagetown. The furniture is neat and looks recently purchases – a trendy little Art Shoppe sectional couch.
This is an occasion as rare as a lunar eclipse for Music Express writers to express unanimous approval of a new record.