Archive for July, 2010



CHRIS SHIFLETT (Foo Fighters) is a big talent. Let’s get that out of the way. Oh yeah  and this cd by the way is a solid debut album.  ANY ARTIST would be proud of the first time solo work here.

There is a lot of talk when a lead guitarist/noted musician sets out on his own detour.

 How good are the songs? How good can he sing? etc etc. People should realize this cd is not going to challenge The Jayhawks, The Band or Blue Rodeo’s extensive  catologue. Their careers are already  made of years of killer material.

But hell,  the songwriting on Bandaged,  Get Along, the slow intensive burn of God Damn is very good. The Dead Peasant Band: Greig Leiz, Davey Faragher, drummer John Lousteau and Derek Silverman on keyboards are DEADLY. This band plays with so much soul it’s scary. 

Other highlights include An Atheists Prayer and opening song Helsinki. If the touring band and Shiflett can match this cd could do very well on repeated listens. I will be adding this one to my radio show playlist.

JOHN EMMS is a radio show host, veteran music journalist and musician

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From the outset of this show in Kapuskasing Ontario Tom Cochrane and Red Rider proved you can make a concert accessbile without losing integrity. As much weight as Cochrane’s charisma carries to the stage it’s ultimatley the songs and chops that get you through.

Fortunatley for the pumped up audience Cochrane, guitarist/lap steel/piano player Ken Greer, bassist Jeff Jones and drummer Gary Craig delivered a set big on dynamics.

Sturdy versions of Victory Day and The Untouchable One dedicated to wife Kathleene as well as the crowd singalong of Good Times with Cochrane on acoustic guitar and ace guitarist Ken Greer on lap steel working up close and personal set up the crowd for the huge adulation and love of his massive hits.

It should be said right here that the in the pocket and intensive drumming of Gary Craig pushed the band to new heights. Cochrane while still pulling the crowd into his own frontman space fed off of the playing of Jones, Greer and Craig for the entire set.

Big League, Boy Inside A Man and a ripping versions of No Regrets and Red Rider’s Human Race offered up honest no frills rock n roll.

On Life is a Highway and the encore of Lunatic Fringe I noticed middle aged housewives and 20 year old fans pumped and rocking.  A lot of this has to do with Cochrane’s heartland no pretense atttiude. This is an artist who loves what he does.

Unless the band was set to play for 3 hours they did not have time to dip into crowd faves like I Wish You Well, Stonecutter’s Arms, Ocean Blue or Citizen Cain to name just four.

If Cochrane is to follow in the footsteps of his fellow heartland singer songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, and John Mellencamp he should come out with “new material’ within  the next year or so.  His impressive and last release No Stranger is now nearly four years old.

Cochrane is an artist who has plenty left  in the tank. This was an impressive set by any standard.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran published music journalist, radio show host and musician.

Check out his latest solo cd here

Also the hard driving Blues Rock with the band here



I RECENTLY SPOKE to Tom Cochrane and Andrew Cole..Here is part of the conversations
Tom Cochrane is a Canadian icon who just happens to also be inducted in Canada’s Walk of Fame, The Canadian Music Hall of Fame, The Order of Canada and holds honarary doctorates from Brandon University, and humanatarium and charity awards too many to mention
Andrew Cole is one of the 2 or 3 most promising new artists to emerge on the North American music scene in the last 2 years. He moved to Canada from Liverpool England in 2004. HIs first single Out of My Head was written by Cochrane and it’s the only song on Cole’s cd Cole did not write himself. That song is now in heavy rotation on Much More Music
Cole is also managed by Tom Cochrane’s wife Kathleene. I took one listen to Cole’s new cd Why We Wonder and was hooked on how genuine and soulful the music sounded.
John-Your album Why We Wonder is impressive on the first listen. But why did it take 2 years to record it?
Andrew-Thank you. I had a vision in my head of how I wanted the recording to sound like. I had worked hard on the songs by myself. We recorded a lot tracks, and I scrapped it. It was not what I wanted. After that I recorded with Bill Bell as producer and guest players like Colin Cripps and Ken Greer. But I had to wait on their schedules and that took time. On top of that I arranged and co-produced the cd, which took even more time.
John-How did you hook up with Kathleene and Tom Cochrane?
Andrew- Barry Roden a great Canadian photgrapher was taking pictures at a Gibson guitar clinic where I was endorsed. He took some photos of me and eventually we became friends. He said I know some people, and then handed me a copy of No Stranger Tom Cochrane’s last cd. I had no idea who Tom Cochrane was. Not a clue. I liked the cd.
Later I got a call from Kathleene and also spoke to Tom. I asked him where he played. He said oh just around. I still new nothing when he picked me up in the car, and I thought were going to a gig at a pub. The joke was on me, he took me to Air Canada Centre where he was playing with John Mellencamp in front of a sold out crowd. So that was funny.
John-How are you Tom? Heck while I was waiting for you to call, the hospital called and asked me to come in for some tests.
Tom-Gee John let’s make this the nutrution part of our interview because I was just at my doctors a while back and he informed me that I had to ‘smarten up” I have lost 30 pounds in 5 months, and I have more energy on stage than ever. I also get to enjoy my golf game (Cochrane is good friends with Mike Weir) and does Weir’s charity classic tournament every year) So yeah I hear where your coming from
John-There is a connective tissue to your albums and songs.Your classic videos like Good Times about family etc. I thought about that because I spoke to your daughter and wife previous to you and I getting together
Tom-Well the map that has been created by my upbringing is imprinted hopefully into my songs. My dad was my biggest hero and possilby still is. Maybe it’s being Canadian. We have an openess about us. It creates space. I think my songs also have that space. I have been told they still sound good even after all this time.
John-Your right I played my grandson the video for Life Is A Highway. He loved it and had heard the song in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars (600 million gross) He thought it rocked more than the Rascal Flatts version
Tom-(laughs) Great, yes it’s my most popular song but if I had to pick my faves it would be Big League or Ocean Blue. Having said that the residuals from Socan have been nice for Life is A Highway (laughs)
John-You live part time in Austin Texas I’m told?
Tom-Yeah maybe 4 months a year. But I love Canada in the summer. Hands down my favourite place. Heck we are going to be up in Kapuskasing. I love Northern Ontario. It reminds me of Lynn Lake in Mantoba (Cochrane’s birthplace).The north of Ontario is God’s country and I’m not just saying that.We are going to take the tour bus up and I’m looking forward to playing. I hope your coming to the show
John-You do so much charity work. It seems you have never comprimised your music or your work with World Vision etc. How do find the time?
Tom-I make the time because I have to remind myself how lucky we are to be living here in Canada and in the developed parts of the world. It comes down to how you carry yourself. The “Highway’ analogy is apt. You spread the good will and fortune you have as you drive down the highway of life. You cant be looking left or right you.Keep your eyes on the road, or your going to crash
As far as the songs I have tried to make them timeless. I am a storyteller. I’m comfortable in that role, but yes for festivals we bring the rock n’ roll. My inspiration is Neil Young. He stands beyind his words and music. He seems do it all. And very well I might add.
John- I think to many Canadians you do the same Tom.
Tom-Thanks John. It’s been a pleasure. I will see you on Saturday.


Relax and enjoy this detailed and captivating documentary. YES YOU HEARD RIGHT..This is not no bs archival footage thrown together but actually one hell of a great film. In fact, it’s hard even after watching the film a few times not to be blown away each time you see this rare and personal footage. At times it’s mind blowing!!! 

JOHNNY DEPP narrates and does a super job of understanding the band’s dynamics on a musical and personal level, but he never gets in the way of the story.  Director Tom Di Cillo opens the film with the blatant news of Jim Morrison’s over the radio, with actual footage of Morrison driving a vintage Ford Mustang from his 1969 film American Pastoral.

Morrison himself  is seen turning up the radio dial hurtling through the desert heat, while the film injects actual DJ EXCERPTS announcing his death on the airwaves.

 The scene is eerie and blows you out of the room.

Elsewhere there is extra footage with Morrison’s family and moving scenes with his father a Navy Admiral. In additon recording and rehearsal studio footage from all parts of the band’s career and sixties historical cultural moments power the  film and indeed the band’s massive appeal.

There is a lot more film of Morrison than the rest of the band. However Kreiger, Manzarek, and Densmore’s footage and there is a good chunk shows how accomplished they were as players and arrangers. There is tons of insight gained from the survviving members and this is a real plus.

Morrison’s premature death gets plenty of time, but no one in the film tries to resolve the issue. Fantastic never before seen photos of Morrison including his move to Paris France.

Highly recommended film for minor or major fans of the band.

July 2010