Archive for December 17th, 2011



 photo credit barry roden


Andrew Cole is on a mission to create music that is something different, magical and accessible.

We all remember that era don’t we?  When Neil Young took an acoustic guitar to Massey Hall and blew you away.  Or Robbie Roberston, Levon Helm and the guys played the music that would become legendary Canadiana and Americana all at once.  

All of us who really care about music want the magic back.

Cole has drive. I like him a lot. You can feel the passion in the guy. That’s what matters.  And you know what?

If you get excited and passionate people will notice. And hell, it will matter to people all over the world.

Andrew Cole.  He has big plans.

A dreamer. Just like all of us.  But didn’t Tom Cochrane write a song about that?  You bet he did! 

I just listened to Voices at 4 A.M. his new single, and after one listen it’s clear this song has an urgency to it. Not only do you want to play it again, but you want to turn it up. So that’s what I’m doing as I write this. You know how it is, you just want to crank a good riff every now and then.

I admire Cole’s integrity.

 Hell, let’s wake up. Music is passion. It breathes life into us all!

AC wants to get this new music into your brain and make it stick. He has some “heavy’ friends helping him out like Tom Cochrane, Kenny Aronoff and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson to name a few

Recently Andrew and I spoke about this new project and an important new effort

 Here is some of what we ‘grooved’ on

EMMS-Heck Andrew, you sound exhausted have you been working late hours?

COLE-Yes John, this project has taken a toll, but that’s okay. From getting everyone in one room, and scheduling to mix in the UK, the artwork and waiting for Alex Lifeson to finish his tour with Rush. But I have never worked in this fashion and it’s good.

EMMS-Why mix in the UK?

COLE-I wanted to work with Chris Potter who is best known for mixing and producing The Verve and Richard Ashcroft

I can tell you John, I dont’ think I have heard anything like Voices at 4 AM on Canadian Radio. It’s as Canadian as Tom Cochrane (who wrote the music) with a psychedelic feel in a few places, and then a huge chorus. The lyrics are dark and twisted.

 But this project has taken 9 months. It’s an experiment which I’m loving  John. The basic idea was to bring in musicians to paint a canvas and not get stuck  in each others paint. That was my goal.  And it’s working.

Later I would like to work on a 5 or 6 artist two song EP’ idea and release them. Burton Cummings is a very interesting guy and I would love to work with him and many others. Kind of like a Willbury’s thing but with different artists.

EMMS-You are also doing a bullying song project.  Tell me more, I love this idea

COLE-Yes, the song is called JOKE I’m working with Alan Frew and Michael Hanson both of them are great.  Kind of  like a  3 verse  chorus thing John, and I have got vocalists like Meat Loaf, Elvis Costello, Ron Sexmith, and the amazing Steve Vai helping out.  Also, I filmed myself asking some of these legends to speak about the issue as well as sing.

Think about it John, who the “f***k am I? If I can get this done, then anything is possible. Hey, maybe we can shine a light on all this bad stuff  such as  having kids feel bullied to the point they take their lives.

EMMS-That’s incredible.  Tell me more about the docu-filming thing?

COLE-Well, I’m not an interviewer. ( I say to Andrew Ok so your not Barbara Walters and we howl)  but when I ask some of these stars on camera, it comes out honest and inspiring.  All we can do is ask.  The bigger the celebrity the easier the interview, you know that.

Now let me not confuse you John and your radio and blog fans this is a different project then the voices At 4 AM gig.  But, basically at the start an artist will always ask well who else is on it. But then you might ask someone like Jeff Goldblum and he would say “yes I’ll do this the next day” Then everyone gets at ease, because these people have careers to worry about, and I’m just some young bloke with big plans 

EMMS-How do get all these people to be on film if they live in different parts of the world?

COLE-Well, if I go to Los Angeles for a month, I bring a small film crew and we can get 5 or 6 people at once 

EMMS-This is exciting Andrew I can feel how passionate you are. I got you off our original  idea, so let’s go back to the EP release

COLE-Ok mate, we can do a followup as we progress, I’ll send you a trailer.

EMMS- I love the mix on 4 AM and the feel. How did the musical idea for 4 AM come up?

COLE- The idea for Voices at 4 AM came about when I went up to the cottage with Tom Cochrane and he was playing me a piece of music Ken Greer and he had been working on as part of the No Stranger album. Tom, did not want to use these cuts because they did not really fit the No Stranger disc. I told him this was great stuff and could I pull it apart and work with it. He said go ahead, what’s the worst that could happen.  

EMMS-How did Alex Lifeson come to be on the track?

COLE-Well, he is friends with Tom but of course he is super busy. I honestly have to say I really pursued him to play because I thought his huge guitar sound along with Ken Greer’s work would propel the track once we started to get it down. And my persistence paid off

EMMS-How you did get Chris Potter to spend time mixing?

COLE-It’s funny he was a huge Alex Lifeson fan but I really had not got Lifeson to find the time. I was bummed out.

But I did bring the bed tracks to England. Chris changed the whole vibe of the song, and it blew Tom Cochrane’s mind. When we got the whole vocal thing about to go, I asked Tom to sing it, but he said no it’s yours now. But once I got Alex to play and sing Tom went with the chorus and for me it was like watching two old friends create magic. That is basically the story of Voices at 4 AM.

EMMS-Does this eventually then become an entire new album of let’s say 10 or 12 songs?

COLE-What I’m going to do is record let’s say five EPS’ all called VOICES with 5 different artists and myself as a producer vocalist with the artist.

EMMS-This perfectly suits our iTunes world.

COLE-Exactly John. Just like the Beatles did. They would release just singles and some of those singles would eventually go on to a Beatles album so to speak.

EMMS-Andrew I love this EP different artist concept, the music is inspired and I really think the work on the bullying project is a positive force for the world we now live in.

COLE-Thank you John. I enjoyed this and let’s talk again later on.  

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, a radio host and musician. You can check out John’s solo cd on Apple iTunes or his radio show where he personally selects and places every track. John Emms Radio has garnered listeners from virtually all parts of the Globe.  Check it out here.

Just for sheer fun, John is the songwriter and vocalist with his BLUES

December 2011