The Toronto Star picked up my Canadian Press story today on This Beat Goes On and Rise Up, two terrific back-to-back documentaries on the Canadian music scene. Part One begins next Thurs., Aug. 27 at 9 p.m. on CBC’s “Doc Zone” with the series playing over the next three consecutive Thursdays.
Read the Star feature here.
The specials were directed by Gary McGroarty and written by Nicholas Jennings, who used to cover music in the ‘80s for Macleans and previously wrote and produced Shakin’ All Over, an entertaining look at Canadian music in the ‘60s. This Beat Goes On goes on from there, using as a starting point the landmark Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission decision in the early ‘70s to mandate radio stations play at least 30% home grown music on our airwaves.
Many of the Canadian music stars who took part in the series gathered earlier this week at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, including Donnie Walsh from The Downchild Blues Band (celebrating 40 years of making music with a reunion tour this fall), Kim Mitchell from Max Webster, The Good Brothers, Murray McLaughlan, The Kings, Lorraine Segato of Parachute Club (who’s 1983 anthem “Rise Up” gave the ‘80s half of the documentaries its title), Dan Hill, Kevin Staples from Rough Trade (above, with Carol Pope) and bizarre electronic musician Nash the Slash, still in mummy drag after all these years.
Several of the industry players who are interviewed in the documentaries, including Bernie Finkelstein from True North Records, former MuchMusic VJ Christopher Ward and CBC Radio head and former Much boss Denise Donlon were also in the house.
The documentaries also feature several contemporary artists who comment on the influence of the ‘70s and ‘80s acts.
Unfortunately, like mullets, headbands and parachute pants, not all video survived from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Jennings says he searched high and low for early performance footage of the B.C. band Chilliwack. The band members themselves dug through attics and sent word out on fan sites that footage was sought. While Jennings was surprised that nothing turned up (except for a clip used later in the series of the band performing their ‘80s hit “My Girl”), the ones who were truly surprised were the band members themselves.
Still, there are plenty of musical memories left, enough for a joyous end-of-summer celebration. As Jennings says of ‘70s and ‘80s pop music, “It seems to go with cottages and docks.”