Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photos: Lenka Tupá
Just when the fat cats and chill operators think it’s safe to carry on grinding the proles, Art Bergmann’s back to put their greasy asses on notice. Or so it would be in a better world. Instead, one of Canrock’s most enduring iconoclasts must end a decade long self-imposed exile and get back to shaking the foundations. Fearing it’ll all fall on deaf ears. But DNA-driven to do it anyway.
The Vantown-born Bergmann was a seminal figure on the Canpunk scene in the late Seventies, playing in and shaping a number of bands, most notably Young Canadians. Even then though, his version of punk was more sharp, boring tool for getting to the heart of the matter, more Camus than Clockwork Orange. That kind of ‘tude brought him to the attention of avant-garde icon John Cale, who produced Art’s solo debut album Crawl With Me in 1988. Two years later he teamed with producer Chris Wardman to create Sexual Roulette, his mainstream breakthrough which contained the rock radio hit "Bound for Vegas" and was the springboard to a deal with Polygram Records.
The year 1996 was for Bergmann a microcosm of the music business. Now a rising star at Sony Records, he scooped the Juno for Best Alternative Rock Album with What Fresh Hell Is This? Within months, the album’s sales while steady enough did not impress Sony, who dropped Art like a bad habit. After a year on the low down in Toronto, writing and raging he relocated to a ragtag farm on the outskirts of Calgary.
By then beset by a debilitating arthritis of the spine and hands, Art put aside his axe...