Cover Story

Much Music Video Awards Then and Now

Cashbox Canada MMVA.jpg

Submitted by Michael E. Willams

The very first MMVA’s 1990 (all the VJ's co-hosted) is almost like ancient history now!  It was the brainchild of our fearless leader, the late great, John Martin. There was the  amazing Nancy Oliver, the best production crew in TV and an insanely wonderful cast of characters.  Another key member of the creative team was Thomas O’Neill, (aka “Got the Feel” O’Neill),  director and writer . We were  all caught on film just being ourselves. John Martin created the vision, Nancy Oliver made it possible and the crew executed it and made it happen. Of course, Moses hired us all!
We threw the best parties around and filmed it. They were a bi-product of the launch of Much Music on August 31st 1984. Oh the one rule was when you started hearing drinks hit the floor, hit the door, as the  shit was about to go off. They call that reality TV now.  John had the idea for the MMVA's. We had no budget.  We  talked people into performing and participating in crazy antics and skits. It worked!  They would always do  more than you expected!

Adam Cohen – Like A Man


Submitted by Michael Williams

MW: I lecture at high schools, Universities and Colleges ...through this,I came in contact with Paul Koidas from Centennial College. He called me twice about Adam Cohen. Once after he first saw his Idea City showcase… and was really excited about it. Then again when he needed a venue for an Alumni Concert featuring Adam Cohen.  After listening to Adam Cohen, I decided to use St. Paul Cathedral on Bloor Street, acoustically perfect with no microphone; I fell in love with the room. Now I am interviewing Adam Cohen.
Adam: you found the gig!

MW: yes, I did, was the room magic for you?
AC: it wasn’t that it was a good room but it was the beginning of what would later become the launch of the entire revival of my career. It was the most pivotal show and showcase and confidence booster and proof provider. That I could take this intimate quiet record on the road and actually equip myself better than I ever had on stage. It provided that cozy intimate quiet comfort. The funny thing is that only about ten days ago, when I was last in Toronto for the Glen Gould Award show,  I had a meeting in a building in a building adjacent to the church.  I found myself reminiscing fondly about that night again and you bring it up.

Robin Gibb - Gotta Get A Message to You


Submitted by Don Graham

Robin Gibb one third of the brotherly trio, The Bee Gees, passed away last week at the age of 62, after a long battle with cancer. That leaves only Barry left alive with Maurice having predeceased twin brother Robin. Tributes poured in from around the globe and because Disco Queen Donna Summer had passed away a few days earlier, the two were tied together, exalting their contributions to the disco era. But there was much more to singer Robin Gibb than just the disco music that propelled the Brothers Gibb to superstardom.

Although big brother Barry Gibb was the voice of the “Jive Talkin’”, “Stayin’ Alive”,  Bee Gees Robin’s sensitive quaver was the signature voice of the group’s monster hits of the sixties. Starting with the icebreaker charttopper “1941 New York Mining Disaster”, followed by “Words” , “Massachusetts”, “To Love Somebody” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”and “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”, there was a rivalry between who was the true star of the group big brother Barry or Robin. Robin’s twin brother Maurice wisely stuck to bass and keyboards and background vocals. This rivalry would eventually result in Robin leaving the band to start a solo career.
His first solo album ‘Robin’s Reign’, released in 1970, didn’t do very much so he reunited with his brothers, who had flopped with their album as a duo, ‘Cucumber Castle’. Nothing much was happening so they looked for ways to reinvent themselves.

Cashbox Canada Celebrates Summer and Canadian Indies!


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Abrams Brothers - Northern Redemption - A busy summer is about to kick off for The Abrams Brothers. The very talented trio will be once again hitting the road, travelling throughout North America to showcase their amazing talent!  With the release of their latest album, 'Northern Redemption', The Abrams Brothers make a transition from the music of their roots to their own distinct sound.  It's a combination of bluegrass, country, folk-rock that has had the Canadian festival circuit up in arms over their potential Their new single of the title track on the CD 'Northern Redemption' has been remixed for radio by the very talented Jason Barry and will be hitting the airwaves shortly.


A Pear of Aces


Story: Don Graham

They're a little bit country, a little bit city, a little bit sweet and a little bit gritty.

Refreshing, original, clean, crisp, talented; all words that come to mind when listening to the new PEAR CD, Sweet 'n' Gritty.  The duo of wife and husband, Lynae and Denis Dufresne, are definitely a self contained package;  singers, songwriters and excellent musicians.  Lynae is a world class fiddle player and Denis was 2011 CCMA's Fiddle Player of the Year as well as Mandolin Player of the Year. In fact, the two met when they both auditioned for the highly touted fiddle show Barrage in 1997. They both got the gig and after a short period of time began to notice each other as more than just fellow musicians. As Lynae said with a laugh, " After a little while I looked at Denis and thought " He's a good musician AND he's also kinda cute!!"

The show "Barrage: The  World On Stage" toured extensively for 5 years and was aired by every PBS station in the United States and the title CD climbed as high as #5 on the world charts. The Disney Corporation billed it as "the hottest fiddle show in the world" and Lynae and Denis are proud of their contribution to the production. Being part of that cast enabled them to tour Canada, the United States, Scotland, England, Scandinavia and even China.

In 2003 Lynae and Denis left the Barrage show and began lending their musical talents to some of the top acts in Canada, recording and playing live at festivals, honing their skills and perfecting their craft.

Michelle Wright Back on Radio with Another Good Day


Story : Don Graham

Look out Canada! There’s a new “infectious, can’t get it out your head, positive, uplifting summer song” coming your way! “Another Good Day” is the latest offering from Canada’s queen of country music Michelle Wright and if everything happens as it should this record will put Michelle Wright back on the top of charts where she belongs. There was a time when she could have had her mail delivered to TOP OF THE CHARTS with hits like “Take It Like A Man,” “He Would Be Sixteen,” “New Kind of Love,” “Guitar Talk,” “Nobody’s Girl” and on and on. I’m probably leaving out your favourite song but there are so many to choose from it would be hard to name them all. Although Michelle never stopped performing and writing and playing her music, it’s been a while since she has seen significant chart action. That is all about to change with the release of “Another Good Day”.

Happy Birthday Stan !


By Sandy Graham

In the fledgling days of the Canadian Music Industry, there were two men who saw the future, and inevitably helped shape it. Walt Grealis and Stan Klees. The names go together like peanut butter and jam, milk and cookies, RPM and CANCON. It is hard to mention one without the other.

This week marked the 80th birthday of Stan Klees. Finally a senior  teenager. Klees lost his long-time friend and business partner, Walt Grealis in 2004, after a short three year battle with cancer.  Close to eight years later, Stan Klees is still seen about town; frequenting Mirvish Productions and lunching with old friends.

For those of you who don’t know the story of RPM, ‘the little paper that grew’ here is a short history lesson. RPM started in 1964, and was ‘The Conscience of Canada's Music Industry’. Now, a huge industry here in Canada, it is now hard to believe, with the success of Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Gordon Lightfoot, Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, Rush, Avril Lavigne and countless other artists, that there was a time when English-Canadian popular music was rarely heard on the radio or promoted by Canadian record companies. In the 1960’s Canadian artists were regarded with indifference, and many were forced to turn to the U.S. to make a success of their talent. One person who decided to change that was Walt Grealis.

Dean Brody Loves ‘Canadian Girls’

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Dean Brody’s single ‘Canadian Girls’ is the first Canadian song to become a # 1 hit at country radio since February 2008. From his new album ‘Dirt’, with the patriotic line ‘true north and national treasure she’d give her life for the red & white’ with the description of  ‘irresistible , loveable, and  trouble". it is a great anthem for our country.

Dean Brody is focused and fearless. “Without risk there’s no reward,” says Dean Brody. “It’s important to be fearless. You need to be persistent. You can’t give up.”

Brody would know. If there’s one thing the Jaffray, BC born singer/songwriter has proven in his career, it’s that he’s not afraid to pull up stakes and risk everything to chase down his dreams.  “My life’s been kind of a trail – it hasn’t been one spot for thirty years – it’s been a bunch of different places, different memories and different friends. It’s about time passing and reminiscing,” Brody says of the album. “Songs about driving, good old times, good old days and growing up.”

A ‘one step forward, two steps back’ story of perseverance, dedication and hope that, even if it’s not the focus of his latest batch of songs, lends depth to his music and lyrics. “We’ve moved so much and done so many crazy things,” Brody says, “but each leap of faith has been about the music, and they’ve all been big ones.”

Bernie Finkelstein – True North – A Life in the Music Business

Cover, April 13, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

The name Bernie Finkelstein is synonymous with success in the music business. What most of us know is that Finkelstein is a Torontonian and a leading figure in the Canadian music business. We know he managed The Paupers from 1966–1967, Kensington Market from 1967-1969 and founded True North Records in 1969. Through 1972-1981, in partnership with Bernie Fiedler (1972-1981) he managed the careers of Ronnie Abramson, Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan and Dan Hill.

We know until 2011, Bernie was the Chairman of MUCHFACT for 26 years, an organization he co-founded with Moses Znaimer in 1984 when it was known as VideoFACT. Bernie was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2006, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) awarded Bernie the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, which is only given to "individuals who have contributed to the growth of the Canadian music industry". Bernie Finkelstein has also been the recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada in 2007.

Trebas– The Grammy Factory

Cover, April 6, 2012

Story: Michael Williams

Montreal has given birth to some unique talent in the music industry. This brief story is of one such individual who went through the school of hard knocks and not only survived, but thrived, in the early days of the music business in Canada and the U.S.

Dave Leonard started Trebas Institute to offer budding musicians, songwriters, record producers and managers the necessary skills, knowledge and professionalism to develop successful careers in the music industry.  For the last 33 years Trebas Institute has supplied the music business with trained professionals who have changed the face of the industry.  His graduates have won over a dozen Grammys, his instructors are industry professionals, and his schools were, at one time, the only career colleges for the music business in North America.

How did Dave Leonard get there? My first question as always is…..

MW: When did the music first hit you? Was it in the home or outside of the home?
DL:  It was in the home. My first recollection, at age five, was listening to a classical piece on radio and asking my mother how did they get all those people in that little box. My parents sent me for piano lessons. I used to go to the Montreal Symphony, under Joseph Louis Wilfrid Pelletier, at Montreal High School on Saturday mornings for the children’s program.  I was always involved with music.

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