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.

Anne Janelle Tours to Support “Beauty Remains”


East coaster Anne Janelle takes an exciting new step with debut solo album, Beauty Remains. Cellist/singer Anne Janelle moves so gracefully between classical and contemporary styles, making it look easy. Throughout her years of training as a classical cellist Anne maintained a love of popular, jazz and folk styles. Her concert history includes performances with various Canadian orchestras, as well as pop artists such as Kanye West, Bruce Cockburn and Holly Cole. Anne has also flourished in contemporary music, experimenting deeply with free improvisation in both music and dance.

Lately, she has been spending much of her time in folk music circles. Since 2006 she has performed widely with ukulelist/songwriter James Hill; their acclaimed collaboration True Love Don't Weep won Traditional Album of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

The Folk Diary calls Anne "absolutely brilliant on the cello," but it's her songwriting that takes centre stage on Beauty Remains. "I've fallen in love with melody, harmony, and poetry along the way," says Anne, "and with songwriting I get to work with them all. It's a wonderfully compelling jigsaw puzzle."

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.

Canadian Slacker Music Fest Boogie Throwdown. Or Whatever 2012


Story: Lenny Stoute/James Lizzard

Photo at right: Last Year’s Men

So when’s the last time you saw a dude smash the splinters out of his axe to end the set? If you were at The Silver Dollar as Saturday night slid into Sunday that was exactly what went down courtesy of young Geoff Schilling. The boy plays lead axe with South Carolina foursome Last Year’s Men who deal in a sound mashup of thrash and speedcore rock wedded to Southern Gothic. That no one else is doing this is for sure, the jaw-dropped crowd mesmerized as hollow-eyed singer Ben Carr intoned his dire tales of dirty deeds over an ominous drumbeat echoing from the piney woods. When the guitars erupt it’s like somebody took the lid off a boxful of vengeful spirits. Along with Carr and Schilling, Last Year’s Men are bassist Montgomery Morris and drummer Ian Rose and y’all should catch them when you can.

Know what else you don’t see much of anymore? The classic knee drop, that potentially career-ending move what separates the men from the kids. But if you stayed around after the LYM set at the Dollar, you witnessed not one but three full-on knee drops from The Mercy Now bassist/frontman Russ Fernandez. The homie hammerheads were showing off tracks from current EP, Love Battles a collection of their trademark crunchy rock riffs married to heavy and danceable rhythms just this side of a mosh. The by now mostly fans in the house got into it in a big way, a testament to this crew’s way with three chords and as many hooks per tune, with “ Need Some Money” close to a template.

Cashbox Canada Celebrated March Music Madness at CMW

Cover, March 30, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

Photography: Michelle Foran

Cashbox Canada kicked of March Music Madness on Wednesday, March 21st with a great night of live performances at Toronto’s Orbit Room. The event was produced by Irene Carroll of ISEE and Kit Watson of RockitGirl Media, and a fine job these two whirlwinds of promotion did to make the live music showcase a huge success. The room was filled with industry icons including Moses Znaimer, Richard Flohil, Jane Harbury, Dale Peters, Thomas Wade,Peter Linseman, Lauren Tutty, Anya Wilson, Tom Jackson, Ralph Murphy and Much Music veteran VeeJay Michael Williams as host for the evening. The acts reflected the diversity of Canadian music with Country crooner, Punk girl, and Folk/Rock cuties, and somehow it all made sense.

Tom Lodge: The Man Who Rocked the World

Cover, March 23, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

Umi Tom Lodge passed away Sunday, March 25 in Santa Cruz, California. I am grateful we had the opportunity to talk before he passed, and so happy he got to see the Cashbox covers in both Canada and the U.S. with his story. There will be a celebration of his life on April 1 at Stillpoint Zen Community at 11 am. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers you may make a donation to Umi`s work at Stillpoint. Sail On Tom and thank you for the lessons.


Tom Lodge was one of the very first offshore disc jockeys in the UK, joining Radio Caroline in 1964. He took part in the epic round-Britain broadcast made from the original Caroline ship, the mv. Fredericia; he was on board the mv.Mi Amigo when she lost her anchor and was washed up on the beach; and he was one of the station's most popular broadcasters, presenting the Breakfast Show on both ships.

What many do not know is Tom Lodge got his start on radio right here in Canada. Lodge emigrated here to be ‘a cowboy’ and ended up working for the CBC in the Northwest Territories. Here is an excerpt from his book “The Ship that Rocked the World: How Radio Caroline Defied the Establishment, Launched the British Invasion and Made the Planet Safe for Rock and Roll”.

Whitney Houston – Coming Home with Kim Burell

Whitney and Kim.png

Story: Michael Williams

It started in Victoria at his annual celebrity baseball game. David Foster spoke about his work with Whitney Houston and his engineer, David Reitzas, who did that incredible demo mix of I Will Always Love You for the Bodyguard soundtrack. I got to hear the track in advance and it rocked my soul.

Later that summer of (1992). I went to New York to do an interview with Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard film.  We spent about an hour together. She was full of fire and life for the future and had an interest in doing more film projects as a vehicle for her career.

Whitney had acquired the rights to remake Sparkle and had already started filming. Aaliyah was in the lead role with Whitney Houston playing the mother. Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash. The project went on hold till a deal was made with TD Jakes Film Company (he spoke at the memorial) and Jordan Sparks was chosen as the lead, supported by Whitney Houston, Michael Epps and Cee Lo Green. The new version is by Jump the Broom director Salim Akil.

Whitney’s personal story is a cross between Sparkle and Dreamgirls. In August 2012 I hope she is vindicated by a comeback film, her first and last production, Sparkle.

March Madness ….Canadian Style- CMW is Back in Town.

Cover, March 16, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

Springtime in Canada and Toronto means spring training for the Blue Jays, the Maple Leafs are out of the hunt for hockey’s holy grail, the Stanley Cup, and Canada’s music elite meet for Canadian Music Week.

Thirty years ago, what started as a small radio conference called The Record Conference, has evolved into one of Canada’s largest and most influential media and music conferences. It draws top industry professionals from around the world to participate in a four-day program of activities.

Designed to stimulate the exchange of market intelligence, increase dialogue and provide networking opportunities, Canadian Music Week continues to present the ideal platform for thousands of national and international delegates.

In an interview last year Neill Dixon, the president of Canadian Music Week, was asked about the early days of CMW and had this to say “It was called the Record Conference in the beginning, named after The Record, which was a trade paper that’s now defunct. It was sort of a reader appreciation convention, to get their constituents together. That was the original nucleus, and I was involved with it right from the beginning to put the thing together.

Des drapeaux Anglais sur la rue St-Jean dans le Vieux Québec!!

La Taverne Colonial 1946.jpg

Par Marc Durand

Qui l’aurait cru. On se dirige dans le Vieux Québec, on passe les arches de la Porte St-Jean.... et, tout juste à côté de magasin Archambault (autrefois Musique d’Auteuil) , deux très gros drapeaux britanniques vont au gré du vent. Scandale, on ose confronter la laine pure et dure du Vieux Québec avec ces symboles de l’occupation du passé.

Eh bien, c’est le ‘décor’ extérieur du Pub St-Alexandre, établi rue St-Jean depuis 1988. Un véritable Pub Anglais, implanté en plein centre du patrimoine Québécois. Après une visite en Europe, les Barré ont transformé la veille Taverne Coloniale (1946) en pub typique. Boiseries foncées, miroirs, plus de 200 bières dont 21 en fut... et plus de 40 ‘single malts’ sont à la carte.

On y sert des repas de style pub et on y accueilles des musiciens et groupes plusieurs soirs par semaine. Le blues et le jazz y sont à l’honneur, mais on y accueille aussi des groupes de rock (pas de métal) et des chanteurs francophones... on y fait quelquefois des lancements de disque.

Pub St. AlexandrePub St. Alexandre

À l’été, un ‘black cab’ se retrouve stationné droit devant... question de prolonger le mirage britannique.

Canadian Success at SXSW

Cover, March 09, 2012

Part One with Stuart Johnston - CIMA

Cashbox Canada had the pleasure of doing a cover story a few months back on Stuart Johnston, and once again we are back chatting with this personable, enthusiastic business person, who is the driving force behind 'the little engine that could' of the music business, CIMA.

Johnston, just recently back from Cannes, France, where CIMA played host once again to the Canada Stand at MIDEM, and also presented the hugely successful Canadian Blast, showcasing a record breaking 14 bands this year, the largest delegation of Canadian artists to ever showcase at MIDEM, is now set to travel with his extended 'family' of Canadian associates to Texas for the SXSW event.

"This will be my second time at SXSW, though truly it feels like my first as I had only been at the job at CIMA for two weeks before I attended last year. This is the 17th anniversary and it is an extraordinary event that marries the business of music with the artistic end in a seamless manner. Similar to MIDEM, our job is to take care of our members at SXSW to achieve the best results possible."

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