Monday 30 March 2009

Music of Manitoba

This is pitiful:

Reading that, one would think that music almost died in Manitoba after BTO disbanded. Where is Harlequin? How can you not mention the legendary Big Dave McLean? What about Chris Burke-Gaffney's string of bands in the 80's?

Mind you, the articles for the other provinces are not much better. They are all part of WikiProject Canada -- a work in progress obviously. In any case, with due respect to the folks who have edited the Wiki article to this point, I think we can do a lot better in presenting our modern music heritage to the world.

I have ideas of course, and will spend a bit of time over the coming months jotting out some text to better describe our music scene, past and present, and to shed a little more light on the musical talent in this Province. I have never been really keyed into the music scene though, so I could certainly use some help in this regard. If you have any ideas, please email me at cherenkov *at* or leave a comment. I'll post periodic updates on my draft enhancements to the Wiki.


Graham said...

Well I was going to suggest Crash Test Dummies, the Watchmean and the Weakerthans.

Unfortunately the article only lists them and doesn't go into detail.

The thing that an article like Wiki will miss out on, is that musical success nowadays is not measured by worldwide recognition. Bands can contribute to the music scene and be influential without doing so. Propagandhi is a great example of that. John K Sampson of course left that band and formed the Weakerthans, and married Christine Fellows who is also listed there. The Weakerthans/Propagandhi don't get radio play, but they have become major bands here in the local scene. The Weakerthans are now popular enough to play two back-to-back shows at the Walker.

The Watchmen of course were a popular band, toured the crap out of the country and had some pretty major radio hits when radio was still relevant. (so happy theyve been playing shows here and there...hope it leads to a new record!)

Local rockers/brothers Inward Eye just landed a label deal. Not sure if that will help them in the age of the internet.

The Waking Eyes also have a pretty decent following. And they're probably the most kickass live local band in Winnipeg today. If memory serves they opened for the Stones in Saskatchewan.

Also plenty of groups that are known locally but don't seem to pick up steam anywhere else. People like Nathan, the Fabulous Kildonans and Telepathic Butterflies, or folkies like Dan Frechette.

Christian Cassidy said...

See It's a pretty good Canadian music history site. I use it for my This is Winnipeg data - you'll find a few key bands and names in there.

Oh, Terri Jacks's birthday was yesterday - born in Winnipeg in 1944 !

cherenkov said...

Graham: thanks for the input. We definitely need to expand on some of these bands, but I'm not sure how much detail I will go into. You have to draw a line somewhere -- there are too many artists to cover properly-- but where to draw it? The Weakerthans certainly are making an impression locally (though I don't really like them, my personal tastes shouldn't be a factor). The Duhks were nominated for a Juno recently. Jodi King is really good, but little known...

Mr.c: thanks for the source. Terry Jacks -- wow, I never would have come up with that name.

The Traveler said...

Wayne Walker , Ray St Germain , Neil Youngs different bands 50s , Lenny Bruae , Chad Allen , god Will get you more when I think abit . just so you know Pavolo Sandbox.

cherenkov said...

Thanks Jim

Scott MacNeil said...


Your right the wiki-entry I just sucks. Good luck on trying to improve it.

Just a thought; but one thing that seems to be missing in that piece is any discussion of our city's capacity to hive a moments in time and places in space to indulge in our love of music. And the manifestation of insane (unique?) loyalty of small hardcore groups of WPG fans to both local and other bands anytime they played anywhere in this city: QCK, David Wilcox, Nazareth, Harlequin,Judas Preist, Rush, Jethro Tull, Rocky Rolletti (anyone?), Laurie Mackenzie and the Bandits, Parkins, etc., etc.,

The role of the gathering places for live music also say as much about our music scene as anything else; both the one's off the beaten track and those on it. Places like the Blue Note on Main, Times Change Cafe, the Club Morrocco(?), Bella Vista, the old Sat. Blues jams at the Viscount Gort in the 80s, (then onto the basement to the Marlborough Hotel at Riffs) & the West End CC, the scene in the rock clubs at the places the Haggar's Rock Club, the Black Knight, the ZOO, the Rolls Royce Lounge, B-Ways, the Pyramid, Windsor, the hurtin' Marble Club, etc., etc., The Folk Fest, Vimy Park Reggae concerts, the ever changing rock/country Fest music scene (Beaver Dam, etc) that provides rural settings for 1000's of city kids to get hammered, stoned & laid.

Where, why, and how we decide to congregate to hear our music says as much about our uniqueness as anything else.

Graham said...

Totally agree with Fat Arse. A section on clubs and venues and proverbial musical watering holes would be a great addition to this Wiki page.

I haven't all that many bar/club years behind me so I wouldn't be able to recall any of the older ones.

Stories too about which musicians played there. Green Day, for example played at the Albert. On the Tragically Hip's first cross-canada tour they played somewhere called the Diamond I believe, and nobody showed up, so frontman Gord Downie out of boredom, sang lying down on stage, the bar manager told them not to come back. My parents tell me a story involving Janis Joplin and fountains on Broadway.

cherenkov said...

Arse / Graham: ya, I agree. I intend to work in some references to venues somehow. I also want to post a list of current music festivals. Thanks for the suggestions.

I used be a frequent visitor at the Diamond Club during my university days. Good times...

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