Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Mark: Day 3 of Canada Reads 2012

And then there were 2. In a tiny surprise, voting came down between hockey and music, with Dave Bidini's On a Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock unfortunately voted out.

*Sigh* I was disappointed with the debate today...again. Not sure if it is the result of the poor decision to have this year focus on true stories or the poor decision around who the advocates would be for the books or (most likely) a combination of both. Past years have been passionate and inspiring; not this year for this reader. Almost the opposite at times.

Anyway, it all comes down to hockey (what a surprise--not!) and human rights tomorrow. Go Shad!

David Bidini, rhythm guitarist with the Rheostatics, knows all too well what the life of a rock band in Canada involves: storied arenas one tour and bars wallpapered with photos of forgotten bands the next. Zit-speckled fans begging for a guitar pick and angry drunks chucking twenty-sixers and pint glasses. Opulent tour buses riding through apocalyptic snowstorms and cramped vans that reek of dope and beer. Brilliant performances and heart-sinking break-ups.

Bidini has played all across the country many times, in venues as far flung and unalike as Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and the Royal Albert Hotel in Winnipeg. In 1996, when the Rheostatics opened for the Tragically Hip on their Trouble at the Henhouse tour, Bidini kept a diary. In
On a Cold Road he weaves his colourful tales about that tour with revealing and hilarious anecdotes from the pioneers of Canadian rock - including BTO, Goddo, the Stampeders, Max Webster, Crowbar, the Guess Who, Triumph, Trooper, Bruce Cockburn, Gale Garnett, and Tommy Chong - whom Bidini later interviewed in an effort to compare their experiences with his. The result is an original, vivid, and unforgettable picture of what it has meant, for the last forty years, to be a rock musician in Canada.

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