If you will indulge me further, I will offer a few more comments on April Wine, and the death of bassist Jim Clench. Not too much, I don’t mean to be exploitative. But it’s on my mind… I’ll offer up some further thoughts, then I really must be going. This is a brief return, but I am not blogging again. I really have nothing to say, and I’d rather live my life than write about it.
I grew up in Pierrefonds in the 70s, the West Island of Montreal. At that time two types of celebrities lived in the West Island; Montreal Canadiens and Myles Goodwyn. If I recall Marc Tardiff, Savard and Dicky Duff all lived somewhere in that area. But I remember specifically where Myles lived. It was just off Fredmir… I think the street was Clearview. On Saturday mornings I used to take my bike out and ride by to watch Myles wash his red or orange Corvette.
I remember the first records we all bought as kids; Theresa’s first was Dark Side of the Moon, mine was Alice Cooper, Billion Dollar Babies, Andre’s was April Wine, On Record.
April Wine made an early appearance in the Montreal pop music show, Like Young. I believe they performed Dark Side of the Moon and Could Have Been A Lady. We loved that.
Electric Jewels is the only April Wine Album where the majority of songs are co-written and co-sung by Goodwyn and Clench. In some ways I wished they would have continued in this way, I would have liked to have seen where they would have taken it.
After Oowatanite was released fire alarm bells began to disappear from school hallways all across the West Island; every drummer had to have one. I stole mine from Riverdale High off Sources blvd.
I was always under the impression that Jimmy sang Slow Poke; it was Myles. I loved the Clench tune, Baby Done Got Some Soul. When I asked Jim about it he said it was a “knock off”. It was an instrumental he and Gary Moffet worked out in the studio while Myles was busy with something else. Jim added the lyrics later.
For many years Lady and Drop Your Guns were staples in the many bands my brother played guitar in in and around the West Island. When First Glance came out my brother and I devoured it; by this time we were very good musicians – we jammed together in our garage on Roller, Ready for Love, Hot on The Wheels of Love, Right Down to it, etc…
I believe that is Myles Goodwyn’s son on the Attitude album cover
This is good: April Wine made a comeback in 1993. There first video was That’s Love. The video was directed and produced by two friends of mine. Unwittingly I was the costumer on the video. I was working at the Costume House in Toronto. I let my friends in after hours, and they essentially stole all the costumes for that video.
On playing with Jim:
It was hard anticipating what he would want to hear. For the most part I learned live versions from their 2003 Super-Ex concert in Ottawa. It was logical that this would be the sound that would be most familiar to him. But Jim could fool you; for Drop Your Guns and Lady he specifically wanted the versions from On Record (it was good that those versions were pretty much ingrained in my psyche.)
Skill: let’s be honest, I am a very good drummer, but I was essentially acting (playing the part of a drummer). My brother was and IS the real deal. He knew those solos from Oowatanite and Weeping Widow cold.
Unknown to anyone, I had also learned the rhythm guitar to all the songs. I figured I’d squeeze in that way if they found a better drummer; that’s how much I wanted this to happen.
The sound of Jim’s bass was so incredible thick… Mr. thunder-picker. He wasn’t up to speed but you knew when he got there you’d better be on your shit.
The set also included Bad Side of the Moon, I’d forgotten that. I would have wanted to include Lady Run Lady Hide, but it would have been difficult to pull off.
Jim told some funny story about being detained at the American border for hours. It was only the fact that Jerry Mercer had been in the current month’s issue of Modern Drummer and had a copy of the magazine with him that saved them from extended immigration limbo.
Our parents were not pleased with this sudden turn of events. At the time my brother was between jobs in one of the worst economies in 80 years, we both had children and families. That two forty-somethings would throw it all down the tubes for a rock-n-roll has-been was poor judgement in their minds. Hey! We were mad geniuses! Strangely my ex-wife was suspiciously supportive; either she saw it as typical bad behavior or she was building a sole custody case.
I have wanted to write about all of this for some time, but my brother swore me to secrecy. That’s his way, and he certainly didn’t want to give Jim any unwanted exposure. But now? What does it matter.
That’s all I got. If you check out the comments from my previous entry, you will see a nice post from Brian Greenway.
“Life don’t wait if you hesitate, come on quit wasting time”