CMW is one of those events that’s guaranteed to reoccur at least once a year, like herpes, but unlike it’s venereal disease counterpart, CMW features parties and a schmooze and booze fest with bands rather than painful and annoying sores. What they do have in common though, is that they’re both exhausting, expensive to deal with and, usually, when it’s all over and done with, you’ve had enough of it and you are just fine with the idea of not having to deal with it again for another year. This year was no different. The sore feet, lost voice, ringing ears and the devastating effects of a cumulative multi-day hangover were all present in the days following CMW, but in some sick twisted way, they served as a reminder that you’re still in love with your small morsel of involvement in the music industry.
BAM, BAM, BAM! I hear the sound and spend my precious few moments awake trying to determine if it’s actually a knock on the window, or just the pounding in my head. I hear the noise again and am finally able to distinguish it from the drum roll happening in my brain, and reach over to unlock the door. Having passed out drunk in my car, I wasn’t expecting anything less than a shitty morning and a brutal headache, but luckily enough, within seconds of opening my eyes, I had a drink thrust into my hand and was told to wake up and enjoy the show. Less than ten feet from where my hatch opened was a young lady dressed in a leopard skin bikini, complete with matching bunny ears. If that wasn’t enough, she was rolling, splashing and crawling around in a giant mud puddle. Having been eased gently awake by this amazing spectacle, I slam the rest of my Vodka Red Bull and get ready to start my day. It is 9:00 a.m.
Hey there, sports fans! I haven’t written in what seems like forever and it feels good to be pounding a keyboard instead of a drum kit for a change. I’ve basically been hibernating lately, isolated from the rest of the world, trying to get an EP done with my band. Every so often though, the lure of something like one of Canada’s biggest music industry events can get even my lazy ass out of the studio. All to get shit-faced with some really cool people and then write about all my adventures. I’ve actually tried a half dozen times now to put together an interesting piece of writing, detailing the highlights of CMW like I did last year, which mostly entails a four day industry schmooze-fest and a heavy drinking binge. On my last attempt, I gave up around 2000 monotonous words and realized that a typical overview of my CMW experience would simply be futile this year. Instead, I’m going to rant about a few things and hope I don’t get blacklisted next year.
Another year, another awkwardly late report on the music/media orgy, affectionately known as NXNE. Where normally I would admit to spending 4 days drinking heavily and enjoying the finer things of Toronto’s nightlife, this year was actually quite busy for me. I work for a Montreal based music media publicity company called Asher Media Relations, and this year we had two of our artists showcasing at NXNE, and one also participating as a panelist at the Hyatt hotel. That being said, I will confess that compared to years passed, I wasn’t able to spend nearly as much time cruising the venues in search of my “next favorite band nobody’s ever heard of”, but along the way, I was able to catch a bunch of cool stuff. So here is NXNE, my week in review. An account of the work we did as participants in the festival, and some of the random debaucherous adventures that took place behind the scenes.
(We would like to welcome musician, publicist and writer Dave Chinner to the Rock and Roll Report team as our new Toronto-based correspondent. And what better way to start things off then throwing him into the midst of the colossal Canadian Music Week and see what gives!)
Ok, maybe the title is a bit of a stretch… Ok it’s a huge stretch, considering Gene doesn’t even drink, and even if he did, he probably wouldn’t drink with the likes of me. But I decided to roll with it, since I needed a smoking headline for this, my first Rock and Roll Report piece, and I personally think its way more catchy then say…. “Drinking in the same hotel as Gene Simmons sort of…..”
Now I find myself sitting in front of my laptop for the last hour, as the Canadian Music Week dust settles, trying to decide which piece of wisdom to share with the RRR world. In the last week, I’ve done everything from appearances on reggae radio, to 3am Chinese food with CTV comics, to award shows including the Indies and Canadian Radio Music Awards. I’ve met everyone from Dave Foley from The Kids in the Hall, to bassist Tommy Mac of Hedley (honorable mention to Gene of course). The week was a whirlwind of activity, and everywhere I went could have likely produced enough “wow factor” to justify an article, but what I found most strange, is that no one thing really blew my mind. There’s a significant possibility that I’m just an asshole, and I’m certainly not implying that there was nothing good to see. I just think, it’s silly when the biggest star of the week, is such that would encourage forty-something’s with mullets to paint their faces and head to the Royal York Hotel. Nothing against KISS or their fans, but let’s face it, nobody can hog a spotlight like Mr. Gene Simmons, and for a festival showcasing 45 venues, I would have liked to see more media attention given to the independent artists who desperately need it. So rather then writing yet another “OMG Gene Simmons” piece, I’m going get real with you here, and share with you some of my observations as a writer, publicist and musician.