Monday, 30 September 2013

Busy times and crazy days

Sad to see the warmth of summer coming to an end. The heavy rains are beginning to come here on Vancouver Island and they are wet indeed. Mother nature’s way of reminding us human beings that we live in a rain forest here on the island and we are no match for her power. 
Welcome to the "wet" coast.
It’s all cycles though, so I really don’t mind too much. I’m simply not as charmed with winter as I am with the easy feeling of west coast summers.

So I’ve been one busy little guitar strummer lately and that always makes me happy. Happy to be have been blessed with the gift of music in my life and the ability to share that joy with others. The Songwriter Showcase dinner shows at the Corner Bistro have been great fun. Our first show was with outstanding local musician Glen Foster. I manage to capture a little of Glen’s performance on video and you can check that out at this link.  In week two, Jeffrey Randle and his bassist Nathan took the stage after my opening set. Again a great show, but this time I didn’t have my video camera, so no video folks. I had my camera with me for Brian Hazelbower’s show the following week, but pretty much every clip had someone speaking to me so there isn’t much that we’ll be able to post. Brian brought along his musical friend and co-writing partner Dave Studer, so the two of them gave us a fine performance. Fortunately for me I get to close out the evening for the audience after the feature has finished. A big house with a warmed up audience, what more could a musical madman like me ask for? So it’s been an absolute blast for me. Beside that I get a dinner to go at the end of the night and yum, yum.

Next week I am thrilled to have Ira Pelltier as my featured songwriter. Ira has a real bluegrass feel to his excellent tunesmith skills. A superb guitarist and mandolin player, he’s sure to give us a spellbinding performance
Ira Pelletier
The continuing Songwriter Showcase series is going to be bringing in some of our amazing local talent with the likes of Eliza Gardiner, Dave Kilbank, Henry Locke, Bobbi Schram, Birgit Kuit, Mark Crissinger and more. Every Wednesday evening I start the night off a little after 6 and bring on our featured songwriter for a hour long performance around 7PM.  No cover charge for these dinner shows and the food is outstanding. I hope you can take in some these presentations. The Corner Bistro is located at #1-75 Front St. in Nanaimo.

On the BoodAbooM front, I have been exploring the possibility of engaging a management firm. I feel that it is in the best interest of all to be speaking to only one firm at a time. This does tend to slow the process, which in my case was further impeded by our trusty snail mail. One of my critical promo packages never made it to the destination and took 8 weeks to come back to me. Oh well, at least I was able to figure out the delay in getting a response from the entertainment firm I am dealing with. The next package went out with a tracking number so I know what’s going on.

I have recently added a playlist to my YouTube channel called “Raw and organic”. These are videos that have little or no editing and the soundtracks are absolutely live untouched recordings. Check out the live recording of the song “Be Still”. This was taken during the summer of 2012 at an outdoor event. 
As well you can now listen to a few of the songs from "The Answer" by BoodAbooM on Soundcloud. If you wish to download either "The Answer" or my previous album "Choices" they are available through links from my website or at iTunes. (links on the album titles above) Links to on line purchasing of CD's are on my web page as well.

Amongst the other shows I am playing, I have also been booked for some private performances and will be returning to play at the Lantzville Farmer’s Market October 13th. I love the farmer’s market shows because they are so relaxed with a great bunch of people and it ends up more like hanging out in someone’s kitchen than a concert performance. It’s cool to be able to stop and chat with folks one on one. Last time I play the Lantzville Farmer’s Market, they sent me home with a bunch of yummy food and locally made products. Much appreciated.

Hygrade - Party Rock
The Hygrade band rocked the Ladysmith “Sporty” pub last month as well as kicking it out further north up the island at the Northgate pub. Both shows were well attended and huge fun for me as I get to play harmonica to songs that don’t normally have harp in them. Challenging for me as a harmonica player and I am glad to have a chance to exercise my harp skills.  The Northgate has booked us back for October 26th and November 23rd with the promise of more to come. Hygrade will also be returning to the Sportsman Hotel in Ladysmith and I will be posting the date upon confirmation. Here’s a video of one of the first jam sessions I attended with this line up. “New Orleans is Sinking” from the Tragically Hip done with a harmonica twist!

My friends from the Nederlands jazz band Kogging are returning to Canada for a fall tour and if you are a jazz fan do your best to attend one of their shows. A video sample of their last visit to Vancouver Island can be seen at this link.

So, what’s been crawling under my skin? This month I will shine this little light of mine on the invasion of private lives by internet snoopers and far too many prying eyes. In 2009 I took a job working for a company that contracted to a major cell phone provider. Yes, I have had to do more than just music from time to time in my life. A word to all young musicians, don’t be afraid of taking a job to make ends meet or find a way to pay for the next recording session. At that time I was astonished to learn during the course of my training that all cell phone calls made in the USA boundaries were being recorded and stored in a massive database. I didn’t think it could ever happen in Canada, but 4 years later the same scenario is big news on an international scale. Obama said, “if you want security, you don’t get privacy”. That somehow seems imbalanced to me. Between facial recognition software, massive unwarranted surveillance, facebook and gmail, the normal person doesn’t stand a chance should the powers of the day decide to make you look evil. Here is a link to an interesting article on the subject from a Canadian viewpoint. Also if you’d like to sign a petition against this kind of invasion, click here.

On a lighter note I would like to say thanks to my international readers. According to my ‘stats’ program this blog has been read in 27 different countries. Pretty cool I’d say!  Stay in touch with my musical endeavours by checking the BoodAbooM web site and for the party rock cover band Hygrade you can also check the Hygrade web site.

Remember that we all do well to try and be loving, kind and forgiving with each other. It’s one approach that can bring healing and change.

Brother T

Friday, 30 August 2013

M.I.A.? Nope, just gone video crazy!!

Crazy days of summer are winding down as we can feel the autumn coming on. Maple trees are beginning to turn colour and the air is far more humid than it has been for the past three months. Speaking of which it’s been nearly three months since I sat down to blog.  I have actually started a blog several times throughout the summer, but got swept away in the tides of life.
Normally I tend to spout off about what I find disturbing in the world with links to things that the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know about. For this blog I will dispense with the rantings and stick to the music. I do try to bring into the light only that which is founded in truth. That is why I always try to back up things with links to the source. It’s not that Steve’s antics or his cousin puppet Obama haven’t stirred my ire, but so much has gone on in my musical world and that’s ‘mostly’ what this blog is focused on.

So here’s my best attempt at a recap of the last three months. A lot of attention was paid to getting things ironed out with my new distributor. Thanks to the people at Indie Pool, the BoodAbooM album “The Answer” is available through a secure purchasing portal and of course where would we be without iTunes. There are still some things that are being worked out over at Indie Pool and it would have likely been easier to stick with CD Baby as I did for the “Choices” album. Both companies have their advantages and disadvantages, the problem is disadvantages are not usually discovered until after the deal is done.
There has been a whole lot of video getting done since my last blog entry. The video for the song “Run” was done back in June. Shot in the backwoods of Vancouver Island we choose a remote location since there was to be shot guns fired off, flash bombs and a lot of zombie characters running around. For most of the videos I’ve done there is usually only a handful of people. In this case we had a lot of bodies running around and doing things. Jeffrey Randle joined me in the shooting of the “Run” video for the musical portion and director Marius Von Lohmann did the headless chicken routine directing the actors, setting up scenes and zipping around with the camera. Also, this is the first time I've let anyone else take control of the script for my videos. Check it out and tell me what you think. We felt a little tongue in cheek approach offset the more serious subject matter of the song.
Shooting Zombie video for "Run"
I went a little video crazy after that and produced another video on my own.  I had been pondering on how to present the song “Not For Me” in it’s video form when a little experimenting lead me to featuring “Pepper the feathered philosopher”, along with some video taken in the studio during the recording of the BoodAbooM album. Again a bit of a humourous tact and a lot of fun. I must admit that lip sync is much harder with someone who has no lips!
The video madness didn’t stop there as I rediscovered some clips from previous concerts and shows I’ve performed at and began a series on my YouTube channel called “Raw and Organic”. I’ve posted a video clip on myself and Marisha Devoin playing the song “Living Peacefully” from my BoodAbooM album “The Answer”. Just the upright bass, guitar and voices in this stripped down version. No editing, no digital wizardry, just straight from the heart raw and organic performances. Check back on my YouTube channel as there are more of these “live” videos coming soon. To hear the studio version of “Living Peacefully”, check the sample tracks on my iTunes site.
During the summer of 1988 I was fortunate enough to have one of my songs reach the #1 position for Canadians on the RPM Weekly Adult Contemporary charts. “The Voyager” was the title song from my album which had already seen action with the songs “Lot On My Mind” and “Mephisto Waltz” from that collection. At the same time as “The Voyager” was playing in every major market in Canada, my distributor of the time lost every piece of inventory they had at the warehouse. So while the title track was receiving great reviews and radio support, I had nothing on the shelves to sell. A year later my vinyl and cassettes were discovered during an inventory. They had the wrong numbers on the outside of the boxes and hence were continually overlooked. A year after the album had run it’s course, the inventory represented far less value.
Still I am grateful for the radio exposure and the chart numbers. Digging through the archives I decided to compile a  video for this song as well. So check out this very “late 80’s” sounding rendition of “The Voyager”, my A/C hit from 1988.
Beyond the world of video, I have been performing throughout the summer at various gigs and open mic nites. I like the open mics because not only is it an “audience building” experience, but the social aspect of hanging with your musical peers and meeting music enthusiasts is fantastic. The people you meet and the sharing of ideas is amazing. Jeffrey Randle joined me for a few shows including a private hall “pub night” and the “Nanoose Art in the Garden” festival which was also a fundraiser for the local food bank. Just prior to the “Arts Festival” show, Jeffrey also joined me in support for an interview / performance video segment we did with Shaw Cable TV.  Kait Burgan conducted the interview which can be seen here at this link.  
Jeffrey Randle
I’ve done a couple of shows at the Corner Bistro which is a new establishment in a renovated familiar location. Phil from the Corner Lounge has taken on 75 Front Street in Nanaimo and turned it into a top rate Bistro with incredible cuisine, roomy surroundings, great service and a focus on live entertainment. Being a bistro also means that minors are welcome, as long as they don’t indulge in alcohol libations available from the full service bar. It has been mostly music shows so far, although I know that Phil is planning to host a comedy night as well. Who couldn't use a good laugh every now and then!
As for me, plans are to be hosting a series of “Singer / Songwriter Showcase” nights starting on September 11th at the Corner Bistro. Starting a little after 6, I will open an evening of music after which I will bring on an invited guest for an hour concert of songs and stories from their respective albums. All of the invited guests are recording artists with CD releases starting with Glen Foster on the 11th, Jeffrey Randle on the 18th, Brian Hazelbower on the 25th and Ira Pelletier on October 2nd. After their concert I will close the night out. It should prove to be a great dining and musical experience for the patrons and audience in attendance. September 20th I will be taking the stage with a party rock cover band that I joined called Hygrade. We are working on getting our ‘web presence’ in order, but these things do take time. The Hygrade band is a four piece ensemble, but we are all busy campers managing other careers and endeavours.
Me and the boys in the band
The show takes place at the Sportsman Hotel in Ladysmith. The twist with this band is that I sing only a few songs while drummer Dean Doyle ( part of the BoodAbooM family ) takes the lion’s share of the lead vocals. We play all the party time rock favourites with a twist, tons of harmonica on songs that don’t usually have harp on them. Here’s a “raw and organic” video of an early jam we had on the Tragically Hip tune “New Orleans is Sinking” to give you an idea. Come on out and see what else we have in store for you. I am belting out a few songs a night which is fun for me as I don’t always include songs from “The Black Keys” in my solo / duo shows.
Ok, I’m over shooting my word count so let me leave you with these links to ponder. Sad to hear that J.J. Cale passed, Greta (my sweetie) and I saw him perform many years ago in Victoria. A treasured memory.
A statistic most aren’t aware of, in 2009 over 50% of Canadians were living on or below the “low income cut off”. That’s the more semantically soft version of “the poverty line”.
Not sure if Canadians realize that the Snowden / NSA fiasco is not just a USA modus operandi. In Canada we have our own snoopers at the CESA.
A 2 minute brilliant discourse from author Robert Anton Wilson on belief systems, even your own. Check what he says about everyone’s B.S.
And finally, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard a better social commentary than this on “Why everything sucks”. Craig Ferguson is a very funny man, but in this 3 minute clip he delivers a very brilliant observation on today’s world in his own hilarious way.
Let me end as always with a reminder to be mindful of others. Do your best and strive to approach every situation from the standpoint of loving kindness and forgiveness. Conquer hate with love, evil with good, falsehood with truth. Let’s bring the humane back into the human being.

Until next time, Brother T

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The bee apocalypse, zombies, new video, songwriters circle, The Answer, perception & deception

Wow, time flies and stuff happens. Not sure where I left off in the continuing saga of Theo Massop and the BoodAbooM project, but here I am back at the blog. That as well as the long list of injustices, political mismanagement, strange events, stupidity and other things that my vision has scanned over morning coffee at my laptop has inspired me to put fingers on keyboard again.

I’ll leave the annoyances of the world at large till the later part of my blog and concentrate of the music for now.

Somehow in my wild and crazy brain, I thought it would take about three weeks from the beginning of May to have everything in place and have the discs / downloads readily available. Well, I’m nearly there. Four weeks have past since that brave and foolish announcement with loose ends still needing to be tidied up. My friend Brian Hazelbower had a good laugh about that last night as I was waving one of my newly manufactured discs “The Answer” by BoodAbooM in the air at the Nanaimo Songwriters Circle. This gathering comes around once a month and is held in a very informal manner at the Oak St. Manor in Nanaimo. A friendly gathering of musicians of all skill levels to sing our new songs, tell stories and share music. The only criteria is that you perform your own compositions. Although my schedule rarely allows time to attend, I still get there when I can. Great people, great fun. A similar event is also held in the Comox Valley where Helen Austin is the host.

CD’s of  "The Answer" have been manufactured with some in the Toronto warehouse and some discs on the west coast. I will let everyone know once all the links to purchase sites, streaming and downloads have been properly established. CD’s of “The Answer” by BoodAbooM will also be available at HMV stores across Canada. If you’re interested in a BoodAbooM tee shirt (see previous blog), they are $20.00 Canadian plus shipping. Send me an email at and we’ll make the arrangements to get you one or more.

In amongst the pandemonium of life, sorting out distribution details, planning promotional campaigns and mowing the grass (not exciting, but it needs to get done), we’ve managed to squeeze in a video shoot. The first video for a tune from “The Answer” by BoodAbooM was “Another Sunny Day”. This coming video is for the song “Run” and was directed by video-tographer, Marius TV Lohmann. It was an exchange or bartering of intellectual skills. I wrote a song for a series being created by Marius and his colleagues call “Project Paintball” . He wanted a theme song with particular parameters and I was able to write, record and deliver it for him. In exchange Marius offered to shoot a video for one of the songs from my upcoming album. To my fellow musicians in this area I will mention, Marius is available for hire if you like what you see in my new video. We chose the song “Run”, a relationship song reflecting the “fight or flight” response born into all of us.  This tune also features the voice of Tina Jones singing a duet harmony with me. Marius, along with my daughter Angela, came up with a storyline that elicited the response “really???”  from me.
I was safe, no brains. Jeffery couldn't resist the cookies .
Once I understood my role in the story, I was greatly relieved that I wouldn’t have to undergo major makeup. It makes me snicker a little everytime I discuss the video or think about it, because in my personal life I never watch movies about zombies, werewolves, vampires or anything like that. It’s fine and I understand that it is “just entertainment”, but not usually something I indulge in. That being said, no one except perhaps Canadian politician John Baird, really believes we are going to have a “zombie apocalypse”.  Yes folks, the next video for the BoodAbooM album is themed around a “zombie apocalypse”. It is all tongue in cheek as they say and it was huge fun putting it together. All of the actors and actresses were fantastic. The makeup was amazing as we had some master zombie creators and makeup artists working with us. Marius managed to find the right people to fill the roles of the militia protecting the remaining humans. Thanks to all for their outstanding portrayal of their assigned characters. 
Travis "Wingnut" English, one of the actors
Jeffery Randle joined me in the scenes where I am singing the human encampment, banging on the djembe while we’re hanging around the militia guys waiting for supplies. Flash bombs, zombies, military types, rifles and 4x4’s, all cool stuff that makes for a fun video. That’s as much as I will reveal for now and the next blog will include links to our mini movie.

I’m pushing the 700 word mark so let me try to round this up as quickly as possible. First, a big thanks to all those who help get “The Answer” by BoodAbooM it’s first chart action hitting #1 for the week of May 14th, sustaining at  #3 week of June 4th at CHLY in Nanaimo. Next I would like to say that I have a lot of readers from Russia, the USA and all around the world as well as Canada, also a big thanks to you. So with due respect, please understand that the next set of issues and links are merely me shining a spotlight of some of the things that have crossed my path. People are people, we are all basically the same. Politicians also seem to vary little from country to country. To me they look like a bunch of bungling bozos with their hands in the pockets of the working class, while big business pulls the puppet strings and dictates the politicians actions. Just my humble opinion of course.

Here’s some of the things that make me feel that way. Russia is mad at the USA because of Omaha’s continued protection of biogenetic / chemical giants, companies like Sygenta, Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Dupont. Russia is gravely concerned over the coming “bee apocalypse”. This one’s real, unlike my coming zombie video.

A report I read recently talked about a 82 year old Catholic nun who along with a 57 and 63 year old pacifist broke into a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility in Tennessee in order to protest war and violence. It was a passive protest where they actually waited to be arrested for their deed. The charges should have amounted to a misdemeanor fetching up to a year in prison and a $100,000 dollar fine. In five months the charges were ramped up to terrorism and all three are facing up to 35 years in prison. At 82 it pretty much guarantees the nun will die imprisoned. This while another report from Canada's CBC claims that the FBI fabricates and perpetuates more terrorist acts than any other organization.

Meanwhile in Canada, corporate puppet Stephen Harper gets away with election fraud while feeding his big business buddies 114 billion dollars of taxpayers money in 2009. After all, it was a rough year. It works out to about $3400 for every Canadian citizen. That’s ok though, because Stevie is pushing hard for the success of the Alberta (his home province) tar sands oil. This despite the academics warning us about the catastrophic climate change that this practise could create.

In Rome, the Pope is blaming human misery and suffering on the world capitalist focus. Interesting considering my brother Joe Massop a Baptist minister, recently visited the Vatican where he was appalled by the incredible poverty which exists outside the city walls paradoxically set against the opulence and decadence on display inside. Joe was asked to leave when questioning one of the priests why more resources were not directed to immediate help for the poor and hungry, rather than keeping the money in gold and jeweled trinkets for tourist to come see.

Something a little more cheery was a video I came across in which a University of British Columbia forestry researcher talks about her discovery of communication between trees in the forest. Apparently the trees help each other by communicating through roots systems with the help of certain types of fungus. It lends credence to the idea that everything is connected and we have so much yet to learn when it comes to the mysteries of life.

Despite the many injustices and problems in the world today, as individuals we can start to effect change by approaching everything from the standpoint of loving kindness even when dealing with adversity. Not easy to do, but possible with practise. Be good to each other as much as possible. That’s how we begin to make the world a better place.

Brother T

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The BoodAbooM album, video, tee shirts, Juno Awards, change and the erosion of free speech

As May begins and the spring brings new growth, things are still bubbling along on the BoodAbooM front. Distribution and who to go with for manufacturing has been a process to be reckoned with. There are a lot of considerations and while “Choices” will remain with CD Baby for distribution at least for now, “The Answer” by BoodAbooM will be handled by Indiepool. One of the big reasons is because Indiepool is a Canadian company offering the same services as what are otherwise American firms. So as this blog is being written, the wheels are in motion to have CD’s available in about three weeks.
The BoodAbooM tee shirts have been manufactured and look great! It was a push to get them in time for the show in Port Alberni April 19th and I was happy to find an accommodating company to do the deed. Marisha Devion joined me for this performance playing her upright acoustic bass. It was a real treat for me as Marisha has a great ability to fill out the sound of a duo with sweet harmonies and a nice percussive approach when needed with her massive upright bass. I hope to do more shows with Marisha in the future. 
If anyone is interested in buying a BoodAbooM tee shirt, send me an email and I will personally contact you to work out the details. For that matter you can also send me any comments regarding this blog or whatever at

The first video from “The Answer” has been posted on my Youtube site. The song “Another Sunny Day”, our inaugural visual offering, reflects on the cycles of life and this world. A funny little side note is that “Another Sunny Day” was actually written on a rainy summer day knowing that the sunshine was right around the corner. The road of life, the cycle of seasons, the day, the night and that ever forward driving motion of striving for a better tomorrow. Check out the video and let me know what you think.

As much as I regard award shows in the entertainment business with some disdain, I found this year’s Juno Awards quite entertaining. The old joke is they are called the Juno Awards because people watching the show say, “who’s that? Juno who that is? I dunno?”. Not quite that way anymore with the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen on the younger side and KD Lang on the established side represented at the awards show. Artist like those along with Justin Bieber, Diana Krall, Rush and The Tragically Hip to mention a few have certainly heightened the profile of Canadian artist internationally. Michael Buble was a fine host with some funny antics and of course his golden voice. Serena Ryder was pretty good with her anticipated “Stompa” and I thought it was cool when Serena accompanied Billy Talent for a tune. I enjoyed watching KD Lang get her “hall of famer” status and again, the presentation from Anne Murray was excellent. I expected the absence of Stompin’ Tom references as he was not a supporter of the Juno awards, the academy in general or how the music industry conducts itself. He was truly a rebel and a Canadian icon that will be missed. My eldest brother Gerry was a music journalist who interviewed Stompin’ Tom and considered that amongst his most treasured moments in the journalistic field. One thing that did surprise me was that there wasn’t a greater tribute to our other great loss in Canadian music, Rita MacNeil. I believe there was a mention, but I expected more given the stature of this amazing talent. Rita was another who typified Canadiana. Rita and Tom will both leave a great void in the Canadian musical landscape.

Not a part of the Canadian music scene, but a great loss to the world of music is the passing of Richie Havens. At the cusp of my adolescent years, I remember being blown away by his spirited performance of “Motherless Child” in the Woodstock movie. Imitating his style, I would wail away like a wounded puppy in my mother’s basement pounding the poop out of my brother’s acoustic guitar. Richie showed me how to just let it flow. Brother Bert taught me that pick marks on his Gibson was not cool.

Beyond the music there have been a lot of things in this world rattling the chains of my being. The tightening control on the last vestige of free speech and dissemination of truthful information without the risk of that information being filtered by the powers in control. What does that mean? The Internet is constantly under attack, either directly or indirectly. Freedom of speech is being eroded. The recent attacks at the Boston Marathon have come under suspicion in true 9-11 fashion while the mainstream internet feeds and the evening news spin and entirely different picture. Our controlling political party, Stephen Harper and his Torie buddies miss placing 3.1 billion dollars and having a hard time figuring out where it went. I had heard yesterday that Stevie baby has said it’s all a misunderstanding. So much for transparent politics and honest government.

I have often alluded to how radical change has less of a chance becoming the standard than does incremental change. One thing is blatantly obvious and that is that the world needs change. Feed the rich and forget the poor is not working folks. Change is inevitable and sooner would be better than later because things appear to be falling apart. I’ve started reading a book about and called “Peace Pilgrim, her life and work in her own words”. Her message was simple, if we wish to achieve world peace we have to start with finding inner peace. A good place to start the change I’d say.  So I leave behind the thoughts of bungling bozos in politics, eroding freedoms, and flying falsehoods, having shined the light of blogging on the issues. Now I will return to seeking inner peace and striving for the ability to approach the world from a standpoint of loving kindness.

Nudging my way to a better day.
Brother T

Friday, 12 April 2013

Party at the pub, the next concert, big banks and bully politics

Dean Doyle and I had big fun playing the Landlubber pub on March 30th. We have worked together in various line ups in the past including performing as a duo, but this was the first time we took it to the pub for a party night of favourites and cover tunes. As anyone who’s ever been to my performances would know, I always play some of my own tunes so the night was “mostly” cover songs. We even threw in a Black Keys cover and witnessed one of the patrons doing the “lonely boy” dance. Playing the pub was very different from the duo gigs we’ve done in the past. It was really cool for me because in the musical sense it is pretty raw and naked. A circumstance like this dictates that the musicians be extremely in tune with each other in terms of syncopation and groove. Listening to your partner becomes critical and mistakes become glaring so there is very little wiggle room. I couldn’t help but recall my previous guitar / drums duo with Peter Scheibel, my spiritual brother and fellow musician. We played a bunch of gigs under the monicker of the “Tea Pad Revue”, including “Bathtub Weekend” in Nanaimo during the 80’s when the bathtub race was quite the big deal.  Admittingly the room was on the shadier side of town, but we really loved it down there and the nights were rocking. I’m usually not one to reminisce, although I will admit that Peter who also sang harmony on the “Choices” album passed in 2007 and rarely does a day go by where he doesn’t cross my mind. Again, the only thing constant is change. Permanence is the grand illusion. The pub night was a huge success and you never know, we may even do it again sometime.
Dean  and I at the Landlubber Pub Photo by Paul Jay

April 19th will see myself and Marisha Devoin performing under the BoodAbooM banner for the first official concert featuring all 12 of the songs from “The Answer”, my recently completed album. As of the writing of this blog I am still frantically trying to get Cd’s and tee shirts manufactured in time for the performance. It looks good to get them in time right now, although I don’t want to count chickens until the eggs have hatched. Still ironing out details surrounding distribution and available services for the promotion of BoodAbooM’s first album, “The Answer” which is my personal third collection of songs to be released as an album. Char’s landing where we will be performing is a really sweet venue up in Port Alberni. The building is a converted church that is now an arts centre for the community. From painters to poets, dance to touring musical acts, Char’s is proving to be a cultural gold mine for Port Alberni. This will be Marisha’s inaugural BoodAbooM performance and hopefully the first of many to come. Marisha is an internationally travelled musician who is one of the finest bassist in our area. Here is a video link to her jamming with the great Victor Wooten at a recent Gabriola Island performance. She and I started working together a few years back under the “Theo Massop Trio” moniker, but Marisha left to tour with “Kings Without”. Her incredible talents have taken her through a myriad of styles and stages, cruise ships and concerts. I am so pleased to be sharing the stage with her for the upcoming show.
Checking things out at Char's Landing

I had convinced myself that this new blog would be void of political rantings and raving about things that seem misguided to me. Things that make me want to say, “that’s just not right!”. It’s hard not to do that and I now understand why my eldest brother Gerry took to writing as an advocate for the challenged in his later years of journalism. Sometimes things crawl under your skin and you simply have to raise your voice in hopes of being heard.

I hate to keep hammering on the Harper hijinx, but Stevie baby seems to continually be crapping on Canadians. Under the leadership (if you can call it that) of this Prime Minister, the international respect Canada once held is being completely eroded. We are looking bad on global environmental efforts and Mr. Harper is being accused of making a mockery of democracy. It’s no wonder Stephen Harper is being criticized when you look at his treatment of his own people, yes we the Canadians. He signs off on giving away Canadians jobs, as in the RBC case, to foreign workers while sending our own qualified people to the unemployment lines. This in the name of greater profitability. The big banks are already making billions annually, but it’s not enough. They want more.  I quite liked the article I read referring to the RBC case as “a new meaning to the words ‘piggy bank’.” Since Stephen Harper can create laws and put them into effect at will, he’s decided to put in Cyprus style banking laws allowing the banks to confiscate your money if they get into trouble. All this while the Canadian people are either slumbering or being silenced by his regime. Imbalanced mandatory imprisonment laws, long term murky trade deals with China, deregulation of thousands of protected waterways, when is enough going to be enough? I just caught myself letting out a great sigh of frustration, so it’s time to switch subjects. I’m sure Harper thinks he’s doing the right things for the country, but most Canadians no longer agree.  

Back to the music before I cross my 1200 word limit.

I was recently asked by Marius TV Lohmann to write and record a short theme song for a video project he has been working on. Project Paintball is a potential series currently available on YouTube surrounding, you guessed it, the sport of paintball. He came to me with specific ideas of the type of song and sound he was looking for. Marius was pleased with what I had conjured in my own tea pad studio, Theo’s temple of tunes, and decided to use my offering. Regardless of my super cheesy theme song, Marius proves himself to be an awesome videographer, editor and production manager. The show is excellent quality and even if you’ve never paint balled, quite riveting! Check it out at this link and subscribe, there seems to be more to come. Very entertaining. Be sure and tell any of your paintball friends to check it out as well. Incidentally “TV” is Marius’s actual middle initials.

For this blog I would like to leave you with a thought, a quote from the late great John Lennon, “It doesn’t matter who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love, how you love, it only matters that you love.” Yes my friends, I think John was right. Love is “The Answer”.

Let’s strive to be as loving and kind to each other as we possibly can. Love, kindness, forgiveness, ahhhh... the words just feel good don’t they?

Until later, Brother T

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New shows, cool shows and crazy politics

So I’m kind of a crazy busy guy. I’ve had this urge to blog often over the past few weeks. Either it was some move on the part of Stephen Harper, our own Nanaimo City council, cool shows I’ve gone to see or cool stuff to talk about, the urge to write has been large!! Unfortunately in trying to keep balance in my life, everything seems to take a little longer than I expected including getting back to the blog.  Let’s start with some music before I rant on about local, provincial  and federal politics. Something I said I would avoid in the new blog, but sometimes you just have to raise your voice in case someone is listening or at least get it off your chest.

As to the music, I have been quite occupied with several projects at once! One of the projects has been to expand my rehearsal space from a modest 150 square feet to about the 260 / 270 square feet. That included fresh flooring, carpet and laminate, as well as a double, double window and a door to the shop / storage area. I have been rehearsing a with a few different line ups including a four piece rock cover band where my main duty is to play harmonica. Big fun for me as I don’t get to do much of that in the BoodAbooM band. The way things were, I had to either take out the back wall or blow out the front window with sound pressure. A little engineering to supply bearing supports and we got it done. Smacked my Canadian salute fingertip with a hammer which made practising tough for a while. It was also hard to show anyone my injury without looking like I was flipping them the bird.
Expanded music room, note the modern hillbilly motif.

Progress on the BoodAbooM album / project is moving along. The protective digital fingerprint is in place, the distribution selection is narrowing down and a release is not far off. Work on the art, images and layout for the CD are now in progress. The first official BoodAbooM performance will take place in Port Alberni on April 19th at Char’s Landing, a super cool all ages venue where the first show is an acoustic duo. Marisha Devion is back on Canadian soil and as much as she is a sought after bassist, Marisha will be joining me for this and coming BoodAbooM performances. Since returning to Canada after performing internationally, she has been adding her talents to the theatre performance “Patsy Cline’s a closer walk”, as well as several other well known acts and recording engagements. I’m looking forward to sharing music with folks from my old hometown and the opportunity to perform with Marisha.

Before that happens, March 30th will see myself and Dean Doyle banging out a night of party tunes and covers at the Landlubber Pub in Nanaimo. Dean and I have performed at a variety of shows together from the theatre performance “A luncheon of Leonard” which was a Leonard Cohen tribute performance, to concerts, private functions and various fundraisers. This will be our first “pub” performance as a duo. In this case the duo consists of myself and Dean on drums, kind of like the Black Keys or White Stripes. I will play a few of the original tunes for those who are fans of my music, but the focus will be on a rockier selection of favourite covers. We will be playing tunes from Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty, Bob Marley to current stuff like yes, The Black Keys. No cover charge and great deals on meals, so be sure to mark your calendar for a fun night and join us.

Managed to take in a couple of cool musical shows, “Diggin’ Roots”. I went to “Diggin’ Roots” show with my buddy the mountain man, Paul Jay. “Diggin’ Roots” is a Juno Award winning musical act centered around Raven Kanantakta and his wife Shoshona Kish. The couple hail from northern Quebec and lay down a funky mix of styles on a blues rock foundation. Very entertaining indeed. My friend Paul had to leave his camera at home for this one, so no images. On the subject of Paul Jay, A.K.A. “The Mountain Man”, he is responsible for most of the images captured and displayed on my web sites. I also attended a show my friend Fiona Stuart did where she was joined by bassist / instrumentalist Kenny Brault (Sgt. Helmet Fender), Jeffery Randle on percussion and Maxime Alarie on didgeridoo. I always enjoy Fiona’s performances. She has interesting renditions of covers like the classic “Killing Me Softly”, great original songs and also performs traditional Yiddish songs. Very cool and an entertaining show. This beautiful young jewish woman knows how to command a stage and engage her audience.

I was please to see that the little island I call home yielded 9 Juno nominations for 2013, Diana Krall, Helen Austin, Carly Rae Jepsen, Alex Cuba, Hey Ocean, Nelly Furtado, The Tenors, Japandroids and Ian McDougal all have Vancouver Island connections and roots. Not bad for an island of fewer than 900,000 people.

Ok, what’s been crawling under my skin? Well, let’s start local and work our way up to the federal. The Nanaimo Port Authority has decided to hand over our boat basin to Pacific Northwest Marina Group, an American firm with a questionable reputation. The crazy part of this deal is that the NPA is willing to hand over the taxpayer owned working harbour, on a 30 year lease with only 5 year projections / commitments in return. Furthermore the American company plans to change the boat basin from a working harbour where private and commercial vessels share the facility into a high end yacht only marine destination. This is not what the people of Nanaimo and area want. Most enjoy the boat basin work what it is. Sure there is room for improvements, but we all love buying fresh fish directly from the fishing boats. Sitting with a hot espresso and a good friend along the existing venues watching the boats is a wonderful experience. You can watch this short video to understand and see it for yourself. The folks living on Protection Island which is part of our inner harbour would see their access to downtown Nanaimo cut off which will affect their property values and life stlye. Nanaimo city councilman Fred Pattje asked the city to stand by it’s citizens with this issue, but mayor John Ruttan said there was little he could do. Former mayor Gary Korpan disagrees and publicly criticized mayor Ruttan’s position.

Provincially, Christy Clark and her crew crawled under my skin with a story about the Liberal party spending 64 million dollars on an advertising campaign that more or less says, “look how well we manage your money”. Ah, I find that rather paradoxical.

On the Federal level we have Stephen Harper. Some of these links are to stories about how he is muzzling scientist who are bringing forth information that he doesn’t want made public. I once heard a group of political analyst on CBC call Harper “an affront to democracy”. These links add testimony to their view. If I got into all the details, I’d be here a long time before the blog would be posted. Beside that, when it comes to the matter of how Stephen is running Canada, I could write a book.

Well I’m jumping over my 1200 word limit, so there is no time to talk about the 105 year old Zen teacher who likes boobies, facebook’s evil plan for world domination or the whole Tesla vs Edison thingy. If you’re interested, check out the links above.

Until next time, remember that it serves us well to be kind and loving to other. Do your best to be aware and mindful.

Brother T