July 28: Jim Gelcer Trio @ The Rex

Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 7.48.15 PMOn July 21, I went to The Rex and met up with drummer Jim Gelcer and asked him why he calls his band a jazz trio, when there are 4 of them. He explained that all of July at The Rex, he’s hosted a different “special guest” saxophone player for 3 performances and on July 28, he will have all 3 back to The Rex for a special show.

Jim told me he’s played all over the world and toured with some great musicians. I asked him if he wanted to drop a name, and I was surprised when he said “Lee Aaron”. He asked me if I knew of her. I told him I know Lee Aaron is singing jazz now and I remember her from her rocker chick days. He said he played with her 30 years ago when she was a rocker chick, and he didn’t play drums, he played keyboard. He did it for the money.

Jim and his “trio” are a lot of fun, and if you like saxophone, you’ll find the show July 28 a real treat.

You’ll also find The Rex’s “Jazzy Fingers” a treat. Compliments to the chef!

Website: http://gelcer.com/

July 28: Ewen Fancombe-Piano Marc Rogers-Bass Jim Gelcer-Drums


Show Details:
 Date: Monday, June 29
 Venue: Smiling Buddha, 961 College st , Toronto
 Cost: $10
 Doors: 7pm
 Age Limit: All Ages/19+
 Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/369583003233440/
 Slumlord (Edmonton, AB)
 Fall City Fall (Calgary, AB)
 Masakura (Mississauga,ON)
 Speaker (Toronto,ON)
 Out of My League (Bowmanville,ON)

Calgary’s FALL CITY FALL is performing in Toronto at The Smiling Buddha  on June 29th  as part of their cross-Canada No Parents, No Rules Tour from BC to Quebec. I checked this out-of-town band out online and I discovered they’ve created a trilogy of videos from their album “Victus” (2013), which is much in the spirit of that released by M83 in their connected trilogy of epic mini-movies. Each video in the Victus trilogy captures imagery from some of Netflix’s better shows like Dexter and The Walking Dead. The lead singer sounds a lot like Offspring’s Dexter Holland, when he’s not doing screamo. Their music is a little chaotic. Some hints of rockabilly mixed with hardcore…and then there’s that voice that reminds me of Offspring. It’s an interesting mix.

While I was checking out the lineup of the show, I took a look at OUT OF MY LEAGUE (Bowmanville, ON). They have a video for their song “Six Feet Under” that I just love! In fact, I listened to it over and over and the best part comes at the very end. It makes me laugh every time. I asked them on Facebook to give me the lyrics so I could screamo along, but they didn’t respond. I guess they’re too busy rehearsing for the upcoming show to talk to fans on FB. I recommend the video! As another blogger once put it “tapping into our crazy and embracing the silly is just downright necessary and I support that!”

FALL CITY FALL https://www.facebook.com/fallcityfall
Keenan Pylychaty – Vocals
Jordon Storey – Guitar
Nathan Pope – Drums
Andre Urquidi – Bass

OUT OF MY LEAGUE https://www.facebook.com/OutOfMyLeagueBand
Dom Paron (Vocals)
Taylor Comeau (Guitar,Backup Vocals)
Ali Bayat (Bass, Backup Vocals)
Steven Simpson (Lead Guitar)
Anthony Rizzuto (Drums)

Why Indie Labels Are Inspiring

CLOTHING LABELWhen I was a teenager, rock mags were my world. In small town Manitoba the only thing rock n roll was the radio…and rock magazines…and me. In an advertisement I saw then (I think it was for guitar strings), there was a picture of a futuristic museum and there were two people looking at an exhibit. This exhibit was of the now extinct “Rock Musician”. There was a guy holding a guitar behind glass and of course it was a well known guitarist of the day, the name of which name escapes me now. But I looked at this ad and I thought in my teenage mind: “Man. That would suck if rock was a thing of the past, if it ever died, or disappeared.” It was indeed an alien concept to me back then.

Now, I’m much older and I think of the all the changes that have happened to music since then. Of course everyone’s mind goes to the internet, Napster, etc. and yes, these are some of the changes that I am speaking of. I want to talk about something of rock music that has been on my mind a lot lately. I want to write about the record labels that were responsible for helping to shape my childhood. I have always been the type of person that needs to de-mystify things. I took an interest in music early on. Soon it became boring and so I turned my mind to the things that happen behind the curtain and record labels were the ultimate in this regard.

I wanted to know everything: How do they work? How does a band get paid? What is publishing? What is a royalty? How do different contracts work? How are they structured? I wanted to know all of it. I read many books on the subject and I de-mystified as much as I could for myself.

When the internet iceberg hit the music industry, I was one of many who all of a sudden felt like the world had ended and I remembered the ad I saw in the rock magazine of my youth. It was jarring to think that it really was possible for rock to become…extinct. But with the revolution that was happening around me (digital downloading replacing all distribution of music, streaming replacing all forms of downloading), it became apparent that the internet was something liquid.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.                Alexander Graham Bell

The internet is always updating itself and replacing old models every week. It’s exciting and maddening both at the same time. Just when I think I’ve figured it out, the damn thing updates and my mode of thinking needs to change to accommodate the “new thing”, be it an app, or a trend, or a new piece of software that completely changes the game.

But what of record labels? How are they handling these changes?

Record labels have always been about business. I have always been interested when, over the years, one giant label ate a bunch of smaller labels. Watching as behemoth corporations absorbed little business was always fun. I was in awe of such goings-on in the music business. Often times I was like: “wow, they signed Metallica and now look them…wonder what James Hetfield thinks about this…whoa”

The one thing I know to be true in all the years I’ve watched all of this go on is this: The independent record labels will always be the only ones limber enough to make some cool shit happen in the music industry. The big corporate labels are far too big to move very quickly when it comes to all things. But the indies? Boom!

When I figured that piece out I always made it a priority to keep my eyes on independent labels.

I have taken a look around at what independent labels are up to these days. Some are doing cool things. I am on the lookout for ideas that will help the situation we find ourselves in. I’m happy to see what they are doing. Not everyone is thinking forward, but the ones who are? They’re inspirational.

One label produces an annual Block Party that pops up around the U.S. every summer. That’s very cool. There are also a group of many labels that have joined forces and created a retail outlet and recording studio in their major city. These are the kinds of things that I love to hear about. I love hearing about independents that are so small that they revel in how small they are. I read about one label that works out of their apartment. There are labels that double as event production companies and lifestyle brand & merchandiser as well. Diversification: good idea, always. There is another label that throws it’s own parties year round and writes a great music blog. The coolest idea I’ve seen so far has been a label that has started it’s own film company.

Since I’ve been working with Ohjusteatit.ca covering bands in Toronto, I’ve marvelled at how most musicians have become hobbyists. I had this strange idea once upon a time that bands were all together in this mess. But, bands are not the game changers in any of this. Not that I’ve seen anyways. That distinction goes to independent record labels. Bands will always do what they have always done – create music. It’s up to the indie labels to take that music and promote and release it.

There are some good labels and there are some “meh” labels. But from what I have seen, just by taking a little look around this last week, it’s gonna be a long way off ‘til we’re all just a memory of an extinct civilization that once had these mythic creatures known as Rock Bands that created the most mythic sounds. If we keep thinking  forward toward the future of music, and if we keep creating new ways to keep music alive, much like the labels i’ve mentioned here, dammit…dammit, the kids are gonna be alright.


aarontumblrAaron Peters is an award winning 
singer/ songwriter/ performer and 
filmmaker, originally from Winnipeg, 
Manitoba, currently living in Toronto, 

Musicians and Missing & Murdered Women

Since Aaron Peters started working seriously as a filmmaker in 2011, he has collaborated on two important Canadian films. The first was when he was asked to support the film project “Occupy Love”, by Ontario filmmaker Velcrow Ripper, with his aerial shot of the Toronto Dundas Square “Idle No More” flash mob round dance. More recently, Peters was asked to help capture an interview while he was in Winnipeg.

The interview Peters filmed was set up by Cameron Monkman who was putting together the documentary film “Missing”, a film about Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women. Cameron Monkman is known in the Toronto music scene as hip hop artist “Young Jibwe”. I’ve seen Young Jibwe perform and I knew of him, but I never really cover hip hop or rap music (I just personally don’t prefer the genre), so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to him. I didn’t know that Monkman also worked on film projects. I didn’t know that he also organized music events.

Monkman had organized filmmakers across the country (Aaron Peters, Jeremy Oliver & Jenny MacIntosh) to interview people he couldn’t reach. He arranged interviews that included BIF NAKED (Canadian musician), ROBBIE MADSEN (Toronto Musician), QUESE IMC (Hip Hop MC) & MELISSA SPENCE (Canadian radio DJ/Music Director).

I was wondering how this project would turn out. It was several one-on-one interviews captured by different people with different cameras. I thought it might look like a home movie. I wasn’t sure if Monkman would do a good job with the editing and presenting of this collaboration. When the movie was released I was impressed! It turned out beautiful. Not only did Monkman use the collected footage well, he told the story well. It’s a difficult story to tell and included interviews with Gladys Radek, advocate for Missing & Murdered women cross Canada, and Murna Abraham the sister of Sharon Abraham who was a victim of Robert Picton. Horrible stories, but presented in such a way we could feel like we were in the room with these people holding their hands while they talked to us. Cameron, like a smart musican should, added his own music to the soundtrack. It all came together well.

Musicians And The Passion For Film

Musicians have long been dovetailing their film and music. Neil Young, under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey (Greendale ), Rob Zombie (Halloween), Blane Thurier (Low Self-Esteem Girl). Wayne Coyne (Christmas on Mars), Thom Yorke (Pixies), and I’m sure you could add to the list. Then there are the filmmakers that you may not realize are also musicians like David Lynch, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, and Mel Brooks. As a friend of mine eloquently put it “you can see the cinematic scope in Morrison’s lyrics”. Even Jim Morrison of The Doors was a UCLA film student.

Long & McQuade, the “Musical Instruments” store, is now carrying video equipment. I spoke with Steve Long about it. I was curious to know what their take was on it. Did Long & McQuade see a trend? Was the equipment simply for making Youtube videos or was there more to it?

Long said they started selling and renting Go Pro cameras about a year ago. Go pro has a package  that makes it easy to attach a camera to a mic stand, drum kit, trombone and capture a live performance at interesting angles.

I told Long I had purchased my Zoom handheld recorder at Long & McQuade 3 years ago. It’s what Aaron Peters and I use for the audio recording of videos when we’re interviewing on the street. It’s a great little affordable audio recorder, but not a great video recorder. The Go Pro is good for capturing video, but not so great for recording audio. The equipment at Long & McQuade is affordable and you have the option to buy or rent most items. Recording gear, video gear, and lighting gear. So in combination this equipment can give you a high quality video. Steve said “I like to say, even the most affordable system we sell is equal to what the Beatles used to record Abbey Road.”

“I like to say, even the most affordable system we sell is equal to what the Beatles used to record Abbey Road.” Steve Long, Long & McQuade

We talked about music as content for television and videos. How relevant is it anymore? Isn’t everyone turning to sports these days? Long pointed out how many commercials he’s seen lately that include guitars, like the TD Bank Sunday Hours commercial. Our own Midland band Born Ruffians recently created a new 2015 ad with Honda.

Cameron Monkman understood the relevance of music in his film. Music is a community. The film was a collaboration created by several artists who came together simply because they were asked to. The purpose of the film “Missing” is not to garner our sympathy, but to communicate the need for change. There is something wrong with a country who has literally lost women for the past 30 years and doesn’t bother to look for them or the criminals who stole them from us. “Missing” is a piece of art and a well told and important Canadian story.

My question to musicians is what topic is your next film going to be about?


9:00 – Crocodile Rock was already filling up nicely. Their patio is popular and comfortable. It was my job to go around the bar and sell raffle tickets and let people know about the event happening on the 2nd floor. I received a warm welcome every time I mentioned either Miss Cougar Canada or Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. People laughed, handed over their money and thought the event was a great idea.

gilda groupAugust 2013, my friend Jules “Cougar Meow”, a Toronto event planner, was diagnosed with cancer. When she told me this spring she was working on the event Miss Cougar Canada, I let her know that I wanted to be involved and help any way I could. She was happy to have the company. Working on the event was keeping her mind off of what was happening with her health and gave her something fun to look forward to.

Jules organized prizes and sponsorship. She worked with Gilda’s Club to make the event a fundraiser to support Cancer patients. She organized a celebrity author and actor, and a music producer to attend. She organized women to participate in the competition and received commitments from enough men who were looking forward to a fun night. We had done a good job promoting through social media and received lots of feedback.

As the date of the event, June 26, drew closer, Jules’ doctors told her they wouldn’t be able to put off operating on the tumor in her neck that had now wrapped itself around her thyroid. Jules had no choice, but to reschedule the event.

group9:30 – Jules came to find me on the patio to tell me none of the Cougars had arrived yet. I had been doing really well selling raffle tickets and people were heading over to the second floor to see the competition. Unfortunately, when they got to the second floor, nothing was happening. I needed to stop working the floor and wait.

Rescheduling the event to July 24th wouldn’t have been a problem if the operation had gone well. The surgeon tested the tumour he removed and found Jules’ cancer had progressed to the next stage. Jules had a hard time coping emotionally with this new information. She became depressed. She wasn’t able to stay on top of communicating with everyone about the event. She closed herself in her room for a while and disappeared. Unfortunately, Jules also developed a blood infection. The complications from cancer treatment can often times become as deadly and hard to manage as the disease itself. She was very sick.

Finally, Jules reemerged and contacted her team to finalize the event details. Her doctors were telling her she needed to get into the hospital for treatment for the infection, but she wanted to have the event. She was looking forward to it. It was going to be fun!

contestant 110:30 – Crocodile Rock had filled up. The band was on stage and the crowd was having a good time. Still no Cougars. The men that were there for the event were having fun anyway. Socializing, drinking, eating, and playing pool. But everyone was waiting for a show that apparently wasn’t happening. I sold more raffle tickets and we just made the most of it. Vice Magazine was there and Jules sat down for an interview.

contestant 2A group of young ladies representing Gilda’s Club were in attendance. Jules asked the ladies, there were lots of prizes, why didn’t they compete for them? The girls agreed. I took pictures while the judging took place. It was a laugh. The girls were announced, pirouetted and smiled. The men laughed and clapped and one Cougar was crowned.

winner111:15 – Miss Cougar Canada received her crown.

Kelly Arruda, Miss Cougar Canada 2014
Kelly Arruda, Miss Cougar Canada 2014

It was disappointing that the Cougars who had committed didn’t show up to compete, but in the end, it didn’t matter. The event made a very loud statement about people working together through difficult times and continuing to smile and have fun. It made the point that you are not always in control; things can go wrong – persevere. It made the point that when you need support, Gilda’s Club is there.


Donations of money, time and talent have kept Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto open since 2001. Their free support program exists entirely thanks to volunteers, revenue from special events and the financial support of inviduals, foundations and corporations. To donate, clink on this link.