I've attended a wack of gigs lately and none more exceptional than the #Pop69 Soiree held last Tuesday night, upstairs at Toronto's Hard Rock Cafe, during the peak of film festival season. With a Canadian who's who of rock and roll in attendance including Jason Paul "Cone" McCasl, music Producer, Bass guitarist and backing Vocalist of pop-punk band Sum 41 and Ian D'Sa, Producer & guitarist from Billy Talent, with a tag line inviting people to "Party like it's 1969",the bash was a smash hit; the feature highlight of the evening being an unveiling of a replica of some rare Beatles Art - the only collaborative piece ever made by all 4 Beatles - and the announcement of a documentary film, Pop69 being produced, having a historical Beatles connection.
Arriving early, a Toronto Jazz musician gave a helping hand by introducing me to the lovely H.R.C. hostess, and being the first on site representing City Vibe Contracting sponsoring the evening's food, I began to deflect a small bevvy of questions regarding the menu - wanting to feign some knowledge of the cuisine even though I hadn't a clue! Ha. I did remember a vague reference to samplings ala Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band era however, so I threw that out there leaving it with, " That's all I know man" Ha. I was there to schmooze, do some P.R. and take some pics, but as for the food...the menu was still a mystery to me. Tony would be arriving soon anyway and some other "troops" too!
|Chloe Rose left from Degrassi, a Rocker Chick? Who knew!?|
Sure enough, he arrived shortly thereafter and I was introduced to Valerie Mcculloch of Canwood Entertainment who I was meeting in person for the first time and who turned out - to use the phraseology of the evening - to be really cool and whose relentless energy reverberated throughout the room as she seemingly tried to greet each guest personally. She makes things rock and roll for C.V.C. and over at Canwood is by all accounts an instrumental and invaluable cog in the production wheel there too.
The energy of the room seemed to intensify as the man of the hour, legendary promoter Johnny Brower arrived not too far into the evening. He seemed to genuinely enjoy greeting friends and likely some not seen in awhile. Brower, of course, was the man who persuaded John Lennon to perform at the famed Toronto Rock Revival Festival of 1969, and, in doing so, create a pivotal moment in rock history, as Lennon would go on to play with Yoko Ono as The Plastic Ono Band separate from his Beatle's band mates for the first time in history.
One week later The Beatles were no more.
More and more people began spilling into the upstairs bar as anticipation for the unveiling grew. The music tempo kicked up a notch while the munchies made their rounds, meantime beautiful women dressed to the nines started bobbing a bit to the music as I was silently loving the idea of them posing with the famous artwork and period posters later. For the sake of art I mean. Seriously. Okay, hey, I'm a freekin' guy. Give me a break.
It was 44 years ago today, on Sept 13 1969, when John Lennon communicated a message through Eric Clapton to Johnny Brower that he'd changed his mind about Rock & Roll Revival Toronto and wasn't going to come. What exactly did Johnny say to persuade him I wondered? These are some of the rock & roll mysteries that will be unraveled in Pop69 the movie. For music history buffs this film is sure to be a hit. A chance to get a first hand look at the goings on behind the scenes, of without question, an event in the running for Canada's most important rock moment in history. Certainly, behind only Bob Dylan's first use of an electric guitar, it was 1969's most important rock moment.
What if he hadn't persuaded him? Did having Bikers escort help persuade? Would Lennon have had second thoughts & returned to play with The Beatles again? Hopefully the doc will answer a few of these questions from behind the scenes that fateful day.
CanWood, made his way up to the stage finally, people leaned in anticipation, the lights adjusting, and a small Paparazzi clamoured for the best shots. Of course, I'd been keeping an eye and hovering, making sure to be right at the front to ensure optimal coverage, but was having some issues with using one of my cameras for the first time, conveniently stuffed in my man-bag that looks suspiciously like a purse at times and slung over my shoulder, and as I juggled them, buddy next to me may have gotten an arm nudging or two, mumbling something at me in protest. C 'est la vie, I still managed some good pretty shots out of the dozens I ruined. I just thank god it's not like in the 1969 using film and all that would have been wasted! Ha..my Scottish roots kicking in again..speaking of which..there was someone there related to Paul Mcartney I believe ..can you spot him in a pic?
Johnny Brower was officially introduced, and before pulling the cloak off, he spoke a bit about the experience of producing this historical event of 1969 - which also had on the bill in addition to Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band The Doors, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis & Chuck Berry among some and included Alice Cooper's debut here. No longer the brazen young 22 year old who dared to arrange this masterpiece of rock & roll-hood alongside Kenny Walker, but fiery as ever and with eyes ever-youthful, the excitement of his experience in putting together this momentous happening still obviously a part of his being, as his retelling oozed the same passion, I'd imagined, a youthful John Brower would have had.
As someone who has himself felt that sickly, panicky feeling in the gut when an event organized may not be going to plan, and a lot is at stake, including often your own money - and you have to portray a poker face to everyone that all is well too. I can almost envision the egads! moment when J.B. thought to approach Apple Records to have John and Yoko emcee when sponsor Eaton's Department Stores dropped out due to lagging sales the week before the event - only to have the couple make the provision that they be able to play if they hosted! Ha. Tough one there Johnny!
|City Vibe sponsored food was just fab!|
The unveiling itself was over in a wisp with quick a flip of the wrist, but everyone wanted a pic with the famous art replica and of Johnny B and company, followed by more nibblers and some Hard Rock refreshments. I'd like to have seen the D.J. throw some Beatles tunes and other 60's era music into the play, being that the upper level was for the #Pop69party but hey, you can't have everything! I mean....we can't all be able to break up The Beatles! Maybe I'll bring a band next time! Ha.
The Rock & Roll Revival Pop69 Party may have been a littler bit tamer than the wild rock and roll parties of 1969 but everyone had a blast! Ironically, I recently blogged of bringing a Beatles Fest to Newmarket and garnered interest to do so....so who knows? Another Art and Legends stop? Stay tuned!
I look forward to the 2014 movie release of POP69 and the answers to some more of these groovy, cool cat queries....stay tuned for updates! Peace out!
TPE's Spoof Video..Remember K-Tell?
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|Sum of Talent here|
|The Money shot!|
|Emcee Gordon Weiske|
Party like it's 1969...Hey...got any papers?
|I knew it! I thought you said you were doing pig tails?|
|You talking to me?|
|Hey! Aren't you.......?|
|Rock & Rollers start to arrive|
|Are you kidding me? This is fab! Get down here!|
|...All you need is love...|
|Hey! She's looking at me!|
|Rock & Roll Control Central|
|Val working at lightening speed as ghosts of rock lurk!|
|The next morning.....kidding...or am I?Ha.|
|Sponsor City Vibe Execs Russel and Tony|
|Ian D'sa right from Billy Talent|
|TP taking it serious for a change! ha|
|The City Vibe Team|