Tag: Oshawa


July 13th, 2009

Today when I got home from work I learned of the passing of Michal Majewski. Going to shows in Oshawa, you just knew Michal. His artwork adorned countless show posters and his presence was guaranteed at every good concert no matter who was playing. I think I first met him at the Polish Hall (where he often put on shows), but I honestly can’t remember our first encounter. Either way, going to as many shows as I did meant I’d see Michal most weekends, and we would always chat for a while. I was always curious about what he was up to, since his work was just so inspiring to me. Looking back at my own show posters from that time, there are many instances where I tried to copy his style. If he noticed, he never said anything. I truly believe he had more than enough talent to really get known for his work one day if he wanted to. No doubt.

The only time I ever actually commissioned something from Michal was the last year we did the Hometown Hoedown, December 2007. We had all the bands booked, but the shows were quickly approaching and we didn’t have a poster. I hesitantly emailed him asking if he could quickly make some posters for us, thinking it was kind of obnoxious to email him with no warning asking for a complicated poster to be done in such a short amount of time. To my surprise and delight, Mike said he’d do it, and a few days later I met him in the parking lot of the Elvis on one of the coldest damn days of the year to pick up the posters from him. He didn’t need to do that, he had other stuff on his plate. Instead, he helped us out, enormously. That’s just they kind of person he was.

Rest in peace Majewski.

Take a look at some more of his amazing work here.

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You’ve Changed Records

January 29th, 2009

One hot summer in 2004, I took the 30-minute stroll from my house in Oshawa to Star Records downtown. I had to return ‘White Light, White Heat’ because the record was warped. Mike, the owner, said he could give me store credit. I looked behind the counter and spotted the Constantines‘ second album ‘Shine a Light’ amongst the bootlegged concerts and dusty DVDs. I’d seen them play a few weeks before in Toronto, and had been listening to the same few songs (Blind Luck, Seven AM, Long Distance Four, Arizona… maybe one or two others) on New Music Canada for months, so it was time I bought one of their albums. From the opening blast of National Hum to the closing stomps of Sub-Domestic, my teenage brain was blown.

A few years later now, late 2006, I head to the Velvet Elvis to see Julie Doiron play. At this point I’m not really a fan, I’ve only heard a few songs, but I knew she was one of the bigger acts to play our town so I went. Also playing was some band called Shotgun and Jaybird. No clue who they are really. I’d played one or two songs on my radio show to promote the concert, but didn’t know their story. Opening up the show was Will from the Constantines solo, so that gave me another reason to go. Anyway, Shotgun and Jaybird went on and I fell in love with them. It’s true. It was one of the sweetest sets of music I’d ever seen. Their whole approach to playing was so charming. The way the different band members interacted, how they spoke to the audience, the way they played their songs, all so fantastic. They had two CDs for sale that night – an EP and their new full-length album. I bought them both and still listen to them regularly, they never get tired. The band split up a few months after I saw them, and it was sad at first, but they’ve all gone on to make great music in other capacities. Plus, they left me with one great show and a perfect little discography.

I’m not sure when I first met Steve Lambke. I think I met him with my friend Mitch at Lee’s Palace seeing the Cons when Mitch got him to sign his show poster. However, the first time I really spoke to Steve was when he played solo in Oshawa at this old bar, Catch 22. Not many people were there, so I took it as an opportunity to go speak to him. Steve plays in the Constantines, so naturally I wanted to have a few words with him. He was very friendly to me, and when he played he even dedicated one of his songs (Windy Road) to me! It was a great feeling to know that guitar player in my favourite band is a nice person.

That night Shotgun and Jaybird played the Elvis, I was able to chat with all of them for a while. One of the band members, Jimmie (aka. Shotgun Jimmie) told me about how he was originally from the Durham Region but now lived out east in a town called Sackville in New Brunswick. I may have mentioned how I’d been to Sackville once before, when I was a young kid. Anyway, Jimmie and I kept in touch on the internet, and I learned more about his town of Sackville and about the music festival him and the other folks in Shotgun and Jaybird had just started the previous August called SappyFest. A year or so later when Jimmie was releasing his solo album, he went so far as to hand deliver me a copy in Oshawa! What a great guy!

Last Spring I was in my last semester of College. It had taken me three years but I’d finally made a good friend in my program named Dale. I think the only reason we started talking was because I noticed he was listening to the Weakerthans one day. Nevertheless, we quickly became friends and started sharing music. One of the first bands Dale got me into was a band I’d heard of but had never listened to called Attack in Black. He let me have their album ‘Marriage’ and I enjoyed it enough on my first listen, but I couldn’t fully connect with it at that point. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I went to go see the Constantines that their music really made a connection. You see, Attack in Black opened up that show and I was front and center (I had to have a good spot for the Cons). I was still on the fence about them at that point, but seeing them play made me a fan. I thought their songs sounded way better live than on the record, and they were really great performers too. Since then I’ve gotten their second album ‘The Curve of the Earth’ which has become one of my favourite albums.

Everything came together this past August. I finally made it out to Sackville for SappyFest. I camped out in a tent on Jimmie’s farm. The night I arrived there, there was a big campfire. That’s when I realized Steve was also staying there, as were the guys in Attack in Black, so I got to meet them. That whole week was amazing, and it made me appreciate all these individuals so much more. I feel lucky to know all of them, as they all make music that really means a lot to me.

I started writing this post simply to tell everyone about the new record label they’re starting called You’ve Changed Records. They’re releasing Jimmie’s new album ‘Still Jimmie’ on March 10th, and an Attack in Black/Baby Eagle (Steve’s solo project) 12″ on April 14th. I’m so goddamn excited. Go to their website and listen to Mind Crumb.

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Hometown Hoedown

January 14th, 2009

Back in December ‘07, I helped some friends organize a festival in our hometown of Oshawa. It was called the Hometown Hoedown, an appropriate name if I do say so myself. We got bands from around town and pals from other places, and it was all really great. Most of the shows took place at the Velvet Elvis, the best spot in town, and really the only place that would let us takeover for three days. Sadly and unexpectedly, the Elvis would close its doors forever just one month later.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I go on Facebook and see that my homeboy Brian has finally gotten around to uploading the photos he took at the shows. They’re wonderful photos, just full of colour and energy, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing them with you here. Makes me really miss the Elvis… I think it’s an office building now.





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Listening Party

November 12th, 2008


I’m in Oshawa tonight to visit Mom and see my dying dog. Derrick came over with some records. In fact, he’s still here, he wanted me to write a blog about him and snap some pictures of his collection. He gave me some Reese’s Pieces, and something called Toffifee, it was good. He brought over his choice cuts:

  • Brand Nubian – One For All
  • The Cure – Disintegration
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Henry’s Dream
  • The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ryde II The Pharcyde
  • Red House Painters – Red House Painters I
  • Red House Painters – Ocean Beach
  • The Replacements – Tim

He forgot his Cardigans’ records, but he was wearing a cardigan so that made up for it.



You can find him on Facebook as of tonight. I’m pretty stoked.

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My First Radio Show

October 22nd, 2008

SSS Radio Show

I made this poster for a radio show I did for a year in college called Snowsuit Sounds. I hosted the show with my friend Derrick (that’s him in the background). I’ve always liked this poster, it’s a shame I don’t have a particularly high quality version of it anymore. I really nailed the colours here, dontchathink?

I actually just got off the phone with Derrick, I hadn’t talked to him since August. We had a good chat, covered the usual topics. I tried to convince him to come play a show in Toronto, he told me about the Best of X-Files: Season Three VHS he planned on watching tonight. He told me about a new blog he’s started keeping about Red House Painters. He always has tons to say.

Man, I have really fond memories of doing this radio show with Derrick. I’m not sure if anybody besides our friends ever listened, it didn’t matter. For two hours every Monday, I got to hang out with one of the funniest, most interesting people I know, just goofing off, playing music – Derrick introduced me to a lot of artists that I now love (Owen, Paul Westerberg, Bruce Springsteen, and the aforementioned Red House Painters, just to name a few). Driving home from the station in the dark, maybe getting some drive-thru for Derrick, chatting some more in his driveway. I remember telling him I planned on moving to Toronto once I graduated. Well, I’m in Toronto now, and things are going great, but a part of me misses those Monday nights with Derrick.


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September 2nd, 2008


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