Archive for May, 2015

CC CHRONICLES: Why I’ve Kiboshed My ‘Rolling Stone’ Magazine Cover Dream

Published by cctadmin on May 21st, 2015


Back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, I poured over Rolling Stone Magazine. Didn’t a lot of music lovers?  The articles and interviews were pure escapism, but I especially loved the cover photography; often capturing many of my musical idols in their glory. It seemed  there were a lot of great entertainers; and in my mind, to really make the ‘Rock and Roll dream’  come true, as I naively perceived it, you had to land ‘on the cover of the Rolling Stone’.  I enjoyed that misperception.

My impression then was, to even have the chance of getting on Rolling Stone one had to come equipped with an exceptional talent; for not everyone in music got exposure.  Thousands of prolific songwriters, musicians and vocalists never received that prestigious distinction.   You had to have that edge, that ‘thing’, if you were to realize the dream.  I still remember discovering the 1974 issue with Tanya Tucker, which headlined: “Hi I’m Tanya Tucker. I’m Fifteen.  You’re Gonna Hear from Me.” It was like “Whoa!”  My mind was blown that someone so young could go there based on their vocal talent… It inspired.  The years gave amazing covers, featuring The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young – the list goes on and on and on.   Annie Leibovitz in particular, shot a lot of my favourites; with assignments like the John and Yoko cover, or Bette Midler or Steve Martin…. Various images became a youthful ideal for what rock and roll was; to me it incorporated the ability to write and perform entertainment (music, acting, comedy) in such a way that the ‘high-ups’ at Rolling Stone even deemed you ‘worthy’.  Ha!

Back then of course, we did not have the internet; so I’d wait patiently for bi-weekly issues; combing through each one from front cover to back. If the cover art appealed to my ideal, I’d keep it tucked away on my bookshelf along with any others. Still have a lot of them today. Why I keep them still? Nostalgia.

I loved singing and writing, and because I was a loner who spent a majority of time doing these very things (including much daydreaming); I too, fantasized of what it might be like to live life creating music.  Being on the road.  I wondered how I might one day get that cover shot on Rolling Stone.  By the Annie Liebovitz.   What would that look, sound and feel like? Maybe this dream was the same fantasy of thousands of kids across the world?

As time went on though, I became less and less dedicated to following the musical and political publication; I think primarily because I also began to a) grow up and chase life instead of dream about it and b) lose interest in whatever was going on in ‘mainstream’ pop culture as I cultivated my own pathway.  They say  in life you have to stay true to yourself, whatever that means to each of us. There is no offence to the artistry out there today per se, but even now I can’t appreciate the featured artists or the cover photography itself, not as I did back then.  Who was it recently used the word ‘reductive’?    Along with that loss of appreciation of the art of Rolling Stone – I have also long since put away those daydreams.  Too busy writing – trying!

In the late 90′s I used to work at a Winnipeg Blockbuster Video  (an experience in itself) – I’d see the issues coming in over time, more and more featuring Brittany Spears and X-tina, or Backstreet Boys.  Less and less did things hold my interest; girls and boys of all sorts just standing purposefully naked with breasts and bums tooched out so unnaturally.  I mean, I suppose it was ‘sexy’; and sex sells, which I really could appreciate, from an aesthetic and horny perspecitive .   However it registered that you didn’t really have to be all that prolific; you didn’t even have to have anything interesting to say about your music.  It appeared however, have to turn people on.  Make money.  ‘Edge’ as I was familiar, was replaced with sex appeal, in my mind; which is absolutely fine.  I just no longer subscribed to it, pun intended.

Why do I choose to write about this today?  The old dream re-occurred to me recently – that reverie of my Liebovitz cover shot and the accompanying story of my aspirations and schemes of artistry and success.  I had to smile; the youthful self and my previous conceptions verses my own current views on entertainment, media and Rolling Stone Magazine itself.  Fame.

In the end I think that Rolling Stone Magazine is forging on as it should; representing what is trending in music, as it likely did since its birth in 1967.  I don’t know exactly what has changed or what is even important to the mass public.  Perception has evolved.  Oh, I still dream and I still desire recognition if I’m being totally honest.  I remain a dreamer!  Maybe the difference is – I’m grateful enough today;  just knowing that I can sing and write and perform.  That I’ve experienced it and continue to.  Music is my first love.  The recognition and the ‘Rolling Stone Cover’ aspiration itself, no longer holds weight; nor does my attraction to ‘fame’, as I understood it to be.  I don’t need Rolling Stone or stardom to write and sing or do whatever it is I do.  I want to say what’s real to me weather its sexy or appealing to the mass public or not.  Regardless I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.

The nostalgic in me will still keep those old issues though.  :-)  Props to the past!



CC CHRONICLES: Leaving Las Vegas and Process in Motion

Published by cctadmin on May 17th, 2015


Leaving Las Vegas I couldn’t help but be happy;  Alain and I caught up with his brothers and their significant others and we all enjoyed living in the moment.  At home again, I think about what I’d personally like to make happen moving forward; as life post-Les Miserables feels like a new opportunity.  Question becomes: what would I like to see happen?

Number one on my priority list is to strengthen my overall health.  Between the appendicitis, a flu, back problems and general fatigue I can tell this ol’ body is needing some proper care and I can’t wait to feel that strength fully return, speaking holistically.  Its on the mend; each day an opportunity to regain equalibrium.  Give me sunny days in my backyard, time laughing with my family and loved ones and routine sleep and I’ll be good as new!

I am very excited about some new songs I’ve been toiling away on for the past 2-3 years.  As a matter of fact, Tiny Army  had larely been recorded in Ottawa prior to my return in 2012 so once hittin Manitoba ground it was refreshing and inspiring, songwriting-wise.  The process has already began involving other talents, creatively and production-wise.  Gets me all excited, this process in motion.  I enjoy this stuff.

Three years after the Ottawa chapter closed and the Flin Flon chapter opened – I can safely say I am ready to focus energy back on original music.  Since returning I’ve been working away on various projects with a lot of local talents; singing in a couple of different bands, playing coffee houses and fundraisers, even trying my hand at a Broadway Musical (Les Miserables).  These things have provided fun, growth and community. Nows the time to make original music a priority again.  Now is the time to enlist my Tiny Army Band and get the train prepared help tell these stories.

*****Check out some random Las Vegas images below by double-clicking.

CC CHRONICLES: Onward and Upward

Published by cctadmin on May 8th, 2015


Feels like the first time in a while where I’ve been able to sit down and concentrate on a thought, much less write it down in any organized fashion. It feels refreshing; although now that I’m here I’m not 100% certain where to even start. Have you ever been there yourself?

Life sure can make or break us at times; the inevitable ups and downs that none of us can escape either bend us till we break or they can force us to dig deeper than we’ve ever thought possible.

I feel like I have been through a marathon over the past six months; our family took a big loss when my dad passed away in March; I had an appendicitis and was also down for the count with a terrible flu within that same month – and oh, did I mention that within all of this I was committed to Flin Flon’s huge production of Les Miserables? #NoPressure !

The words fit concisely into one sentence but truth be told there were times I literally felt like a dear caught in the headlights; struck with shock, frozen from movement. I didn’t know which way to go or weather to let the traffic hit me, for the inability to control the uncontrollable.

Sitting here and reflecting now I can only break it down like this:

I miss my dad. Life goes on as the cliché states, but there is not a single hour in the day I don’t end up seeing his face, thinking about his life and feeling a tormenting void. It’s a gross and unfamiliar feeling… I would give anything I own to hear his voice and despite being out there, smiling in the community and getting on stage, make no mistake; he’s in my thoughts even though I don’t talk about it. I’m grateful for the time I was afforded with him and my family throughout the past years; and his memory will be what inspires me to move forward most. Mark my word and count on that.

I’m grateful for my family; who as I get older I realize I love and need more than I ever could have anticipated in my uninformed youth. I know where I want to be at this particular point in my life, and that’s here, where I can see and talk to them; where I can see for myself how the years age their faces and they can hopefully get to know who I am and what my purpose is. My mother is my greatest tenderness; my stepdad a loyal and reliable force; my sisters and brother my eminent connection to the past; my niece and nephews my hope and appreciation for the future. It’s important that as I move forward in my next chapter, that I remain connected to them and more so, show my devotion to them.

I’m grateful for the constant support of Alain; my partner and bestest friend. As the song goes, “He’s the rock that I lean on; he’s the sunshine of my day”. He’s been there through the thick and thin of it all and like my dedication to my family, I also move forward in my life with the motivation to give him the best. He deserves it. When he smiles my heart is full, of love, as Marius Pontmercy says.

Being a part of the Flin Flon Community’s production of Les Miserables also saved me in many ways; from falling too quickly into my tendency to retreat and hide away in the face of challenge. There were times I was literally too sick and physically weak to go to the required rehearsals over the past six months. There were other times I simply didn’t have the ‘mojo’; and of course with that came a lot of guilt compounded by my grief and exhaustion. It wasn’t pretty nor did I understand it all the time. Nevertheless the community didn’t turn me away, nor did they leave me in the dark during this time. In fact, I felt more love and support from the Flin Flon community in and around this period, than I’ve ever experienced before in my life.

The outpour of cards, flowers, messages and food upon my dad’s passing (and my stint in the hospital) overwhelmed me in the most profound way. I wasn’t expecting anything; but what it did was reinforce the understanding that my dad was an honorable man whose memory would live on through his children. And it was undeniable to me in that time, that my family was and is loved by the community as a whole. It occurred to me that had I not returned here three years ago to work and try to support my siblings with my dad’s health – I never would have known this great love existed.

I humbly thank everyone who rallied around us at that time; and appreciate those who encouraged me to stay connected to my role as Marius within the plethora of talents involved with this production. I felt a brother/sisterhood with the cast, stage production and just everyone from start to finish. I may have entered the community hall on some days, with a heavy heart and feeling of loneliness – but I would always find myself leaving uplifted, encouraged and certain that I was where I needed to be.

In close, here’s to the future – wherever its path takes us. I remain open-hearted and open-minded about where I’m headed, even though I’m certain I will find myself tripping or falling again. Regardless of that direction and how many times I shall fall – I will always strive to get back up. The memory of my dad and the love of my family and community will always be cherished. I will draw from that.
Onward and upward.

***I took some photos up at my dad’s place today; double click on them for a closer peek.  It was up on these very rocks that I experienced a childhood of a great and pure love.