The 15th Annual Ottawa International Writers Festival is about to get underway. There have been a number of pre-festival events. Last night I went to see Randy Bachman. It was lovely evening. Lawrence Wall of CBC radio one introduced Randy Bachman. Both men are originally from Winnipeg and they shared a number of reminiscences. Lawrence recounted The Guess Who playing a noon hour concert at their Winnipeg High School when the band was at the peak of its popularity. It was an example of what made the Guess Who beloved in their home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Musician, singer, songwriter and storyteller
Bachman regaled the audience for well over an hour (more time than initially promised) with stories that are found in his recently published book (this is the writers festival) Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Stories. If you are of a certain vintage, or you like rock (and roll) music dating back several decades, you will be familiar with Bachman’s program on CBC radio. It airs a number of times during the week and Bachman and his wife Denise play songs and he tells stories of his experiences over decades in the business. He often plays his guitar (s) and provides an interesting and varied dialogue on a world most of us never will have never known. It’s not all roses for Bachman spoke of the time he spent away from his family (8 children) as they were born and grew.
Bachman had great rapport with the audience last night. He talked about how he got started in music (with violin lessons) and how in his teens he would skip school in the afternoons and hang out with Lenny Breau. He has so many experiences to recount-from living the life of a musician in obscurity to one who was at the top of the charts. From living in a beat up van while on the road, to meeting Gerry Dorsey before he entered the agent’s office and came out with a new name-Englebert Humperdinck! There were great tales of how songs and song titles came to be. Bachman played his guitar and did some singing-all to the audience’s delight. He announced that next year he and his full band will do a cross-country tour that will be 2.5 hours of story telling and music based on his book.
Small world-art imitating life
To my quiet delight, as the event seats filled, the Ottawa based actor and playwright Pierre Brault sat beside me. We have seen and enjoyed Brault in a number of performances here in Ottawa. One of those was the one-man play 5 O’Clock Bells Brault both wrote and performed based on the life of Lenny Breau. I spoke briefly to Pierre-he has not had the opportunity to meet Randy Bachhman. That seems like a shame. There is only one degree of separation-Pierre Brault-Lenny Breau-Randy Bachman.
Bachman has a great sense of humour, enough truly interesting stories to fill a book (funny thing) and for all his accomplishments he appears approachable and grounded.