Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Where were you in '72 … Tecumseh, Canada, or … “Beer Drinking Around the World”


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The Golden House and Lester Bangs -- circa 1970's

Lester Bangs' Favourite Canadian Hangout - THE GOLDEN HOUSE - circa 1970's
(Golden House image courtesy of Doug Down)

San Diego native Lester Bangs made Detroit his home during his tenure as editor of the legendary (now defunct) Creem magazine, the original rock music magazine.


Creem dominated the pop culture landscape of the 1970’s while helping to usher in an era where rock music was starting to be seen as worthy of serious (or at least semi-serious) analysis and criticism, and Bangs was a larger than life figure who was probably the upstart magazine’s best-known writer.  A boozy blowhard who became legendary for his gleeful irreverence towards the very rock gods he wrote about and idolized, Bangs was also a world-class tippler who often escaped Detroit to drink himself insensible on the Canadian side of the border.  One of his favourite Windsor-area watering holes was The Golden House, a legendary Tecumseh pub that was a border city landmark for nearly a century before burning down in 1976.

Former Windsor Star music writer John Laycock recalls that Bangs’ presence on the Canuck side of the border became so ubiquitous that he was finally commissioned to write a piece for the Star about his favourite Canadian beers, which he gladly agreed to do once some modicum of payment was offered.  Laycock tells the story that, in those long-ago days before email and fax, Bangs attempted to deliver the article to the paper’s offices in person rather than simply mail it, only to be turned back by Canadian customs officials - apparently due to some previous examples of alcohol-inspired bad behaviour that caused officials to temporarily revoke the rock writer’s border-crossing privileges.

In any event, the article eventually found its way to the Star offices, where it ran under the presumably tongue-in-cheek title “Beer Drinking Around the World” and remains one of the notoriously hard-living writer’s few journalistic endeavours to be devoted to a non-music-related subject.  It is also likely his only known foray into any form of Canadian content.
Story by Christian Bonk
(additional thanks to Doug Down for images, & John Laycock for an interview regarding the story)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Once Upon a Weekend in Windsor 40+ Years Ago

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Vintage Photo of the Day - circa 1974


September 1974 -- Windsor Ontario's now defunct GRIFFIN HOLLOW AMPHITHEATRE, 

with a stage under the stars, played host to thousands of screaming fans at the 

--- ANN ARBOR BLUES & JAZZ FESTIVAL IN EXILE ---



It all happened that first weekend of September 1974.  We were honoured with a major music festival that was set up on a makeshift stage with a huge sound system, all surrounded by a big grassy hillside full of appreciative fans.  That hill was located right out the back door of St. Clair College in South Windsor, Canada.  Featured were world renowned performers…. James Brown, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Junior Walker & The Allstars, Sun Ra & His Arkestra and many more, all for the low price of $8.00 per day.

The high-voltage festival, then in it's 3rd year, was banned by officials in Ann Arbor, Michigan as an abrupt reactionary gesture to keep "undesirables" out of their City.  ….I'll admit, the early 1970's were crazy times, but I don't recall seeing any "undesirables" at the festival that weekend, (I did hear that some folks were turned away at the border by Customs that weekend due to the possibility of importing small amounts of illegal substances… Well, they were warned in BIG LETTERS on the event poster "WATCH THE BORDER"  …but hey, there's much more to the story, and that will definitely follow.)

Many artists graced the stage throughout the short life of Griffin Hollow…. Chuck Berry, Wolfman Jack, The Bob Seger System, The Guess Who with Domenic Troiano, Harry Chapin, Mahogany Rush, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Max Webster, just to name a few.  Fans would come from miles around - Toronto, Hamilton, London, many also crossing the Windsor-Detroit border in from the US to catch the shows. The events were often sponsored by CKLW "The Big 8" Radio, and the St. Clair College Alumni Association, and I do recall one concert event being sponsored by a major candy bar maker. They gave out free concert passes at the gate to anyone that presented the paper wrapper from one of their chocolate bars. That was a bonus, and you know, a lot of us took advantage of that delicious offer!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Collecting & Hoarding.... keep it all coming folks!


ONGOING RESEARCH & BOOK PROGRESS -- The authors are continuing to collect many interesting interviews and seamy stories (some are suitable for printing), and plan to keep you updated here with those clips and photographs as we progress.  Whether you are a musician, a fan, or just a fly on the wall, we want to hear and see what you have from the distant and/or not-so-distant past.... please keep 'em coming folks!  Feel free to "CONTACT US" via the email link on the left.... many thanks for visiting!

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Vintage Photo of the Day -- circa 1960's

NIRVANA - Grande Ballroom poster, promo photographs, concept drawing


You got it folks... Windsor, Ontario-based "NIRVANA" opened for PROCAL HARUM at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, May 17, 1968 -- The band was well known on the local circuit many years before the popular U.S. west coast band was formed.

Thanks go to the guys for the photographs, clippings, & associated stories (to follow)… the poster pencil drawing was done by Windsor, Ontario artist, Robert Fox


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Collecting & Hoarding.... keep 'em coming folks!

BOOK PROGRESS -- The authors are continuing to collect many interesting interviews and seamy stories (some are suitable for printing), and plan to keep you updated here with those clips and photographs as we progress.  Whether you are a musician, a fan, or just a fly on the wall, we want to hear and see what you have from the distant and/or not-so-distant past.... please keep 'em coming folks! Feel free to "CONTACT US" via the email link on the left.... many thanks for visiting!

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Vintage Photo of the Day -- circa 1986

THE SHEIKS OF R&B - circa 1986 at California's Road House, on Walker Road in Windsor, Ontario. 

L to R... Scotty Hughes (guitar); Gordie Johnson (bass); Les Nagy (tenor sax); Jamie Perkins (trombone); 
Kurt Ellenberger (trumpet); Doug Tann (band leader, drums); Bob Fazecash (trumpet); 
Tom Hogarth (vocals); Ray Manzerolle (alto sax); Tom Borshuk (keyboards)

SPECIAL THANKS go to Richard Janik for the photograph and associated story.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CBC RADIO ONE INTERVIEW

The authors were interviewed about the book project by CBC Windsor Radio One host Sara Elliot -- have a listen to that interview here....


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Vintage Poster of the Day -- circa 1967



A blast from the past,  circa 1967 -- THE INTERSECTION (now The Scottish Club)  It was very common to see featured performers such as THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM, THE WOOLIES, TED NUGENT & THE AMBOY DUKES, THE BLUES TRAIN, and many more at this Windsor, Ontario establishment!   Note the fine print at the bottom.... "MUST BE 17 -- NO LEVIS"

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Day in the Life of a DMA Booking Agent, circa 1969

INTERVIEW – Local booking agent from the late 60's recalling one of many anecdotes from his day job:



"The problem with my friend (name withheld) is that he did heroin...and I am strictly against any hard drugs, having dealt with it with Iggy...you know, Iggy Pop? That was bad enough...I mean, I one time found Iggy in a friggin' donut shop at 6am in the morning, passed out on a table with girls' gloves on up to the elbow, and girls' sunglasses on, and completely passed out. I was on my way to work, you know, I was trying to beat the traffic when I worked for DMA. So i went over to him, I says, "Iggy...um...look, if I go back to the office and tell them what I've seen here, they're not gonna be very impressed, you're not gonna be getting any work for a while...I mean, you're gonna have to chill this out..." so I gave him a ride home and dropped him off on the way to work...funny but that's kinda how things went in those days."

...excerpt from our interview with former booking agent for Diversified Management Agency (DMA), Detroit.



Detail of the concert poster for –– SUPER SESSION WINDSOR ARENA –– held on Sunday, September 20, 1970 with Talent Coordination by DMA, Windsor, Ontario.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"On The Border - A Post-War History of Our Music"

A Post-War Oral History of the Bands, Bookies, Agents, Performers, Producers, Club Owners, Fans, Hangers-On, Promoters, Nomads, Burn-Outs, Born-Agains, Techies and assorted Characters who knew the Windsor-Detroit music scene first-hand...


THE BOOK... tentatively titled "ON THE BORDER – A POST-WAR HISTORY OF OUR MUSIC", is in the research stage and with the assistance of publishing house Biblioasis Inc. and the Ontario Arts Council is set for release sometime in the near future. Our goal is to produce a high quality book intended to be part of the region's official history and musical legacy. We are currently compiling interviews and visual materials that will focus on the border city music scene during the years from the early 1950's to the present.

THE AUTHORS are eager to get your input in the form of stories, anecdotes, photographs, concert posters, newspaper clippings, all manner of memorabilia. The book is intended to be a visual history as well as a written one – so please start digging into those memorabilia collections – we'd love to see what you have from days gone.


Al Siegel's Elmwood Hotel & Casino, Windsor, Ontario, Canada –– postcard image circa 1951 –– "AND THE NIGHT SHALL BE FILLED WITH MUSIC... With Dancing to Jack Madden & His Orchestra"


Al Siegel's Elmwood Hotel & Casino, Windsor, Ontario, Canada –– a swizzle stick from circa 1951 –– from the world famous Elmwood Ambassador Room "... where the greatest stars of stage, screen and radio are spotlighted in lavishly staged reviews ..."