ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

Dear Canada Blog #26 March 21st, 2018.

Good morning....here with all your news weather and sports, is Glass Tiger. 😂😂😂

 The REAL FAKE NEWS!! 

The REAL FAKE NEWS!! 

Had a lovely breakfast with the lads before heading out on a full morning of promotion with 4 radio and 2 television interviews.

 CTV Saskatoon. 

CTV Saskatoon. 

It’s time consuming and tiring on top of all the traveling and performing but this is why we came.

Many people would wonder why we would travel from coast to coast all based on about 15 mins of stage-time per evening.

The answer is simple however. We are making contact with thousands upon thousands of Canadians who are coming out to these shows night after night, most of whom haven’t seen Glass Tiger before. We are letting them know just how great this new album really is. Add to that the millions of Canadians whom we are reaching in the same way via radio and television and you will now understand why we are willing to put all this effort behind this new project.

 Glass Tiger’s loyal fans. 

Glass Tiger’s loyal fans. 

Glass Tiger is known throughout all of Canada, we all know that, but these audiences are different. Sure there are some time-and tested-die-hard Glass Tiger fans among the audience but primarily these are Johnny Reid audiences and rightly so. Johnny is a superb songwriter and performer who has carefully crafted an amazing career, supported by a staggeringly loyal following; The Tartan Army.

Glass Tiger is being given an amazing opportunity by Johnny, to show them just how much we have in common with them and we promise them that if they come out to see our full show the next time we are in their town, they will not be disappointed. Oh, yes, I know that many of you know that already and you show us each and every time you come out to see us, but we just need these new viewers and listeners to come join the party. Musically speaking, contemporary radio, as we have always known it, for bands like Glass Tiger, or Loverboy, Tom Cochrane or The Rolling Stones, including acts like, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney etc, is over. Yes we have Classic Rock and pop stations and thank goodness for those, for at least you get to keep us in mind, but trying to bring you new music? It’s really tough. This is not me being old and cynical, on the contrary, it’s just reality.

It troubles any band when fans of their music say, “Why can’t you write new songs? Bring us new music? Of course we can. Any day of the week. But where do we deliver it to you? And how many people receive it versus the amount of effort put into recording it, mastering it, and turning it into a product that you can own? This becomes the conundrum.

Contemporary radio is not viable. Yes we can bring it to you on downloads and streaming but right now strictly as a business model the single best way for us to promote this CD is to get “live” with it.

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Live performance, tv, radio interviews, (remember we actually have to do radio interviews with stations who we know already, won’t play it in their format, preferring to stick with their old), then after all of that comes downloads, streaming, socials etc

The rules have changed drastically Dear Canada, but that’s ok, we’re tough. We’re survivors. Music is a young persons game, it always has been and its the way it SHOULD be, but we would all be lost and floundering if we didn’t have our classic acts and our classic genres that we all know and love. Great songs are great songs are ALWAYS going to be great songs and there is MORE THAN ENOUGH ROOM for all of it and all of us. That’s why Rod Stewart is playing Toronto tonight. That’s why “The Stones” are gonna tour YET AGAIN. That’s why Guns’n’Roses latest tour was a smash success. There’s nothing quite like the tone in the bark of an “old dog.”

 

Got back to hotel around 1pm and by 2, managed to finally get myself an hour in the gym. Yes our bodies are temples but I am starting to feel like there’s a rather hefty monk, named, Anutha Kit Kat, is the only one worshipping in there. 😂

 “ Hey! I’m worshipping here! I’m worshipping!” 

“ Hey! I’m worshipping here! I’m worshipping!” 

After that I had a great massage. What a treat. Simple pleasures.

Went downstairs to lobby restaurant and had my very late lunch, (or as I like to call it, my very early dinner.)

Headed over to the venue at 8pm and hit the stage as per usual time .

The routine just before us going on is as follows. When Johnny starts a song called, Shoulders, that becomes our cue to make any final adjustments we may have to make prior to going on. For me it’s a last sip of something hot, a quick 💦 and then I take my slice of raw ginger and just gently chew on it. As soon as Shoulders finishes the band goes into a chug, chug, chug, groove, signalling we are about to hear Johnny’s classic song Fire It Up that I had the honour of co-writing with him, along with another brilliant writer Marty Dodson.

 

 A young Joe Cocker. 

A young Joe Cocker. 

Fire It Up, went on, to not only be a smash hit for Johnny and a number #1 single, it also was a certified  platinum hit for none-other-than, the legendary, British, rock, blues and soul singer, Joe Cocker, known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance and definitive versions of popular songs of a wide degree or styles and genres.

I remember the day my phone rang, it was Chad Richardson, from my publisher’s office at that time. Johnny Reid’s, Fire It Up Tour, was already in full swing and the song itself was a bonafide hit.

“Alan, it’s Chad. Something really interesting and cool has surfaced. I know that Johnny is in full swing with Fire It Up, but Joe Cocker also wants to record it! What d’ya think.”

Well Dear Canada, what do you think I thought? Joe Cocker? JOE COCKER?? ARE YOU KIDDING?? He played Woodstock for f#^ksake!! I LOVE JOE!!

After my gut settled, I of course had to remind Chad that Fire It Up was Johnny’s song and that he was out there working it and that I would acquiesce to his take on all of this. (For all I knew, Johnny may have had his own plans to release it over in Europe.)

Chad asked me to call Johnny and find out. I did. I ran it all by him, he listened and then said..........JOE COCKER?? ARE YOU KIDDING?? He played Woodstock for f#^ksake!! Lol, of course it was a resounding YES!

 The Legend ; 1944-2014. 

The Legend ; 1944-2014. 

The song as I mentioned was a massive hit in parts of Europe, especially Germany, and all three of us songwriters received a Platinum Award for our efforts, something that as writers, we are extremely proud of.

Johnny is a very interesting partner to write with. He works fast. Emotes train of thought and melody at such a rate that its hard to keep up. I am not slow but I certainly don’t work that fast and I find myself being more of a sounding board for his ideas than actually trying to emote at the same rate as he is. Which is fine, because as writers it takes all kinds of approaches, especially when the other writer is the actual artist that intends on recording it and touring it.

On the day we wrote Fire It Up, John was on fire (pardon the pun) and Marty and I knew we were onto something great. Johnny however, had mentally moved on to another idea and we all followed suit. If memory serves its was a song called Woman. I could see Johnny was slamming it and indeed, if we had started a third song, he would have been just fine.

We then decided to take a break and go for lunch. Once we got seated, John excused himself to go to the washroom. Marty IMMEDIATELY looked at me and just as his lips readied to form a sentence I said, “I know pal. I am on it. It’s brilliant. We will finish it.”

When Johnny returned I said to him that we thought the first thing we were working on was brilliant and asked if we could go back to it after lunch and just focus on that and nothing else.

“Sure,” said Johnny.

And that was that.

A hit was born.

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Man I love stories like that. And I have so many of them. So many times when a dream or an idea becomes a reality. We can ALL do that. Seriously, we can ALL make dreams and ideas become reality. Let’s talk about that notion soon.

 

We hit the stage right after Fire It Up to a huge welcome from the Saskatoon audience. They were so welcoming. I particularly love that one wee woman, who always seems to be there, and who is a total, “Johnny fan” and who seems to get her “knickers in a twist” because she is not expecting us and doesn’t think she knows us nor does she want to know us; her face reads “This isn’t Johnny! Where’s my Johnny?” It’s fun to watch. Then she hears me sing, Someday and she’s like, “Hmmm, that’s nice.” Then comes, Animal Heart, and she’s like, “Oh that’s too rocky😝” lol; My Song and she smiles; My Town and she’s singing and by the time she’s heard Don’t Forget Me (when I’m gone) she may even be on her feet dancing and clapping. Now THAT’S why we are here.

 

After the show I went for a beer with the lads to a GREAT pub called Winston’s . Beautiful pub, with an incredible beer selection from around the world. They have an amazing bartender called, Donovan, who is so fast with words and so quick witted. We were asking if we could have a little taste of this or that, to see if we liked it, to which Donovan replied, “What do think this is? I’m not friggin’ Baskin Robbins!” 😂

 Photo by “Donovan.” 

Photo by “Donovan.” 

Walked back to hotel around 1am. I am soooo glad that GT remain good and loyal friends. We are able to story-tell and laugh together. It’s how we get through this and make it fun.

Bed and sleep around 2am

Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow.

                    ~Alan