Dear Canada Blog #44 April 8th 2018.
Didn’t fall asleep until about 4am, yet was awake by 9:30am. Just the way it goes sometimes, yeah? All good. Went downstairs and had breakfast with my E.A. Sean before heading back upstairs to gather up all my stuff and close the suitcase.
Got an hour to myself to watch the early tee off’s at the Masters, knowing that by the time I get to London, Ontario, I will be able to kick back and watch the finale of it.
On the road by 12.30pm heading to London.
Affectionatley known as “Little London” (with BIG LONDON being over in the UK) London, Ontario, and the Thames, were named in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe who proposed the site for the capital of Upper Canada. The first European settlement was between 1801 and 1804 by Peter Hagerman. Although lest we forget, historical findings have shown us, that prior to European contact in the 18th century, the present site of London, was occupied by several Neutral, Ozawa and Ojibwa villages. Archaeological investigations in the region indicate that aboriginal people have resided in the area for at least the past 10,000 years. Now THAT, is amazingly powerful in its history, passion, honour and energy and such a powerful reminder that we, (those of us whose ancestors had to make the journey) are but guests here with you Dear Canada.
Since the village was founded in 1826 and incorporated in 1855, London has grown to be the largest Southwestern Ontario municipality and Canada's 11th largest metropolitan area, having annexed many of the smaller communities that surrounded it. London is close to my heart for numerous reasons; I have been frequenting it since my bar days of the late 70’s and always loved the crowds there, we were always well received. In more recent times, I had my accountant, my business manager and my book publisher residing there, causing me to spend copious amounts of time in London. I no longer have those business connections but London, as a fan base for Glass Tiger remains strong and I feel connected to it.
I read an interesting comment on my FB page regarding my statement that as soon as this Johnny Reid Tour is over, the “whole” Glass Tiger family will be together again, not just three of us as we are here, on this tour. But in the photo I posted of that GT line-up, it was Tom Lewis and not Wayne who was in the shot, and it’s Tom, who will do all of 2018 with us.
A loyal and faithful GT fan made the comment, that without Wayne in the line-up, it cannot be “whole.” Now that’s an interesting notion, and worth a deeper look. So let’s see......
First of all, I respect that comment, all of you are of course welcome to your opinions of what constitutes Glass Tiger for you. And for the record, let’s get it straight from the horse’s mouth, GLASS TIGER to me, IS......Wayne Parker, Sam Reid, Al Connelly and your’s truly. Plain & simple. This of course, is with all due respect to our drummer of some 20 years, Chris McNeill, who is as close to us as anyone can be and who is regarded today as one of us. But the notion of FOUR remains loyal, to the fact that it has been the four of us, who have been together through it all since DAY ONE, through the “thick and thin” and almost, the “trench-warfare,” of dealing with life as a recording, promoting and touring band. The hundreds of thousands of miles travelled. The dealings with, agents and managers and record companies and promoters and publishers ....the leaving behind of our families and friends, especially our children. THAT’S what the four of us have done together NOT for 31 years but closer to 40!! (Longer even than that for Wayne, Al and myself as we were in a band together prior to joining Reid and Hanson.) This is how you build a legacy.
There are some, who occasionally bring up the strange notion, that without Michael Hanson (the original drummer) Glass Tiger is not “Glass Tiger.” Conversely, in juxtaposition to that view, and equally strange, we have gone through professional situations, whereby a promoter has me contracted to perform solo, fronting my own band, at an event and they feel they have “Glass Tiger” and promote it as such, and nothing I or anyone says can dissuade them from that opinion. It’s a sort of, “We have the voice, so therefore we have tha band,” kind of view. It’s frustrating to say the least.
So here it is FROM ME, here is my view on how it really sits; and I would trust that my seat on all of this, is......well, it’s front row 😉
The reality of Glass Tiger today, is sort of multi-layered for me, even more so than for the other guys, simply by the fact that I have a solo career intertwined in all of this. The reason that this is significant, is due to the fact that three members of my band (The FREWBAND) have also been long serving players for Glass Tiger; Let’s start with drums. Michael was the original drummer and yes he was a key part in that initial success out of the gate but think about this, from the time we clicked in 1986, he drummed for GT, for only 2 years. He was gone amicably by 1988, that’s THIRTY YEARS ago guys,! 3-0! So if that’s the combo of GT you’ve been living with in your “day to day” since 1988 then I’ve got news for you.....,I think ya can let it go now😂😂😂.
Next came two more drummers, Jim Scotland and Randall Coryell, both excellent drummers, but strictly “hired guns.” Then around 20 years ago or so, we landed Chris and never looked back. He is a “maestro” behind the drum kit and I cannot imagine having any other drummer in my life. He has been not only the drummer for Glass Tiger but also for the FREWBAND for almost half of my entire career.
Wayne Parker is THE bass player for Glass Tiger, of that there is no doubt. Wayne however has an important business he runs and has felt over the last two years that he wishes to dedicate his efforts to that business. Meanwhile Tom Lewis, who has been in THE FREWBAND some 17 years or so, slots in for Wayne, and for me when I look to my right and see Tommy there, it feels absolutely normal. Carmela, we have known even longer. She was with Glass Tiger as far back as 1989 and rejoined GT and joined THE FREWBAND some 6 years ago. And so, once again, whether on a GT stage or a Frew stage, she is a major part of my musical family. Now, all opinions are valid. If you live in the 1986 version of GT that’s fine. Conversely if you see GT and Wayne is not playing bass causing you to feel it’s not “your idea of GT” that too is fine. To me however, it’s a legacy of years and years of working with these great players and they are ALL family to me. When I bring my own band out to perform the 80290 Rewind Show and I have the aforementioned three, plus my two guitar players, Sean Kelly, Russel Gray & on keys Peter Kadar, it’s a family. It’s a KILLER band and we have such a great time. I am just lucky that I have two performing livelihoods and I comfortably move from one to the other with ease. To sum it up, that’s a long-winded way of me saying that a lifetime spent with GT as four, plus years upon years spent with all my other players is what affords me to say that any combination of me with them is a “whole family.”❤️ Make sense? Ya? Ok, let’s mosey on.
Had a long soak in a great tub while watching the Masters Golf Tournament, in Augusta, Georgia. Congratulations to new champion Patrick Reed.
Lobby call was 8:15pm for a short walk over to the venue.
Now speaking of family, a great surprise was the fact that Wayne Parker came out to visit with us. It was fantastic to see him. There is NEVER a dull moment when Wayne is around. His “patter” as we say in Glasgow, is brilliant, and he has you laughing constantly. A footnote on the story I just relayed to you about a legacy of players, Wayne and I have been together the longest. We have weathered it all, since the early 70’s. He is my brother and a dear friend, and the tales we can tell are nothing short of legendary.
Had a pal Chris come through and he and Wayne hung out by the stage monitor guys for our performance.
The place was jammed and you ROCKED London! Johnny was as always in top form and our duet together went over big time.
After show we intended on going to, what for me at one time, was almost a “local” THE SCOT’S CORNER for a pint of Guinness, but we were thwarted by the fact that it was closed and so we ended up in a pub up the street called THE ALE HOUSE. Wouldn’t be my first choice but I was damned if I would trudge in the cold anymore.
Three great, and long-time fans and friends of our band and our music 1986, Nancy, Kelly & Jenn., popped by to see us and say hello. We had a good laugh showing old photographs of when they first went mad for GLASS TIGER, in 1986. They told stories of how at 13 & 14 years of age they would HITCHIKE!! or take a bus and just land in Newmarket to try and find us. Nancy told a story of landing outside the wee house I lived in with my parents just before the success really took off and my dad answered the door. Whenever he did that and fans were there, he would INVITE THEM IN lol it was hilarious, No matter how many times I lectured him he would say, “Och, son, they were freezing, or they were hungry, or they came a long way, and so I brought them in for a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit!” Nancy says that on this particular occasion I was home and my dad said, “He’s in the shower. He’ll be out in a few minutes. ALAN!!! hurry up!!” and her 14 year old self lost her mind. 😂 Now today these are women all with their own families and raising their own kids. We laughed, knowing that none of us would EVER dream of letting a 13 year old set off to the mall alone, nevermind getting on a bus or hitching hundreds of kilometers away 😳😱 but it’s so warm and lovely to reminisce on those great and wacky times.
Back at hotel by around 1 a.m. and off to the land of nod immediately.
Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow -Alan