Talked my friend Rolly
into playing bass
Added Pete Fade and Gordy
then picked up the pace
Long before I ever even thought about getting into radio, I was a musician. First I played the accordion, then the trumpet, but when I saw Elvis on TV, I just had to become a guitar man. Shortly after buying my first guitar, I was invited to join a singing group called “Shayne and the Devines.” It was kinda fun starting my musical career as one of the Devines but being more of a band guy than a vocalist, I talked Shayne into recruiting some of my talented musician friends.
On tenor sax, we got the guy who started me playing music, Pete Proskurnik, who brought along his buddy Gordy Duke who was a drummer. I talked my friend Rolly Blaquiere, (Termite) originally a piano man, into playing bass and his brother Lawrence (Fade) on the piano.
Now that we were a band and not a vocal group, the name Devines sounded wimpy so we changed it to Shayne and the Rebel Raiders. Then when we realized that the Rebel Raiders sounded much too southern for a Canadian band, we became the Phantoms.
My Mom made us some very cool blue satin tux jackets, (see above) so not only were we sounding good, we were lookin’ good too. However, when Shayne heard that it wasn’t Shayne and the Phantoms, he walked and we replaced him with an Elvis like singer named Donny Burns (pictured above) and also added another sax player named Jimmy Harrison.
We were starting to sound pretty good and I thought that the only thing that would make us sound better, would be some more rehearsals maybe. Then I spotted Perry Waksvik at a variety show, and if memory serves me correctly, I believe that he tried to recruit Rolly for his band, so I recruited him for ours.
Perry not only had great guitar chops, but he also sang all those cool Chuck Berry songs which would give us some variety. I moved over to rhythm and within weeks, we became one of Winnipeg’s most popular bands, and I stumbled across a philosophy that I would use for the rest of my life. “He who is smart enough to hire people better than themselves is the smartest person in the room.”
Part of our problem was that we could party anywhere because we had a party trailer. (see above) The trailer was intended for our gear, but because we stored it at Rolly’s house, he decided to turn it into a small nightclub. It had wall to wall carpeting, curtains, colored mood lights, giant pillows, and of course a bar. If that trailer could talk, what tales it could tell.
One of the reasons bands have a difficult time staying intact is because they usually only have the music in common but once the music talk well runs dry, the drama begins. When we recruited Perry it changed us musically which was a good thing, and for that I thank him, but the chemistry was bad, so when his whining became intolerable, we moved on.
While looking for another guitar player, Randy Bachman graciously filled in, and when we finally found Terry Kenny, Randy started his own band called The Guess Who.
However, like a fool, I also told Rolly to give him a couple of drinks to loosen him up a little. Y’all see this coming don’t ya? When they arrived at the venue, Terry looked stiffer than ever, and Rolly was shitfaced! 🙂
Is it racist to have good thoughts about somebody just because of their race?
With greatness comes great responsibility.
The only people who tell the truth all the time are kids and drunks.
How much money can there be in Tobasco Sauce when you only use it one drop at a time?
The greatest honor a man can bestow upon a woman is to ask her to marry him. Sometimes though, the greatest gift a woman can give a man in return is to say no.
The next thing you should do is that which you’re afraid to do.
Want the boss to notice you?Take the blame for something, you’ll be the only one in that line.
Who gave the prosecutors the right to plea bargain? I don’t remember voting for it.
I wonder if this is the America our forefathers dreamed about?
I think all government employees should get the minimum wage and have to work for tips.
A lot of great talent, unfortunately, comes from and is fueled by the dark side, whereas you are born gifted. You can either sing or draw or you can’t.
All races have good guys and bad guys. I figure it’s time to rag on a few of the other races, don’t they deserve equal time?
Ken LeMann: As good as it feels to heap importance upon ourselves, let’s be honest. Radio, may in fact be part of show business but it’s somewhere on the very outskirts – maybe just beyond community theater! Seems like a lot of it is getting farther away every year. (Yeah But)
Bruce Devine: Another great thing about Earl & other announcers at CFTR, was that he was originally a singer, so his sense of music & his pacing was so much better than someone just using a countdown clock. Don Parrish was also a classically trained singer & Fred Davis a horn player, No need to explain to them what you wanted them to hit…they could feel it. I’m still op-ing NHL radio feeds out of Montreal…Earl is reading liners on practically every back feed! (Earl Mann)
Jerry Keifer: The first serious fault I see with JVC’s entry into the West Palm market is News radio 900. The “Belle Glade” station has always had signal problems in West Palm dating back to the 60’s and the various formats they tried, R & B, country, religion and gospel music. Fair to good in a car but no building penetration. The guys are doing a great job with the content but you’ve got to be able to hear it. (Consolidation Is A Bust)
Jim Hilliard jr: Everyone in the world listened to Pierre Trudeau except his wife and the Stones! (A Woman’s Wants)
Jim Harper: As I recall George, it was YOUR idea to make me the PD then selling it to management by saying “He’ll be too busy to mess up the sound of the station.” You were right on all accounts: It is much easier to make a successful morning show if you’re the PD, and you ARE too busy to wreck anything on the station. Forever grateful. (What The Hell Happened?)
John Ryman: George, hadn’t talked to you for a while, even more, good stuff here…..you ARE one of my radio heroes. Health slowly returning here…..gets better every day and outlook is great! Blessings. (Good People Are Irrelevant)
Joasia Holotka: More crazy stories by the minute George!!! From what I understand, it’s quite a compliment to be mentioned in a similar way to Jo Myers. Thank you! (You May Be Lunch)
Greg McClure: George, I really love reading your past life review and current observations. Right on the money, so to speak. My dad liked to laugh and liked to love his 13 children. More than once he’d say: “the feet pay for the head’s mistakes.” Took me some time to figure that out! –another fan of the vast audio radiance, Greg. (I’m The F**king Boss, That’s Why)
Joe Tobin: Your comment that any forward motion is good motion was not lost on me. In fact many of the comments made by you, and by Jim H, still ring true. You were overwhelmingly positive and always urged me to keep trying; obviously, you were speaking the truth. (Comments)
Scott Courant: Geo, Salespeople were never high on your list, but we did a few unique things together. (Palm-Aire) As Reineri once said, “Once and a while you’ve got to give one back.” Talk soon! (Thank You)
Geo: Love hanging with you guys Scott, just don’t like working with you.
Gordon Zlot: George,
We’re honored to be included in this list. Oh BTW…I just figured out what KY was CKY. I thought you were referring to …..you know KY Jelly, but what’s that got to do to oidar? That’s radio backward. I’m off to have a martini now and you know where that might take us!
Geo: Martini-ville is always a good place to head for Gordon, lots of Muses hang out there. (Thank You)
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs or to see some that you may have missed, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.