I remember back in my early Lefty McRighty days (back when I could still draw a crowd... *le sigh*), some weird guy approached me after the show. Bald as all hell up top, big plastic glasses, and way too much energy for someone over 40. I think I thought this is what a hipster was at the time.
"Hey Lefty, I've seen your band a bunch of times, I think you guys are really great. You're the real deal."
"Hey thanks, I appreciate it" (this was my canned response to all my fans. Now it's "Cool, wanna be friends? Please?")
"I want to do a tribute concert* for my favourite band of all time, Jr. Gone Wild. You heard of 'em?"
"No, can't say I have."
"You'd love 'em. Seminal Canadian alt-country. Anyway I want you guys to play at the show, I think it'll be amazing."
At this point I'm thinking Oh great, this nutjob is going to ask me to play in his garage** for him and his 4 friends. But then he says the magical words:
"Oh and I host a country music radio show on CKCU."
The first words out of my mouth were almost "I will do anything and everything possible to promote my band, I worship you now" - I'd never met anyone from the amazingly cool local college radio station. For some reason I mistakenly believed that this was a world I couldn't access.
Instead I played it cool: "Oh neat, I'd love to take part, sounds fun. What's your name?"
And so it began. Since then I've come to know Dick Altavista and his show Both Kinds of Music intimately. I've spent many hours hanging out at the studio promoting this or that.
|Me and Dick, promoting my latest turd, Nashville Roadkille|
When I first approached Dick about helping promote the first ever O-Town Hoedown, he replied "Sure, love it, let's devote an entire 2-hour show to it." I was blown away. Since then it's become an annual tradition to take over Both Kinds to promote the Hoedown, and whenever I've needed airtime to promote one of my band's shows, Dick has given me open invite to drop by anytime to say what I have to say.
I don't know if I've ever seen a man more excited about the very prospect of music just existing. I feel like Dick Altavista will be listening to a record and he gets really excited by the fact that someone thought to write all this stuff down and set it to tape for the world to hear.
And I guarantee you've never seen a more fervent supporter of the local music scene than Dick Altavista. If you pick any random episode of Both Kinds of Music and read over the playlist, you'll find that at least half the songs on every show are from local artists. That's not even in the show description, it's not "the point" of the show. It's just Dick Altavista loving locals bands. Not to mention having a zillion guests on the show (local or otherwise). I thought I was special but take a look at the list of artists he's had come hang out on the show over the years:
Alice Kos, Bob Whitmore, Box Full Of Groundhogs, Brock Zeman, The Brothers Chaffey, Bryce Jardine, Catriona Sturton, Chris Cook, Chris Landry, Chris Page, Colin Wylie, Conor Mercury, Dan Deslauriers, Dang Guilty, Dave Norris & Local Ivan, David Hustler, The Dead Bees, Elvyn, Enjoy, Your Pumas, Eric Gilmore & The Mad Hatters, Ev Laroi, Fist City, The Flats, Gareth Auden-Hole, Greg Kelly, Huntley Slim & The Suburban Cowboys, The Jack Grace Band, James Leclaire, Jehan Khoorshed, Jon Laurie-Beaumont, Julie Element, The Jupiter Ray Project, Kara Askwith, Kenny Voita, Kris Millett, Ken Workman, Lefty McRighty, Luther Wright, Mark Kiely, Mark Ripp, Marvin Etzioni, Matt Gower, Meredith Luce, M. Mucci, Morgan Friend, Mystery Pill, Nathan Hunter, Nicolai Dangeroso, Ninety Lbs. of Ugly, No Fly List, No Kinds Of Love, Pamela Brennan, Patrick Shanks, Ray Harris, Riley Taylor, Rob Snasdell-Taylor, The Rough Sea, Samantha Mouchet, The Shakey Aches, Shawn Tavenier, Slo Tom, Steph Clementine, Steve Stacey, Still Winter Hills, Tindervox, The Train Jumpers, Trevor Alguire, Uncle Sean, Winchester Warm, The Woodrunners.I mean, geez.
With Dick making CKCU an open arms environment for me to come hang out at, I felt comfortable approaching the other DJs about helping promote my shows, and I got to know Matthew Crosier, the station manager. Over the years CKCU started to feel like home, and it was only natural that I start hosting a radio show there myself. I was welcomed with open arms and love every minute that I'm there hosting Friday Nite Truck Stop with my dad-in-law Ray Harris. Ultimately, without Dick's initial introduction, I don't know if I ever would have ended up as part of the CKCU family, so thanks for everything Dick, and congrats on 10 years on the air. Here's to 50 more.
Both Kinds of Music airs Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30 on CKCU 93.1 FM. Do yourself a favour and tune in.
*For some reason, the Jr. Gone Wild tribute show never happened. Hmmm...
**My favourite band that I was ever in, Ninety Pounds of Ugly, played their first show in Dick's garage for his annual neighbourhood block party Liquor Pig Fest. It was amazing.