The Reality of Donald Trump

Friday, April 15, 2011

Winnstock Battle of the Bands

story by Norm Richards

As good a reason as any to raise money for charity I say, have a battle of the bands event. Sure, and why not? I much enjoyed my evening and the company I kept. The financial people of Winnipeg get together every year to do this. They throw together a desperate number of people together from the financial trade to be in the bands. They're given maybe a month at best to rehearse. They show up and maybe some magic happens. Sure enough. We were entertained by four groups.

The first group was called The Bailouts, the others were Prime + 1, The Bottom Line and The Wall Street. Good thing I wasn't a judge. That was left to Brad Oswald of the Winnipeg Free Press, Tracy Koga from Shaw TV and Howard Mandshein from 92 CITI-FM. I had friends in the third band up to perform. I might have chosen them. They had a couple of ringers in their lineup.

Kathy Kennedy is a well know Winnipeg blues rock singer and Ron Siwicki is often seen as her guitar accompaniment. They're good and worthy of praise any day of the week. But the evening went to The Wall Street, with a remake of The Wall by Pink Floyd. Norm Goodman lead the band with ripping lead guitar parts not far off from what David Gilmore of Pink Floyd would do. I was a little surprised. I'm used to seeing Goodman taking the bus home everyday from his accounting job. He's the guy with The Beatles' haircut but tonight he's trimmed to look like Gilmore more than Ringo. The acts were festooned with daily players in the financial investment community and not full time rock musicians. So, I give them praise for pulling it off. Great fun was had by all, especially those who ended up winning the fund raising prizes at the end. My tickets lay abandoned on the table as I write this.

I was graced by the fine company of Nygard executive Gordon Stein and his wife Denise. Gordon is a seven year member of the board of tonight's charity Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association Inc. tonight helped raise $63,000 to assist disabled people enjoy life while attending horse riding events throughout the year. Denise shared many stories with me about those experiences and some of her own. One was when Princess Ann came to Winnipeg during the Pan Am Games and her and Gordon were boarding some of the horses in competition at Meadow Green Riding Academy when they owned it. Princess Ann visited and greeted participants at the Academy. My evening at this event was full and uplifting. I felt better being there rather then remaining home practising drums for my own next event.    

Monday, April 11, 2011

Music and it's influence on me.

Story by Norm Richards
I grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba a world away from everywhere. Few things brought us closer to the rest of the world or with any impact than music. Radio, newspapers and early television simply reminded us of our distance away.

But at the same time, family had it in them. I remember our patriarch play his fiddle and tap his feet to the best time I'd ever seen. I was six when he passed on but I still remember him like it was yesterday. The day dad brought home a piano for mom was a day of glory in our house. I was fascinated to see a blind man spend two days tuning and refurbishing it. Before he left mom asked him to play for us. He was smooth and elegant as he struck the keys to famous classic waltzes. His music was written in braille. he showed me how he read it by running his fingers over it.  

Mom took to that piano like there was nothing else in the world. Dad loved to dance I discovered. Years later, mom would put on a record and my parents would dance as if to show my sister and I they could. We loved it. These were the days performance became familiar for me. 
Things were so musical at home. Odd, but dad knew how to play his comb by making a homemade mouth organ out of it. He played the jew's harp and real mouth organ too. He knew how to jig and keep a beat over his legs as well but in my lifetime the skill had nearly passed him by since he was older by the time I came along. Love has no age and I loved my folks making music. My first drum was a tin tv table where I placed a table fork on one end and I could strike the other end to get a snare drum sound. I accompanied mom playing her favourite tunes. Mom told me her family played for others for over thirty six years.  

My sister and her pals played records at home. I heard Little Richard, Fats Domino and Elvis for the first time on records. The beginning of rock and roll was being heard even in our northern town. My sister got dressed up and went to dances and met boys. Mom took me to the local theater and it's here I first saw Elvis. His first movies weren't much for his rock and roll leadership. But when JAILHOUSE ROCK hit the theaters I was sold. Meanwhile I went to school and didn't quite excel. Going to Catholic school is another story. But suffice to say if rock and roll music was a corruptive force on the youth then my soul was committed.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Add Ons!

I picked up a new floor stand tom mount this week. The thing that I'm noticing is you can include different parts for adjustments to the playing space. Modern drummers seem to enjoy the flexibility from what I can see. You'll note in the opposite photos the two cymbal stands are locked in the straight up position. The boom mounts can't be utilized.

I started checking out other player setups. Wow, what variety. Putting this stand into my setup made me realize I can add another tom. Now I need to decide what size to order. Two up, two down is a good basic setup and a couple good cymbals plus the hats makes good music I know but it's wonderful to have more to call on.

I like a solid crash for big accents and the medium thin crash to call on often. My ride is a ping but I've been testing bigger rides again and I might switch back. I used to own a twenty two inch medium ride back in the day and a twenty two sizzle crash on the other side. The rivets got annoying after awhile and I wanted change. I removed a few at first but that wasn't enough. The sound went flat. I needed better.

My buddies were getting antsy about their sound as well. (doing radio seven hundred miles north) We jumped in my car and drove all night listening to hot album rock on the way. On arrival in the city we satisfied our craving for change and improvements in sound. Now, I live in the city so it's easier to drop into the music shop and buy what I want.