June 17th @ Free Times Café

Photos and video clips from the latest live performance!

Email from Jonathan Rudin:

I get the sense that it’s tough to be an aging rock star. They face challenges that many of us do not have to worry about. I pause here to note that the term “aging rock star” can be applied to any popular musician who is older than you are and also to any musician younger than you but who has gone through enough drug rehab and/or plastic surgery etc. that that makes them look not only older than you but pretty much anyone on the planet.

Aging rock stars are besieged by folks wishing to throw vast amounts of money at them to use their music to peddle things. So for example, theme music for TV (Hello Who) or ads for cars (Welcome Led Zeppelin). One might wonder why folks who are already really rich need to sell their wares to get even richer but hey, that’s yet another thing we mortals just don’t understand.

On some occasions, aging rock stars are asked to do even more. For example, Alice Cooper recently did an ad for back to school supplies at Staples. Let me describe it to you (and you can see it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqI4xfsdv7Y). It starts with Alice, in full make-up, walking though a Staples store pushing a shopping cart with a nine or ten year old girl in tow. In the background you hear a Muzak version of the band’s classic tune “School’s Out” (which is a nice touch). The girl then pouts and says to Alice “I thought you said school’s out forever” and Alice looks at her and says “No, the song said school’s out for summer” and then pushes the cart on.

It’s a clever little piece and there is nothing wrong with people poking fun at their on-stage persona – so way to go Alice. There is however, one very troubling part of the ad and many of you will have picked this up already. In this case, the girl is right – the song does say “School’s our forever” (it also says “School’s been blown to pieces”).

There are at least three possible conclusions we can draw from this, all of them disturbing – and not mutually exclusive. First, Alice Cooper is so senile that he can no longer remember the words to his own songs. Second, it’s OK to lie to children (the exact nature of Alice’s relationship with the little girl is unclear but since he’s 64 let’s just assume that she’s his granddaughter) but if the first point is also correct then who would let him take a child around unaccompanied – unless her job is to help him find his way home. Third, as an aging rock star, Alice Copper is not only willing to sell his songs for money but he’s prepared to allow his lyrics to be twisted in all manner for a few bucks.

It is this last possibility that really concerns me. The members of Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room – the band I am proud to be a member of – have long pondered this issue (not that we’re aging or rock stars mind you). At our weekly political gatherings (attendance is mandatory) where we have discussed such matters as Canada’s proposed free trade deal with Colombia and the rise of neo-fascist groups in Europe, we have spent hours discussing how we can avoid falling into the trap of having our music co-opted by large media conglomerates.

Watch sample clips from the live performance:

Our solution – let’s just give it away – and by ‘it’ here I am referring to our music, not our material possessions which we will be keeping. And we will be giving it away next on Sunday, June 17 at the aptly named Free Times Café at College and Major. No cover of course and reasonably priced food and drink – it’s not our place so we can’t give that way either. The show starts at 8 – hope you can make it. And remember, in a few days – school’s out for …


June 17th Set List
Set #1 Set #2
Pipe Set
I Wish I Was Your Mother
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet
Invitation to the Blues
It’s Impossible
Oh Sister
Ashokan Farewell
I Am Weary
Unchain My Heart
White Bird
Down In Belize
That’ll Be The Day
Volcanic Jig
Wild Thing
Black Orpheus
New Speedway Boogie
Right Down The Line
Across The Border
The Wanderer
Andrew McNeil
Hungry Heart
Wichita Lineman
Leaving It All Up To You
Evite Gabriel
Saskatchewan Sky
I Wanna