Tag Archives: Willie P. Bennett

Ep. #248: Ray Robertson

Ray Robertson is a noted author and novelist based in Toronto. Originally from Chatham, Ontario, Robertson has written 10 acclaimed books, including his engaging and excellent new collection of biographical music essays, Lives of the Poets (With Guitars) – Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Modern Music, which is out now via Biblioasis. During a chat in his living room, Roberston and I discuss the drunken debauchery of a book tour, reading in Chatham, away is better than home, going to school in Toronto and Texas, picking up an American drawl, studying philosophy, discovering great writers, his wife and renowned visual artist Mara Korkola, mistrusting the Canadian literature industry’s star system and presentation of this country’s literary landscape, Dan Wells and Biblioasis, knowing sentences and craftsmanship as a writer, his book Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, all the Nicks, what obscurity does for an artist and their fan(s), the bitterness and insecurity within Ramones, his book Moody Food based somewhat on the life of Gram Parsons, resentful of success, Jerry Garcia’s guitar and the Grateful Dead, being first, Al Tuck, romanticizing illness and struggle, how we know the world and artists via their work, why he wanted to write The Lives of Poets (With Guitars), the personalized aspects of his writing here, political correctness and prejudice, Alan Wilson and Canned Heat, formative periods and passion, U2, how it’s hard to be cool, false inclusivity, nice turns of phrase, going through the book, Gene Clark of the Byrds, Ronnie Lane of the Small Faces, RAMONES, Dee Dee and Jackson Browne, “Danny Says,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Townes Van Zandt, Little Richard, Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, Willie P. Bennett, Gram Parsons, Hound Dog Taylor, Paul Siebel, Willis Alan Ramsey, John Hartford, things to do before we die, his new novel 1979, and that closed the book.

Related links: rayrobertson.com biblioasis.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #129: Scott Merritt

Scott Merritt is a very talented songwriter, musician, singer, and producer who lives in Guelph, Ontario. He has been creating and occasionally releasing inventive pop music for close to 35 years and has collaborated with people like Daniel Lanois, Adrian Belew, Willie P. Bennett, and Fred Eaglesmith among others. He also keeps himself busy on other people’s projects in his studio, the Cottage, which might be one reason why he hasn’t released a new album since 2002’s stunning The Detour Home. On Thursday September 11, Scott headlines an Eden Mills Writers’ Festival event dubbed ‘Taste and Transmission’ at the Ebar in Guelph. On his back deck a couple of days ago, Scott and I talked about the Cottage, leaving Brantford for Guelph for his son/my friend John, the Barmitzvah Brothers, ages and grades, John’s Cafe at the top of the stairs, imaginary worlds, banning kids’ music in favour of the music you actually like, Van Morrison, the Beatles, Dean Martin, Ramones, my parents put me in tennis lessons, pie plates and elastic bands, his first musical mentor Stanley, “Foxy Lady” and “Manic Depression” by Jimi Hendrix, fantastical and observational lyrics, strange sounds, if you can say what it is, don’t do it, fussy exploration, my obsession with Wayne Gretzky’s Brantford and sprinklers at the Woolco, Alexander Graham Bell, the manufacturing sector of the 1970s and 1980s, seeing Rush, Max Webster, and Breathless play at his high school, Spalding might’ve made basketballs in Brantford, giving music a try instead of going to school, parental guidance, playing better, garage bands and blood donor clinics, Max Rat, Leo Kottke, the record store in the mall, Bitter Grounds in Kingston and other coffee houses for songwriters, pay or play in Hamilton and a life-changing night, making Desperate Cosmetics, Duke Street Records, labels and DIY hardship, I.R.S. Records and Miles Copeland, making Violet and Black, making Gravity is Mutual with Roma Baran, Adrian Belew’s chaos management in the studio, Scott’s first new album since 2002, which he finished just last Friday, the new song “Everwill” and the idea of a parade that has no beginning or end, and then this podcast with a beginning also has its end.

Related links: maplemusic.com/artists/sco/default.asp edenmillswritersfestival.ca vishkhanna.com

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