Episode 10: After his short nap Rick poured himself a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. He took a quick shower, packed his duffle bag and got into his old Ford. In less than twenty minutes he arrived at The St. Vital Arena. As soon as … Continue reading Eps. 10 Winter Dreams a Disastrously Bad Experiment
Winnipeg’s Local Rock Scene in the 1960s
Back in the 1960s the highlight of my week was going to the River Heights Community Club or Champlain Community Club. This was where was when I was 18 years old. We were very fortunate in that there were many good local rock bands that would perform at various community club centres on a Saturday evening. Mostly these bands played cover versions of the latest hit singles on the radio. Some of the famous rock bands of that time were the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beatles, the Animals, Paul Revere and the Raiders and several others that I cannot recall at this time.
Most of the local groups both covered the songs of these world-famous bands and might play one of their own locally recorded original singles. The band, Next, for example had a hit record with their version of Tobacco Road. The Guess Who would often perform their own recent singles including songs like His Girl and Flying on the Ground is Wrong. Some of the local bands that I remember following were the Guess Who, the Cordells, Next, the Fifth, Chopping Block, the Next Amendment. The Pallbearers and several more that I can’t remember offhand.
Eps. 9 of Winter Dreams The Party and the Coach Episode 9: “Not that many people know that I read a lot. As I just found out you and I have very similar interests. Look, Rick I really want to get to know you a … Continue reading Eps. 9 of Winter Dreams The Party and the Coach
The band had two vehicles to load up their equipment. Chevy Kurtain, of course, had a Chevy van from which his name was derived. Peyton Ramparts had borrowed his dad’s white Ford Galaxie. Rick helped load most of the group’s gear into the van. The remainder of the musical equipment was loaded into the back seat and trunk of the white Ford Galaxie.
Rick rode shotgun along with Peyton.
“Wow, I had no idea you could play guitar like that,” Rick said. “Your band really put the crowd over tonight.”
“Thanks man. I was getting good vibes from the audience too,” Peyton said. “It always feels good when you feel rewarded for your work. I mean Winter Dreams has been practising two to three times a week for the last three months. Our sound is really coming together. We’re hoping to record a record soon as soon as I finish writing some original material for the band. Vance and I usually team up to write the songs. The stuff we’ve come up with already sounds pretty good.”
“How are you going to get your music recorded?” Peyton asked.
“Chevy’s dad works at CKRC radio station. He has made some good connections with the deejays. One of them said he would see if we could do some recording at the radio station.”
The boys noticed that it had started snowing heavily and that the wind had really picked up.
“I was listening to the radio at home and the forecast warned of a possible blizzard this weekend,” Rick said.
“It’s starting to look like the station’s weather predictions were right,” Peyton said. “I’m just glad that the bad weather held off until after our gig.”
Peyton had the windshield wipers going at their fastest speed, but his visibility was still poor. Rick enjoyed the winter season, even the snowstorms. He liked shovelling snow at his house. Rick loved to watch the snow pouring down under the amber glow of the street lamps.
Within ten minutes Peyton’s car and Chevy’s van made it to Peyton’s place. Rick helped Peyton unload his car. He noticed that it was presently very cold with the added wind chill. His fingers were starting to freeze. The band had to be very careful unloading their gear as the ground underneath them was now quite slick. Ice patches were covered by the new snowfall and it was impossible to predict where the slippery spots were.
As the boys finished loading the last of their equipment into Peyton’s house, a red Buick parked in front of the house and several people started getting out of the large car. Among the passengers Rick could see his neighbor, Misty.
When Rick and the band arrived at Peyton’s place they headed down to his parent’s finished rec room. They were greeted at the door by Peyton’s parents, Stan and Ruth Ramparts. Peyton’s parents were very cool people. They got married at a very young age and both smoked marijuana. Stan and Ruth were very proud of their son and were very supportive of his musical aspirations. They were unlike most parents, as they listened when young people talked to them. They were a happy that Peyton’s group and his friends liked to practise and hang out at their place. They reasoned that this way they knew what Peyton was up to most of the time.
Every successful band has fans, groupies and hangers- on and Winter Dreams were no exception. Young people felt that they were hipper and higher up on the social scale if they were considered to be intimates of a well- known popular band.
Misty arrived with a carload of the privileged Winter Dreams insiders. To Misty, being cool was everything and she always needed to be where the action was.
Both beer and weed were in abundance at this after gig party. These post concert get gatherings somewhat resembled the press conferences that professional athletes would have after they played a game. Many of the group’s friends and followers would comment on the highlights of the bands performance and would ask questions about song choices.
Misty sat cross legged on a beige colored carpet and turned her head to look at Rick who appeared to be very relaxed sitting on a burgundy sofa.
She was very surprised to see Rick but thought about her last contact with him. About a month ago she was taking the bus home when she spotted Rick seated about halfway down the length of the bus. Misty asked Rick if she could sit in the open seat beside him. Rick was also surprised to run into Misty and felt rather honored that she wanted to sit beside him. She felt bad for both Rick and her sister, Sasha when they broke up, but she had to admit to herself that she found Rick to be very attractive. Rick and Misty had a friendly, lively conversation during their bus ride home.
Vance Chessler stepped up to his mic stand and said, “Thank you so much people. We’ve had a blast playing for you guys tonight and we only have time for one more song. What do you people want to hear?”
An attractive big breasted blonde wearing a blue and white striped tee-shirt and skin-tight jeans yelled out, “Play ‘Gloria.’
“Ah, an oldie but a goodie. A wise choice my sweet young thing,” said Vance. “’Gloria’ it shall be and because you guys have been so good to Winter Dreams tonight, Peyton’s going to play a fantastic guitar solo that will be included in the middle this song.”
When the band finished playing ‘Gloria’, the small but crowded and sweaty audience began clapping their hands, whistling, stomping their feet and screaming, “More! More!” Vance looked exhausted, but he turned around to the band to check if they could do one more song. They nodded their consent.
“You are too kind, but if it is okay with the custodian, we’ll do one more song.” Vance looked at Jack, the heavy set custodian who yelled, “Go ahead guys. Five minutes longer isn’t going to kill me.”
Vance said, “You know guys, around 1965-66, there was a show band that we really loved called Paul Revere and the Raiders. We’d like to do their first big hit, ‘Louie, Louie.”
With that, Peyton hit the first three chords to start the band off. Even though the hour was growing late the kids took to the dance floor with wild abandon, each doing their own thing while perspiring profusely. A line of boys stood up a few feet from the band wishing that they were one of the guys performing on stage.
When the song was over Peyton picked up a towel to dry off his perspiration and walked towards Rick,
“Well, what did you think of my band?”
“You guys are fantastic,” Rick said.
“Thanks. I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. What if you help Jack with sweeping and carrying the trash outside? After the band is finished packing up our gear we’ll all go over to my place and have a few beers.”
“You’ve got yourself a deal. Thanks a lot, man.”
Episode 5: After his family had finished supper Rick told them about his plans for the evening. “I met two very interesting people today, a couple named Peyton and Sabrina. Peyton plays guitar in a local rock band and I was invited to see them … Continue reading Episode Five of Winter Dreams by Ken David Stewart
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Episode 2: After his last class of the afternoon was over Rick headed home. It was about a three block walk from Maplewood Collegiate to his home. There was a light snowfall. While the snowflakes landed on the branches of the trees Rick revelled in … Continue reading Winter Dreams a Novel by Ken David Stewart Eps. 2-4
Alice Cooper Episode Two of Ken’s Rock Music Blog
I will most likely be writing several blog posts on the life and work of Alice Cooper. There is so much that can be said about Alice Cooper, real name Vincent Fournier, the son of a Baptist preacher. I will start somewhere in the middle of Alice’s musical and theatrical career. During his time with the original band, Alice was a serious alcoholic. What he fully realized that if he did not get help, he would be very likely to die of the disease of alcoholism. I believe that Alice checked himself into at mental health/substance abuse program. To make a long story short, he was able to achieve the state of sobriety.
There was an unintended. secondary benefit for Alice in that by getting to know his fellow clients, he found they provided him with an abundance of new material for his upcoming album titled From the Inside. His friends at the rehab facility provided him with lots of interesting life stories that he could incorporate into original new songs.
Winter Dreams (the Continuing Adventures of Rick Miller)
A Sequel to Summer Dreams
Rick Miller was sitting alone in a booth at The Red Top Restaurant. The year was 1969 and it was a cold, windy December morning in the Canadian prairies. He had just arrived as his geography class at Maplewood Collegiate ended. It only took him a few minutes to walk across the street from the high school to the restaurant. He lit up a Rothmans cigarette and began to daydream about Sasha, his former summer love. He had to admit that he missed her now that all was said and done, but he was beginning a new chapter of his life. Shirley, the waitress approached his booth.
“What will it be today Rick, the usual?”
“Yep, my favorite. Hot chocolate,” Rick answered with a smile.
Rick figured that Shirley was in her mid-forties. She had gained a bit of weight over the years, but was still relatively attractive for someone her age. Rick noticed that Shirley had a short pinky finger on her right hand. The finger must have been amputated, but Rick didn’t allow his curiosity over-ride his impeccable good manners. He had never asked Shirley about what happened to her finger.
Rick’s high school was just across the street from The Red Top. Just as Shirley brought Rick his hot chocolate someone walked in the door of the restaurant. The new customer was a very thin young man roughly Rick’s age. He had long, dirty, unkempt strawberry blond hair. He stopped in front of Rick’s booth and asked if he could join him. Rick was a little surprised as had never seen this fellow before, but he motioned for him to sit down.
“Thanks for letting me join you, man. My name is Peyton Ramparts. I have a spare this period and felt like I needed a cup of java. I was up until two in the morning last night. My band had a really bitchin’ good practise.”
Peyton wore a long black coat with gold striping on the side. It looked like he could have stolen it from Jimi Hendrix.
“What’s your band’s name?” Rick asked.
“Winter Dreams,” Peyton answered. “Hey man can I bum a smoke off you?”
“Yeah, no problem. I hope you like Rothmans. I smoke whatever brand my dad is smoking at the time.”
Peyton started to laugh as he pulled out a cigarette from Rick’s pack.
“How did you come up with the name Winter Dreams for your band?”
“I can’t remember for sure. A guy from my band came up with it during a break from practise. We were all passing around a joint at the time while looking out the living room window. All I remember is watching a heavy snowfall. Then Pick said, “This is sort of like a winter dream and Chevy said that it sounded like a great name for our band.”
Rick was just about ready to ask Peyton another question when both boys felt a sudden rush of cold air breeze through the restaurant. They both looked towards the door and saw a young attractive female come through the door.
“Sorry I’m late, Peyton. I had to ask Mr. Pierce for an extension on my research paper for history class. Who’s your friend?” the girl asked.
“I don’t know his name yet. We just met a few minutes ago. Peyton reached across the table to shake Rick’s hand. “Sorry I should have introduced myself first. I’m Peyton Ramparts.”
“And I’m Rick Miller.”
“Let me introduce you to my girlfriend, Sabrina Davis,” Peyton said as Sabrina slid right next to him on the booth.
“I think I’ve seen you at school Rick. You’re in grade twelve aren’t you? I hear people talking about you in the halls all the time. You’re the Cougars star goalie,” Sabrina said brushing some snow off her navy-blue coat.
“I don’t know if I’m a star, but I try to play my best for the team,” Rick responded with true humility.
Peyton was already starting to feel comfortable with Rick. He felt that he could trust Rick and be real with him. Rick was sensing the same thing about Peyton. They both had the feeling that they could be honest with one another.
“So how did your meeting with Mr. Pierce go? Is he going to give you an extension on your homework assignment?”
“Yeah, no problem. I told him about my grandmother moving into our house and that she needed me to do things for her. I told Mr. Pierce that my extra duties were causing me to get behind in my studies.”
“What did he say about that?” Rick asked as he put his cup of hot chocolate back on the table. He was starting to feel right at home with Peyton and Sabrina.
“Oh, he said that he understood and would give me an extra week to work on my paper. He said that there was a time in his life when his mother was very ill and he needed to help her out a lot. Of course, it also helps that I’m very cute. All the girls in my class have noticed the way that Mr. Pierce looks at us. He definitely has a thing going for young high school chicks,” Sabrina answered with a chuckle.
“You sure know how to play him,” Peyton said with a bit of admiration. He always felt that Sabrina was smarter than him. She certainly got much better grades in school than he did. Peyton had very little interest in school. He attended the minimum of his required courses basically to keep his parents off his case and to be with Sabrina.
“Rick, do you know that Peyton is in a band. He plays lead guitar as well as writing some original material for the band. His group is called Winter Dreams and one day they are going to make it big. Record a single and an album. The whole nine yards,” Sabrina said proudly.
“We’re not as great as Sabrina says, but we’re not bad for a group that’s only been together for six months. We’re playing a gig tonight at Maplewood Community Center. Why don’t you drop by and check us out, Rick?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s been a blast meeting you guys, but I have to get back to the school for my American history class.” Rick said as he put on his white down filled parka and got ready for a biting rush of cold winter air.