NIGHT OF THE LIVING NED 2: TRIBUTE TO HANDSOME NED with JIM MASYK , STEVE LECKIE , MARY MARGaRET O'HARA , STEVE KOCH , JOHN BORRA , CLEAVE ANDERSON , JOHNNY MacLEOD , SCREAMIN' SAM , LORI YATES , TONY KENNY , TEDDY FURY , SCOTT B and guests, at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Saturday (June 16). $10. www.myspace.com/handsomened881. Rating: NNNNN
This week the late, great hand some Ned Masyk, who brought the twang to the Queen West music scene in the early 80s, would've been 50 years old.
To mark the occasion, his guitar-playing brother, Jim Masyk of the Sidewinders, has rounded up a stellar cast of local luminaries to pay tribute to Handsome Ned's incandescent spirit with Night Of The Living Ned 2 at the Horseshoe Saturday night.
The artists are slated to perform two songs apiece, and special guests yet to be confirmed may include some Royal Conservatory fellows who used to open shows for Handsome Ned.
Admittedly, it's taken a few years to arrange a follow-up to the original fundraising tribute concert, but with interest in all things Handsome Ned on the rise, the timing seems right.
"The idea of staging a second Night Of The Living Ned fundraiser," explains Masyk from his Toronto home, "initially came about last November when Steve Leckie started talking to Herb Tookey about putting up a Handsome Ned memorial plaque at the Cameron House, which was Ned's home base.
"They initially thought of doing a gig on January 10, the 20th anniversary of Ned's passing, but December came and went and I didn't hear any more from them. Herb and Steve are much better promoters than they are implementors."
So Ned supporters and fans had a small party at the Cameron on January 10 anyway. CKLN DJ David James, who runs Handsome Ned's MySpace page, suggested that putting on a 50th-birthday celebration at the Horseshoe in June would be a more positive way to honour his memory.
"Then we found out there was interest in putting on similar tribute events at Chateau Lafayette in Ottawa and Bar Nine in New York on the same day. It's amazing how the interest in Handsome Ned has not only been sustained but has continued to build in the 20 years since he died.
"Because new technology has changed the way people access music, it's now possible for an artist like Handsome Ned, who never had an album released during his lifetime, to become known around the world. Musicians playing the concert in New York City are covering songs they've heard on the MySpace page!"
But Night Of The Living Ned 2 is not only a 50th birthday salute. It's also a release party. The long-out-of-print double-disc Handsome Ned anthology The Name Is Ned (EMI) is being reissued, and a new limited-run Handsome Ned caricature T-shirt will be available at the hoedown. Between sets, filmmakers Ross Edmunds and Chris Terry - who created the 1985 documentary The Ballad Of Handsome Ned - will be screening a four-minute trailer for the expanded version of their film, which began as an OCA project.
"After completing The Ballad Of Handsome Ned, Ross and Chris did a lot more filming of Ned around town, walking down Queen Street, doing his Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor Show at CKLN, running into Keith Whittaker of the Demics outside the Horseshoe, playing host onstage at the Cameron and hanging out in various dressing rooms - lots of stuff that no one has ever seen.
"For years they had all this extra 16mm footage in the can that they couldn't afford to do anything with. But technology has now progressed to where they could transfer everything to digital and do their own editing. They've also been adding interview segments and other footage to make it into a feature-length film.
"We're looking to hit the festival circuit with it in 2008."
Additional Audio Interview Clips
How the legend of Handsome Ned continues to grow
For Handsome Ned's brother Jim Masyk, there was a particularily poignant moment in the new documentary currently in the works