Gene the machine
It was announced last week that KISS frontman Gene Simmons will be the keynote speaker at this year's CMW, which seems a bit odd for a festival oriented more around indie pop than 70s stadium rock.
Then again, Simmons has recently relaunched Simmons Records with the help of former Conservative/Liberal MP Belinda Stronach (has she now moved on from hockey players to rock stars?) and Universal Music Canada, and is looking for Canadian rock bands to sign. Maybe he's hoping CMW will make his A&R job easier?
Bands that aren't particularly interested in being part of Simmons Records' unimpressive history (remember Gypsy Rose? How about BAG? Us neither) might still want to hear what he has to say, since few others in the industry have managed to make so much money off things only peripherally related to making music. Since making a living selling CDs seems like a distant memory to most musicians, maybe it is time to look into selling indie rock action figures, board games, condoms, Visa cards, lunch boxes, coffins, etc.
Healey sweeps at Maple Blues gala
Late guitar great Jeff Healey won big at the 12th Annual Maple Blues Awards held Monday night, January 19, at the Phoenix.
Prevailing in each of the seven categories for which he or his bandmates were nominated, Healey got the nod for best entertainer, electric artist, recording and guitarist of the year, while his sidemen - pianist Dave Murphy, drummer Al Webster and bassist Alec Fraser - also took home hardware.
Other notable winners were Harry Manx in the acoustic category, Susie Vinnick for female vocalist and Taj Mahal for international artist, while barrelhouse piano pounder Julian Fauth and perennial faves Downchild, up for four awards apiece, were completely shut out. For a complete list of winners, see torontobluessociety.com.