Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dan the man

Here's a profile of beyond-notorious Toronto booker Dan Burke that ran in Sunday's Star. I encountered Burke a few times back in my band days, and especially during the period when I pretended to play trombone for The Deadly Snakes. (Photo at right.) I was always a little half-assed about playing music and rarely did any organizing and such, so I never had many direct dealings with the guy.

However: anecdote time – gather 'round kids! Years ago, a friend roped me into playing drums as part of a made-up opening act for André Williams at the El Mo. He and I and a guy named Chris Isom, who played amazing blues guitar and whose father, I think, was Larry King and David Letterman's heart surgeon – not sure how that's relevant, but there it is – worked out a set list in the cab on the way over. Burke was not impressed by the fact that we needed to borrow equipment (especially, um, drums), and went on and on about "fucking amateurs" and the like. For whatever reason, we were actually pretty good – sort of a knock-off Flat Duo Jets, or proto-White Stripes, if you will – and Dan loved us, going so far as to come and sit on the front of the stage to watch. He tried to book us in for more shows, but Isom was moving back to New York, and I thought we would never pull it off so well again, so why bother?

End of story. My life is a series of near-misses and shrugged-0ff chances. (Hence the kind of fiction I write.) Now scoot – grampa needs a nap.

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