From his work with The Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and a fruitful solo career, Randy Bachman is the quintessential Canadian songwriter. With more than 120 Gold and Platinum album and single awards to his credit, he has had number one radio singles in more than 20 countries worldwide en route to selling more than 40 million records.
While many aspiring songwriters hope to have one song that people will remember them by, Bachman has a jaw-dropping amount of hits to his name: “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Share The Land,” “Laughing” and “Let It Ride” are just a small sample of the legendary songs that Bachman has penned or helped to write.
What will be seen as one of Bachman’s greatest accomplishments by many a Gen X’er would be his appearance as himself in a 2000 episode of The Simpsons television show.
The accomplishments don’t stop there, either.
After CBC host Danny Finkleman put aside his microphone for good in 2005, Bachman more than capably stepped in to fill his shoes with a show called Vinyl Tap. On air every Saturday evening, Bachman’s radio show boasts music from the classic rock, jazz and pop worlds.
As a nod to both his history as a performer as well as to his radio show, Bachman brings his Vinyl Tap Tour to Casino New Brunswick on Thursday evening.
“The live show is very similar to the Vinyl Tap radio show,” Bachman tells the Times & Transcript. “I go into detail behind my own songs, how the Guess Who got their name and how Bachman-Turner Overdrive got their name.”
Randy says that the show is an immersing interactive experience. He says that as he is telling the stories behind any given song, video screens will display pictures from the era from which the story resides.
“As I tell the stories, the audience gets to see pictures of the bands, our clothing, haircuts, everything. It is a very neat trip down memory lane, the stories behind my songs and the soundtrack to my life.”
And of course, the audience will get to hear Bachman and his band play some of his classic tunes.
Together with his backing band of Brent Howard, Marc LaFrance and Mick Dalla-Vee, Bachman shares that the group plays upwards of 150 shows per year. When you combine that with travel days as well as needing to track episodes of Vinyl Tap, you have got one busy man.
Initially, Bachman says that his radio show came to life after a casual conversation with the crew of Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café. That same crew happened to work with Bachman’s CBC predecessor, Danny Finkleman on his show Finkleman’s 45’s. He expressed his interest in doing a radio show and before he knew it, Bachman was asked to cut 10 week’s worth of shows to help fill in the summer.
Perhaps not surprising given his track record, Bachman’s show became a hit and he was asked to host the show on a year-round basis.
“I never imagined I would find a full-time job this late in life,” he jokes. “And at that, I never thought I would be a DJ but the fact is, I loved listening to radio guys all of my life. They were always the conduit when I wrote a new song.
“It goes back to me growing up in Winnipeg. Every evening, we would have supper, get a bath and then listen to the radio until it was time for bed. It was like it created the theatre of the mind. Because of my radio show, I get letters from kids who listen to the show with their parents or their grandparents. That is the great thing about the live show — there is no specific age demographic. You’ve got 20-year-old, 40-year-old and 60-year-olds in the audience but you’ve also got 10- and 12-year-olds there with their parents or grandparents, all singing the songs.”
Randy takes great pride in building that connection with the audience both in the live setting as well as through his radio show. He makes a habit of responding to some emails during the course of his radio show. Naturally, this is a real change of pace from the past where if fans wanted to hob nob with their favourite musicians, they would have to write to their fan club.
Asked if he enjoys the immediacy of all that comes with the Internet, Bachman admits feeling slightly conflicted on the matter.
“You certainly have to be careful,” he laughs. “There was an era in the past when all show goers would be searched for cameras before they would be allowed in but with cell phones and technology being what it is, everyone seemingly has a camera on them now.
“Fans will often review the shows and 90 per cent of the time, they are favourable. Often, the biggest complaint is that they didn’t hear a song that they were hoping to.”
Article published in the March 13, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript