THE LATER YEARS SCRAPBOOK
Honourary Doctor of Music Degrees
from Brandon University
2. Brandon U to honour Guess Who's Kale
3. Running Back To BU
4. Cummings Stands Tall After Getting Degree
5. New CD Traces Band's Roots
6. Why Not Chad Allan? ~ Commentary by Bill Hillman
Display of Guess Who Albums, Books and Collectibles
Brandon University Music Building
Memorabilia from the Bill & Sue-On Hillman Collection
degrees for Guess Who
Winnipeg Sun ~ Wednesday, April 4, 2001
WINNIPEG -- Dr. Cummings, I presume?
Yes, you will soon be able to address the members of The Guess Who as Doctor.
The band is slated to receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees at Brandon University's spring convocation ceremony on May 26.
"(They) are great musical ambassadors for our province and country," Dr. Glen Carruthers, dean of music at BU, said yesterday.
"Given the group's Manitoba origins, its international stature and the reputation of our own school of music, it is such a natural fit for Brandon University to bestow this honour on The Guess Who."
Band manager Lorne Saifer confirmed that the band would be in Brandon for the ceremony. "The group is enthusiastic about receiving these honorary degrees. The Guess Who's roots are in Manitoba and it is wonderful the group is being honoured in this way."
Jim Kale, a founding member of The Guess Who, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree at Brandon University's spring convocation.
He will appear alongside his original bandmates Bill Wallace and Don McDougall, who joined the band in the 1970s and still tour with the reunited group.
It was announced two weeks ago that The Guess Who would receive degrees May 26 in Brandon, but Kale's participation could not be confirmed until this week, Dr. Glen Carruthers, dean of the school of music at B.U. said yesterday.
"The last piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. The picture wouldn't be complete without him and we couldn't be more pleased that he'll join us at the convocation," Carruthers said.
Kale last performed with The Guess Who last May during a warmup gig for the band's Canadian tour at Crescentwood Community
He played with the original group from its inception until 1972.
RUNNING BACK TO BU
The Guess Who Receive Honourary Music Doctorates
By Diane Nelson ~ Sunday, May 27, 2001 ~ Brandon Sun ~ Brandon Manitoba
Dr. Bachman, I need that solo -- stat.
That's a line Burton Cummings - Dr. Burton Cummings -- or any other members of The Guess Who will be able to use from now on.
Members of Winnipeg's venerable rock band were presented with honourary music doctorates from Brandon University yesterday. And it was hard to tell who was more excited -- the attending audience, the academics on the stage or The Guess Who themselves.
The solemn and, to that point, mostly serious event was transformed when BU President Louis Visentin began the conferral proceedings with, "I was going to say Guess What!"
The capacity crowd at the Centennial Auditorium jumped to its collective feet, applauding wildly as the band members stood and a montage of hits from their recent live album filled the hall.
Flashbulbs popped, attendees clapped along with the tunes and an on-stage dignitary flicked on his cigarette lighter and began to wave it in the air. It took some time for the wild ovation to die down, and for the BU Music Dean Glen Carruthers to introduce the band.
"It is with great pride -- pride shared by all Manitobans," Carruthers said, "that I present you, guitarist Donnie McDougall, bassist Bill Wallace, drummer Garry Peterson, guitarist Randy Bachman, and singer/pianist Burton Cummings -- I've always wanted to say this -- ladies and gentlemen, from Winnipeg, Manitoba -- The Guess Who."
The five musicians, sporting red academic gowns, were then draped with their honourary pink and royal blue hoods and presented with velvet caps and framed certificates.
"Well, goodness gracious, this is quite a day, especially for me, because I only have a complete Grade 10 formal education," Cummings said in an impromptu address to the crowd.
"We were all born and raised just down the road in Winnipeg, and so all the firsts for us occurred on Manitoba soil. We got to see the world through the eyes of young Manitobans ... And I'm just very honoured and humbled to be here today, and I think I can say that for the rest of us.
"This is a wonderful honour."
Bachman, who also dropped out of school to become a musician, agreed. The renowned guitarist was reflective while receiving his doctorate, and said he tried to equate his experiences with those of the fresh-faced young graduates before him.
"I thought of the kids out there that did four and six years of rigorous things, and comparing it to our three decades in the car driving across the Prairies and trying to find parallels to that," said Bachman, who termed becoming a Doctor of Music "really neat" and "cool."
He has every intention of using the letters behind his name, he said, adding his kids have already begun calling him "Doc."
Bachman and Peterson were thrilled to discover their high school principal had travelled to Brandon from Winnipeg to see his former pupils receive their doctorates.
"Our high school principal came here today -- Garry Peterson and myself -- we were in Garden City Collegiate -- he's 80," Bachman said with a delighted grin. "And he said, 'It's a good thing you guys didn't follow my advice,' because he kept saying, 'You can't quit school -- you've got to stay in school.'
"'But if you had followed my advice you wouldn't be here today.' So he was joking about it. He was out there -- dead centre in the front row, white hair. And he taught physics. And the first day of school, I remember he wrote this thing on the board -- R-squared Bailey -- his initials were R.R.B. -- he wrote R-squared.
"And he came all the way here."
While Peterson said becoming a Doctor of Music was a thrill, he was ecstatic Bailey had made the effort to attend.
"That -- as well as this," Peterson said, indicating his diploma, "was worth the whole trip. Because when would I ever see him again? I wouldn't even know if he was alive."
"He said it was a big moment for him to see it," Bachman added.
Carruthers, who said former Guess Who member Jim Kale had received his honourary doctorate during the morning ceremonies for "logistical reasons," deemed the event "a very happy day for all concerned."
"The fact that the group was so cooperative made a huge difference, and I think they genuinely were very pleased to have been invited here," Carruthers said.
Graduate James Keary, who received his Master of Education degree Saturday, said it was "interesting" to share convocation with The Guess Who.
"It was kind of cool," Keary said. "I like their music -- my foot was tapping with all the nostalgia."
The band members did not attend the convocation banquet, but dined instead at Jerry's Bistro.
Following an upcoming induction into Canada's Walk of Fame, The Guess Who teams with Joe Cocker for a shared-bill tour of 50 U.S. cities.
COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Guess Who lead singer Burton Cummings gives the A-OK sign
after receiving an honourary doctorate in music from
Brandon University with bandmate Randy Bachman
yesterday afternoon during convocation ceremonies.
CUMMINGS STANDS TALL AFTER GETTING DEGREE
By Diane Nelson ~ Sunday, May 17, 2001 ~ Brandon Sun ~ Brandon, MB
You could almost imagine a younger Burton Cummings doing the same thing following a school assembly or end-of-year ceremony.
After receiving an Honourary Doctor of Music degree at Brandon University convocation yesterday afternoon, Dr. Cummings was outside the Centennial Auditorium's back door, having a smoke.
"I'm just about quit now -- just about," Cummings said, his speaking voice echoing the sultry, familiar tones of his famous singing sound. "I've smoked since I was 14 -- all my favourite singers were smokers. Even Elvis smoked, actually.
"Roy Orbison was the classic example. This guy sang like a bird, you know - this beautiful, high, clear voice -- I'm sitting around talking to him after a show (about 30 years ago) -- he's chain-smoking Marlboros! At that moment I said, 'OK -- it's an individual thing -- it's nothing to do with singing really."
His lengthy nicotine habit doesn't appear to have hampered his vocal renderings of hit after hit during last summer's Running Back Through Canada tour were as impressive as they ever were.
And the singer said his and his bandmates' ability to deliver what their fans expect was key to having the tour to go ahead.
"I'm one of the lucky ones -- I'm still hitting my notes," he said. "Otherwise, we would never have reunited if we thought it would be lame. But I think the difference with this is we all stayed in music. We sent our separate ways, but we didn't become truck drivers or doctors or dentists or whatever -- we all stayed in music, and that's what makes it valid."
Cummings, who eloquently ad libbed his thanks to the attending crowd at yesterday's convocation -- "no one told me I had to say anything, so it was all off the top of my head, so I was a little nervous" -- said getting the degree was a "very emotional" experience.
But he's looking forward to adding the word 'Doctor' to his name, since it imparts some extra validity to a career he had to fight for.
"It's just nice to have the letters behind or before your name," Cummings said. "As I said, I'm a high school dropout -- I dropped out to pursue music. And everyone told me I was crazy at the time, and the principal tried to talk me out of leaving, and the guidance counsellor, and they all said, 'Show business isn't a profession you can consider -- it's not real.'
"And my response to that was always, "Tell that to Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley or Count Basie or John Lennon. It is valid."
Pursuing a career in music in the '60s was not only not encouraged, it was unheard of, Cummings said. He laments the focus of his education back then, and said while things have changed somewhat over the years, music and the arts must still be considered lesser skills, since those areas continue to be the victims of funding cuts.
"In the mid-60s it was a different world," Cummings said. We weren't encouraged along those lines -- we had algebra and geometry shoved down our throats and boring Canadian history and stuff that we would never use in a million years.
"Back then, even Red River Collegiate wasn't around yet. And yet about six years after I left, they were suddenly teaching television production and script-assisting and all this stuff that was show business oriented. But I didn't have the luxury of that when I was in high school. There were very few choices."
According to Cummings, a lot of potentially great Canadian artists have been unable to develop their talents over the years, due to disappearing grants and a lack of opportunity to pursue their areas of interest.
Happily, things have improved. But Cummings said The Guess Who's determination and success helped make the road a bit easier for the groups that followed.
"It's much better now than it was -- when we first started, you really had to shoot for the States to have any kind of a career," Cummings said.
"And now that's not necessary anymore. And I feel very proud that we kind of laid some of those foundational bricks, because we really did break down some barriers."
COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Education graduate Norm Courchene shakes hands with
Guess Who lead singer Burton Cummings yesterday afternoon at Brandon University.
Members of The Guess Who received
honourary doctorates in music from the university.
NEW CD TRACES BAND'S ROOTS
By Diane Nelson ~ Sunday, May 27, 2001 ~ Brandon Sun ~ Brandon, MB
He laughed, he cried, he made an album.
A double CD, to be exact.
Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman, whose prowess on his instrument is legendary and whose searing guitar licks wowed a capacity crowd at the Keystone Centre last summer, has spent the last 10 years on a labour of love.
The final product is The Guess Who? This Time Long Ago, a collection of tunes from the prairie rockers' early days as a garage band, touring group and CBC house band for shows like Let's Go/Music Hop and Where It's At.
The recordings, which have been well preserved and enhanced by the most advanced modern technology, were culled from obscure and unlikely sources -- for example, a veteran sandman who happened to be working on a Bravo! documentary on which Bachman was featured.
"I was in Winnipeg being interviewed, talking about Lenny Breau, and the sound man, holding the overhead mic, when we took a break he came up to me and said, 'Hi, my name is so-and-so and I was in your room in Grade 12,'" Bachman said. "'I became an engineer at CBC and did the sound of your television show.' And he said, 'I still have a box of the tapes.' And I said, 'What?'
"So he sent them to me -- I opened them up and there were all sizes of tapes and all different brands and different speeds. And I put them on and heard two versions of Light My Fire that blew me away -- I was in tears, I was laughing. And then I heard Summertime Blues and some of this other stuff."
Those selections, combined with other decades-old recordings Bachman, an admitted packrat, has collected over the years, offer an early glimpse into what would become Canada's most enduring rock export.
These Eyes, recorded with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, is included, as are some never-released songs -- Croyez-Moi and Miss Felicity Grey from The Guess Who's 1967 London sessions. There are other cover tunes, too, such as Cream's White Room, and the blues classic, I'm in the Mood for Love.
"So it's just really a cool album -- it shows where we came from and shows exactly where we were going," said Bachman, who was in brandon yesterday along with the rest of The Guess Who to receive honourary doctorates from Brandon University.
"You can hear by the end of the album the identity of the band. IN the early stages, we tried literally everything for eight or nine or 10 years to try to make it -- to see what would stick on radio, what would stick with the public -- till finally we found a sound.
"When we got to Toronto where all these R and B soul bands were -- we were trying to play our music and they just said, 'Oh man -- it's wheatfield soul,' meaning it's real hick. But we far surpassed all those 'cool' R and B bands -- the horn sections and all that stuff -- who were basically copying James brown. We were copying more or less Beatles and Hollies and Animals and the British sound."
Bachman said it took him a decade to get the album together, since what he was working with was anything but standard. Rather than being stored in record company archives, the material he handled came from "boxes in guys' houses, in closets and in studios and in barns -- and some were just on cassette."
A techno-addict, Bachman re-mastered the recordings about nine times, using the latest enhancement gizmos to make the sound as consistent and as clean as possible.
But while technology was his friend, it also became his foe.
"I'd just get it done and think this was great, then I'd read in a magazine ... 'this has been invented to take his and pops and wow and flutter off of old tapes' . . . and so I'd scrap it and buy this new piece of gear and do it all again," said Bachman, who spent tens of thousands of dollars on the improvement technology.
Even with all that effort, Bachman says the final cuts still aren't perfect. But that's just fine with him.
"They're laden with mistakes because they were done live on television, and I could have spliced the mistakes out . . . but I thought, 'No -- this is like a really cool moment,'" he said. "And it's kind of cute."
With The Guess Who's resurgence in popularity over the past couple of years, Bachman said the time seemed right to release This Time Long Ago. According to Bachman the double CD, which has only been out about 10 days, is getting rave reviews, and in combination with the group's platinum-selling live double CD from last summer's tour, offers a complete, historic overview of the band.
This Time Long Ago can be ordered through www.randybachman.com or Ranbach Music at 250-537-1991. It's also available in music stores across Canada.
COMMENTARY: WHY NOT CHAD ALLAN?
As pleased and excited as we are about the academic honour bestowed upon some of the Guess Who members, we are saddened and somewhat bewildered at the exclusion of the founding leader of the group, Chad Allan.
As "Allan and the Silvertones," "Chad Allan and the Reflections," and "Chad Allan and the Expressions," and eventually "Guess Who" the original members of the group: Chad Allan, Randy Bachman, Garry Peterson and Jim Kale had a string of hit singles and albums.
It was only because of a recording company and radio station contest promotion that helped launch their first international hit -- Shakin' All Over -- that they were accidentally saddled with the name "Guess Who" (a name that the band members detested at the time) and that Chad's name was left out of the band's future billing. It was also around this time that a very young Burton Cummings was enlisted as the band's keyboard player and second lead singer.
Allan and Cummings shared singing and fronting duties for American tours and more hit recording sessions until Allan bowed out of the group because of health, and other, problems.
Chad Allan returned to university to complete a masters degree, but some time later teamed again with the Bachman brothers and Fred Turner to form the group which eventually became Bachman Turner Overdrive.
The Chad Allan group was a major inspiration for many Canadian musicians, and Brandon bands in particular, as he regularly performed in the Brandon area in the '60s. It seems ironic that the band he formed and nurtured should be so honoured while he receives no recognition for his achievements.
My observation is that on all of the band's first singles and albums, Chad Allan was the group's lead singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, rhythm guitarist, front man, agent and often piano player and drummer, as well. He was responsible for putting the Cummings, Peterson, Bachman and Kale line-up together in the first place.
It was under Allan's leadership and with his lead vocals that the band achieved their first international hit: Shakin' All Over, as well as a string of other hits: "Tribute To Buddy Holly," " Stop Teasin' Me," "Tough Enough," "Shy Guy," "Made In England," "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues," "Till We Kissed," "Hey, Ho, What You Do To Me," etc.
It was also through his connections with the British music scene and his foresight in promoting this material in the band's performances that Western Canada became aware of Cliff Richard and the Shadows, The Beatles and other great British groups long before the British Invasion hit our shores.
Since Brandon University already has chosen to honour later arrivals to the Guess Who, local pickup guys who came and went, my feeling is that the original founder who brought all the ingredients together and worked for years in guiding the band to national stardom, and then to the brink of their international explosion, should share some of this recognition with his long-time bandmates and later musicians who had jumped aboard for the ride.
Chad Allan has certainly "fallen through the cracks."Bill Hillman
Faculty of Education
Previous to the Awards Ceremony I set up impressive Guess Who window and showcase displays in the BU Music Building, using items from my collection. But I also tried to convince the Awards committee of the importance of including Chad Allan in the ceremony. To no avail. Decisions had been carved in stone. They said that at the band's request they already had made changes to the proceedings by presenting Jim Kale's award separately at a later time. They weren't prepared to further alter their plans.
I believe the torch should be carried to the U of M now -- Chad obtained his Masters in Winnipeg and his roots and main legacy are there. Brandon University accomplished something that none of the Winnipeg universities saw as relevant. They paid a great tribute to the Guess Who as Manitoba ambassadors and wanted to do right. But they soon became aware of, and influenced by, the internal politics and egos of the later line-up under Burton, Randy, et al. They even bowed to the band's wishes by not honouring the owner of the band's name at the same time as the others -- the degree bestowed upon Jim Kale, an original member and longtime band mate, was presented later at the afternoon ceremony. BU should be complimented and their diplomatic efforts in dealing with a murky situation they hadn't expected should be appreciated.
|CHAD ALLAN:||1. Anecdotes||2. Interview||3. Discography||4. Reflections||5. Clipping|
|PHOTOS/SCRAPS:||6. Photos I||7. Photos II||8. Photos III||9. GW Bios Clips||10. GW Degrees|
|ORIGINALS:||11. Jim Kale||12. Kale/Peterson||.||.||.|
BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN: A MUSICAL ODYSSEY
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