…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #6

While very comfy being a local hero, it was time to go out into the world…

Then

This Beautiful Premier Drum Kit Carried Me Through High School And Across Canada; This Is How I Looked When I Started On My Professional Path. I Was On The Road Four Years After High School Before I Went To Berklee College Of Music In Boston.

Throughout high school I was in a VERY popular local band we called “Lemon Extract“. It started at the end of my grade nine year, we played a house party and vowed to get together in the fall of ’68. But it was only me and the bass player; we added some new players and gigged our brains out. Little did we know what was to come!

House parties, school dances and then… Toronto’s CKFH had a battle of the bands for “the best non-union” band in Canada. This was sponsored by MGM. The year: 1969.

We Had It Going: Outside The Cheetah NYC Circa 1969

We Had It Going: Outside The Cheetah NYC Circa 1969 L-R  Myles Cohen, Arnold Faber, Dennis Rachlin, Gary Magder, Eliot Goldner, Paul Gellman

Lemon Extract Stage

We Had It Going: On Stage At The Cheetah NYC Circa 1969

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

We used to practice once a week either at our bass player’s house or at the back of my grandfather’s clothing store, Henry Faber, on Yonge St where the Eaton Centre now stands, in downtown Toronto.

WE Were Happening!

WE Were Happening!

We had a great mix of influences; Hendrix, Traffic, Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, etc. AND our keyboard player wrote great stuff. Those where the days of marathon drum solos and we didn’t disappoint with our version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. We would end every night and became known for this showstopper!

Just as we were known for our end to the night, we were always kick-started with Hush, Deep Purple‘s MONSTER hit.

I remember when I heard about CKFH‘s contest; I used to stay up ’till the wee hours, buried under the blankets listening to my transistor radio listening to Big “G” WaltersThe Whole Bag and Gene Thayer‘s Open Lid. The contest required us to submit a reel to reel tape. We worked and worked Hush until we polished it and then recorded it onto our bass player’s Sony reel to reel.

Because I kind of did the band’s business, I took the recording down to CKFH‘s studio at Grenville and Bay, just above College St. In those days, the DJs were like gods and the radio studios were like hallowed ground! It was like I was moving in a dream…

I handed over the tape to a producer and to my surprise, he invited me in and we sat down and listened to it. After a slight pause, he looked at me and said, “We haven’t received anything close to this. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.” You can imagine me, 16 years old, sick with the “music fever” floating home on the Red Rocket!

Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, my sister was home at lunch and got the phone call. She called the school, had me summoned to the office. Needless to say, Mr. Sadowsky’s french class was finished for that day!

We were picked up in limos, flown first class and put up at the Americana. We didn’t win, but placed. We were supposed to record a single but it didn’t happen. We each got some clothes and a typewriter with a radio in the lid.

The experience was a major milestone in my musical life; if I wasn’t hooked before, there certainly was no turning back now! It was also around this time that I became fascinated with keyboards and started composing music for percussion ensemble.

Jon Lord: 9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012

Deep Purple‘s leader Jon Lord was so important to me. Not only as a Hammond organ artist with his SOUND and soloing, but also his arranging and composing skills. Of course their drummer Ian Paice was a huge influence on my playing from the moment I heard him.

This is the tune that did it for the Lemon Extract:

Now

Still Crazy After All These Years! Photo: Robin Reed

Still Crazy After All These Years! Photo: Robin Reed

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

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…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #5

My First Drum Kit: 5+ Piece Green Pearl, Calf Skin Snare Drum Head And Tons Of Extras. We Bought It From One Of My Father’s Best Friends Who Came Over From England After The War. He Had Been A Pro- Show Drummer In London’s West End, Covent Gardens etc..

It was a great drum kit and I played all over Toronto with it. Every music mother in my circle knew me; she either drove me, housed my kit in her basement while I practiced there, or, her kid was in the group I was playing with.

When I was practicing to records, you could hear me all over the street and I always had a crowd in my parents’ old cavern-like basement. Music, music, and more music; that’s  all that mattered.

I was pretty sick for it and my parents knew it- they just didn’t know what to do about it.

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

By the time I was in grade 8, I was making money playing dances, house parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, fashion shows etc.. In the 60’s, Live music was everywhere. All the bars and clubs, schools and hotels had live music. You couldn’t even walk down a residential street on any given night and not hear a band practicing or playing some kind of house party; amazing times.

L To R: Michael Pezim; Geoff Clarfield; Dany Lester; Arnold Faber; Gary Lester; Jon Newman

L To R: Michael Pezim; Geoff Clarfield; Dany Lester; Arnold Faber; Gary Lester; Jon Newman

The first really organized, money making band I was in, played all the Tijuana Brass hits. We called ourselves The Brass Beat. The line-up included a set of male twins on trumpets, their best friend on trombone, a guitar player famous for doing cereal commercials alternating on bass/guitar, light show (when our lighting guy couldn’t do a gig, my future wife of 42+ years would work the lights) and sometimes an extra guitar player. We were really young (grade 8), loved music and could really play; even our band teacher jammed with us on piano!

Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass were HUGE; we had that sound down. It was fun to play, technically challenging and people loved us! I grew a lot from those times.

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #4

I Chose The First Ten No Probs; The Eleventh One Was Tough... But, It Changed My Perception Of Music

I think everyone in those days tried the Columbia Record Club, once! I mean, who could resist; we were all so into our record collections.

This is how it went for me; I picked out my first 10, no problem. I could not find number 11. I started perusing categories. Country-Western, nah; Easy Listening, nah; Dance Party, nah; Jazz, hmm…

I started going through the section looking at the various covers and I came across the Buddy Rich album, Big Swing Face.

With A Face Only A Mother Could Love, The Fact That He Was Playing Drums, And Seeing I Was Becoming Desperate For A Final Choice, I Figured Why Not!

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

The big day came; my records were here! I spent hours listening to my selections and finally, I decided to crack open Buddy Rich. At this point, I knew nothing about Buddy Rich other than according to the album cover, he must be a drummer. I knew even less about jazz…

The first tune was Norwegian Wood, the Beatles tune. It was nice, interesting, but it wasn’t the Beatles. The next track was the title tune, Big Swing Face. WOWWWWW! It blew my head off! How did he create all all those sounds at once? That horn sound was so big, the drums so driving- I couldn’t fathom what he was doing.

Now I was playing all of the time; I was in five bands at the same time. Then, like now, I couldn’t get enough! I thought I had it pretty well sussed out. I kind of knew where everything was, I could emulate all my idols and jam with anyone of my ilk. Then came Buddy! It was the beginning of my non quenchable musical lust.

From that album, through Buddy Rich’s virtuosity, I started to get curious about all instruments, arranging and composition. I still get a major kick out of turning my young drum students on to Buddy Rich. You should see their faces…

 

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #3

It Even Came With A Pair Of Sticks & A Set Of Brushes

My grandfather bought me my first drum. It was a red sparkle Stewart snare drum. I remember it like it was yesterday. The local music store was maybe a couple of miles away and he phoned there, told them to put it in a taxi and send it over. I knew which one I wanted as I had seen it in the window.

I remember opening the box, carefully taking that drum out and setting it up in front of the family. It even came with a pair of sticks and a set of brushes! Alas, it wasn’t a whole set of drums like Ringo’s 4 piece pearl Ludwigs, Dave Clark’s 5 piece red sparkle Rogers or Keith Moon’s gazzillion piece custom Premier…

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

Looking at that snare drum, I wondered just how many sounds I could get from it; I hit different parts of it with the sticks; I mixed the sticks and brushes with snares on and off; I even yelled into it. One way or the other, I was determined to get the most possible out of this drum.

The Who’s Keith Moon meant so much to me. The way he interacted with the music, his funny faces AND of course his monster drum set. Although he was fascinating to watch, it was the recordings that I drooled over; everything from the way he sat in the mix to how he took old tom concepts and made them his own. I still play Premier drums to this day.

This clip from Shindig, a very popular music show of the era threw me over the edge! This typifies the energy of the times as I felt it.

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #2

My First Tools: These were my drum sticks; a marble coffee table was my drum set.

There were three of us. We must have been about 11 years old; about 1963. The Beatle’s fever was on and our souls were on fire with the British Invasion. The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Yardbirds and The Who, to name a very few, made me crazy for music! We lined up Saturday mornings at Sam The Record Man in Toronto Canada, and waited for the doors to open.

The doors finally flew open and, armed with our coveted CHUM Charts (our local radio station tacked the hits with this sacred piece of paper), we very carefully perused the bins for our purchases.

We LIVED for the music; we skipped school to practice, perform for the girls and most of all DREAM music. The three of us are kind of loosely connected all these years later. But, I guess I’m the one that really meant it.

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

It’s funny how things work out. All my friends took piano lessons from the old lady on the corner with a bun in her hair; and hated it! Me, I was dying for lessons but my parents wouldn’t hear of it. It’s okay, it didn’t seem to matter- the music chose me, I didn’t choose the music!

We used to lipsync to this Dave Clark Five tune, “All Of The Time” (the B side of Bits And Pieces). Every time the drum break came up, I nailed it exactly and the two other guys would throw themselves around the room, literally, in amazement as I nailed it perfectly.

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #1

I remember talking to a woman who worked for my parents when I was about 12 years old. She was in the kitchen, ironing and singing to a country-western tune on the radio and I asked her why she liked this music. She said it was honest, real; something she could identify with…

I NEVER forgot that conversation; I even remember that her name was June.

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

I really admired my band director in high school, I mean, he really meant a lot to me and had quite an affect on me. My parents went to talk to him about me considering a career in music. According to them, he discouraged it completely; not because of my abilities but, for reasons of lifestyle, hardships etc.. It has kind of haunted me all these years. Finally, I got together with him to reminisce and I brought this to his attention; he denied it completely. As a result of our face to face conversation, I am not totally convinced he didn’t…

I love EVERYTHING about Patsy Cline. Whenever I hear one of her tunes, I think of what June said to me all those years ago in my parent’s kitchen. I often wonder about what life must have dealt her while she was turning out that great music…

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

LISTEN, Make Up YOUR OWN Mind; Wake Up, SMELL The Coffee, And Chill A Moment Before Chowing Down!

Things are looking up!

Excess has been a definite “North American” habit since the industrial revolution began and I really believe that it has had a somewhat detrimental effect on our culture including, our art forms. More bang for your buck, supersize me, all you can eat buffet, etc.; all these more for less concepts have made us somewhat lazy and unappreciative both literally and figuratively.

When we are kids, we all seem to jump on “bandwagons” (i.e. dictated by whatever peer group influence we were surrounded by; advertising aimed at our particular age group, etc.). The call of advertising/marketing is hypnotic to be sure but, as we age, one would think experience should really allow us to think about our habits, routines and interests somewhat more introspectively- not to mention just how we choose to influence young people around us…

Life After Shredding?

Life After Shredding?

A while back, someone remarked to me that his 12 year old son was really coming along on his guitar playing. He also told me how excited he was by the instrument in general. I asked him who his son was listening to and he named off all of his personal idols. When I suggested that his son listen to some of the more current innovators, he said “nah, he can play jazz when he gets old”. Way to encourage…

Expecting more for less has influenced even our ears by perhaps not allowing us, for example, the patience for slow music; it has to be fast. Relaxing to quiet music; it has to be loud, ETC.. Blocking out current marketing influences, allowing us to enjoy something for what it means to us as individuals can, be a difficult proposition.

The recording industry has traded on this concept for years and now, the indie revolution seems to be taking over and growing in all aspects; artists, producers, recording possibilities, marketing and publicity agents are all forging new paths which I believe will change perception; allowing richer yields for audience and creator alike.

There also seems to be an upsurge of live music in general. More people are going out and appreciating the excitement of live performance as opposed to just the spoon fed convenience of slick production at home; well, this involves effort from the listener; new hybrids of influences are being more widely accepted; well, this involves effort from the listener

Everyone seems to be growing! This is truly a good thing and I, for one, am very optimistic!