While very comfy being a local hero, it was time to go out into the world…
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.
…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 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” Walters‘ The 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.
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“:
*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.