About two years ago, I was cajoled by a number of people to start penning a book about my experiences publishing a music magazine called Music Express. I suspect that many of you people may not be familiar with this publication, yet from my communications via the ‘miracle’ of social media it is apparent that a lot of you do remember our music mag and many of you harbour fond recollections of that heady period in the mid 70’s and 80’s when it seemed great albums were being released every week.
For the uninitiated, Music Express was created in Calgary Alberta in October 1976 as a one-off tabloid by a frustrated young Calgary Herald sports writer (yours truly) whose music feature interview with The Stampeders’’ had been spiked (rejected ) by the Herald’s entertainment editor because some clod of a music writer had the audacity to trash the City’s only major recording group.
My book, MUSIC EXPRESS – The rise and fall of a Canadian Music Icon (to be published early next year) tells the story of what happened after the launch of that supposed one-off magazine. How the timing coincided with the arrival of a golden era of Canadian music, how, after linking up with my partner, Conny (The Dragon Lady) Kunz, we moved to Toronto in 1980, established ME as The Pulse Of Canadian Music. We then became Canada’s largest publishing export by hooking up to become the in-house magazine of the Mineapolis-based Sam Goody/Musicland retail chain which presented us with over 500 outlets throughout the United States.
Coupled with newsstand expansion into Great Britain and Australia via Gordon & Gotch,Music Express truly was a musical power during that golden era, enabling me to travel around the world with the likes of Iron Maiden (my soccer buddies), David Bowie, Kiss, Bryan Adams, Honeymoon Suite and even Moscow with Scottish band Big Country. Tons of great anecdotes and great adventures, all captured in print in my book.
But in researching ME and contacting the numerous musicians and industry types to verify information, I became aware that many of these characters were still actively involved in performing and recording. Unfortunately, Classic Radio only wants to play the old hits and contemporary stations don’t think these artists are cool enough for their trendy demographic.
All of which led me to envision what would Music Express be like if it reformed today? Certainly in an era of social interaction where Facebook, Twitter and Youtube rules, any new book would not have a print form but instead would be digital. Interviews, product reviews and concert reviews would be enhanced by digital downloads of audio and video footage.
Yet Music Express would form a communication link for all those great classic rock groups still performing. One click on your mouse and a punter could find out what bands/artists are playing where, who has new product out and who is set to play gigs in your home town. Plus we supply website links so you can actually contact your favourites and chat with them direct.
Commencing with this digital relaunch , we will endeavour at least once every two weeks, to create a complete repackage of interviews, concert reviews and product reviews along with special features and guest columnists. We will also dip into past Music Express files to feature stand-out photos, stories and some great concert videos (Check out Platinum blonde and Honeymoon Suite’s first ever television appearances at our 1984 ME Awards).
More importantly this is about you the reader. We encourage you to post comments about our stories and review, give us future story suggestions or simply post a comment about artists you have seen perform recently, good or bad. The crème of the crop will be posted in future issues.
Please click on and check out the contents and tell all your friends about our Music Express digital relaunch. I just know you are going to be impressed with the creative work Agency 71 have put into developing what we believe is the future of rock music communication.
Music Express: The Rise and Fall of a Canadian Music Icon
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