Rockpiles 2013

Hard to believe we are already in the middle of January as I get my head around penning the first Rockpiles column of the year. Looking back over the first three months of our Music Express re-launch, it is staggering to reflect just how much we were able to achieve in such a short time.

It’s like everyone is still here…and still looking for press and product reviews. Just to reunite with friends like Trooper, Streetheart, Loverboy, Ian Thomas, Glass Tiger, The Spoons, Helix, Alias, Platinum Blonde, Colin James and Lee Aaron and to finally interview the likes of Klaatu’s Terry Draper has been a real treat.

Then to be able to kick start our 2013 Music Express Awards, courtesy of Sennheiser has been a big thrill, plus I hope a boost to ME’s credibility. It has always been our mandate to communicate with you the consumer so to provide a platform for you to vote for your favorites, has always been important to us. There is still time to vote for your favorites (see, results to be announced at the end of January.

Some of the nominees have entered into the spirit of things by encouraging their fans to vote en masse. Nothing wrong with that as this is purely a fan popularity vote….the more the merrier. But if you don’t vote for your favourites, your loss!

A question that has been pitched at me over the past few months is…so what exactly is the mandate of Music Express? Good question! Initially the idea was to shine the spotlight on established Canadian classic groups/artists that are still alive and packing venues, yet who are not receiving their fair share of media, not receiving airtime for new releases as they are relegated to the Golden Oldies format no matter that they have new material to promote.

Yes there still is an audience for these artists and ME wants to be a media focus in documenting their activities…but as we launched ME I realized there was a bigger task at hand. The fact there is no Toronto radio outlet that plays current Classic Rock and retail sales for Canadian product is literally redundant, it was realized that Music Express could also be used to feature new material on our audio page, new videos on our video page and even help retail titles on an about-to-be-formed Shop page.

Combine this with our editorials, concert reviews, concert date listings and contests and we have ability to provide a complete marketing service for any new release by being able to communicate directly to you the music fan. All we need is you to play your part by constantly linking to our site and by continuing to support your favorite artists.

In those first frantic months, ME found itself playing catch-up as we arrived just as Rush, Loverboy, Glass Tiger were on major tours and the likes of Colin James, Ian Thomas, Neil Young, Blue Rodeo, The Hip and Great Big Sea were all releasing major CD’s. Now I think we have caught up and are ready to promote the likes of Ron Sexsmith and other future major releases.

In future issues, we have other treats in store for you the ME reader. I will continue to feature chapters of my forthcoming Music Express, The Rise And Fall Of A Canadian Icon book, Roman Mitz will continue his Open Roads country columns plus we have vintage concert footage of the 1989 Music Express Awards which we executed as a fundraiser for a brave teenaged fire victim, Joey Philion. This footage not only includes live footage of Glass Tiger, Candi and Big Bang but also features a blistering set by the late great Jeff Healey…not to be missed.

By the way,  Colin James has just been selected as the 2013 inductee for the Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame.  Colin will celebrate by performing a special concert Wednesday March 20th at Lee’s Palace.

In ending this missive, I again have to thank Chad Maker, Darryl Spreen and Kirk Comrie from Agency 71 for having the foresight to support my dream to re-launch Music Express. Their technical skills in design the current site have been truly gob-smacking.

Also, this launch could not have been achieved without the editorial and photographic support of Charles Hope, Ian Mark, Brian Stanko, Ted VanBoort, Karen Bliss, Roman Mitz, Kerry Doole, Conny Kunz and Jim Barber who have all contributed greatly to our contents.

So onwards and upwards we go. One final note to make is that although we are concentrating predominantly with Canadian Classic Rock, we will spotlight newer talent – from an AOR perspective. I though Karen Bliss did an excellent job in profiling Justin Bieber and Billy Talent deserved a profile for their latest release.

Keep Rockin!

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