Apr 12, 2021
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Interviewing Dave Brady and Bruce McDonald, Part 2: Coffee, Bruce and Me

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

Bruce was a lot harder to track down because of his schedule (the man has more than a few projects on the go), but he very graciously made time to meet me for tea in a local Canadian-owned coffee shop.

You’ve kind of become the go-to guy when it comes to music and movies.

Bruce: I guess because we’ve done music related movies like Hard Core Logo (Hard Core Logo II is due out in September) and the Broken Social Scene movie… I guess when people think of music film projects I am one of the top 5 to sort of go to. And I’ll generally say yes because I like musical projects. I find musicians completely charming and interesting.

People talk a few times about how Toronto treats it’s cultural monuments. How do you feel about the subject?

Bruce: Like Daniel Lanois says at one point in the film, we have a high regard for museums of natural history and ecological preserves and these sorts of things, but it’s a fairly new thing to want to remember and savor the nightclubs. These kinds of places are where our musical heritage was born in and grew up in. So it’s a little shift in consciousness from the city fathers looking at these nightclubs as booze joints and not places of value. I think now people are starting to realize how important music is to people. How it marks our own history, how it tells time for us and how it helps us remember who we are… I think it’s that time, where people are now going ’oh right, yes, that was that great club, that was this great place.’ Movies like this remind people of how important those stories are, because when we don’t tell the stories we loose the thread and we get lost. 

When you were making this, what was the most surprising thing you uncovered?

Bruce: The black roots of Toronto music. That these people like Duke Edwards and Mouse Johnson, their travels to Toronto, this place where there wasn’t a lot of racial strife, and that allowed them to really shine. People like Jackie Shane, people who really laid down their roots and carried this black American music to this town and so many of the white musicians that we talked to all concur of how important a step that was for their careers. To have somebody to emulate and also that helped them become performers. Not only in the music but in their manner on stage and how they dress, how to put a show together with that good old American showbiz know-how. So that was just a great surprise at how popular rhythm and blues was, how popular black American music was, which was the foundation of everything that was to come. 

Canadian content laws for radio made a huge impact on the industry as is touched on in the series. Do you ever think that we need stronger Canadian content laws for television and cinema here?

Bruce: I do, yeah. I just look at the model that happened to music in 1972. There was a ruling by the CRTC that radio stations had to play at least 25% Canadian music. I mean music was happening on the radio before that, but you talk to a lot of these guys and it was very, very difficult to get a local act on the radio. It happened, but it was actually more of an aberration than it was something regular. Imagine just having that confidence knowing that your friends band is on the radio, your song is on the radio, it creates an amazing impact on the community… So, the film industry here is a very young industry compared to other countries. It really started in earnest in the 80s, so it’s still an infant. Like the musicians we realize that we live next door to the biggest media machine on the planet and we don’t have the geographical advantage of say England or Australia. We are competing directly with everything coming across the border, so yeah, I don’t know exactly how it would be done, but I sure know it made a difference in the music business. It’ll come, but a little extra pressure is always good.

If you could offer one piece of advice to future directors, what would it be?

Bruce: Get a gang. You can’t make movies by yourself. It’s like, if you want to be a musician you get a band together. If you want to be a director, you need your band, you need at least somebody to help you carry the gear. That and tell a good story. It doesn’t matter what it’s shot on, it doesn’t matter who’s in it so much, it doesn’t matter how much money it costs. It really matters how good the story is, because if you have a good story then you can capture people’s imaginations.

If you missed the first parts of the series they will be repeated on Bravo! Sunday, March 27 from 7-10 am (all 3 parts back-to-back) as well as on A Channel on Sunday, March 27 (check your local listings).

To read more about the series click here.

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Headline, Industry News

Interviewing Dave Brady and Bruce McDonald, Part 2: Coffee, Bruce and Me

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

Bruce was a lot harder to track down because of his schedule (the man has more than a few projects on the go), but he very graciously made time to meet me for tea in a local Canadian-owned coffee shop.

You’ve kind of become the go-to guy when it comes to music and movies.

Bruce: I guess because we’ve done music related movies like Hard Core Logo (Hard Core Logo II is due out in September) and the Broken Social Scene movie… I guess when people think of music film projects I am one of the top 5 to sort of go to. And I’ll generally say yes because I like musical projects. I find musicians completely charming and interesting.

People talk a few times about how Toronto treats it’s cultural monuments. How do you feel about the subject?

Bruce: Like Daniel Lanois says at one point in the film, we have a high regard for museums of natural history and ecological preserves and these sorts of things, but it’s a fairly new thing to want to remember and savor the nightclubs. These kinds of places are where our musical heritage was born in and grew up in. So it’s a little shift in consciousness from the city fathers looking at these nightclubs as booze joints and not places of value. I think now people are starting to realize how important music is to people. How it marks our own history, how it tells time for us and how it helps us remember who we are… I think it’s that time, where people are now going ’oh right, yes, that was that great club, that was this great place.’ Movies like this remind people of how important those stories are, because when we don’t tell the stories we loose the thread and we get lost. 

When you were making this, what was the most surprising thing you uncovered?

Bruce: The black roots of Toronto music. That these people like Duke Edwards and Mouse Johnson, their travels to Toronto, this place where there wasn’t a lot of racial strife, and that allowed them to really shine. People like Jackie Shane, people who really laid down their roots and carried this black American music to this town and so many of the white musicians that we talked to all concur of how important a step that was for their careers. To have somebody to emulate and also that helped them become performers. Not only in the music but in their manner on stage and how they dress, how to put a show together with that good old American showbiz know-how. So that was just a great surprise at how popular rhythm and blues was, how popular black American music was, which was the foundation of everything that was to come. 

Canadian content laws for radio made a huge impact on the industry as is touched on in the series. Do you ever think that we need stronger Canadian content laws for television and cinema here?

Bruce: I do, yeah. I just look at the model that happened to music in 1972. There was a ruling by the CRTC that radio stations had to play at least 25% Canadian music. I mean music was happening on the radio before that, but you talk to a lot of these guys and it was very, very difficult to get a local act on the radio. It happened, but it was actually more of an aberration than it was something regular. Imagine just having that confidence knowing that your friends band is on the radio, your song is on the radio, it creates an amazing impact on the community… So, the film industry here is a very young industry compared to other countries. It really started in earnest in the 80s, so it’s still an infant. Like the musicians we realize that we live next door to the biggest media machine on the planet and we don’t have the geographical advantage of say England or Australia. We are competing directly with everything coming across the border, so yeah, I don’t know exactly how it would be done, but I sure know it made a difference in the music business. It’ll come, but a little extra pressure is always good.

If you could offer one piece of advice to future directors, what would it be?

Bruce: Get a gang. You can’t make movies by yourself. It’s like, if you want to be a musician you get a band together. If you want to be a director, you need your band, you need at least somebody to help you carry the gear. That and tell a good story. It doesn’t matter what it’s shot on, it doesn’t matter who’s in it so much, it doesn’t matter how much money it costs. It really matters how good the story is, because if you have a good story then you can capture people’s imaginations.

If you missed the first parts of the series they will be repeated on Bravo! Sunday, March 27 from 7-10 am (all 3 parts back-to-back) as well as on A Channel on Sunday, March 27 (check your local listings).

To read more about the series click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Interviewing Dave Brady and Bruce McDonald, Part 2: Coffee, Bruce and Me

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

Bruce was a lot harder to track down because of his schedule (the man has more than a few projects on the go), but he very graciously made time to meet me for tea in a local Canadian-owned coffee shop.

You’ve kind of become the go-to guy when it comes to music and movies.

Bruce: I guess because we’ve done music related movies like Hard Core Logo (Hard Core Logo II is due out in September) and the Broken Social Scene movie… I guess when people think of music film projects I am one of the top 5 to sort of go to. And I’ll generally say yes because I like musical projects. I find musicians completely charming and interesting.

People talk a few times about how Toronto treats it’s cultural monuments. How do you feel about the subject?

Bruce: Like Daniel Lanois says at one point in the film, we have a high regard for museums of natural history and ecological preserves and these sorts of things, but it’s a fairly new thing to want to remember and savor the nightclubs. These kinds of places are where our musical heritage was born in and grew up in. So it’s a little shift in consciousness from the city fathers looking at these nightclubs as booze joints and not places of value. I think now people are starting to realize how important music is to people. How it marks our own history, how it tells time for us and how it helps us remember who we are… I think it’s that time, where people are now going ’oh right, yes, that was that great club, that was this great place.’ Movies like this remind people of how important those stories are, because when we don’t tell the stories we loose the thread and we get lost. 

When you were making this, what was the most surprising thing you uncovered?

Bruce: The black roots of Toronto music. That these people like Duke Edwards and Mouse Johnson, their travels to Toronto, this place where there wasn’t a lot of racial strife, and that allowed them to really shine. People like Jackie Shane, people who really laid down their roots and carried this black American music to this town and so many of the white musicians that we talked to all concur of how important a step that was for their careers. To have somebody to emulate and also that helped them become performers. Not only in the music but in their manner on stage and how they dress, how to put a show together with that good old American showbiz know-how. So that was just a great surprise at how popular rhythm and blues was, how popular black American music was, which was the foundation of everything that was to come. 

Canadian content laws for radio made a huge impact on the industry as is touched on in the series. Do you ever think that we need stronger Canadian content laws for television and cinema here?

Bruce: I do, yeah. I just look at the model that happened to music in 1972. There was a ruling by the CRTC that radio stations had to play at least 25% Canadian music. I mean music was happening on the radio before that, but you talk to a lot of these guys and it was very, very difficult to get a local act on the radio. It happened, but it was actually more of an aberration than it was something regular. Imagine just having that confidence knowing that your friends band is on the radio, your song is on the radio, it creates an amazing impact on the community… So, the film industry here is a very young industry compared to other countries. It really started in earnest in the 80s, so it’s still an infant. Like the musicians we realize that we live next door to the biggest media machine on the planet and we don’t have the geographical advantage of say England or Australia. We are competing directly with everything coming across the border, so yeah, I don’t know exactly how it would be done, but I sure know it made a difference in the music business. It’ll come, but a little extra pressure is always good.

If you could offer one piece of advice to future directors, what would it be?

Bruce: Get a gang. You can’t make movies by yourself. It’s like, if you want to be a musician you get a band together. If you want to be a director, you need your band, you need at least somebody to help you carry the gear. That and tell a good story. It doesn’t matter what it’s shot on, it doesn’t matter who’s in it so much, it doesn’t matter how much money it costs. It really matters how good the story is, because if you have a good story then you can capture people’s imaginations.

If you missed the first parts of the series they will be repeated on Bravo! Sunday, March 27 from 7-10 am (all 3 parts back-to-back) as well as on A Channel on Sunday, March 27 (check your local listings).

To read more about the series click here.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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