Jul 29, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

Interviewing David Brady and Bruce McDonald, Part 1: Dave, the Phone and Me

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

I recently had a chance to talk with writer/producer David Brady and director Bruce McDonald about their new project Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll stories. The series explores the colourful past of Canada’s musical hub in the 50s and 60s in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Juno Awards. Featuring entertaining interviews with music legends Robbie Roberston, Daniel Lanois, Ronnie Hawkins, John Kay and many more. Premiering exclusively on Bravo! The part 1 ran Monday, March 21 with Part 2 on Tuesday, March 22 and Part 3 premiers tonight, Wednesday, March 23 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

I arranged to track Dave Brady down at a screening out of town, where he managed to tell me more about his fascinating series between greeting people as they arrived.

How did you come to the project?

Dave: I was really interested in the conditions that drove the ‘Toronto’ sound. Toronto attracted so many African-American musicians that were able to come up here and play in clubs to mixed audiences, and that was unheard of because of segregation in the united states. If you think about the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, they had listen to these records, they had to listen to Howling Wolf, they had to listen to these people that were here that we just take for granted. And in Toronto, as Robbie Robertson said, he could hear the music leaking out of these clubs on Yonge Street, the Edison Hotel, Le Coq d’Or, and he started to go down there because at any given night Chuck Berry would be in Toronto playing. Instead of having to listen to records, like the British, they were there to watch how they did it and that was the beginning of the evolution of the ‘Toronto’ sound.

How did you find this new unseen and unheard of archival footage?

Dave: That’s all Jan Haust. Jan has been and archivist and he has been assembling all this material for the better part of 20 years. Over 20 years. And he has been on a personal mission to basically save and really record Canadian culture and it’s to his credit that he has recognized the importance. I think Daniel Lanois says it so beautifully and so eloquently, ‘It’s important to save these cultural landmarks’ and by that he’s referring to the clubs. We do not value these cultural icons that were responsible for this gigantic enormous movement of talent that went south from Canada into the united states and around the world. I’d also like to credit the young lady that Bruce refers to as a research goddess, Maureen grant, because Maureen was able to come up with things, footage and materials, that were really astounding. So Maureen grant gets the credit for that too.

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

Dave: The Robbie Robertson story. He’s never before publicly said look there was a mobster controlling a record company, his name was, and he named them. He said, who is this guy Levy? There’s no Levy! The whole story. We had to edit it down, cause it’s so funny, but it’s just so over the top. When he forced Ronnie to take him to Morris Levy’s office, I mean, they were a front for the mob! These were serious serious guys that would kill people. And Morris Levy, as Ronnie says in the show, was a very powerful guy. Ronnie could sit at Frank Sinatra’s Table!

Canadian cultural history is so important and yet so neglected, it would be fantastic to see more of this type of thing on television. The Junos are home this year in Toronto, and they usually take place in a different city each year to make it more culturally relevant… Each city seems to have it’s own music scene and history… any thoughts towards expanding the series?

Dave: I think you could go to any city in Canada and find out there was a center. Every city in Canada had a cultural core. I spent a lot of years in Vancouver. So if we go and look, we could go right across Canada. You know, we could go to Winnipeg. and Joni Mitchell came out of there., so did The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive. There’s an endless numbers of bands. It’s just that Toronto, Yonge Street was the birth place of so many of these bands that came out of the rest of the country. It celebrates our music. 

To read Part 2 of the interviews click here.

To read more about the series click here.

Leave a Reply

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

Front Page, Industry News

Interviewing David Brady and Bruce McDonald, Part 1: Dave, the Phone and Me

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

I recently had a chance to talk with writer/producer David Brady and director Bruce McDonald about their new project Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll stories. The series explores the colourful past of Canada’s musical hub in the 50s and 60s in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Juno Awards. Featuring entertaining interviews with music legends Robbie Roberston, Daniel Lanois, Ronnie Hawkins, John Kay and many more. Premiering exclusively on Bravo! The part 1 ran Monday, March 21 with Part 2 on Tuesday, March 22 and Part 3 premiers tonight, Wednesday, March 23 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

I arranged to track Dave Brady down at a screening out of town, where he managed to tell me more about his fascinating series between greeting people as they arrived.

How did you come to the project?

Dave: I was really interested in the conditions that drove the ‘Toronto’ sound. Toronto attracted so many African-American musicians that were able to come up here and play in clubs to mixed audiences, and that was unheard of because of segregation in the united states. If you think about the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, they had listen to these records, they had to listen to Howling Wolf, they had to listen to these people that were here that we just take for granted. And in Toronto, as Robbie Robertson said, he could hear the music leaking out of these clubs on Yonge Street, the Edison Hotel, Le Coq d’Or, and he started to go down there because at any given night Chuck Berry would be in Toronto playing. Instead of having to listen to records, like the British, they were there to watch how they did it and that was the beginning of the evolution of the ‘Toronto’ sound.

How did you find this new unseen and unheard of archival footage?

Dave: That’s all Jan Haust. Jan has been and archivist and he has been assembling all this material for the better part of 20 years. Over 20 years. And he has been on a personal mission to basically save and really record Canadian culture and it’s to his credit that he has recognized the importance. I think Daniel Lanois says it so beautifully and so eloquently, ‘It’s important to save these cultural landmarks’ and by that he’s referring to the clubs. We do not value these cultural icons that were responsible for this gigantic enormous movement of talent that went south from Canada into the united states and around the world. I’d also like to credit the young lady that Bruce refers to as a research goddess, Maureen grant, because Maureen was able to come up with things, footage and materials, that were really astounding. So Maureen grant gets the credit for that too.

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

Dave: The Robbie Robertson story. He’s never before publicly said look there was a mobster controlling a record company, his name was, and he named them. He said, who is this guy Levy? There’s no Levy! The whole story. We had to edit it down, cause it’s so funny, but it’s just so over the top. When he forced Ronnie to take him to Morris Levy’s office, I mean, they were a front for the mob! These were serious serious guys that would kill people. And Morris Levy, as Ronnie says in the show, was a very powerful guy. Ronnie could sit at Frank Sinatra’s Table!

Canadian cultural history is so important and yet so neglected, it would be fantastic to see more of this type of thing on television. The Junos are home this year in Toronto, and they usually take place in a different city each year to make it more culturally relevant… Each city seems to have it’s own music scene and history… any thoughts towards expanding the series?

Dave: I think you could go to any city in Canada and find out there was a center. Every city in Canada had a cultural core. I spent a lot of years in Vancouver. So if we go and look, we could go right across Canada. You know, we could go to Winnipeg. and Joni Mitchell came out of there., so did The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive. There’s an endless numbers of bands. It’s just that Toronto, Yonge Street was the birth place of so many of these bands that came out of the rest of the country. It celebrates our music. 

To read Part 2 of the interviews click here.

To read more about the series click here.

Leave a Reply

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

Front Page, Industry News

Interviewing David Brady and Bruce McDonald, Part 1: Dave, the Phone and Me

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

I recently had a chance to talk with writer/producer David Brady and director Bruce McDonald about their new project Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll stories. The series explores the colourful past of Canada’s musical hub in the 50s and 60s in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Juno Awards. Featuring entertaining interviews with music legends Robbie Roberston, Daniel Lanois, Ronnie Hawkins, John Kay and many more. Premiering exclusively on Bravo! The part 1 ran Monday, March 21 with Part 2 on Tuesday, March 22 and Part 3 premiers tonight, Wednesday, March 23 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

I arranged to track Dave Brady down at a screening out of town, where he managed to tell me more about his fascinating series between greeting people as they arrived.

How did you come to the project?

Dave: I was really interested in the conditions that drove the ‘Toronto’ sound. Toronto attracted so many African-American musicians that were able to come up here and play in clubs to mixed audiences, and that was unheard of because of segregation in the united states. If you think about the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, they had listen to these records, they had to listen to Howling Wolf, they had to listen to these people that were here that we just take for granted. And in Toronto, as Robbie Robertson said, he could hear the music leaking out of these clubs on Yonge Street, the Edison Hotel, Le Coq d’Or, and he started to go down there because at any given night Chuck Berry would be in Toronto playing. Instead of having to listen to records, like the British, they were there to watch how they did it and that was the beginning of the evolution of the ‘Toronto’ sound.

How did you find this new unseen and unheard of archival footage?

Dave: That’s all Jan Haust. Jan has been and archivist and he has been assembling all this material for the better part of 20 years. Over 20 years. And he has been on a personal mission to basically save and really record Canadian culture and it’s to his credit that he has recognized the importance. I think Daniel Lanois says it so beautifully and so eloquently, ‘It’s important to save these cultural landmarks’ and by that he’s referring to the clubs. We do not value these cultural icons that were responsible for this gigantic enormous movement of talent that went south from Canada into the united states and around the world. I’d also like to credit the young lady that Bruce refers to as a research goddess, Maureen grant, because Maureen was able to come up with things, footage and materials, that were really astounding. So Maureen grant gets the credit for that too.

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

Dave: The Robbie Robertson story. He’s never before publicly said look there was a mobster controlling a record company, his name was, and he named them. He said, who is this guy Levy? There’s no Levy! The whole story. We had to edit it down, cause it’s so funny, but it’s just so over the top. When he forced Ronnie to take him to Morris Levy’s office, I mean, they were a front for the mob! These were serious serious guys that would kill people. And Morris Levy, as Ronnie says in the show, was a very powerful guy. Ronnie could sit at Frank Sinatra’s Table!

Canadian cultural history is so important and yet so neglected, it would be fantastic to see more of this type of thing on television. The Junos are home this year in Toronto, and they usually take place in a different city each year to make it more culturally relevant… Each city seems to have it’s own music scene and history… any thoughts towards expanding the series?

Dave: I think you could go to any city in Canada and find out there was a center. Every city in Canada had a cultural core. I spent a lot of years in Vancouver. So if we go and look, we could go right across Canada. You know, we could go to Winnipeg. and Joni Mitchell came out of there., so did The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive. There’s an endless numbers of bands. It’s just that Toronto, Yonge Street was the birth place of so many of these bands that came out of the rest of the country. It celebrates our music. 

To read Part 2 of the interviews click here.

To read more about the series click here.

Leave a Reply

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

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