Back when I was a paper boy, an alter boy, and really, really wanted to play for the Montreal Canadiens. It was a time when I still liked school, before my disastrous high school days began, and when I hoped that soon I would touch a girl’s boob.
Rocktown Magazine (Let your eyes feed your ears)
By Leonard Bingo
Sunset Boulevard was still reasonably quiet when I sat down with master keyboardist Homer Gibson and the notoriously difficult yet ultra-talented Denny (Killer) Kane. After all, it was still mid-morning, but the news hit my ears like a thousand cars inching along the Strip with horns blaring on a Saturday night.
Gibson, wearing his trademark vest, Bermuda shorts, and Powell River Kings t-shirt, is almost unrecognizable now after decades of hard rock star living, but Kane, in his dapper business suit and shirt that reads ‘Welcome to Orillia, home of Lightfoot and Kane’, looks young and healthy, possibly because of having his blood drained and replaced in Switzerland a decade ago.
“We’re putting the band back together again,” blurted Gibson as I sipped green tea while the pair chugged beer and ate homemade brownies they said came from one of the many female fans who regularly sent the legendary Carnaby Knights gifts from MILK (mothers interested in licking Knights). MILK members have dedicated their lives to the band since the rockers burst onto the scene in 1964 with their massive hit ‘You Don’t Know Me But I know You (Cause I look Through Your Bathroom Window), and never gave up hope of sleeping with at least one of them, preferably Kane.
The two of them waited while I digested the news. The Carnaby Knights hadn’t been together in many, many years, and it seemed unreal that the band would consider such a thing now. All four continued to live lavish lifestyles, compliments of record sales and previous world tours, and they had their successful solo careers. But now this. They’re getting back together. My tea grew cold as my head swirled.
“Why now?” I asked. “You’ve nothing left to prove. The Knights were the best, but can you do it again?”
Kane ordered another four pints for him and Homer, and looked me square in the eyes. “You bet we can, because we rock. The Carnaby Knights folded up shop way too soon. We were neck and neck with Zeppelin, we had outsold the Beatles, and women voted us the hottest rockers on the planet, but we quit because, well, we didn’t see eye to eye on a bunch of things.”
The beer arrived, and I noticed Kane and Homer looking at each other. Getting the news out was big for them too. And they seemed like old friends once again, after all those public and insane quarrels we all knew about.
I finished my tea and ordered a double tequila. It was too early for beer, but I needed a something to fully take in what I was hearing.
The Carnaby Knights were my favourite band, there was no question. Gibson on keyboards, Izzy Brash on bass, Bobby Folsom on lead, and Dougie Jumpstarter on drums were groundbreakers. They had changed the world through their music, and had become known as gurus to the guys in Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yes, even the Fab Four had asked for tips more than once.
And then there was Kane, whose vocals sent crowds wild and women into a frenzy. He was what Robert Plant aimed to be, with vocals that ranged from soft to ear shattering, melodic to punkish, sensual to violent. No one sang like Kane, and we always understood that this was a guy born to rock.
Together, the boys’ music was magical, the true inspiration for Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers, and of course the genius of Pink Floyd. Waters and Gilmour will certainly flip when they hear the news. Jann Wenner is gonna be pissed when he gets wind that I landed the scoop. But Rolling Stone was certainly no Rocktown, and the two legends wanted to tell the world through the biggest and best rock rag. So they had called me and I was there to meet them within the hour.
“We were bored hanging out at our pads with all the dope and champagne and beer and entourages and swimming pool orgies” explained Kane. “So I rang Homer. I said, hey Homer, let’s put the band back together again, and after Homer slept on it and woke up in late afternoon a couple of days later, he called and said he was all in.”
I saw a problem though, and wasn’t sure if now was the time to bring it up. The world knew about the band’s fights over the years, the slandering of each other in the papers, the drunken episodes at the Roxy and Whisky, and the night at the Troubadour when they yelled out lewd remarks to Linda Ronstadt and were promptly thrown out into the street. Even worse, the club and Dan Tana’s restaurant next door pressed charges after Homer took a dump in front of the ticket window and drove his Harley through the high-end eatery.
“What about the other guys?” I finally asked, and the pair guzzled their beer and paused for a minute. Finally, Kane let it out after ordering four more.
“We don’t want them back,” he said angrily. “Brash was boring, he never drank or popped acid or anything that he should’ve been doing. Hell, he even stayed in his room and read books when we had our swimming pool orgies. Folsom could play, man could he play, but he was beginning to think he was bigger than the band. Don’t forget, he almost ruined us when he told the press the Knights were bigger than Sinatra. And Jumpstarter just wasn’t what we wanted in a drummer. We thought there were better guys out there, and it was a drag that he seemed to be liked by the groupies a bit too much. So after our last gig, the one when we headlined the Isle of Texada, I told Brian (Saperstein), to take care of it.”
“So now we’re looking for new members, but Clapton’s basically retired, Jack Bruce and Hendrix are dead, and Ginger Baker’s an asshole. But it’s okay, we’re starting to put the word out. Maybe we’ll be three-piece band now. Just me, Homer, and maybe Neil Peart. We’ll see. I might give (Jeff) Beck a call.”
I scribbled in my pad at a furious rate and ordered another double tequila. Eleven in the morning wasn’t too early now. “What’s gonna happen when you’re ready?” I asked.
Homer put his beer down and looked at me. “We’re gonna be huge again, that’s what’s gonna happen. We’ll start by cutting an album, maybe call it ‘The Carnaby Knights Are Back in Your Face’, and we’ll tour. Probably kick it off here in L.A., and then New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Powell River, Drumheller, Moose Jaw. Really man, I can’t wait.”
Then, while I was still slightly dazed, they simply rose and left, leaving me with my thoughts and the bill. How I’d always wanted the Carnaby Knights to play again, and now it seemed it could happen. The Knights’ music was timeless of course, always innovative, and yes, definitely unequaled.
I paid the bill, closed my notebook, and walked out onto Sunset. I could picture them again, rocking the nearby Hollywood Bowl and hopefully the Carlson Club in Powell River, where it all started, all those years ago. The news made my day, my week, my year, and I hustled to the office to file my story.
Where they were now I wasn’t sure, they had quickly disappeared down the street, but I know where I’ll be when the time comes. At their first show of course. And I’ll be in seventh heaven.
It had been a long and winding road, but the Carnaby Knights will record one more time at least, stand on stage, rock the world like they used to, and drive women insane once again. It’s unbelievable. And it’s beautiful.
Below, the Carnaby Knights at the peak of their career. But the infighting was just beginning.
That’s it for the Habs after falling to the Rangers 3-1 in game six, and I’d say I’ll now start getting excited about the Blue Jays’ season, except they’re 4 and 12 and about to lose another as I write.
I wish the Expos would come back.
Still no Stanley Cup since 1993. Will it happen again soon? Will it happen in my lifetime or yours?
I don’t have favourite players on my team. That time is long gone. When I was a kid, the Rocket was my hero. And Beliveau and Harvey and I guess, every player on the team. As a guy in my twenties, I was happy about Lafleur and Dryden and Robinson.
But it’s only about the crest now. I liked Subban for example, but it didn’t bother me one bit when he was traded because I thought Shea Weber was an upgrade in many ways. I still do.
It’s about the team only. Players can come and go and I won’t bat an eyelash.
A few days ago I saw a film clip of Andrei Markov coming out of a NY hotel (or maybe Madison Square Garden) and a kid, the only person in site, approached him for an autograph. Markov shook his head and casually walked across the street.
Players can say no all they want to adults, I understand and accept that. But there’s no excuse to say no to a kid.
No excuse. It would’ve taken all of about four seconds to sign the kid’s piece of paper.
And so, I finish off a season of game reports complaining about Andrei Markov.
Thanks to everyone who read my posts this season. I hope you liked some of them. And I also truly appreciate anyone who took the time to sometimes comment.
We thought the team had a decent chance this year to make a serious dent.
But without naming names, they let us down.
The Canadiens fall 3-2 to the Rangers in overtime, and now it’s gonna take them seven games to win the series instead of six.
I’m okay with that, because I have faith. But they’re testing my faith. And my patience. Bastards.
For much of the game, the Rangers were the better team, and that’s unacceptable, especially at the Bell Centre where noisy fans provided the atmosphere, but fans can’t put the puck in the net. That’s where the team is supposed to chip in.
It was a sickening sight to see the puck get past Carey Price in overtime, because as dominate as the Rangers were in OT, it was always possible that a lucky break could see the Canadiens end up winning the thing.
It never happened, and now the series resumes once again on Saturday in New York. And it’ll have to be all hands on deck for that one, because no-shows aren’t welcome. Never have been, never will. Especially no-shows that wear the CH.
I still feel that Montreal is the better team. It’s just how I feel. They weren’t tonight, and they weren’t on Tuesday. Or game 1 for that matter. So maybe they’re not.
This one hurts.
From my notes:
In the first minute of the game, Carey Price made a huge save on Mats Zuccarello, and I thought maybe Pricer was gonna be a hero on this night.
Andrew Shaw and the much bigger Brendan Smith dropped the gloves, Shaw got in several fine rights, and he looked good as he swung away. It was just the beginning of a rough and tumble, hard hitting, testy kind of a night.
Still in the first, Artturi Lehkonen fooled with Marc Staal and ended up swooping around the net and sending the puck past Henny Lunny to give the boys a 1-0 lead.
Still in the period, Jesper Fast scored a shorthanded marker after Alex Galchenyuk coughed up the puck, and the game was tied.
Galchenyuk’s been mediocre at best in this series. Maybe he doesn’t want to be a Hab anymore.
Just 25 seconds later, on the same power play, Brendan Gallagher fooled Henny from 15 feet out and the good guys took the lead again.
In the second period, Zuccarello highsticked Paul Byron, catching him in the eye area. Somebody needs to tune the Norwegian in once and for all.
With just 1:32 left in the 2nd, the Rangers tied it up, and it was after this that the strength of my ticker was firmly tested.
Sixteen seconds in, Gally took a slashing penalty when his little love tap knocked the stick out of the hands of a weak-wristed Blueshirt. A cheap call indeed, but NY failed to score.
Gally’s only 5’9″, 184 pounds, but he’s the toughest son of a gun on the ice.
Also in the third, Phillip Danault hit the post while the team was shorthanded, and Max couldn’t solve Henny on a clear-cut breakaway.
Max is in a slump at the wrong time of year. But you already know that.
In overtime it was all Rangers.
One Lousy Random Note:
Game 6 on Saturday in New York is an 8pm ET start. Or 5pm where I live.
The Canadiens lost a tight one in New York, falling 2-1 to a revitalized Rangers team, and now it’s gonna take six games instead of five to dispatch these NY bastards to the nearest golf course.
I want these guys gone. I’m tired of Zuccarello and Kreider and McDonagh and Nash and the lousy cop anthem singers. Tired of all things Rangers. Let me be the first to say good riddance after the Canadiens put the hammer down on Thursday and Saturday.
Nash ran Price, and how beautiful it would’ve been to see Weber send the big Rangers’ nose and several chiclets into the upper deck. Kreider’s been a bum but he remains despicable regardless. Zuccarello, waving his stick that would be too big for Mike McCarron, needs to be scalped by Steve Ott.
The little bugger might have the longest stick on his team. Maybe he’d be better if he cut a foot or so off it. Maybe he’s never thought of it.
Their goaltender, Henny Lunny, the one who embarrasses teammates for all to see after they make a mistake like not getting him a stick during the play, can’t always be so lucky to have a puck hit his stick that’s laying on the ice, and have the biscuit scoot safely away.
And of course there was that Shea Weber missile that clanged off the iron late in the game. Henny was full of it on this night.
The Canadiens will pull their pants up Thursday in Montreal, and finish it back on Broadway. Then the New Yorkers, including the anthem singers, can take in some Bronx and Queens baseball and not be back on my TV until next fall.
Turnovers played a role in the Habs falling short. Name a defenceman – he turned it over. All of them. Most flagrant was Andrei Markov letting a puck at the backboards carom off his skate and straight out to Jesper Fast, who banged it home.
But still in the first period, Torrey Michell converted a Radu to Mitchell to Weber to Mitchell, shortly after a Radu penalty was over, the game was suddenly tied, and visions of a 3-1 series lead danced in my head.
Sadly, not only did New York dominate the second period, a goal from that Nash fellow put the team ahead, and try as Montreal might in the third, especially in the dying moments, they weren’t able to light the lamp, and the series is again tied.
Playoff hockey isn’t for the faint of heart. Thunderous hits, chirping, bleeding faces, sore noses. And that’s just in my living room. The play on the ice was almost as bad.
And as exciting as this series has been, I want it over in six games. Speaking for myself, of course.
Maybe you want seven games. Maybe you’re not as sick of Zuccarella and Henny and Nash and those dudes as I am. But I think you are.
Big game on Thursday. Huge.
Definitely solid were the Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening, with their 3-1 win giving them a 2-1 series lead over the Blueshirts, and it was a job done in impressive style.
Outshooting the Rangers 29-21, Les Glorieux stood their ground, skated miles, the defence and Carey Price shut the door, and New York ticket buyers rained boos down on their beloved team that lacked flow, mainly because the Habs made sure there was no home team flow.
The boos were music to my ears. Disgruntled New Yorkers, pissed because their team was outmatched by the proud CH.
That’s two straight wins for the boys after an opening game loss, no longer are they stymied in the neutral zone as they were in game 1, they’re on a roll with that magical momentum, and my heart soars like a pair of pelicans at the beach in Malibu.
After a scoreless first period, Artturi Lehkonen, on the power play, finished off a great sequence (Plekanec to Gallagher to Lehkonen), while in the final frame, Shea Weber, on another man-advantage, converted some nifty work by Alex Galchenyuk.
Weber’s goal proved to be the winner, but it wasn’t the final marker. Alexander Radulov danced in and extended his stick and the puck one-handed around Henrik Lundqvist, and the game for all intents and purposes was over. Although New York would pot one with 2:56 left and Lundqvist on the bench to make it a slightly more respectable 3-1 game.
A great win, the boys are rolling, Claude Julien seems to be molding them into a tight and impressive playoff club, and I think the Rangers to a man know they’re in deep trouble.
Their fans do, that’s for sure.
And at the risk of sounding smug, greedy, and obnoxious, it’s a beautiful thing when a team can dispatch the enemy in less than seven games. The postseason is a brutal marathon, and we don’t want the series to go long.
I’m not smug. If I can’t be a player or coach or stickboy, I have to do my own mental planning from a distance. And my mental planning means winning the series in five games, or at the most, six.
Next game – Tuesday in NY, at the normal time.
Above – Habs fans in Powell River watch the game on the big screen.
Finally I was able to see the game properly, after my pal Homer kidnapped me last night and I was forced to listen to him talk about how the World Cup of Hockey, the World Baseball Classic, and the Sedin twins sucked.
But we did accomplish one big thing as I tried to watch the game out of the corner of my eye. We’re gonna form a band and call ourselves Carnaby Knights. I’m the singer.
This morning I saw how a team fought, hit, worked, and didn’t give up, and the Bell Centre crowd definitely got their money’s worth. It’s like I’ve said about a dozen times over the past several months – the regular season is long gone, forgotten, never to be thought of again, because the playoffs are a whole other animal.
Weber was a beast, and when he’s pissed off, he’s the Weber we wanted. Plekanec was back to the one we knew and loved. Max, Radulov, Petry, Byron, and heck, almost everyone, played hard, smart, and desperate.
Gallagher…..I have no words. Sort of. He’s a warrior, old school yet new school. One of a kind. I thought the abuse he takes year in and year out had begun to slow him down a bit. I was wrong.
Gallagher’s taking plenty from the Rangers, and frankly, it’s up to the officials to call more. It’s ridiculous how one guy can get mugged constantly but the whistle is never blown.
The series is tied, and the hockey is great. I apologize for last night. Blame Homer.
Game three goes Sunday at the normal time.
Below, Rangers fans head back to Manhattan.
The Canadiens evened the series on Friday night after Tomas Plekanec, a player Habs fans have almost given up lately due to his lack of fire power, scored with just 17 seconds left in regulation time, and Alexander Radulov, with his marker at 18:34 into the first overtime frame, gave the Canadiens a 4-3 overtime win in game two of the Stanley Cup opening series.
A big win. Huge. Life is worth living again!
Now that’s hockey!
Things now stand at a game apiece going into New York on Sunday evening, and for the Canadiens, it’s now time to grab the series lead.
I just can’t say enough about this big win tonight, I feel like shouting, but I’m a bit drunk. I’m also worried that I’ll wake up Lucy and baby Lyla.
I was out with my buddy Homer and his lovely lady Corrine tonight, and Homer likes the Habs, only because he listens to Chris Nilan on Nilan’s radio talk show every morning. Basically, Homer’s a Canucks fan because he grew up on the west coast, but because of Nilan he’s cheering for the Habs, and whatever, he’s a great guy.
I missed a lot of tonight’s game, but it’s not my fault. I love the result, that’s all. Now the series is tied. Go Habs.
The crowd was primed, Ginette Reno belted out O Canada in stirring fashion, and the Canadiens in the first 20 minutes belted bodies and pelted 15 shots at the Rangers net while allowing just 5.
It looked like it was gonna be a rip-roaring, rootin’ tootin’ affair at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, with the happy crowd filling Peel and Crescent St. later to celebrate the return of joyous hockey in Montreal.
But a fine and somewhat flukey backhand shot by Tanner Glass in the first, and an empty-netter as the clock wore down, and the Rangers take the always-important first game 2-0. Now fans filling the pubs in downtown Montreal must debate their team’s lack of scoring instead of high-fiving and toasting friends and strangers alike.
The Canadiens were flying in the first, energized by the building, the anthem, the atmosphere in hockey’s greatest city, and the wondrous anticipation leading up to the puck drop, but were ultimately foiled by Henrik Lundqvist and a tight and disciplined Rangers squad.
Montreal’s wings were trimmed in the second and third as the visitors stood tall in the neutral zone, were stingy in their end, and with Lundqvist on his game, they made life way too difficult for the good guys.
Yes, it was a bummer to lose the opener. Adjustments need to be made. Nikita Nesterov, awkward on defence, needs to sit. Scorers need to score. Shooters need to hit the net. Centremen need to win important faceoffs. The team has to be better in their own end.
In fact, nothing really changed from the regular season when scorers weren’t scoring, pucks missed nets, faceoffs were lost, and confusion reigned often in their own end.
Friday has to be different. Imagine going down two games before hitting Broadway. Not gonna happen is my prediction.
Shots were 31 apiece.
Alexei Emelin, still healing, didn’t play, and I for one wouldn’t mind seeing the big fellow in the lineup sooner than soon. The team has to smash these bastards like they did in the first period of the opener. But for 60 minutes next time.
Last year, THE SEASON FROM HELL, saw the Canadiens score 221 times over 82 games. This season they managed 226, five more.
Last year the team allowed 236 goals, while this year it was just 200, which shows what happens when Carey Price is healthy. And last season they finished with 82 points while this season was 103 points.
A different team, a new lease on life. Expected to make a big dent in the postseason. But they’re not scoring. Not yet anyway.