Tag Archives: Mike Williamson

Atlantic City Rocked

Exactly 47 years ago my buddy Mike Williamson and I were in Atlantic City to experience the glorious and highly-underrated three-day Atlantic City Pop Festival.

It took place on August 1, 2, and 3, 1969, and we got there a few days early, hung around the boardwalk, smoked dope, and then decided to find a ride to the racetrack 12 miles away, where the big show was about to begin.

Imagine that. A huge, honkin’ rock and rock extravaganza, one of the greatest in rock and roll history, and one that most have never heard of.

I feel it’s kind of my mission to keep it alive.

I didn’t even bring a sleeping bag for some reason, and slept for a few hours every night for a week on hard ground, with my jean jacket as a lousy pillow. But it didn’t matter. I was there for the music and friends and vibes and chicks and drugs. And Orillians are tough bastards anyway.

Janis Joplin was there, and so was Creedence Clearwater, Santana, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, Mothers of Invention, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, and a whack of others. About 30 bands in all, with guitars soaring.

Guitars soaring except for Joni Mitchell, who left crying half-way through her set because no one was listening to her quiet and dignified set.

Skip Prokop of the Toronto-based Paupers told everyone that if they were about to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, they could just come to Canada, where there’s plenty of room.

I met a girl there from Washington D.C. and the plan was for me to go home with her and then on to Woodstock, but it never happened. I was probably too tired and hungry, and most importantly, I had a ride home lined up. She was cute though.

Back in Orillia I began planning on Woodstock, but a night or two before I was going to go, me and four of my  buddies met a guy in the park who was drunk, leaving his wife, and driving to Vancouver the next morning. So that next morning we all piled into his car and went to Vancouver instead.

I missed going to Woodstock, which I feel bad about, but at least I have Atlantic City, with this kick-ass lineup.

Atlantic City

Below: A couple of years ago, one of the guys we got a ride home with, Brad Emmons (that’s him with the cigarette in his mouth), sent me some Atlantic City photos that I didn’t know existed. I’m on the far left, and Mike is next to me with the yellow and black striped shirt.

At 2

Below, taken from behind the stage, B.B. King doing his thing,

Atlantic City4

Atlantic City3

Atlantic City5



Close Encounters

Mike and Big M

You go to a Canadian Tire in Toronto to buy a table and chairs and you run into one of the greatest players ever, Frank Mahovlich, who was also shopping and who knows a thing or two about playing the Bruins.

That’s what happened to my old buddy Mike Williamson the other day in outdoor patio and accessories. Frank and Mike talked about what a great series it’s been this year along with other things, and then Frank was off to buy his garden tools or whatever it was he went to Canadian Tire for.

Frank knows a thing or two about playing the Bruins. He was a standout in the 1971 Habs-Bruins semi-finals for example when Montreal took out the heavily-favoured Bruins four games to three.

Frank in those ’71 playoffs scored seven of Montreal’s 27 goals against the Bruins and led all players in the playoffs with 27 points to set a Canadiens record.

Twenty-seven points in the playoffs is amazing. P.K. would need 16 more to equal that but if the Canadiens can carry on and P.K. continues to shine, maybe he could sneak up and catch Mahovlich. Wouldn’t that be something?

This is the third time Mike has run into a player while shopping. He also chatted with Darryl Sittler and Eddie Shack at different times. But, like Mike said, it’s better when it’s an ex-Hab like the Big M.

Frank was also wearing a huge mother of a Stanley Cup ring on his finger. But if he wanted, he could wear six after winning four with the Leafs and two with the Canadiens.

I’m now curious to know who the next player Mike’s going to meet while out and about. Chances are it won’t be Brad Marchand at a library.





Sittler Got Ten

My old buddy Mike Williamson was talking to Darryl Sittler for a few minutes last week when he was making his elevator maintenance rounds, and Mike mentioned to Darryl that he and his wife Diana were at the Gardens the night Sittler had six goals and four assists for an incredible ten points.

Ten points in one game. Imagine. Too bad he was a Leaf. But on the other hand, it was against Boston!

In honour of Mike chatting with Darryl, here’s Sittler getting his ten.

Against Don Cherry and the Bruins.


Mike On Strike

Excellent Habs fan since the 1950s, a big Jean Beliveau fan, and a name you might recognize as he comments here often, Mike Williamson, is on strike in Toronto.

Mike’s a member of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), and he says it sure isn’t the way he wanted his final of 25 years in the great trade to end.

I was on the picket line once when B.C. Ferry workers went on strike, and people drove by and swore at us. They’d be swearing at Mike too, I guess, but they can’t get down from the top floors to do it. 🙂

Mike W.

Go Ahead, Drop That Puck

Time to dust off the great Annakin Slayd “Feels Like ’93” to get things going. Mike Williamson suggested a few years ago that this tune should be an annual event here as the boys begin their charge, and I agree.

You probably think I should be listening to Rudy Vallee and Al Jolson, but I happen to think Feels Like ’93 is a very cool song.

Can the Canadiens take out the Senators? You bet they can. They have more weapons. And as for those Habs who’ve been struggling lately, now’s the time to stop struggling. We need you. Not mentioning any names, Michael Ryder, DD, Max, Brian Gionta, Mr. Bourque etc.

Go Habs! Slay those Sens..

Shack And Beliveau

My old buddy Mike Williamson gives us this little story. He was at a store the other day and Eddie Shack happened to be there shopping. Mike and Eddie chatted for about 20 minutes or so, Jean Beliveau’s name came up, and they both agreed it’s great that Jean is improving from his recent stroke.

Eddie told Mike that when he played against Montreal, he would often give Jean a punch after hitting him, and then say sorry. One day the two of them happened to cross paths at the airport and Jean asked Eddie why he always said sorry after punching him.

Because sometimes I lie,  answered Eddie.

Mike, Diana, And Big Jean

Below is my old buddy Mike Williamson with Jean Beliveau, and below them is Mike’s wife Diana. Diana moved to Orillia from Toronto when I was in grade 10 and I used to check her out when she’d stand outside the school with her sister having a smoke. She had the big city cool hair and cool clothes, and she was hot. I also figured she was way out of my league, with my self-esteem being what it was at the time.

Shortly after, Mike hooked up with her and they’ve now been married 41 years.

Diana says Jean Beliveau is the most dignified man she’s ever met. Next to Mike, I ask?

Meeting Up With An Old Buddy

Yours truly on the left, with my old buddy Mike Williamson looking mighty fine in his Habs shirt.

In Ontario last spring we got together with our wives and shared some laughs and old and new stories. It was great. The whole trip was great. Seeing so many old friends was fantastic.

Mike and I go way back to our teen years in Orillia, and he and I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival together, something that I’m very proud of doing. Mike is also a lifelong Habs fan, and maybe it was that more than anything else which cemented our friendship in the first place.