Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

Rockin’ With Claudette

You’ve got yer Zeppelin albums, yer Beatles, Stones, and Springsteen. You’ve got Dylan and Van the Man and Nirvana and the Who. You’ve got Miles Davis and Pete Seeger and the Buffalo Springfield. You’ve got U2, Metallica, Dave Van Ronk, and the Clash.

But have you got Claudette Auchu and her organ music, featuring such tunes as “It’s Impossible”, “Love Story”, “Ebb Tide”, and the always popular “Yellow Bird”?

I do!

(Claudette was the Montreal Forum organist from 1969 to 1974).


This And That And That

As you can see, when in New York, Bostonians really like to do it up in style.

NY hotel

Anyway, really enjoying the Olympics and love to see the personal stories, how these incredibly talented athletes who jump and twirl and fly through the air with the greatest of ease, got to where they are today.

Imagine the parents of these Olympians. Proud as punch. Although I find it odd that when most of these moms and dads are interviewed, they seemed quite composed.

I’d be an emotional wreck.

But they’re not, for some reason. Yves and Johane Dufour-Lapointe seemed fine after seeing two of their three daughters, Justine and Chloe, stand on the podium and receive gold and silver for their mastery on the moguls.

A third daughter, Maxime, came in 12th, which is also amazing.

And speaking of moguls, Canadian guys Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury won gold and silver in this freestyle event too, so Canada rocks when it comes to moguls.

Have you ever skied moguls? It’s ridiculously tough. A knee-blower. Not fit for mankind.

But I was a hack skier who only skied for a few years a long time ago, so maybe I’m not the right person to talk about it. I always preferred the rides on the chair lift.


At this writing, Canada has 3 gold, 3 silver, and a bronze, right up there in the penthouse!


Carey Price was named the NHL’s first star of the week after the Canadiens won three straight and Carey allowed only three goals in the process. The second and third stars aren’t important.


Longtime Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman began dating a 13-year old named Mandy when he was 48, and four years later when he was 52 and she was 18, they married. But she had an eating disorder that brought her down to 75 pounds and they were divorced shortly after.

However, Bill’s 27-year old son Stephen became engaged to Mandy’s mother Patsy, making Bill’s recent mother-in-law into a prospective daughter-in-law.

I learned this from reading Philip Norman’s book “Mick Jagger”.

More Tour, More Lunch

Went for lunch at Bar B Barn, a ribs place on Guy St. just below Ste. Catherines that my buddy Mel St. Onge in Orillia recommended. I thought it was important to go because Luci loves ribs and I decided to scout it out before she gets here.

That’s the kind of guy I am.

Are there any bad restaurants in Montreal?

Bar B Barn was down a few steps, the walls had plenty of Habs pictures, the tables had candles and red and white checkered tablecloths, and the plate had lots of food.

I felt like I had a bowling ball in my gut for about six hours afterwards.

It was good though. The $10.95 special was three big ribs, the obligatory fries (although you can get mashed or onion rings instead), along with a little dish of rice in tomato sauce, a big roll, and coffee. I had beer too. I needed to test it for temperature and freshness in case Luci decides to have one. ūüôā

I was in the bar area, but apparently there are two other rooms that they don’t open for lunch, so there’s lots of space. The waitress told me you don’t need reservations.

And the room I was in had a nice, Greenwich Village-type feel to it. Maybe a fine place for you to take a date.

The ribs were great. Sticky and plentiful. You might want to think about a long walk later on though if you want your pants to still fit.

Bar-B Barn

But before I went for lunch, I decided to visit McGill University. I walked the grounds and tried a few doors, but they were all locked. How’s a guy supposed to enroll as a mature student or just sit in on a class if it’s all locked up?

I though the McConnell Engineering Building would be good to visit but it was locked too. Which is too bad because I always wanted to learn how to drive a train.


McGill 2

McGill 3

After being denied entrance to McGill, which I’m going to complain to the newspapers about, I walked along Sherbrooke St. and came to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which, as Wikipedia tells me, is where the Rolling Stones rented the entire 6th floor but weren’t allowed to eat in the dining room until they went back and got jackets.



Then it was down to Bar B Barn for ribs.

Canadiens Magazine Gives Us Emelin

Every so often,¬†Rich the¬†trucker shows up at¬†the ferry terminal and hands me his Canadiens magazine, which I appreciate greatly. He’s a big Habs fan, this fellow,¬†he lives in Vancouver, and when he comes through, we talk Habs.

When this happens, my work¬†effort drops from 140% down to 125%. But it’s important. It’s the future of the team at stake. (please note, a few years ago I wrote about another trucker named Rick, in Ottawa. Two different truckers. And Rick in Ottawa is a Senators fan).

Rich’s latest¬†edition includes¬†an interview with Alexei Emelin¬†through a translator, and I’ve been waiting for something like this since¬†the big guy¬†joined the team. I’ve¬†been curious¬†to know what his thoughts are¬†about¬†life¬†here¬†and being in the NHL, and among others things, I found out that he wanted come to Canada and play for the Habs from the get-go, but was lied to by his agent.

The article explains that Emelin wanted to come and play for the Habs right away after being drafted 84th overall in 2004, but every time he asked his agent, the guy told him Montreal didn’t have an offer for him. And it wasn’t until Emelin had spoken to a Canadiens’ Russian scout, who told him how much the team wanted him, that he realized his agent had been less-than-truthful with him.

Emelin’s problem was that by the time he had found out, he had just signed a three-year deal in the KHL, and because he’s an honourable guy, he played out his contract. But once that was finished, he, along with his wife and daughter, were on a plane to Canada.

And yes, he has a different agent now.

Emelin also discusses the plate inserted into his face. He was in a scrap with Avangard Omsk forward Alexander Svitov, and when Emelin was down, Svitov sucker punched him in the face, his orbital bone was fractured, and major surgery was needed, which included a titanium plate put in. Now, if he fights it could damage the plate so although he plays a rough, tough game, he tries to keep his checks clean to avoid penalties and another sucker punch. I don’t blame him.

Speaking of Svitov, I saw him play in St. Petersburg when he was a junior, in a tournament against the Swedes. He was big and dominant, and when my Russian friend asked me during the game which player impressed me, I said Svitov. I liked him then but I don’t now. I’m not a fan of players who sucker punch others when they’re down.

But back to Emelin. He admits in the article that coming to Canada hasn’t been easy, the culture and language¬†is difficult to get¬†used to, and he says the game is much faster in the NHL than in the KHL. Learning English has been a trying experience, and he wants to understand the coaches better and¬†enjoy the dressing room camaraderie more, which can only come when he gets a handle on the language. He first relied on Andrei Kostitsyn to translate,¬†but with him gone now, Andrei Markov is back to pick up the slack.

I noticed at the game in Vancouver that the two of them chatted constantly on the ice, and my Russian wife Luci told me that seeing that tugged at her heart strings.

The hard-hitting defenceman¬†feels¬†he’s making progress in English now and¬†says he understands maybe 40% of what’s going on, mostly thanks to watching cartoons with his four-year old daughter Lesia.¬†Kids naturally pick up languages quickly, and¬†he’s trying to keep up with her. They watch Dora the Explorer together, and¬†all in all, as he gets more comfortable in his new surroundings,¬†he admits he’s really happy in Montreal, happier than he thought.

Don’t forget, North America isn’t always the¬†heaven on earth¬†for others that we think it should be. Their home is their home, and I understand that. But things are working out splendidly here for our bruiser.

Canadiens magazine is a nice read with tremendous photography, and I await Rich the trucker’s next issue. And did you know that Mathieu Darche’s favourite song is Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones?

The Clock Is Ticking

As I sit here at 9:15 a.m. drinking coffee and and eating a chocolate hash brownie (it doesn’t really have hash in it. I’m reading Keith Richard’s book and I’m swept away), I realize there are only 32 days and 10 hours before the Canadiens host Dallas in their first pre-season game.

Yes, 32 days is a lot and as I post every day, I hope you don’t mind when I¬†put up¬†stories about the old days and¬†hockey treasures¬†and all that jazz. I just feel that if some readers only go as far back as Saku Koivu or even Patrick, I can fill them in a little beyond that. During the season I’m modern like crazy. Like Keith Richards.

Regardless, I feel it’s important to point something out. As the new season progresses, being at the top of the heap, in first place, isn’t all it’s cut out to be. Our Habs should pace themselves, not burn out going for number one, and just keep all the ducks in a row for the post season.

Don’t forget, Washington was number one in the east and what did it get them? A second-round exit, swept by the 6th place Lightning,¬†and Bruce Boudreau almost ended up applying for jobs teaching English at community colleges. Boston, eventual Cup winners, which makes me nauseous just thinking about,¬†sat in third spot in the east. Montreal was sixth.

The Vancouver Canucks also provide an excellent example. First overall, most points of all 30 teams (117), and by the time they met the Bruins in the final, they were only a shell of themselves. They were so burnt out they couldn’t even mangle Brad Marchand’s nose, even just a little. All in all, 117 points got the Canucks a second-best handle, and as they say, second-best is for losers. Or something like that.

So 32 days, and now nine hours, before it begins, and¬†48 days before opening the regular season against Toronto. It’s still a lot of days.

In the meantime, I’ll just carry on with old and sometimes¬†new, and maybe the odd Keith Richards/hash brownie remark. Please hang in. Like I said, at some point I attempt to get quite modern.

As you can see, I’m feeling a little guilty.



Great For Habs Fans…Not So Great Elsewhere

The summer of 1965 was a fine time for Habs fans. The team had captured the Stanley Cup that spring by beating the Chicago Black Hawks four games to three, and Jean Beliveau became the very first winner of the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP.

Joyfully, at least for Habs fans, the team would win the Cup again in the next year when Henri Richard scored the overtime winner in game six over Detroit.

Yes, it was a good time to be a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.

It was a good time in many ways. Jobs were plentiful in Canada and the US. One could conceivably quit¬†a lousy gig¬†on Monday and¬†grab maybe a better one¬†on Tuesday. And if Tuesday’s job sucked, then just find another on Wednesday.

Music was bursting at the seams at this time. The Beatles were in full throttle, as were the Rolling Stones and the rest of the British Invasion, and the Americans donated the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkle, and the sounds of Motown to the pop charts.

Unfortunately,¬†beneath the rosy, smiling setting of mid-1960’s¬†lay a rotting, ugly underbelly. And it stunk to high heaven.

The Cold War reminded us daily that the Russians could obliterate us at any time unless we did it to them first. Vietnam was as brutal as any war in the history of wars. And blacks were treated as third-class folks, sometimes strung from trees, which led to protests and demonstrations which often began as peaceful and quickly turned deadly. Hatred and racism oozed from the pores of those who never knew they had it.

In July of 1965, just when Habs fans were savouring a Cup win and preparing for another, with Jean Beliveau the toast of the town and Henri Richard soon to be, a songwriter in Los Angeles, PK Sloan, penned a tune to describe the times, singer Barry McGuire recorded it, and just like that, an unknown and his song were filling the airwaves.

This is what we listened to at our dances and on our radios as we¬†made¬†our way through¬†the summer of ’65. We even sang along.¬†Take it as¬†a reminder that although now is a deadly and depressing time, other years were too. But sometimes things change and get better if we’re patient and work at changing.

It’s Called “The Eve of Destruction,” and these are the lyrics.

The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it’s bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
I can’t twist¬† the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it’s the same old place
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Blame The Look Of Hockey Fans On The Beatles

Things were going so well. Rinks in Montreal, New York, Toronto, Boston, Chicago and Detroit were filled with people looking like they were going to church and went in the wrong building by mistake. Fedoras, shawls, hats with feathers in them, polished shoes, diamonds, all on display in the seats above as players grunted and spit and smashed noses in below.

It was the perfect blend.

Then those darn Beatles and others with guitars and drums showed their faces, wearing longer hair than people were accustomed to, and it was the beginning of the end. As the months turned into years, jeans and ragged shirts added to the long hair and it all became the style of the day that has lasted even to now.

Hockey fans, of course, were not immune, and were quickly swept away by the look brought by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the rest, and soon, fedoras, shawls, diamonds, and hats with feathers in them were sadly put in trunks and only brought out when the kids were dressing up for Halloween.

Now, instead of looking like a million bucks, fans have taken to wearing hockey jerseys to games. It’s weird, yes it is, but they have. And NHL owners are sitting back looking at their jersey sales receipts and lighting cigars and drooling.

Blame it on the Beatles. If they would’ve shown up on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964¬†with brushcuts and¬†fedoras, arenas might still look like churches.

But the Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, Boston Garden, Madison Square Gardens, Chicago Stadium, and the Detroit Olympia¬†WERE cathedrals, weren’t they?


One of the things I’m most proud about is the fact that I saw the Beatles live, in Toronto, in 1966. The following is a small post I did a couple of years ago about this¬†huge event in my life. Seeing The Beatles

The Year I Paid Absolutely No Attention To My Team

003 This is my passport photo taken when I was 17. If you look closely you can see pimples.

I was getting ready to go on a big trip, which ultimately would cause me to miss almost the entire Montreal Canadiens 1968-69 season including playoffs. I’m unable to talk about Rogie Vachon and Gump Worsley in goal and rookie coach Claude Ruel winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie coaching season and most of the other details in that year, mainly because I wasn’t around.

When this picture was taken I was working in a factory, having quit school, and was saving my money. I worked for a year in this dirty, stinking old place, but on November 22, 1968, a month after I turned 18, myself and a friend took a train to Montreal, boarded the Empress of England, and sailed for seven days and seven nights until we reached Liverpool, England. My thoughts weren’t on the Habs at all. They were filled with swinging London, the Beatles, long-legged¬†lovelies in mini-skirts, Carnaby Street, and of course the great British bands like the Stones, the Who and the Kinks. The sounds that had come out of there while I was stuck in Orillia, and all the photos which described to me a special place where kids were cooler than cool, drove me crazy until I knew I needed to go and see for myself.

From Liverpool we took a train to London because that was ground zero of all that was good and cool about England, and we took a room at the YMCA. (A few years later I also stayed at another YMCA in Sudbury,Ontario, and I don’t know about now, but I can tell you, YMCA’s aren’t the Ritz.)

I had no idea what was happening with my Habs and I’m ashamed to say it, but I suppose I didn’t really care at this time. We were in England and that was all that mattered. While Beliveau and the Pocket Rocket¬†zigged and zagged¬†and the team geared up for the playoff run, I ate fish and chips, looked at double decker buses, and wondered how my hair looked. And at one point we went to the Beatles’ office on Saville Row, knocked on the door, and asked a lovely young secretary lady if the boys were in. She said no, and to this day, I’ve wondered what I would’ve done if she’d said yes.

We traveled up through the Midlands in the dead of winter, into Derby and Nottingham, hitchhiking from the other side of the road of course, and I recall sleeping standing up¬†in a phone booth one freezing night. We also got beds at a Salvation Army¬†shelter for the down-and-out, and it was the two of us with¬†heavy woolen blankets over top of us, listening all night to old, homeless men snoring and burping and farting and talking drunken gibberish. But the thought of these wine-soaked, tobacco-stained creatures quickly vanished from my mind when we went to a¬†movie house somewhere to see a young Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Women.”

We were in Swinging England! My friend bought a Victorian top hat at a flea market which he wore around when it wasn’t wet and windy. And we saw John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at¬†a jam-packed¬†Railway Tavern, a place that only months later would become the nightly home of a¬†new-formed band named Led Zeppelin.¬†¬†

STC1969Back home, I didn’t know it at the time but the Canadiens were rolling along to a first place finish, with big Jean Beliveau ending up second to Phil Esposito for the Hart trophy as league MVP. Yvan Cournoyer finished with 87 points, just five ahead of Beliveau, and Tony Esposito, who of course became a huge star in Chicago, was a Hab this year and replaced Gump Worsley in goal¬†when Worsley had¬†some sort of¬†nervous breakdown. At least, this is what I’ve read. I don’t know because I was over there, doing my best to be cool.

And in the playoffs, the Canadiens first swept the Rangers, beat Boston in six games, and took out St. Louis in four games to win their 16th Stanley Cup.

There’s just not a lot I can tell you about this season. I was busy.

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