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TOUR WITH THE TONIKS-Toronto 2013

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After months of anticipation and a few days of school girl giddiness, the time had come to hang out with The Toniks. All week, my wife had been informing our friends that “He thinks he’s going to hang out with The Beatles”. What can I say? Was I excited?  Like a pre-pubescent school girl with a new puppy! For 10 days all I drank were Gin & Toniks.

htI take pleasure in knowing that I had some part in bringing The Toniks’ music to Canadian ears. Actually I am proud as hell!  I had found them on the internet and contacted them. I wrote a few articles about their music and over time we became friends. When I learned that the English band were coming to play the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto to promote their new album, Rise & Shine, I arranged to meet  up with them, get an interview and catch the show.

In doing my research, I discovered that this is the 2nd incarnation of The Toniks. The 1st line-up, included Ollie Smith on drums and Jim O’Neil on keyboards. A 4 track EP was released in 2009 and 2 of the songs, ” Wonderful Then” and “Simple Things” appear on the Rise & Shine album . For the past 9 months, the current 5 members have been touring in England and recording.

We met out front of the bar and decided to conduct the interview over dinner. Jez presented me with a Rise & Shine CD and a t shirt they had made for me.  How cool is that? What a great bunch of guys. And a girl!

Colin Marshall

Colin Marshall

Finding a place to eat was challenging. In the midst of Chinatown, Mark announced he does not like Chinese food. Colin was adamant that he needed grilled chicken and veggies. So we headed out  across Queen St W until Colin found us a restaurant. We settled in, and ordered (yep, Colin got his grilled chicken and veggies). I had prepared 10 questions that I wanted to ask, however after the 1st, the interview took on a life of its own. Incredibly cool. It just naturally flowed. This band was open and honest, appreciative and humble.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

The band informed me that the music industry in England has been decimated by the influence of X-Factor and Simon Cowell. It has become increasingly difficult to even get gigs if you are not an X-Factorite. Canada, they claim, is far more receptive to new bands and music than England. And while they see no changes occurring in the English industry in the foreseeable future, they have no intention of leaving. Not yet anyway. While Colin helped the server clear tables (the guy is so ADHD) Mark and Jez informed me that they are the song writers, and described their relationship with producer/manager Graham Dominy as very positive. “Graham allows us to make our music. He just helps show us how to get it to sound the way we want it to sound.” There is no plan or conscious effort in their song writing. “We don’t sit down and say, well let’s write about this topic or that topic. We just start playing and it just sort of happens”. They do believe that they write positive songs because they are positive people. “I don’t like being down”, Mark says, “so I don’t want to bring others down”. Really cool attitude. One of the most endearing qualities of  this band is that they try to view everything in a positive light.

Jess English

Jess English

It’s a tough haul being a Tonik, though. They have no major iqnrecord deal, and have to cover all expenses out of pocket. They hold down full time jobs and devote as much time as they can to their music. The 5 of them share 1 hotel room. Not so bad since they view the band as family.  “I miss not being with them”, Colin said, “but I miss not being away from them”.  But this is one smart band. They have their own publishing company, and their own record label.  They have learnt all they could about royalties, mechanical rights and return on investment. They get that this is not just music. Its business.

Jez Parish

Jez Parish

I invited my buddy, Todd Miller of Radio That Doesn’t Suck to come down and see the band. I had given him a copy of  the new album and he seemed impressed. We hung out with the band in The Horseshoe for a while, talking about the artists who had played there and our own musical experiences. We sat through 2 opening acts and listened to the band talk about how cool it was that people in Canada move up to the stage. “In London, they move way to the back. That’s just what they do”, Mark told me. It was interesting for me to see Colin’s pre-gig ritual. Drummers tend to be incredibly ritualistic. Colin reads a very special book written by and given to him by a dear friend, Danielle. He sits alone and reads his book. This was the only time I saw him sit still for any length of time.

Tom Yates

Tom Yates

When The Toniks hit the stage, Todd and I were front and centre, taking pictures and shooting video.  I watched the crowd as Scapegoat began, and  everyone was tapping their feet, or dancing, or moving in one way or another. What a great opening song! They morphed into “Wonderful Then” and when it was done, the crowd erupted in applause. I knew it!! The band relaxed, smiled and got down to having fun. Each song they played drew the audience deeper into their world. The band was tight, with spot on harmonies. The vocals rang true, cradled in an almost perfect rendition of each track. You could feel the band’s energy, and you just knew that they were having the time of their lives. I am certain they are like this every time they play.  The Toniks are as much fun to watch as they are to listen to. Not just a studio band, these guys love to entertain, to work an audience.  They closed the set with “Figure It Out“. The audience erupted in chants of  “1 more song! 1 more song!”.  “You And I” was the encore. Killer song.   Killer show!

128I can’t helping really liking this band. Not just the music, or the performance, but the people in the band. Jess, the lone girl, is gentle, quiet and oh, so English. Mark is cerebral and tends to worry and wonder, and reminds me of Ian Hunter.  Jez is animated and quite sardonic in his humor, and very much the musical director of the band. Tom is quiet in his cool. He plays in the Gilmore style of less is more:  No shredding.  Just clean, crisp solos. And Colin, well, Colin has enough energy for his band mates and then some. He is an amazingly gifted drummer who plays with the exuberance of Keith Moon’s  “beat the crap out of my kit” school, but with that same less is more style. I just refer to him as Ringo. And yet these very different personalities have come together in an insanely talented and creative band.  It seems a perfect fit. These guys belong together. They are The Toniks. Their camaraderie, well, let’s call it festive. They like playing together. They like each other. They anticipate each others moves and, at times, finish each others sentences.

148This was their first visit to Canada. They said the Canadian response to their music has been great. “Can you believe people were buying our CDs and asking us to autograph them?” They opened for The Sheepdogs last weekend and played The Horseshoe. Not bad for a first Canadian tour.  Todd Miller was so impressed that he informed them that he was putting their music into regular rotation on Radio That Doesn’t Suck. I am determined to have them return for a longer tour, playing around Southern Ontario. They loved the Horseshoe. They loved Canada. And from what I saw, Canada loved them. Awesome music. Awesome band. Awesome people.  I am proud and thrilled to call them friends.

toniks19The Toniks are:  Mark Taylor–Bass, lead vocals; Jez Parish–Guitar, background vocals; Tom Yates–Guitar; Jess English–Keyboards, background vocals; Colin Marshall–Drums.

You can purchase Rise & Shine on The Toniks website:    http://www.thetoniks.com/riseandshine.php

Very Cool The Toniks Videos:

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

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THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I had spent the better part of a day with a friend, who is certain that Led Zeppelin sits at the right hand of God, discussing music. As his attempts to throw me off my Beatle wagon fell on deaf ears, he resorted to idiocy and asshat-ery. His premise became threaded with examples of Beatle thievery; stealing songs from others and claiming them as their own.  I decided to do some checking into the prevalence of plagiarism in popular music. The findings may surprise you.

george1john1Yes indeed,  George Harrison was found guilty of plagarism.  “My Sweet Lord” was ruled a case of subconscious theft of The ChiffonsHe’s So Fine“.  It cost him a little of $500,000,00 and 75% of the song;s North American sales.  John Lennon‘s “Come Together” was ruled to have plagarized Chuck Berry‘s “You Can’t Catch Me“. Lennon agreed to record 3 more of the writer’s songs as a settlement. Well, John only recorded 2 and the writer sued him. Lennon was ordered to pay $7000.00.

The Doors have been accused of lifting “Hello, I Love You” from The KinksAll Day And All Of The Night“. Staunchly denied by Doors guitarist, Robby Krieger who said that The Doors did lift the drum beat of the song from Cream‘s   Sunshine Of Your Love“.  Johnny Cash‘s “Folsom Prison Blues” is an almost carbon copy of Gordon Jenkins‘ “Crescent City Blues“, which was penned 2 years before Cash wrote his bbsong.  Johnny Cash paid Jenkins about $75,000.00. The Beach Boys‘ “Surfin’ USA” can actually be sung to the Chuck Berry tune “Sweet Little Sixteen“. Brian Wilson admitted to ripping off the melody and Chuck Berry was given co-authorship of the song and a portion of the royalties.

The Rubinoos

The Rubinoos

Other notable mentions include Ray Parker Jr;, writing “Ghostbusters” after stealing the melody from Huey Lewis‘  “I Want A New Drug“; The Oasis song “Whatever” was lifted from Neil Innes‘ “How Sweet To Be An Idiot“; The Rubinoos song   “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” was reworked into Avril Lavigne‘s hit “Girlfriend“. And The Rolling Stones‘ “Anybody Seen My Baby?”, lifted from k.d. lang & Ben Mink‘s “Constant Craving” was resolved by giving lang & Mink writing credit. Interesting, but not what I was looking for.

zep

Spirit

Spirit

I had already known that Led Zepplin had ripped off Spirit‘s 1968 song “Taurus” and used it in “Stairway To Heaven” and that Spirit had toured with Led Zepplin in  1969. But there had to be more. And then I found it. An extensive list of Zep-pilfering. “Black Mountain Side“, appearing on the 1st Led Zeppelin album is a traditional English folk song that appears on Bert Jansch‘s 1966 album, Jack Orion as “Blackwaterside“, yet it is credited on the Zeppelin album as a Jimmy Page composition. Pretty slick!!  The same Zepnique was used again on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You“, written in the 1950s by Anne Bredon (covered by Joan Baez in the 1960s) and credited by Zeppelin as “trad.,arr. Page”. In the 1990s it was changed to give Bredon credit for writing the song. The Led Zeppelin III song, ” Since I’ve Been Loving You” features lyrics taken from the  Moby Grape song “Never“. Is it coincidental that Moby Grape was one of Plant’s favorite bands? HA!

Bobby Parker

Bobby Parker

The guitar riff in “Moby Dick” is a nearly note for note rip-off of Bobby Parker‘s 1961 single, “Watch Your Step“. Jimmy Page was a Parker fan and at one time tried to sign him to Swan Song Records. “In My Time Of Dying“, a traditional blues song that has been recorded by many musicians since the early 1960s, was credited as being written by “Page, Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham”.  Great Zepnique. Again. Off of Zeppelin II, “The Lemon Song” borrows heavily from the Howlin’ Wolf song, “Killing Floor“. Credits again attribute the song to Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham. Another Zeppelin II song, “Bring It On Home” was written by Willie Dixon. However Willie Dixon was not given writing credit and Led Zeppelin was sued for copyright infringement. The case was settled out of court.

Jake Holmes

Jake Holmes

Whole Lotta Love“, again from Zeppelin II and the band’s 1st hit single, is not an original composition as the album credits originally claimed. The lyrics were taken from Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love” and this was settled out of court. Released on Zeppelin’s 1st album, “Dazed And Confused” was originally credited as being written by Jimmy Page. However, this is not the case. It was originally written by folk singer Jake Holmes who opened for The Yardbirds while Page was a member. Page arranged a version of it for The Yardbirds but he didn’t record a studio version until 1969 with Led Zeppelin. HA!

So there it is. There are many other cases of plagiarism in music, far too many to mention. This is not intended to slam Led Zeppelin but rather to ask my pal, Mr. K. is Led Zeppelin really a farce as implied on Howard Stern  or just the greatest cover band in music history? In any event, there you have it, my friend. Thievery, pilfering, song snatching, whatever you wish to call it, seems to run rampant on the Zeppelin. Should we start to question if the Zeppelin is actually theirs?

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/