Randy Bachman: Every song tells a story
By Lindsey Cole/Active Senior’s Digest
Randy Bachman has known from a very young age he always wanted to be a musician.
In Grade 1 his teacher was doing a seating plan, outlining who sat at what desk and in what row. She would ask the children some questions like what’s your name and what would you like to be when you grow up? When she got to Bachman he answered, “My name is Randy Bachman. I’m a musician.”
She asked him the same question again and he answered with the same answer, “I’m a musician.” The young lad was getting more and more frustrated that his answer wasn’t being taken seriously.
“I get up and run out of the classroom,” he says.
Living only a block away he ran home to his mother.
“I keep saying the answer and the answer is wrong,” he told his mom. Back to the school they went, so he, his mother and the teacher could get this cleared up.
The teacher said she was trying to get an answer out of him, which is why she kept asking the question. His mother then replied to the teacher, “That is the answer.”
“I knew I was a musician,” he says with a laugh.
Bachman had already been playing the violin for about a year when this discussion ensued, but his love for music would only continue to progress. He is now known as one of the most notable artists in Canadian history, as part of rock band The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO).
“I’ve been doing this for a quite a while. It’s an evolution,” he says.
That evolution is brought to life through Bachman as he weaves together the inspiration behind the hits of The Guess Who and BTO through his Vinyl Tap Tour: Every Song Tells a Story tour. It is inspired by his radio program entitled Vinyl Tap, and takes his storytelling and musical knowledge on the road giving fans a retrospective of his career.
“These are my 12 to 14 hit songs,” he says. “All those stories are there. It’s a real ride through the soundtrack of your life.”
A visual backdrop illustrating Bachman’s legendary rock n’ roll journey accompanies each song. The trio of Brent Howard, Marc LaFrance and Mick Dalla-Vee, who have been performing together for more than 20 years, join the Canadian rock n’ roll legend as he performs.
“No one really knew the stories behind the songs,” Bachman explains of how the whole idea came together. Around 12 years ago, he was in London, England and was watching a show called The Storyteller, by Ray Davies of the Kinks. He was inspired by the stories behind the music. Bachman ended up being able to go backstage, when a question was posed to him: “Why don’t you do a show like this?”
“I came back and threw together a story,” he says, adding he then put the show to action in Vancouver not long after for the Canadian Cancer Society and it was a resounding success.
Bachman’s musical journey has taken him through two highly successful bands, which hits have included These Eyes, Laughing, Undun, No Time, No Sugar Tonight, and American Woman, with The Guess Who, and Let it Ride, Roll on Down the Highway, Takin’ Care of Business, and You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet with BTO. His production/writing work with Canadian rock band Trooper also generated gold and platinum records in the 1970s. He has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and in March at the Juno’s, BTO was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
“It’s recognition. To make it again,” he says, as he did leave The Guess Who at the height of the band’s success – a decision many questioned.
“We had nothing for the first three years,” he adds of BTO. “There was no MTV, no MuchMusic. This was the old days of slugging it out. It wasn’t sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Plan B is stick to plan A and plan A is to do whatever it takes to make it. You have no choice but to achieve it.”
And when it comes to music as a whole, he says this tour is meant to inspire others and to note that some of the most memorable songs can come out of unpredictable moments.
“It’s everything that came out of Winnipeg that’s still on the radio,” he says. “They (the audience) absolutely love it. There’s a lot of laughs. A lot of my hit songs were accidents. I’ve learned to let myself be open to…let these things come to me.”
For example he says, Takin’ Care of Business “became an anthem that I didn’t know was going to happen. I’m quite amazed at how I came to find or discover these songs. There’s no set formula. I get enjoyment out of telling these stories.”
One such story is how the stuttering portion in the song, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet came to be.
“I was teasing my brother who stutters,” he says with a laugh. “It wasn’t meant to be a song. It was a na na na na na kind of thing. I was just goofing around.”
That song ended up selling over a million copies, he says.
Details of stories like this and many more are what the audience can expect to hear during one of his shows.
“I enjoy it and I think the audience enjoys it,” he says. “Here’s a chance to see the story behind the hits.”
For tickets or for more information about the tour and Bachman visit www.randybachman.com.