The London Music Archives - 1996
New York City
You Tell Me
New York City
Cowboys Are Fags
Talk's Cheap 2
Oh Well 2
All Gone Wrong
Lost Woman Blues
Seven And 7 Is
Grey And Black
I Got A Right
Get Me To The World On Time
New York City 2
KEITH WHITTAKER - VOCALS,
JIMMY WEATHERSTONE -DRUMS,
ROBERT BRENT - GUITAR,
IAN ATKINSON - BASS
IT'S 1977. London, Canada is a town of 200,000 located in the farm belt of Southwestern Ontario; 120 miles west of Toronto. 120 miles east of Detroit. Home of Labatt's Brewery, London Life Insurance Company and a large university dubbed "country club U", it's also known as the Forest City. London's most famous son, musical or otherwise is Guy Lombardo...
Meanwhile, New York City's CBGB's scene and London England's punk explosion set off musical and cultural shock waves so powerful that they are felt even in a remote secondary market. The DIY, " anyone can do it" punk rock aesthetic makes it possible for bands to form and audiences to gather seemingly overnight, and an intense, boozy, druggy, sexually-charged and sometimes violent atmosphere quickly develops the sure signs of a good live music scent. The Demics are the first of many bands to form in London, and they have a crazed audience right from the start.
In the fall of 1977 Eddie and the Hot Rods play for three nights at London's premiere rock club. At the same time, the downtown London loft scene, inhabited by artists, printers, eccentrics and nut cases clothes and drain-pipe jeans began to crop up amid the prevailing flairs and long hair. Pot and psychedelics give way to bennies and alcohol. the members of the Demics first meet in this milieu. The band begins rehearsing with Keith Whittaker on vocals, Rob Brent on guitar, lain Atkinson on bass and Nick Perry on drums. Keith was from Manchester, England and lain was from Cambridge, while Rob and Nick were natives of London, Ontario. Keith already had the name for the band, a Manchester slang insult meaning "loser" "dork " or "wanker."
The Demics speedily assembled a repertoire of covers and originals. A short six weeks later they have their first public appearance at a "private" loft party for 250 people at their rehearsal space on December 23, 1977. In the true street-level punk fashion, the band was launched outside of the established music-biz structures of the time, including licensed clubs, agents and managers.
The band rehearsed for a month with Marcy Saddy (later of Toronto's B-Girls) on drums, until drum- mer Jim Weatherstone joined, completing the line-up. Jim had played professionally in country and western bands as a teenager and was the only experienced musician in the band. After a second public performance at a loft party in January 1978, The Demics played their first gig in February 1978 at the legendary Blue Boot/Cedar Lounge.
Over the next two years the Demics played at least one weekend a month to packed audiences of downtown artsy-types, punk rockers, factory workers and students. A few audience members formed their own bands and were soon playing opening sets (NFG, Regulators etc). Toronto bands and fans also found their way to the Cedar Lounge as a punk-rock circuit of seedy downtown bars f began to form in London, Hamilton and Toronto. As the local newspaper put it in the headline of a story on The Demics in May 1978, "New wave band floods hotel's coffers, sells tide of beer."
The Demics met The Viletones a few times socially in Toronto, and 'Tones guitarist Freddie Pompeii got The Demics their first Toronto gig, opening for the Viletones at the Horseshoe Tavern. The summer of 1978 also included opening spots for The Dead Boys and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers at the Horseshoe.
In late 1978 The Demics recorded a five-song EP entitled "Talk's Cheap" for newly-formed indie label Ready Records. The vinyl EP (released in early 1979) went through a number of pressings and is now a collectors' item. One song from the EP, "New York City" a slower-tempo but still punk-rocking song, immediately received airplay on alternative and college FM radio (including pioneering "New music" station CFNY in Toronto) and became the band's signature song. By early 1979 all of the band members had moved to Toronto.
Through constant live playing the band added new original songs and covers ranging from rocka- to 60's garage psychedelia to punk building a repertoire of short, fast, loud, punked-out pop songs about boredom, anger and frustration, all laced with Keith's sarcastic wit. High energy music by and for the pissed off.
The original band played their farewell performances in London and Toronto in December of 1979. The band re-formed with new guitarist Steve Koch in early 1980, and went on to record an overproduced and poorly received self-titled album. This version of the band packed it in in 1981.
The "Talk's Cheap" EP continued to sell through the mid-1980's, and "New York City" continued to receive airplay. Chris Spedding recorded the song on his 1992 CD Cafe Days with backing vocals by Keith. In March of 1996 Chart magazine, the voice of college and alternative radio in Canada, voted "New York City" the best Canadian single of all time, placing ahead of the heavyweights like Neil Young and the Guess Who.
The selection of songs on this CD, all restored and remastered by Cowboy Junkies' producer Peter Moore, gives a representative sample of the band over a two-year period.
All songs written 6y Demics and registered SOCAN except:
10. "Talk Talk" (Thomas Bonniwell) Drive-In Music Co. Inc. BMI
13. "Lost Woman Blues" (Jeff Beck. Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith) B. Feldman and Co., c/o Glenwood Music Corp., EMI-April
17. "Nervous Breakdown" (Marie Roccuno) Unichappell Music; Elvis Presley Music, c/o R and H Music
21. "Seven And 7 Is" (Arthur Taylor Lee) Trio Music Co. Inc., c/e Miss Phylis Rosenberg, BMI
23. "I Got A Right" (lggy Stooge) James Osterberg Music, Bug Music
25. "Possibilities" (Hate, Leckie, Pompeii) SOCAN
26. "Get Me To The World On Time" (Jones-Tucker) Pomona Music Corp., BMI
Tracks i-5 Licensed from Ready Records ©1979 Ultra Planet Music Inc.
Recorded Dec. '78, Southwest Sound. London, Canada
Engineered by Kevin Doyle
Produced 6y Andrew Crosbie and Angus MacKay for Daily Productions
Tracks 6-9 © Other Peoples Music
Recorded Feb. '18, Awes Studio. London, Canada
Engineered by Andrew Pitt
Mixed by Phillip Ross and Steve Armen, May '78
Produced by Tom Lodge Jr. for Epidemic Records
Tracks 10-24 © Other Peoples Music: from private collection of lain Atkinson
10-20, 24 recorded spring '79, St. Thomas, Canada
Sound Engineer: Stephen Brent
21-23 Recorded Live at Cedar Lounge, London, Canada
Tracks 25-27 © Other Peoples Music; from private collection of Brendan Wycks and Kevin Denomme with a nod of thanks to Dean Ackersviller.
Recorded Live to cassette with twin mikes Oct. '18, Blue Boot, London, Canada
Post production: Peter J. Moon w/I. Atkinson, R. Brent
All songs mastered and re-mastered for CD release by Peter J. Moon Aug. '96 at the E-Room, Toronto, Canada
Package Design: Rodney Bowes
Photography: Mike Hannay
Street Poster Design: Lyndon Andrews, Tom Lodge and Mike Niederman
Special Thanks: Gerrard Pas for archival footage and song inspiration, Mike Niederman for inspiration, support and rehearsal space, Michaels Hannay/Niederman for blast-off bash Dec. '11, those whose tapes are included, Rodney and Peter who laboured beyond the call of duty
Advisory Board of Consultants: L. Andrews, M. Hannay, T. Lodge, M. Niederman