Allstage Wednesday Night Jam April 2, 2003 – March 1, 2018
Well all things must come to an end, and I have decided to make that decision.
Today I gave George Karigan my notice to move on from the Wednesday Jam that I started on April 2, 2013. We almost got to the 5 year anniversary, but with so much on my plate with Allstage over this next month and Bender, I just couldn’t afford to take six hours out of my weekly obligations to crucial issues that I simply must prioritize at this moment in time.
George, Jeni, Buzzy Ruth McCormick, Scott Atchison, Deb and the kitchen staff were all pro’s to work with and were an absolute pleasure to deal with for the last 5 years.
I also want to give a massive thanks to Bellone's Music for their immense contribution each and every week of the Jam – JB and the staff there was extraordinary to me.
Greg Barker who started a jam at The Eastside a decade ago told me recently, “You took a small jam and took over the city!”
When I started this Jam I reached out to Shaun Sanders and Rainer Wiechmann to start the After Eight Band with me and much to my pleasure, they came on board. Shaun and Rainer I have to thank for making me a much better musician, they dragged me along kicking and screaming to improve myself and I owe so very much to them. Shortly after starting the Jam, Shaun suggested we put the weekly Jam under the Allstage banner and there forward it was born.
It was a prudent idea as soon after doing that the Jam took off, and there were many nights we went far past the 12am cut-off time due to so many musicians who attended. For me it was an absolute pleasure going through the over 8,300 pictures I had taken for the last 5 years - to see that at least 90% of the jammers who attended were NON Allstage members in any sense – it was proof that my networking at different venues when I was out on Allstage Crawls had paid off.
The other change was in the early days of our Jam, the sound booth was on the west wall which just didn’t make sense to mix bands when the sound man wasn’t square in front of the stage. I met with George and suggested that he move the sound booth to the center where it stands now, thankfully George is an astute businessman and open to pragmatic suggestions and agreed whole-heartedly and that became a game changer for the bar.
I’m proud that I created something that became by many to be the Gold Standard of Jams as was told to me personally by many venue owners, musicians and music community professionals. It’s something that I take great pride in.
The Jam WILL continue with Rainer, Ian and Joe and whoever steps into the throne. Same time, Same day, Same format - so please continue to support it and the musicians who come out to play.
Over the years we have had some of the cream-of-the-crop of London’s musical talent. Bands such as Helix (less Fritz), Chris Murphy, Vultures Playing Ruckus, Dave's NOT HERE, Jim Corbett & Ed Pranskus (ex-Thundermug), Doug Varty, John Bellone Junior, Laura Gagnon, Damn Pigeon, Swagger, Howzat, The No Name Band, Delta Stone & The Wardogs, Guy Lepage , Livingroom Rockstars Business Page, The Def Bombs, Newport Electric, Stunning, Mirage, Jesse Nestor, Angel Guevara and Hiroshima Hearts. It reads like the All-Star Roster for London musicians because it is – and everyone loved each and every one of them. We had many solo acoustic acts that became household names at the Jam from Scott Fletcher, Angel, Stuart Warrick, Nostalgic Brightlights, Ironbound, Mike Barrette and many others over the course of five years.
We’ve had dozens and dozens of Indie bands, rock bands, prog bands, blues bands, sax players, harp players, violin players, players with washboards and steel pails, ukuleles.
We’ve had bands that were touring across Canada that would get in touch with me and arrange to show up at the Jam after seeing my posts on social media.
I’ve had co-hosts that have stepped in to sub in for a member in the After Eight Band with the pedigree of Ken Ross, John Knapp , Rob MacEachern, Kevin Wroe, Joseph O'Neill, Dwayne Errington, Jason Michael Drury, Stan Fountain, Duane Welch and Archie Gamble. There's a super star band right there.
We’ve had benefits for Salthaven, London Food Bank, Christmas Food drives, Christmas Toy Drives, Salvation Army Drives. Barb and I had a tradition of buying birthday cakes for people who had birthdays, and we celebrated it at the Jam and handed out cake to all the patrons and musicians present.
I personally have had the absolute pleasure of meeting hundreds of musicians and patrons who have attended and many have become good friends of mine – as well as many patrons that have attended over the course of 5 years have become good friends of mine and Barb’s also.
I’m proud of what we built at The Eastside Bar and I’m very grateful to George for giving me the platform to grow the Jam into what it has become, I couldn’t ask for better people to work with for such a long time.
To Shaun, Rainer and Ian – thanks so much for your talent and your integrity; you are not only remarkable musicians but incredible people. To all my friends and all the patrons who supported the Jam for so long – I am indebted to you all and thanks so much for attending.
After a month or so off here to attend to my workload, I will be returning with a fresh concept for a Jam, not quite ready to pack it in and I love working with people each week that love live music – it’s a high that can’t be replicated and when you see someone like Scott Fletcher blossom into a pure talent – the rewards are magnificent to witness.
Thanks again to all - #TurnUpTheLiveMusic
Facebook Page (almost 5 years worth of pictures)
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