Volume 95, Issue 7

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
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Spoke's resident folkie

Old story dies quick on screen

Rock roots, Welcome

Outside the box

O-Week Snapshots

Spoke's resident folkie

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

Rick McGhie is the Queen Bee at The Spoke hive. He nourishes the appetites of students and could easily be considered the welcome wagon for new students over the past 25 years.

McGhie has seen it all. He arrived at Western as a biology-physics student in the 70s, having moved to London from Simcoe, Ontario.

Nearly three decades later, he plays the part of a local celebrity on stage every Wednesday night at The Spoke. So, if the noise of Top 40 clubs gets tiresome and you yearn to sing along to some classic cover tunes, McGhie is your man.

For over 25 years now, McGhie has made a living with his voice and guitar. The classic tunes he plays started out as hit songs of his time, and while modern music tends to fade in and out of popularity, McGhie credits his success to the lasting appeal of his music.

"I don't think music has had any real fundamental change in a long period. So a song from 1961 can still be as palatable as a song from 1995 – they share the same essential elements," he explains.

Every year, McGhie caters his music's essential elements to the crowds of regulars who flock each week to hear him. If you ask him how things have changed, he'll tell you they haven't.

"Frosh week used to be a much more expansive event. It's not as overboard now as it used to be," he says. "But it hasn't really changed. Frosh wear the same face they always have. It's an exciting week for everyone."

As an off-campus frosh, McGhie was never involved in his O-Week, but remembers the year fondly. "Of all the time I was here, my freshman year was the one I enjoyed most. It's where you meet a lot of different people and experience a new environment and a lot of changes. It was really enjoyable," he reminisces.

How did a bio-physics student become a performer?

"I've always been a performer. I'm not an academic. I think within my first week, I was in a band playing [at what is now] The Spoke. I just fell into it. And when I stopped playing in bands, I still played on campus," he says.

But why is he still here? "I spent time on the road and stuff and didn't really like it a whole lot. So, I basically decided to make a living in a local atmosphere, so that's why I still play around here."

For a guy who's watched people come and go, his advice for students is to get involved in as many things as possible. In a place where McGhie has obviously found his niche, he suggests students can find anything they want and probably a few things they don't.

Take it from McGhie – he got involved three decades ago and remains an active part of the Western community.

"The Western community has always been very supportive. It would be a very difficult thing to walk away from," he says with a smile.

Gazette File Photo

Rick McGhie can be seen regularly on Wednesday and Sunday nights at The Spoke.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001