Guess Who? The legendary
Randy Bachman speaks
By Christopher Hodge
CRY EVERY NIGHT FOR YOU." Randy Bachman cradles his guitar and
reflects on love lost.
The big man is back
in town. Randy Bachman, the architect of two of Canada's most successful
bands The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive is rolling
into Woodstock this Saturday night for an intimate acoustic performance
entitled "Every Song Has a Story." The hook of Bachman's new
show? All your favourite Guess Who and BTO tunes, and the stories behind
"People are thrilled to hear these dumb anecdotal things about why
I wrote a song," Bachman says. "Everyone assumes a certain song
was written for them, and that it applies to their life. When you find
out what it means to the guys that wrote it, it just gives it more meaning."
The proud father of a soon-to-be-wed daughter, Bachman guards his songs
like a mother wolf. They are his little cubs, and he refuses to leave
them orphaned and at the mercy of overzealous corporate advertisers.
"I won't let my songs be used to sell alcohol, tobacco or explicitly
gonzo sexual movies," Bachman says. "If my mother and my grandkids
can't sit through it, then I don't want my song in that type of movie."
Bachman says the inspiration for "Every Song Has a Story" came
to him when he was forced into the spotlight during a legends night at
the reopening of Grand Ole Opry, the recently restored Tyman Auditorium
Surrounded by musical legends Steve Winwood, Michael McDonald, Justin
Haywood and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, among others, Bachman admits that
even he was a bit starstruck.
"I remember thinking, 'Gee, this is the first time I've ever done
this. I can't wait to see you all play, then I'll know what to do.' And
they said, 'You'd better figure something out 'cause you're first, it's
alphabetical.' And I was just in shock!"
"So, I went out there and started singing 'These Eyes,' and it was
the first time I had ever sung it alone in my life. I remember thinking
there was some feedback from the monitors 'cause my voice was too loud.
And as I leaned back I realized it wasn't my voice feeding back, it was
the audience they were singing with me! Suddenly I had this Sally
Field moment like 'They like me, they really like me. They don't care
that I'm not Burton Cummings.' And from that point on I just rammed into
the stories, rambled on through them, played the songs and everyone clapped
and sang along."
The success of the performance inspired Bachman to develop a show encompassing
three decades worth of rocking and rolling. Gone are the Marshall stacks
and screaming hordes: it's a slimmed down show with Bachman, an acoustic
guitar, a few close friends to back him up on stage and a slew of colourful,
"It's really turning out to be an incredible project for me. I'm
getting to tour and do the same songs I did in the past three decades
with the Guess Who and BTO, and people are coming to hear them in a slightly
different way in an acoustic setting."
Bachman even encourages the audience to participate and ask any specific
questions they might have about songs, drugs, rock 'n' roll or his close
friends Neil Young and Eddie Van Halen.
"Every song has some hook as to why it was written," Bachman
One song that has regained a lot of attention is The Guess Who classic
"Albert Flasher," which appeared in the film Almost Famous.
Although it's one of Burton Cummings's songs, Bachman puts a captivating
spin on it.
"He had a party one night that went all night long and he didn't
get any sleep. He went to a radio station the next morning for an interview
and was a little bit [out of] form before going on. He could hardly see
straight. They said to him, 'When the flashing light comes on, that means
you're on the air.' The thing flashed 'Alert Flasher,' and he thought
it was 'Albert Flasher' and he said 'What is this thing that says 'Albert
Flasher?' over the air!"
Randy Bachman plays the Woodstock Collegiate Institute on Saturday,
Mar. 22 at 8 p.m.. For ticket info call (519) 539-4220.