In honor of the annual David Marsden Birthday Cotillion held at Andy Poolhall in Toronto ON, Canada Sunday March 14, 2010, today’s feature is a video montage of the event.
Sistahmar, Roving Ambassador and founder of the Marsbar Theatre Chat Room, outdid herself with this festive occasion. Not only did most of the members of the chat room attend, so did alumni from the infamous CFNY radio station and also from 94.9 The Rock, where David currently broadcasts each Saturday and Sunday night from 7 pm until midnight.
Many sincere thanks to Dan Hurley, Felix029 (Bruce), and Warrlock (Randy) for sharing your photos to make this production possible. Also, a huge thank you to Rob Stuart and Slave to the SQUAREwave for so graciously allowing me to use their fantastic music again this year as a backdrop for the montage. And, Andy Poolhall, Toronto, ON once again was kind enough to open their doors on a usual day off to provide a gathering place for the party. Hats off to you, too.
“David Marsden Birthday Cotillion ~ 3-14-2010” via YouTube user MissParker0106:
Canadian DJ David Marsden has been an icon of free-form broadcasting for the past four decades. Imagine radio as you would personally program it, and look no further. David has given life to the word “eclectic” by successfully combining music that is multi-genre, spans different musical periods, and is usually found way under the radar.
Marsden’s most well-known accomplishment, besides being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was launching CFNY back in the late 70’s from a small yellow house in Brampton, ON. It was here that he gave life to little-known bands, and coined a name for his type of off-the-cuff broadcasting – “free-form.” CFNY became such a vital presence to radio broadcasting that it was the subject of Rush’s 1980 hit “Spirit of Radio.”
Recently, David has been a well-received and popular fixture at 94.9 FM The Rock out of Oshawa, Ontario Canada. Broadcasting live and streaming over the Internet, his show has had a solid seven-year run on Thursday and Friday nights from 7 p.m. to midnight (EST). Four years ago, “Sistahmar,” roving Ambassador for the Marsbar Theatre, opened a chat room located on a portalx server. While the show is in progress, fans from all over the world gather in the chat room to discuss life, the universe, and above all, music amongst themselves and with David himself. It’s a cheerful, warm gathering place for like-minded folks to kick back, relax, and form lasting bonds. The members of the “Marsbar Family” celebrate each other’s victories and hold one another up through life’s challenges. Newcomers are warmly welcomed and encouraged to visit.
So, you can imagine the international uproar as a result of last week’s announcement with David stating on the air he had something very important to share with all of us. He thought he would be able to make the full announcement this past Thursday night, but was foiled by a legal snafu. Instead, all he would share, before closing the show, was that it would be the last Thursday he would be broadcasting from The Rock.
This news stunned everyone, and spread like wildfire via email and social networking sites. Speculation abounded, not all of it positive. Was David going to retire? Was he only going to broadcast Friday nights? Was he leaving The Rock and moving on to another venue? Friday dragged by and stomach butterflies multiplied for many of us as we waited for 7 p.m. and the start of the show. Status statements on FaceBook were not encouraging as a number of fans came to grips with worst-case scenarios. Bottom line, no matter what David had decided, we all only wanted the best for him. After giving his entire life to making others happy, he more than deserves the same happiness for himself.
At approximately 9:20 p.m. last night, David finally shared his plan with us. In addition to the untold thousands tuned in worldwide, a record-breaking fifty-five fans gathered in the chat room to hear the news. It was awkward for those of us on time-delay (43 seconds for the broadcast to reach my speakers here in south Florida) as the comments in the chat room flew by. They started out being full of fear and consternation, and ended up as cheering and verbal high-fiving. As David’s words finally reached my ears, I was already overjoyed by the reactions I was reading as they scrolled by in super-fast motion. The announcement: David was staying on with The Rock and moving his two-night show to Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 p.m. until midnight, starting March 6th. What a win-win situation – for David, his fans, and The Rock.
Here’s to the start of a new Marsbar Theatre era; one that is sure to be filled with laughs, fantastic music, warmth, good cheer, great friends, and above all, David Marsdens’s own unique brand of fan-centric free-form broadcasting. It doesn’t get any better than this.
I have written about Canadian DJ David Marsden’s Christmas Eve show in the past, and how moving, funny, poignant, and thoughtful it is. Although I have not had the pleasure of listening for the past 28 or so years like many very fortunate folks have, it has definitely become a part of my Christmas Eve tradition and will remain so, for hopefully many more years to come.
At the heart of this spectacular 5+ hours production is David’s own story of a Christmas Eve past, all those years ago, when walking home alone from his job as a DJ. After reaching deep within himself and empathizing with all of the other lonely souls he encountered that fateful night, he made a vow; he would do everything in his power to provide a warm, welcoming place for those who had no one else to be with, or no other place to go to gather, listen to some songs, and share some stories. David’s gift to everyone who listens then and now, is the gift of friendship, of self-worth, of camaraderie, and of love.
David works long and hard for several weeks prior to this special production, ensuring that everything is perfect. He enlists the aid of Happy Pants (Igor Loukine) to provide periodic updates on where Santa is and a preview of the presents he is carrying. David works the cast of regular listeners and chat room attendees into his stories and shout-outs to make the night even more personalized and outstanding. Tears of joy are intermingled with those of laughter as the evening runs the gamut of every emotion. This is truly the release that so many of us need after the stresses and strains of real life. One couldn’t buy a comparable five hours of therapy from a licensed practitioner. David knows just what musical elixirs and soothing words we need to guide us through whatever life throws at us.
Last night, David broke with tradition to honor Canada’s latest fallen soldier, Lieutenant Andrew Nuttal. For those of you who reside outside of Canada, you may not be familiar with a beautiful ceremony that Canadians use to honor their fallen soldiers, Highway of Heroes. Each time a fallen hero is returned home and laid to rest, their final journey is a procession along Canada’s Highway 401. People from all over gather on the bridges carrying Canadian flags to salute their beloved comrade as he or she passes below. David said that he couldn’t let the night pass without mention of these brave men and women who have given their all to protect their country and fellow citizens. He played “Highway of Heroes” in their honor, and there wasn’t a dry eye among listeners everywhere.
Highway of Heroes Tribute via YouTube user SentinelReview:
Highway of Heroes via YouTube user Toronto Songwriter:
Speaking of the chat room, this has been a labor of love started by Sistahmar many years ago as a Yahoo group. When they outgrew that venue, Sistahmar was instrumental in setting up the room as it now exists, approximately 4 years ago. While David is on the air, it has become a place for friends, fans, and the just plain curious to wander in and out of, intermingling with fellow audiophiles and longtime listeners. David makes it a point to be there during his Thursday and Friday night broadcasts, greeting each participant and sharing his wealth of musical information. To check out some of David’s playlists, go to RalphD’s website. This will give you an idea of the treasures you will hear when you join us.
David is on a short break and will return to his regular [edit:] Saturday and Sunday night (7 pm- midnight EST) free-form broadcasting on Jaunary 7, 2010. Go to 94.9 The Rock’s website and click the “Listen Live” button to experience a master at work. David’s induction into the Hall of Fame was not by happenstance; he earned his reputation as the champion of incredibly wonderful non-mainstream artists and the master of free-form broadcasting at its finest. Give yourself a gift this coming year and tune in to David Marsden’s program. Go to his website Marsden Global and click on the chat room link where you will be greeted by people (Sistahmar and all of the regulars) who will make you feel like they have known you forever.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Marsden. You have enriched so many people’s lives in ways that you can never know. I am one of those people and I am very grateful for you and all that you do.
In light of the sad events of this week, I’ve decided to start appreciating the people that mean the most to me while I still have them. I’ve written about David Marsden previously, but it seems I cannot say enough how much that man has enriched my life over the short period of time that I’ve gotten to know him.
It all started in March 2008, just a little over a year ago. One of the wonderful things about writing a blog is that you get to meet like-minded people from all over the world. Prior to WordPress, I wrote Rave and Roll over at Blogger (long story about why I left – totally off-topic). Somehow, and I can’t remember who wrote first, I met a fellow music blogger from Canada named RalphD when music-related comments were traded.
RalphD runs a fabulous blog dedicated to David Marsden called Marsbar Theatre. One thing led to another, and RalphD convinced me to listen to David’s show streaming live from 94.9 The Rock out of Oshawa, Ontario. Just to be able to say that I finally acquiesced, I tuned in one night and was shocked when I became instantly hooked. The show is my musical equivalent of crack.
Where has David Marsden been my entire life? Blazing an incredible trail through the broadcast world. He took a formulaic industry and turned it completely upside down. Picture this: It’s early in the 1980’s and stuffed shirts are gathered in a conference room plotting how to run a business swiftly going downhill. The reason? MTV and music videos were kicking the stuffing out of radio. The solution? Instead of making radio more entertaining to try to win a losing battle, said stuffed shirts decided to dictate to the world what they would hear and how it would be delivered.
David Marsden emerged at this time in a little yellow-house-converted-to-radio-station as an absolute visionary. At the helm of fledgling CFNY-FM out of Brampton, Ontario, he broke every rule as he pioneered and championed free-form broadcasting. No rules, just honest-to-goodness music and dialogue that came totally from the heart and soul of a true revolutionary.
And he transformed lives on both sides of the border. I have heard the stories first-hand from people who came of age during Marsden’s reign, who listen to him to this day, and revel in the memories he helped to create. I feel pangs of envy as I hear them talk of discovering the best music they ever heard, or how they woke up every morning smiling as they listened to the funniest and warmest on-air personalities. That was the time that radio lost its magic for me here in south Florida. Truth be told, it sucked rancid canal water.
How I sit and dream of how life might have been had there been satellite radio, or even the Interwebs back then, and I, too, could have been blessed with Marsden’s presence on the airwaves. Instead, I am grateful to RalphD for twisting my arm, to all of the wonderful people in Canada and beyond that I have met in David’s chat room (superbly run and overseen by the delightful Sistahmar), and for the heartfelt (and sometimes hilarious!) shout-outs that David has sent my way that have made me both laugh and cry when I needed it the most. Each Thursday and Friday night is like a gift waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed. David is on a well-deserved break this week, but I really, really miss him. Next Thursday night (July 2) simply won’t come quickly enough. As Sistahmar would say, “Only 7 more sleeps.”
Check out RalphD’s blog Marsbar Theatre where you can see David’s amazing musical playlists.
Visit David Marsden’s website to gain a bit of insight into this DJ Hall-of-Famer.
Listen to David Marsden’s show on 94.9 The Rock Thursday and Friday nights (starting again on July 2, 2009) from 7 pm until midnight (EST).
Read up on some vital CFNY history at the Spirit of Radio website, lovingly maintained by a fan.
Some of the music I’ve “discovered” thanks to the legendary David Marsden:
“Worlds Away” by Strange Advance via YouTube user mysweeteventhorizon:
“Lover’s Spit” by Broken Social Scene via YouTube user apalko:
“Butcher Blues” by Kasabian via YouTube user InFearofDub:
“Haunted When The Minutes Drag” by Love & Rockets via YouTube user nezror:
“Violet Light” by Raised by Swans via YouTube user cloudtifa:
“Of Bow and Drum” by Adrian Belew via youTube user rockgod111:
I’ve decided to stay in Canada for just a while longer (figuratively, though I wish it was literally), since many of my favorite underrated 80’s bands come from there. The band I am featuring today also hails from Ontario and is still going strong. They are The Spoons, and are the epitome of all that is fabulous about 80’s Canadian New Wave.
One other thing that makes them so special is that founding members Gordon Deppe (lead vocals, guitar) and Sandy Horne (vocals, bass) were high school sweethearts and are still very much committed to one another. What better foundation for a successful band than a perfect soul-mate match?
The band formed in 1979 with Deppe and Horne, Brett Wickens (keyboard, synths), and Peter Shepherd (drums). The following year, Shepherd was replaced on drums by Derrick Ross and Wickens was replaced by Rob Preuss, a mere young lad at the tender age of fifteen. The band released their first full-length LP in 1981. Titled Stick Figure Neighbourhood, this classic example of 80’s New Wave remains a timeless collection of extraordinary music, backed by the engineering sheer genius of Daniel Lanois.
The LP that broke the band into the dance/New Wave scene was their sophomore effort, Arias and Symphonies. A masterpiece fusing guitars and synths into a seamless union of ear-pleasing music, it featured such gems as “Nova Heart,” “Arias and Symphonies,” and “Smiling In Winter.” “Nova Heart” represents all that is great in New Wave, while “Arias and Symphonies” shines as a highly orchestrated endeavor that leaves the listener both enthralled and breathless.
1983 saw the release of the LP Talkback, and a hit single “Old Emotions.” In 1985, both Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross left the Spoons to pursue other musical interests, replaced by Scott MacDonald and Steve Kendry. The Spoons released an album in 1986 called Bridges Over Borders which marked a departure from the New Wave genre into harder rock territory. The album didn’t fare well on the charts, leading to a retreat to the familiar New Wave sound, prominent on the group’s last LP Vertigo Tango, released in 1989.
The two remaining original members, Deppe and Horne, continue to play in and around the Toronto and Hamilton ON areas. Gordon Deppe has recorded solo efforts, as well as forming his current trio, Five Star Fall. One of their singles, “Mercurial Girl,” is an absolute barn-burning scorcher of a song, frequently heard on David Marsden’s show from The Rock FM. Deppe has also recorded the hard-rocking “Sonic Boom,” also featured in Marsden’s rotation. Rob Preuss is the Associate Musical Director for Mama Mia! at the Wintergarden Theater in New York City.
The aforementioned LPs are must-haves for any serious 80’s New Wave music collector. All guaranteed to conjure up memories of all that was good during the fabulous 80’s.
“Nova Heart” via YouTube user kurdtss:
“Romantic Traffic” via YouTube user dcappe:
“Arias and Symphonies” (live) via YouTube user MCReFresh08:
“Radio Heaven” via YouTube user MissParker0106:
Five Star Fall’s “Mercurial Girl” via YouTube user Homebass2636:
My admiration for Canadian DJ David Marsden spans a very short period of time — back to April 2008. It was then that Ralphd who runs Marsbar Theatre over on Blogger (my former home) urged me to listen to David’s show. One night of musical bliss, and I was absolutely hooked. Where had this man been all my life?
David Marsden’s career (click for Wikipedia info) is a story of dedication, hard work, and selfless devotion to making fans of alternative and obscure music comfortable in their own skin. In the beginning, he created a radio station in a tiny yellow house called CFNY (the “Spirit of Radio” memorialized in Rush’s song of the same name). That this man has been inducted into the Hall of Fame underscores his impact on the radio world. He provided fond memories for countless Canadians and border-dwelling Americans who came of age during the late 70’s, 80’s and beyond.
He continues to reach out through his broadcasts from 94.9 The Rock (live over streaming Internet) and fold his listeners into his warm, nurturing embrace, making each and every one of us feel a sense of worth that perhaps we had never known before. Because our musical tastes never quite fit into the norm, a lot of Marsden’s listeners have found a safe-haven in his freestyle broadcasting and willingness to bring corporate-ignored talent into the fore.
Last night was something really special — magical, even. David gave us the gift of his annual Christmas Eve broadcast. It is a memorable occasion both for the selections of music he spins and the tales that he weaves. His voice is kind and reflective. The stories are funny, full of human foibles, and often poignant and emotionally-charged. I found myself reaching for a tissue several times over the course of the evening, whether to wipe tears from raucous laughter or from deeply held and stifled emotions suddenly uplifted and set free.
Ralphd and Soccerfan worked diligently to identify the songs that were played, publishing the list over at Marsbar Theatre, along with scores of other playlists carefully compiled over the years. Their hard work for and loyalty to this great man speaks volumes about the joy David has given to so many of us in so many different ways.
I couldn’t write about David without mentioning one other very important person that forms the nucleus of the weekly gatherings in the Marsden Theatre chatroom. Sistahmar is David’s roving ambassador of goodwill. She is the matriarch of the chatroom and a great friend to those who visit to relax, listen, and shoot the breeze with other friends from all over Canada, the U.S., and even the world. My appreciation for all that she does and all that she has been to me, knows no bounds.
Do yourself a favor; when David returns to his [edit:] Saturday and Sunday nights (7pm -midnight EST) on January 8, 2009, come listen. If you feel like having a bit of company, go to Marsden Global and click on the chatroom link. There, you will enjoy great music, fabulous people, and will even get a chance to speak to David himself. Sistahmar, soccerfan, and David have made sure that each person who enters feels welcome and comfortable.
David Marsden gave us all a most precious and priceless gift last night. Telling you about it is my gift to you. Merry Christmas.