Saying “Good Bye” to My Beloved Sistahmar

I never imagined that I would begin 2012 by writing a memorial for my dear friend Marilyn Hamilton from Kitchener Ontario. “Sistahmar,” as she is known to her multitude of Marsbar Theatre friends and fans, left this world on December 31, 2011 at 8:50 AM. The only word that even comes close to describing how it feels to lose this precious friend and soul sister is “devastated.”

I had the privilege of meeting Sistahmar nearly 4 years ago when I stumbled into the Marsbar Theatre Chatroom. After listening to David Marsden‘s free-form, “anything goes” broadcast (streaming live over the Internet from 94.9 The Rock) and hearing the tales he spun about the chatroom regulars, I decided to take a walk on the “dark side” and check it out for myself. Upon entering the room, I was warmly greeted by the Roving Ambassador herself, launching what was to be a close and ironclad friendship.

Over the years, we have laughed, cried, loved, gossiped, shared, planned and even plotted together via telephone and email. The minute we realized we both had the same birthday, the unbreakable bond was forged. Marilyn fondly referred to me as her “evil twin sister,” a badge I wear with fierce pride, while she will always be my “partner in crime.”

Although the news of Marilyn’s passing was much like being hit by a speeding train, I have managed to find some solace in the pain and sadness. I believe she has finally been reunited with her beloved husband Bob, who predeceased her about 8 years ago. She missed him sorely, and instead of her loss becoming easier as time went on, it actually became more difficult. I imagine the two of them walking arm-in-arm along the banks of the lake they enjoyed so much in years gone by, pausing for a moment to share a whisper, steal a kiss, and have a giggle or two. There they wait patiently until they are finally reunited for eternity with all of the friends they loved so much, and who loved them, in this lifetime.

For my dear friend and soul sister Marilyn Hamilton who slipped from this world and into eternity, leaving a hole the size of the universe in each of our hearts: May you finally rest in peace. The light you gave to my life and so many others will never be extinguished, the joy you brought will always be remembered. Thank you for a friendship that transcended distance. I will always love you.

Gary Numan – Are “Friends” Electric? Montage – via YouTube user Knightvision 1228:

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David Marsden Birthday Cotillion ~ 3-14-2010

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:

View video footage and interviews from the party by clicking here: http://www.torontonews24.com/video/viewvideo/97/behind-the-scene-at-toronto-news-24/marsbars

80’s Music Rules ~ Legendary DJ David Marsden

bigmars1In 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. marsden

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:

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Spoons

Spoons_BI’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.Spoons_A

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:

Discography

Visit the Spoons’ website for album availability and ordering information.

Spoons1After The Institution/My Job single (1980)

 

spoons2Stick Figure Neighbourhood (1981)

 

 

spoons3Arias & Symphonies (1982)

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

spoons4Talk Back (1983)

 

 

spoons5Tell No Lies EP (1984)

 

 

spoons6Listen To The City (1985)

 

 

 

 

 

spoons7

Bridges Over Borders (1986) 

 

 

 

 

 

spoons8 Vertigo Tango (1988)

 

 

spoons9Collectible Spoons (1994)

 

 

 

 

spoons10Unexpected Guest At A Cancelled Party (2007)

80’s Music Rules ~ David Marsden’s Birthday Party

bigmars1Last Sunday 3-15-2009, The Marsden Theatre Chatroom gang, led by Sistahmar, held a birthday bash for legendary Spirit of Radio DJ David Marsden. It took place at Andy Pool Hall in Toronto, ON. Although I was unable to attend, I was privileged to make a video montage using photographs from three members of the chatroom gang: KRASH, Acheliah, and Warrlock. Rob Stuart from the highly popular Canadian band Slave to the SQUAREwave graciously gave me permission to use their music as a backdrop. David features the band every week on his show; they have a fabulous mutual admiration society.

As a special added treat, DJ Geets Romo made a surprise appearance at Sistahmar’s behest. He delighted the crowd, and David has made a promise to have Geets on his show sometime in the near future. So stay tuned! Also in attendance were power-DJ Don Berns (Dr. Trance) and the rabble-rousing Reverend Jeremiah.

For the best free-form broadcasting you will ever hear, tune in to David Marsden’s show on 94.9 The Rock  streaming live Thursday and Friday nights from 7 pm until midnight EST. Get lubed up and ready for David to stick a couple of tunes in your ears – no one does it better.

We love you David!

80’s Music Rules ~ So Does David Marsden


I’ve mentioned and linked the blog called Mars Bar Theatre, and now I want to explain what it’s about. It is a fan’s heartfelt tribute to a Canadian radio legend, David Marsden.

David’s career spans over 4 decades. In the 80’s, he was a fixture at the legendary Brampton, Ontario radio station CFNY (visit an informative site dedicated to CFNY called “The Spirit of Radio” here). This is a period held dear by many Canadians and border-dwelling Americans alike who sought out a glimmer of individuality in the dreary, cookie-cutter world of formulaic radio broadcasting. Top 40, EmpTV-driven, and heavy rotation domination formed the basis of most of the popular music stations here in the states. Those lucky enough to tune into CFNY, and David’s show in particular, were treated to cutting edge music far superior to the glut of oft-repeated dreck prescribed by corporate-American fat cats who pretended to know what the public wanted to hear.

I accidentally stumbled across Mars Bar Theatre and, in so doing, struck up a “conversation” via email with the blog owner. He encouraged me to tune into David Marsden’s show, brought to the world via 94.9 The Rock, the Internet and streaming media, every [edit:] Saturday and Sunday night from 7 pm until midnight. I tuned in for the first time last April, and was instantly hooked.

“Eclectic” is a word I tend to overuse to describe the music on Marsden’s show, but I really can’t think of a better adjective. He selects music that is all over the place rather than from one specific genre, but is a joy to listen to because it all meshes so well. Some songs will sound vaguely familiar, some will have you slapping your forehead and exclaiming, “I can’t believe I’m hearing this! It reminds me of…” Or even, “Wow – I haven’t heard that since…!” The listening experience is a combination of a trip down memory lane and a lesson in creative broadcasting.

It’s my recommendation that everyone give David’s show a listen, visit Mars Bar Theatre to look over the playlists that Ralph, the blog owner carefully constructs based on the current night’s show, and even take a trip to David’s website, Marsden Global. Marsden is entertaining, irreverent, funny as heck and one of those unaffected celebrities that actually answers his email. Give him a shout – and you just may be lucky enough to get a “shout-out” back.

Finally, here is a video montage I made in honor of this great man. It’s the least I can do to show my appreciation for the joy he’s given me over the past few months.