After 17 years of covering this beautiful city's original music scene, I make my final bow. It's not for lack of love, a waning interest, or because I no longer care for the music the Rose City continues to make.
It's just time.
When I first started The Windsor Scene as the city's first online directory compiling a resource of the city's original music bands and performers, it was due to a glaring lack of coverage for any band that didn't play “Mustang Sally” or “Stranglehold”. There was ROOM Magazine, for sure, and CJAM was always going strong, but that was about it. The common knowledge of the depth of Windsor's diversity was never exposed, and often times it wasn't just the common music fan who was unaware of many of the city's range of talent, but the talent themselves. Thankfully, ADD and OCD can make for a powerful combination in getting ideas started.
What started as an online directory, by early 2000's it became an online magazine, before becoming a column in Upfront Magazine. As the magazine's music editor, its local music coverage increased exponentially. It soon gained a soundtrack companion when The Windsor Scene became a show on CJAM, exposing not just the new sounds emerging from Windsor-Essex county, but diving into the archive of its past. On CJAM, it became a Jammy Award winning program in its rookie year, a trend that has continued for over a decade – my own show last a few scant years, but it has remained a CJAM staple ever since, with brief hosting duties from Murad Erzinclioglu, Stephen Hargreaves, and Randi Irving, before landing in the more than capable hands of Lauren Hedges, who has been running the show for the past several years. In print form, The Windsor Scene remained in Upfront for years until its ending, reappearing in WAMM Magazine, The Windsor Star (for one edition, before it was cancelled due to internal politics), The Urbanite, and for the past year or so, the Windsor Independent.
All the while, I have maintained my own musical career in and outside of Windsor, beginning in the mid-90's with the Detroit style punk of TOAST, featuring members of Windsor punk elite like The Spy's and Ronald Reagan Storey, before switching to the glam rock of the 2000's Trailer Park Sex Cowboys. At the turn of the decade, I entered the Outlaw Country region with The Hung Jury, the psychedelic indie rock of The Golden Hands Before God and Magic Hall of Mirrors, joined the crew of the improvisational jam outfit Star Trek: The Band, guested with the Eric Welton Band, returned to my metal roots with the Vaudevillianaires and reacquainted myself with folk in the unquiet dead. I even joined up with another band of Punk Icons, Guitar Army, in the punk band Magnificent Bastards. I'm currently finishing up my debut solo album. Music – both inspired by and created in Windsor – has been my lifeblood since I arrived here from Niagara Falls in 1993.
But times have changed. I am now a married father of a beautiful three year old boy. I no longer live a lifestyle that can justify covering a music scene that I can no longer see with the same consistency.
But more importantly, the scene is in better hands than it was back in 1999. Not only has the music flourished, but the coverage is now a given. The Windsor Independent carries that torch started with ROOM and Upfront and features some of the finest local music journalists in the city – Andrew Bell is Windsor's Lester Bangs. He's that important. The Windsor Star's Dalson Chen has been a staunch promoter for years now and continues to aid the local scene when he can. Lauren Hedges continues to host an award winning program on CJAM under the banner every week, and has become an important visual documentarian and photographer of local music. But more importantly, the fans have become an avid part of the promotion of local music. You, the fans.
On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - you have been promoting the local bands you love. And whether it's only one or it's all hundred or so, you are doing your part. You are showing the world what we already know.
Pound for pound, we are the greatest music scene in the country. I have lived in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and Victoria, and I have always come back to this city because of it's music scene. While we may not have had the press or successes like other Canadian cities, most of that can be attributed to a stubborn Windsor-Essex determination to care more about making music in their hometown, than water it down to take it on the road. Which is why we are blessed with some of the most sincerely honest music that the country will never hear.
So for the past 23 years, I thank you, Windsor. For inspiring me, lifting me, and showing me that integrity will always supersede fame. Although it won't cover Enwin bills. But I digress.
Don't worry. I am not retiring from making music. Only writing about it.
But it's time for me to move on. To let younger voices clang the bells. It's time for me to move on to other projects I have neglected while I chased this beautiful dream. Sometimes you have to realize when a dream has been realized and move on to the next dream. Well that time is now.
See you from the stage, Windsor.