Drama Queen

This past August, Mrs. Félix and I were in Stratford, Ontario to catch some theatre, and where she took the picture used for my post on the Tilley song.

Image from www.stratfordfestival.ca

During an afternoon matinee of Macbeth at the Festival, there sat near to us a interesting elderly woman who kept chatting to herself, and rummaging through the ample bag she had taken with her, examining her meds, and counting change. The usher was kind to her, keeping her company as much a possible and despite the disruption, not asking her to leave.

However, the patrons around her did not care for the noise, and migrated to empty seats as far away as possible, leaving a large swath around her unoccupied.

After intermission, she got progressively louder, and in a clear voice announced, “I left my nitro in the restroom!”, meaning her nitroglycerin pills, I assume, not the high explosive. Later in the performance, Act 5, scene 5 to be exact, Seyton enters and informs Macbeth, “The queen, my lord, is dead”. The elderly lady loudly responds with “Oh my God!” to general laughter through the hall. It’s a wonder the cast kept it together.

This, I thought, deserves a song.

So here it is for your enjoyment. The references should now be obvious.

The Queen Is Dead ©Robert Pelletier/Félix and the Cats 2016

Verse 1

A moat of empty seats surrounds
The frail old woman all alone
Will she begin to make a sound?
A cough or a frustrated groan?



She left her pills in the restroom
The plastic bottle on the shelf
She sees the actors in their costumes
But she keeps talking to herself

Verse 2

The click and clacking of the coins
That she is counting once again
In the dark of the theatre
Oh my God, the Queen is dead



When she was a young
So many men around
Catering to her every whim
Oh! What a pretty dream
Oh! What a pretty dream

Verse 3

A moat of empty seats surrounds
The old frail woman once again
Will she begin to make a sound?
Oh my God, the Queen is dead

Last Chorus


She left her pills in the restroom
The plastic bottle on the shelf
She sees the actors in their costumes
But she keeps talking to herself
But she keeps talking to herself
But she keeps talking to herself


Until next week, be well!


Big Weeks

It’s going to be a busy week! The band is getting together to rehearse on Monday in preparation for two shows this week: the first at the Linsmore as part of Indie Tuesday. We play from 9 to 10 so that would be a good choice for anyone wanting to catch a short, intense set without sleep deprivation at work the next day. The second show is a return to the Amsterdam Bicycle Club on Esplanade. Come down and make an evening of it, either at the Old Spaghetti Factory directly attached to the ABC, or at any of dozens of restaurants in the neighbourhood. We hit the stage at 10:30.

L to R: Lawrie Ingles, David Macmichael, Jace Traz, Henry Lees.

Looking back, it was also intense. This past week, I caught another Indie Tuesday show at The Piston, with performances by Jace Traz, David Macmichael (both of whom I have written about before) and opening the show, Lawrie Ingles and Henry Lees. Drummer/vocalist/voice actor Brilliant Fish sat in as well. All round top talent! The sound at the Piston is one of the best I’ve experienced in a Toronto club, courtesy of Richard Fairthorne.

On Wednesday, I attended the Relish benefit following the summer vandalism, where again, amongst awesome talent, there were Jace, David, Henry and Lawrie. Tyler Ellis played a set and kindly invited me to join his band, along with Lawrie on keyboard. I guess it’s time I talk about the fabulous Dr. Jingles.

Lawrie Ingles (aka Dr. Jingles) – Mild mannered bondaholic dentist and dad by day….crazy SOB with a sensitive side….by sundown. Geddy Lee and Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John wannabee…backing player to Jaimie Vernon and, occasionally, Geddy Lee! Many things to many people!

The 2012 International Pop Overthrow

Lawrie Ingles (aka Dr. Jingles) who is a lapsed dentist and self-effacing keyboardist/vocalist/bassist/guitarist/songwriter. There isn’t a song he does not like. There isn’t a song he does not know how to play.

Jaime Vernon


Lawrie and I have gotten to know each other a bit more over the last few years, and he was even invited at one point to join the Cats. He is an affable, quick-witted, and incredibly talented both as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. If he ever asks to sit in, always say yes! To hear his clever and touching original compositions, just click on his Soundcloud site.

Here is one in particular that I found richly arranged and quite moving, particularly as the father.

Until next week, be well!


Politically Incorrect?

This week I will offer up a few notes about some fine performers I saw during the week, then talk about one of my more established songs, and the lyrics therein.

img_1641I’ve been enjoying Indie Tuesdays at the Linsmore as often as possible, as it never fails to pleasantly surprise. Last week, I caught the irrepressible ex-Vancouverite Gary Edward Allen, he-of-three-first-names, as he opened the night. His set was characterized by solid performances of his own material, and top notch audience management, as a drunken patron kept singing the lines to Neil Young’s “Old Man” regardless of what Gary was playing. Safe to say, that got “old” real fast, but Gary was not thrown by this and deservedly put the heckler in place, firmly but politely…more or less. Here is a sample of his writing, a song called Hands.

img_1652He was followed by the delightfully top-hatted Sophia Radisch. She is a surprisingly mature songwriter for her age, and has a great voice, breathy at times for intimacy, and that she releases to full throated power for dynamic impact. If you check out her site linked above, you can hear studio versions of her songs, and see videos of them (one of them is imbedded below). She is also a busy actress. Where does she find the time? There are also videos of her right at the Linsmore so you can see and hear the same performance I did.

Félix and the Cats will be playing the same time and place as Sophia in just over a week, on Tuesday, October 25. For those who come (and please come!), you will hear this next song.

The instrumental part of Just Right for Me had been percolating for a many years as two overlaid simple bluesy guitar riffs. The idea just sat around unused.

Finally, something clicked for the chorus and I was able to put lyrics to it.

A disclaimer: I hope no one will perceive it as objectifying, something to which we have all been sensitized given “the Donald’s” idiotic pronouncements. Let me assure all this is not “locker room talk”, but it is Rock and Roll. In the end, the song is about, crudely perhaps,  finding the person who is your soul mate.

I have included two versions of it: the first in G with open tuning guitars, multi-layered as I wanted the two riffs overdubbed throughout the whole song. For practical performance purposes, I reset the song in standard tuning A, and minimized the overdubs so it would sound much more like the live version. I probably could have spent more time on the vocals :-\

Original version of Just Right for Me

Revised version of Just Right for Me

Just Right for Me ©2013

Verse 1
Some girls are fat with great big asses
Some girls are smart with great thick glasses
Some girls are fun, and love to play
Others won’t give you the time of day

Oooh, when all’s said and done
Oooh, I know she’s the one
Oooh,……….she is just right for me

Verse 2
Some girls are vicious, with chains and whips
Some have delicious ruby red lips
Some superstitious with voodoo hexes
Others flirtatious with all their exes

Chorus and Solo

Verse 3
Some girls are anxious to please their man
Some are suspicious of all your plans
Some are ambitious for fame and riches
Others malicious, and downright bitches

Chorus – out

Until next week, be well!




The Nerve

Poster by Sarah Battersby

Back in the oughts, I joined up with a group called the Nerve, with David Israelson on bass, Richard Scarsbrook on drums, and (for a while) Alex Vos on guitar. It was a fun band to work with as we all were doing it for the same reasons (hint: not the money). We kept it going a few years until our separate lives made it unwieldy to continue. C’est la vie!

rockets-vs-gravityCut to 2016, when Richard sends me an invitation to his latest book launch (Rockets vs Gravity, his 9th novel) at the Gladstone Hotel this past Monday. It was a great opportunity to catch up with Richard and David, who also attended. I keep trying to convince them to make it out to an open mic sometime soon. However, I hope they give me some warning so I can review the charts if they want me to sit in.

Me, David and Richard

In commemoration of this reunion of sorts, here is a recording of a rehearsal of Angeline, one of Richard’s songs. Richard is singing lead, with David on back ups and ripping scream, and Alex plays the solo, with me on chunky rhythm.

unknownIt’s the only song where I ever got to use my Heil Talk Box, a guitar effect made notorious by Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton. It’s now in storage :-(.

Angeline © Richard Scarsbrook

If you missed the previous blogs, we have two shows scheduled for this month: October 25 at 9 at the Linsmore Tavern as part of Indie Tuesdays, and October 29th at 10:30 at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club. Both should be great fun!

Be well!


Intersecting Paths

In astrophysics, there is a phenomenon called “nodes” where orbits intersect. Such a node occurred last night at the Korner Pub in Scarborough. Interesting how Scarborough ends up being inspirational for me.

The Marwills

I went there to hear The Marwills, a band I have known for a while from their appearances at the Relish Stir It Up Sunday open mic. They always put on a good show, so it was worth the forty-minute TTC excursion.

The guys were in great form, despite being shoe-horned into a corner at the front. Not much room for frontman Brett Bonvie‘s dance moves, although he did venture out in front and joined with the locals’ dancing later in the show. The Marwills instrumental format, two lead guitars, bass, drums, has always been my favourite high-energy combination, and guitarists Jesse Morrissey and Graeme MacGillivray did not disappoint, with inspired individual and dual solos, always managing to not step over each other and keep the level in check, without sacrificing the energy. The rhythm section, Bryn Besse on bass, and James Law on drums, were solid and sounded perfectly balanced. The band actually commented to me how pleased they were with the sound of the room. Below is a link to their latest album, Facts & Figures. Catch them live if you can too!

goddo-live-shot_featureAbout halfway through the second set, a familiar face moves through the crowd from the bar area, and sits down right in front of the band. It was Greg Godovitz of Goddo fame. I initially thought he knew the band, but it turned out he lives nearby and was only there with his significant other to enjoy a drink and the entertainment. Now, if you are too young to know who Greg or Goddo are, check out the links in this blog, and the music here. This is Canadian rock royalty.

Greg and I have had brief nodal moments through the years. The first dates back to the early 1970s when I first saw him playing bass with Fludd at the Kapuskasing District High School. I always think of that event as the “Lock Up Your Daughters” tour. The band had quite a reputation! Greg would have to confirm whether it was merited, or it may be in his 2002 autobiography, Travels With My Amp, which is on my to-read list.

Rush at the Piccadilly Tube. Note the curved wall behind the band.

When I moved to Toronto, I would hear him playing in clubs, notably a memorably loud show at the Piccadilly Tube, a popular nightclub at Yonge and Dundas at the time.


I got to know him a bit better, while Greg and I both worked in the music industry (he for Randall Amplifiers, and me for Yorkville Sound) when we chatted for a while on a flight back from the Chicago NAMM music trade show.

This past April, a reunited Goddo performed at the benefit for Crowbar frontman Kelly Jay, held at the Hard Rock Cafe, along with many other artists. It was a great show for a great cause, which I believe Greg may have also been involved in organizing.

Most recently, Greg has sat in on occasion with friend and young up-and-coming bluesman Sam Taylor, discussed in one of my first blogs, when Sam had a regular Saturday at the Peppery Cat.

So, the universe is an interestingly interwoven place. I always enjoy these brief interactions with Greg. Perhaps our paths will cross again. If so, I look forward to it!

Until next week, be well!