Toronto’s music and W&S Music
by Dan Gordon
Toronto has an exceptionally vibrant and diverse arts scene, and I’m very proud that I was born and raised here – growing up immersed in that culture. I want to make our music culture even stronger, so I’m on a search for Toronto’s new and talented, yet-to-be-discovered, just-emerging singers, songwriters, musicians and bands.
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Thanks for reading, and for listening.
It was the early 1960’s in Toronto and my father, a single young man, was playing paid gigs as a drummer at public venues and private functions. Around the same time, my mother, a single young woman, would go dancing with her sisters at various dance halls in and around downtown Toronto. And as fate would have it, my mom and her sisters went dancing one evening at a venue where my father was performing with his band.
They met, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Growing up, music was always prominent in our household. They had frequent dinner parties and cocktail parties, and music was always the main source of entertainment for my parent’s guests – many of whom were my dad’s old bandmates and their wives.
And of course, this had a huge influence on my siblings and me. I still remember the day when my older brother, a teenager at the time, dragged my dad’s vintage Ludwig drum kit down from the rafters in the garage and set it up in the basement. I also remember our neighbour, with a newborn baby, soon requesting that he didn’t practice at certain times of the day. He politely obliged.
My brother, James , went on to become an accomplished drummer himself, and he still has that vintage Ludwig kit, fully restored and set up in his home in Chicago. He still plays it.
As for me, the youngest of three children, I looked up to my older siblings and was inspired by them. I would split my time between hanging out in my brother’s and sister’s rooms, and consequently spend time split between two musical worlds. In James’ room: posters of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and of course AC/DC. In Joanne’s room: Billy Idol, U2, Violent Femmes, Depeche Mode.
Naturally, this led to a culture clash. My brother would attempt to persuade me to embrace “the dark side” of what he called his “real music”, and my sister would work hard to convince me that “rocker jeans” weren’t cool and that her modern tastes in music were superior. But I was equally fascinated by drumming pioneers like John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and modern players like Larry Mullen, Jr of U2, and to this day, I embrace all of those diverse influences.
Music is still an enormous part of my life, so I don’t know why I put it off for so long, but last year I decided to take those drum lessons that I’ve always wanted. And I recently started to piece together my own kit that lives in my basement. I’ve now become consumed with the drum kit and I should probably admit that it’s a bit of an addiction. That may not be a bad thing, but it’s easy to ignore my responsibilities in favour of strapping on the headphones and working up a sweat behind the kit.
When I’m not behind the kit, my wife and I now carry the torch of hosting the main family holiday dinner and cocktail parties. So when we moved into our East York home in 2015, one of our main must-haves was a Sonos multi-room audio system to fill the home with sound. For every dinner party, custom playlists were, and are, just as important as the quality of the food and drink being served.
Until now, I’ve always “mined” music for our dinner party playlists from streaming services, but from here on, I’ll be focusing those research efforts on the local Toronto music scene.
I’m enjoying this journey of discovery and I hope you will join me.