The Ace of Spades

Somewhere around the year 2000 our radio station social committee came up with the idea of having a video competition, with the winners to be selected at the staff Christmas party in Owen Sound.
Two historic venues played a part in what our team came up with: Owen Sound’s swank hotel-turned-dive, The Coach Inn, and the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.
More on that concert poster later, but both music stages involved our dearly departed Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead.
In 1981, Alfie Petitti and I bought tickets to see Motorhead at the Danforth Music Hall. The first event sold out so a second one was added the same night. Motorhead and opening act Anvil played two shows and I can’t remember if we caught the first or second performance.

If Motorhead moved in next door to you, your lawn would die

It remains the loudest concert I’ve ever attended. My ears were ringing for three days afterwards. If Mom or Dad crashed their knives and forks together at the dinner table, I felt it.
Flash forward to the video creation of yours truly, Sean Anderson and Mary-Jo Tedford (now Tedford-McGillivray).
Sean was, and still is, the drummer for a London, Ontario rockabilly band called The Black Holes. Prior to Sean’s arrival in Owen Sound, we had been afraid to venture inside the Coach. Sean took it as a challenge, and got the Holes booked at the hotel. They would get me up on stage to shake the maracas, and I became Johnny Maraca.


We took the GM’s camcorder and shot scenes inside The Coach Inn…where Louis Armstrong once stayed, there’s likely still a clipping behind the bar…and was the second home to the puppet master.

He was a Coach Inn regular. You could not visit the Coach or it’s main bar, Jason’s Pub, without seeing Arnie. He left this world a number of years ago but I don’t doubt Arnie is still part of that hotel in some way. Did Arnie know he was going to be in a video? Did he give a shit? I’m guessing no.


Though, on a side note, I do recall the hotel owner, Nano, reading The Sun one day when the cover page featured a Toronto mob guy who had just been offed.
“I know that fucking guy,” Nano said.
Mental note. Be nice to Nano.
We shot a video of Arnie and used him as a main character in our story. I re-ran that scene several times on my VCR and laughed so hard I couldn’t fall asleep.
Was he the puppet master? To paraphrase a line from Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” was it all a game to him?

Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill!

Our video won the top prize, likely due to it’s Russ Meyer (Faster Pussycat, Vixen, Up!) look. Though not with the giant boobs featured in Meyers’s cinematic wonders.
So cheers to The Coach Inn. Arnie, Nano, Wendy, Jamie, and the country rock bands that played in Crossroads, the Coach’s so-called “dark side.”
A big salute to Lemmy, Lips and Alfie.
Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister got the dead man’s hand and so did Arnie. But they lived, drank and had a blast.
May we all.

About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s