Johnny Maraca’s farewell on 97.7 radio

A history of the show…

Launched in 2008 as the Roots of Rock and Roll on 97.7 the Beach. A 4-hour show. Then 3, then 2…then 2 plus 4 hours on Sunshine 89 in Orillia. Both cancelled in 2011 for budget reasons. Reborn on Internet radio as The Rock and Roll Riot. Brought back on 97.7 in 2013 or so. Cancelled again because the station had shifted from ‘70s to present day and the Riot was considered too old.

Here’s the final show, that aired last night.

Segment One: Chuck Berry, Johnny B Goode; Freddy Cannon, Tallahassee Lassie; Imelda May, Wild Woman; Rolling Stones, Street Fighting Man; Max Webster, High Class in Borrowed Shoes; Dick Dale,, Misirlou; Bullmoose Jackson, Big Ten Inch Record

Segment Two: KISS, Shout it Out Loud; The Black Holes, Slippin’ and Slidin’; The Who, My Generation; The Platters, The Great Pretender; Bill Haley & His Comets, Rock Around the Clock; Heart, Kick it Out: Eddie Cochran, C’mon Everybody

Segment Three: The Ramones, Rockaway Beach; Santers, Can’t Shake You; CCR, Good Golly Miss Molly; April Wine, I Like to Rock; Chuck Berry, Bye Bye Johnny; Motorhead, Ace of Spades




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Agreeing to disagree

I can’t recall the radio station but I’m thinking it was Q107 in Toronto and they were doing a version of Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent, divining answers to unknown questions. The setup was to give the punchline and then provide the question.

Johnny Carson

Ted Nugent had suffered facial injuries. Not sure if it was a hunting accident or chainsaw mishap but the answer was, “Jack and Diane, and the gashes on Ted Nugent’s face.”

The question: Name two cuts on an American Fool. The latter being the title of the John Cougar (later Cougar Mellencamp and even later just Mellencamp) album of the same name.

Politically speaking, Nugent and I are on opposite sides. Don’t agree with Uncle Ted’s views, but damn I like his songs. I’ll always play air guitar to Cat Scratch Fever and his Amboy Dukes rocker, Journey to the Centre of the Mind. I’ll wango tango till my dying days.


Whatever happened to respecting the opinions of the left? Or the right? Or the slightly leaning to one side or the other?

I’ve been unfriended on Facebook because I’m more of a liberal. Small L. Not a diehard supporter of the Liberal party or a guy with a man crush on Justin Trudeau. Though Sophie, ahh…Sophie I find very appealing. I’ve always had a thing for French Canadian women, going back to Genevieve Bujold.

And yes, prior to the election of Ivanka’s Dad, I created a Facebook post suggesting that Trump supporters were out of their minds. Or didn’t have minds. Or were fucked in the head.


I accept that many people will vote for their side, no matter who’s running. Our local MP was parachuted in, with zero political experience and having the charisma of of a tree stump and the voice of a 12-year-old with a sinus condition, and she won easily because voters in this riding will elect a German Shepherd if it’s the conservative candidate.

I get that many voters are fed up with traditional politics and hey, why not give this person a chance? Cant’ be any worse and the last administration did not improve their lives, financially or otherwise.

And, I like S.E. Cupp.

Conservative commentator with the guts to sit across from a guy the right hates, Bill Maher (and lefty Michael Moore, above). They spar, disagree throughout Real Time with Bill Maher and, I’m guessing, have dinner later. Maher continues to invite Ann Coulter on his show because it makes for good ratings, and he’s willing to let Coulter express her opinions and explain her positions.

Is Coulter a nut job?

Hey, how about those Maple Leafs?

And I’ve likely lost another Facebook “friend.” Okay, Ann’s brilliant. Come on back. No. She’s neither brilliant nor an idiot. Coulter is sharp. She’s made tons of money from books and appearances. I don’t get a cent for my blogs (so far). To steal a line from Trump supporters, deal with it.

I’m dealing.

Social media thrives by putting us in tribes and, at the same time, dividing us. Check out this link! Are you outraged? Aren’t those people morons? Reply. React. Repost. Who cares if its true? There’ll be another post in a few hours telling you that the previous one was bogus and in the mean time, here’s a video of a poor deer stranded on a frozen lake.

They rescued the deer.

You’re a good person. So am I. We can agree to disagree and, in the words of Kim Mitchell and his longtime songwriting partner Pye Dubois, go for a soda. Nobody hurts, nobody cries. Nobody drowns, nobody dies.

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Dick Clark’s (not) Rockin’ New Year’s Eve

The best reason to get out of the house on New Year’s Eve was to avoid listening to Ryan Seacrest. Watching him host what used to be Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with the sound off, and only looking at the screen at 11:59:30 pm, was slightly less painful.

My radio colleague Eddie Trunk tweeted, “Can’t wait to see how many ‘rockin” New Year’s Eve shows will actually feature real rock.”

The first RNE in 1973 was actually called Three Dog Night’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. Hosted by that group and featuring Dick Clark as a roving reporter. Guessing TDN brought in ’74 in a Joy to the World kind of way but they were more of a rock band than Imagine Dragons will ever be. Those aren’t Khaleesi’s dragons. Now that band would rock! Then again, we can blame the perennially clueless Grammy voters.

“Are they a rock band?”

“Maybe, look at the photos and videos. They’re holding electric guitars.”

Okay, check the sales and download charts and genuine rock bands are hard to find among the likes of Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheehan and those fiery dragons who are no doubt causing parents to say, turn that down! You’ll go deaf listening to that noise. What’s the song called? Thunder? My ears!

Thunder actually sounds like it could have been done by Ariana Grande. And better.

No power chords. No pounding drums. It’s more ABBA than AC/DC.

I don’t expect Ryan and crew to give us Green Day, Metallica or Foo Fighters. They’ve been around for two decades or more and will soon be considered classic rock. Maybe they already are. I’m sure Eddie Trunk would love to see current, honest to goodness rock acts like Monster Truck, Texas Hippy Coalition or Santa Cruz (actually a hard rock band from Finland) on TV.

Me too.

Dick Clark’s annual party has featured Linda Ronstadt, The Doobie Brothers, Blondie, Melissa Etheridge and Avril Lavigne. My fellow Canadian Avril’s Sk8ter Boi rocks harder than all the recent Grammy “rock” nominees combined.

If there isn’t going to be any real thunder, played live or lip-synced to, just change the name of the show. Rock and roll topped the charts when Clark hosted American Bandstand but that has not been the case for many years.

Then again, even the top pop and R&B performers were not on the bill last night. Mariah, Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears? Did Seacrest put us in a time machine and transport us back to 2007?

I spent the final hour of 2017 at Don Cherry’s Sports Bar in Wasaga Beach. Listening to a live blues band with classics played on electric guitars, bass, keyboards and real drums…and occasionally glancing at the TV to see smilin’ Ryan and his non-rockin’ New Year’s Eve friends.

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Sure like to ball

Good Golly Miss Molly, indeed.

In the year 2000, or thereabouts, I shook my maraca with London Ontario’s rockabilly rebels, The Black Holes. On the bass, Jedd House. On guitar, Tom Hillborn. On vocals and rhythm guitar, Vince Braca and, behind the drum kit, the madman who was part Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Keith Moon…ladies and gentleman, music lovers of all ages, Sean Anderson.

Sean was my co-worker at CFOS/Mix 106.5 in Owen Sound and, soon after his arrival in town, he dared to enter what was then a dive with a Capital D….the Coach Inn. The Coach booked mostly country bands on weekends but Sean managed to get the Holes a gig in a room where, if you could lift your head for just a few seconds, you could get another drink. To this day, I can picture a a young fella somehow standing between two tall tables, passed out, arms outstretched like a drunken Icarus.

It was usually during the Holes second set, after I’d downed a few Formosa Springs (I miss that beer) that Sean would call me up to the stage, hand me that giant maraca (it was two the first time but I found swinging one in a hammer-like fashion did the trick) and the band would rip into Johnny B Goode.

My repertoire grew to include Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away, done more like the Stones version, and Little Richard’s Good Golly Miss Molly.

A year or so after my Coach Inn debut, the Holes and I drove to Casino Rama to see Little Richard.

The self-proclaimed architect of rock and roll was in his late ’60s. Moving gingerly, but game. And gay. Very gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Richard, who has spent over 60 years being gay, getting religion, denouncing homosexuality, accepting it and…what day is it? On that night, the man born Richard Penniman expressed his desire for one of his band mates, a young African American sax player.

And Michael Jordan.

Sean’s girlfriend Jennifer was part of our group. She was thrilled when Richard sang “Jenny, Jenny,” and though Jenn and Sean broke up later, they eventually got back together and are the proud parents of 5-year-old Ruth.

The Holes always included Richard’s “Rip it Up” in their shows. Richard did not play that one at Casino Rama that night despite our repeated shoutouts. Fair enough. I’m sure Richard and his band had rehearsed their set list over and over and if the singer preferred Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill over one his own tunes, hey, it’s his show.

Little Richard turned 85 today. Witnessing his frail state nearly two decades ago, I would not have bet on Richard making it this far. So glad I was wrong in that assessment.

Happy Birthday, Richard Wayne Penniman, born December 5th, 1932 in Macon, Georgia.

Thanks for the music. My radio friend Handsome Dick Manitoba calls Little Richard the greatest rock and roll singer of all time and, considering Richard’s influence on The Beatles and many other performers, I would agree. A force of nature. A talent like no other. If not the architect of rock and roll, Little Richard is part of the foundation.

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