Its laughable looking back how naive I was, an immigrant in Oshawa. I thought all those bands I was listening to and seeing live in the mid 80s were all famous, all part of the Canadian music scene, that this was Canada I was hearing live, how fortunate I was, that it was all right here where I landed, ha!!
But nope, no one knew these bands then. They are indie icons now: Rheostatics, Deja Voodoo, Gruesomes Jr Gone Wild, and others. They were all part of the Star Club era which I stumbled into a year after I arrived in "The Shwa".
It was so much fun, being in on that secret, in on Canada’s secret underground of music. Dave Bookman was in on it too. He was part of it then and he stayed a part of it until his death in Toronto, announced on Indie 88 this morning, where he had worked as a DJ.
It was a good fit, Bookie and Indie88, he was Indie in deed. It followed on his work at CFNY/ The Edge/ 102.1, where he was the voice of Canadian street level bands on radio. He was the champion for independents and for new music. For the Brits reading, Dave Bookman was Canada's John Peel, for the Irish he was Canada's Dave Fanning.
He also championed the new and upcoming on stage with his Nu-Music nights at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, and he did so on a Tuesday!!
I am sure every country has its own version of Dave, that every community has a music advocate and scene builder; I have met many, in Hamilton and Peterborough and Sudbury and Guelph and London On. But Bookie was different.
Its difficult building a scene in all those towns but in a way it was harder for Dave. He did it all in the belly of the Beast, in the centre of corporate rock, in Toronto, among the major labels and the suits and insipid radio personalities. How he did it, how he won attention, how someone who loved music managed to live on radio in these times when radio is about play charts and profits, well, thats all beyond me but he did. He rose above them all.
Dave Bookman was the real deal, an authentic music lover who spoke the universal language of music, he spoke passion.
His passion inspired many to keep doing the work, to keep fighting the corporatization of music, to stay true to the ideals of punk and alternative and independence, to use your voice to give voice to others and to use your spotlight to spotlight those creating in the margins.