Last week I reconnected with my good friends Brian, Chai and Kaleb to collaborate on what I hoped to be a celebration of The Band's 40th Anniversary of the Last Waltz. I had the idea several years ago to have a collective of souls perform the legendary songs played November 25th, 1976, but as the date approached and several schedules conflicted it was hard to put together something to that grandeur. Instead I hoped to record maybe a song or two, upload it and hold vigil in that form, with prospects to perform more Band songs live as I connected with a group of individuals of the same accord.
I had met Brian Heyes at the University of Toronto in 2008. While waiting to rehearse with some scene study partners for my first year drama course I looked to the piano room in University College to play. To my dismay, a guy was sitting at the piano playing, ugh, I thought, now I gotta wait. Fortunately this guy was good, really good. He played a very familiar piece, which made me stop and say, "Hey man! Is that Great Gig in the Sky, by Pink Floyd." He stopped, looked at me and said, "No, but this is." And begun to play the opening chords of the song. This made me smile, and immediately think to myself, "Ohhh we're going to be friends!!!"
Brian and I have jammed together on and off for the last eight years, playing in each other's parent's basements whenever we could find the time. The jams consisted of one of us either on guitar, bass, drums or keyboards (Brian could play all of them, which made me knight him with the nickname, "The Wizard"), then when the moments faded we would switch and continue the flow of musical enterprise. This would turn into hitting record on my laptop and playing for 3-4 hours straight, with little pauses in between to tune, change instruments, or videos we had projected upon my basement wall - one of my favourite jams was to BBC's Planet Earth, and seeing how Planet Earth 2 has just been released, we will probably make that a new venture!
When I was working at the Molson Amphitheatre circa 2009, I had met Kaleb Hikele, and invited him to join the jams. He had a solo moniker called The Sun Harmonic, and Brian and I had never met such a soulful and beautiful voice!! We would continue to jam and rotate instruments in our sessions, and create beautiful harmonious musical sounds. I recall a wild jam we had performed at The Smiling Buddha before it was revamped into more of a bar/venue scene, when it was a small room in the back of a cafe. We performed a few songs, and then ended with a cover of Maggot Brain/Little Wing that went to wild, I had smashed my glass slide against my guitar in the heat of the moment. This was a great little triangle of musicians that I was more than happy to play and perform with whenever time allowed us to connect.
Fast forward a few years, and several jams and create musical recordings in between and I entered the Drama Centre at the University of Toronto. There was a really lovely fellow named Chai Valladeres who was in the performance class above me but a year younger, as it took me several auditions to finally get into the program. He was a laugh riot, very funny, positive and inspiring. We were in several plays together as well as getting to direct him Julius Caesar and The Meeting with God, where he played God, probably the funniest God you will ever see if you had the chance to step into my mind and see how took the role to new realms of thought - I feel like I have some rehearsal footage somewhere I will eventually upload to share with all you lovely souls. Chai was also a drummer, and I had invited him to some of the jam sessions with Brian, Kaleb, and other drama fam Matt Pellow and Alicia Kapudag. We would create a session called The New Moon sessions, which showcased our individual skills and talents in an improvised creative sphere of excellence.
After a few years of finishing my drama program, a few jams here and there, a play or two here or there, graduation, and then figuring out my life in the world outside of school, I have always felt passionate playing guitar, singing, and jamming with these collective souls. So in hopes of putting together this Band celebration, it was not only to honor the beauty that this collective had done in the sixties onwards, but for to reinvigorate the drive within me to carry that same love of music to my own world, the people around me and everyone I know. So we jammed that night of the 22 of November, played a few Band covers, and then a few improvised sessions that I am ecstatic to share with all of you tonight!! Many more to come, but in the meantime I'm happy to reconnect with my fellow Vikings and unleash the musical carnage and cosmic meanderings of time and space!!
Much Love and Light,
Cosmic Star Child page under Projections.