The Pig Paper was Canada’s very first self-published music fanzine, one of the pioneering, and longest-lasting examples of that country’s vibrant small press pedigree.
Beginning life in the early Seventies as record-hunting correspondence between founder/publisher Gary Pig Gold and his oldest friend, Doug “Rock Serling” Pelton, the first Pig Paper to be made available to the public was a mock-concert program sold during a 1975 appearance by The Who in Toronto.
Two years later, The Pig Paper was covering Canada’s nascent punk rock scene, publishing some of the first-ever in-depth articles on such bands as Teenage Head, The Viletones, and Simply Saucer as well as early reviews and interviews with The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Talking Heads and many others. Each issue also contained material on vintage acts such as The Beach Boys and Elvis Presley, as well as offering performers such as Half Japanese and Jandek many of their initial appearances in print.
The Pig Paper duly gave birth as well to the Pig Records label in 1978, issuing the first release by Simply Saucer, and Gary’s widely-syndicated Pigshit column, which first appeared in the February 1979 issue of Flipside Fanzine, continues to run monthly online to this day.
( Some Of ) THE STORY SO FAR:…. …. ..
August 1963.. – Gary discovers ..CHUM-AM Radio… .. ..
February 1964.. – Gary sees ..a very certain Ed Sullivan Show… .. ..
March 1965.. – Gary gets his very first guitar. .. ..
May 1966.. – Gary now knows ..some chords.. ! .. ..
December 1968.. – Gary joins his very first band. .. ..
August 1969.. – Gary plays his very first gig. .. ..
May 1970.. – Gary directs his first film. .. ..
May 1972.. – Gary’s fourth film gets shown on PBS Television! .. ..
March 1974.. – Gary has Some Time in New York City. .. ..
August 1975.. – Gary invades ..London… .. ..
December 1975.. – Gary publishes ..the very first ..Pig Paper….. .. ..
October 1977.. – Gary and his Loved Ones make ..their very first public appearance… .. ..
June 1978.. – Gary produces and releases the very first ..Simply Saucer.. record. .. ..
February 1979.. – Gary’s first ..Pigshit.. column runs in ..Flipside.. Magazine. .. ..
November 1979.. – Gary’s merry band of ..Loved Ones relocate to Surf City… .. ..
July 1983.. – Gary joins the ..Fun With Numbers.. band in Vancouver, B.C. .. ..
March 1985.. – Gary joins the ..Endless Summer.. band. .. ..
July 1986.. – Gary’s ..Endless Summer festival appearance with Del Shannon.. ! .. ..
January 1989.. – Gary records ..with Pat Boone in Nashville.. (…no, really!!) .. ..
April 1989.. – Gary begins the ..Valentino’s Pirates.. sessions at Daniel Lanois’ Grant Avenue Studio. .. ..
September 1989.. – Gary and Dave Rave ..escape to New York… .. ..
February 1992.. – ….Valentino’s Pirates…. released …in Russia on Melodiya Records! .. ..
July 1992.. – Gary joins ..The Ghost Rockets… .. ..
May 1993.. – Gary, Andrew Loog Oldham, et al help Alex Chilton re-record ….Bach’s Bottom….. .. ..
October 1993.. – Gary, Jim Carroll et al pay ..tribute to Don Covay… .. ..
October 1996.. – Gary first published in book form within the ….Music Hound Rock: Essential Album Guide….. .. ..
April 1998.. – Gary and Shane Faubert launch ..To M’Lou Music… .. ..
January 2000.. – Gary and the Grip Weeds pay ..tribute to the Bay City Rollers.. !! .. ..
August 2002.. – To M’Lou Music pays tribute to the late, very great ..Gene Pitney… .. ..
September 2003.. – Gary appears in the film ….Jandek on Corwood….. .. ..
September 2004.. – Gary and that ..Next Big Thing.. make their very first public appearance. .. ..
December 2006.. – Gary and his ..Little Sisters.. say “Yes It Is” ! .. ..
July 2007.. – The Next Big Thing, Ghost Rockets, and Dave Rave Group help bring ..Sweet Relief… .. ..
August 2008.. – Our Next Big Thing are ..still.. ..Living With Neil Young’s War… .. ..
January 2010.. – Gary sez ..Treat Me Like Dirt… .
About Gary Pig Gold
Gary Pig Gold (born May 30, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is a singer-songwriter, record producer, filmmaker and author.
Ever since first encountering The RanDells’ immortal “Martian Hop” as a child in his Aunt Jenny’s cottage, Gary has lead a life absolutely filled with writing, writing about, making, manufacturing, distributing, performing, championing-in-general and – oh yeah! – listening to music of all sorts, shapes, stripes and formats.
These merry melodic adventures have carried him far from his home and native Toronto to, amongst many other people, places and things, the nascent London pub/punk rock scene, an historic record deal with the once Soviet state’s Melodiya label, a decade as founder-publisher of Canada’s first-ever music fanzine, a Maximum Rhythm and Bluegrass song in the second Brady Bunch movie (almost) and a happy home today running a virtual record company from high atop the Heights of Jersey City, USA.
Gary could’ve made it to Australia as Jan and Dean’s bass player once as well, but forgot his passport somewhere along the way.
Nevertheless, with his infamous socio-musical “Pigshit” column entering its fourth decade of faithful service, and many a note-worthy mission still to be done and sung, Gary continues to be, in the All Music Guide’s well-chosen words, “rock music’s all-time hardest-working man …with all apologies to James Brown.”
His fanzine The Pig Paper was Canada’s first independently-published music magazine, and among the recording artists he has worked with are Pat Boone, Dave Rave, Endless Summer, Simply Saucer and Shane Faubert.
He formed his first band, Pornographic Cornflake (named after “I Am The Walrus” lyric) at age thirteen, and his first 16mm film made four years later, a documentary about his hometown entitled This is Port Credit!, was chosen to be aired on a local PBS Television affiliate after winning an award at a high school film competition.
Due to its libelous nature however, Gold was advised to indemnify himself from possible legal action by crediting the film to a fictitious director. Eating breakfast the morning the credits were to be re-shot, a plastic pig stamper fell from his cereal box and the pseudonym Gary Pig was adopted.
Under this nom de plume, Gold began self-publishing The Pig Paper in 1973 and distributing it by mail to friends.
Visiting London two years later he met Joe Strummer, then leading The 101ers, who encouraged Gold to continue his writing.
That winter, he published a mock concert program commemorating an appearance by The Who in Toronto, and in 1977 a similar Pig Paper on The Kinks became the first issue to be made available outside of Canada, when Gold followed the band to a concert and record signing in Buffalo, New York.
The featured interviewee of that Pig Paper was Edgar Breau, whose band Simply Saucer Gold began managing and producing, releasing their first record June 8, 1978 on Pig Records. It was voted Single Of The Week in London’s Record Mirror the following month.
By then,The Pig Paper was being distributed throughout the U.S. and Europe, offering early in-depth coverage of The Viletones, Ramones, Half Japanese, Elvis Costello and Talking Heads as well as features on such vintage acts as The Hollies and Dave Clark Five.
Immediately after attending a Jan and Dean concert in Toronto during the summer of 1980, Gold relocated to California where he formed The Loved Ones, as well as promoting concerts for local bands such as The Crowd over the next three years.
He spent the remainder of the decade back in Canada, first joining the Vancouver-based Fun With Numbers band before touring five years with Endless Summer.
In 1989, he returned to the studio, working in Nashville alongside Donald Dunn and Pat Boone, then at Daniel Lanois’ Grant Avenue Studio with Dave Rave DesRoches and Coyote Shivers, the latter sessions resulting in the Valentino’s Pirates album, which became the first independently-recorded western release to be issued on the Soviet Union’s Melodiya record label.
After relocating to New York City with DesRoches and Shivers to form the Dave Rave Conspiracy alongside Billy Ficca of Television and ex-Washington Squares Lauren Agnelli, Gold co-founded the pioneering alternative-country band The Ghost Rockets, whose maximum rhythm ‘n’ bluegrass cover of the Beach Boys’ “In My Room” became a radio “turntable hit” in Europe.
Gary Pig Gold Biography
by Rovi Stanton Swihart
Gary Pig Gold (and, yes, “Pig” is an official part of the package) is something of a Renaissance man and lightning rod for the last quarter of 20th-century indie and underground pop. As a band member and songwriter, producer, sideman, arranger, record label owner, distributor, publisher, editor, and writer, he has emerged as an all-around patron, promoter, and champion not only for artists that have flown beneath the radar but also for the grand history of pop music, in its broader connotation. It is conceivable that, all apologies to James Brown, he is rock music’s all-time hardest-working man. If his name recognition isn’t quite at the level of his credibility and influence, Gold is still, hands down, one of the most fascinating characters to wander out of rock & roll’s back alleys since punk reared its mohawked head.
Gary Pig Gold was born with neither a silver guitar in his hands nor a “Pig” in his name, but he certainly had music in his blood from the get-go.
His father was a big band drummer and owner of a prodigious collection of swing 78s, and his mother still sings with the Mississauga Choral Society. Canadian-born and -bred, he grew up listening incessantly to Toronto’s 1050 CHUM-AM Radio, earning an appreciation for everything from early rock ‘n’ roll to bluegrass and bubblegum.
He first picked up a guitar as an adolescent in the mid-’60s, and by the time he hit his teenage years, he had formed his first combo, Pornographic Cornflake, named after the lyric in “I Am the Walrus.” Through high school Gold played in various combos of disparate merit before being transformed by the scruffy tidal wave called punk in the mid-’70s.
The “Pig” nom de plume originated by chance. A PBS television channel in Buffalo, New York, selected for broadcast an impudent mockumentary that the aspiring filmmaker had made. To avoid any ugly litigious hang-ups, it was suggested that the high school student credit it to an alter ego. The next morning at breakfast, a small plastic pig stamper fell out of his Wheaties box, and Pig Productions, as well as Gary Pig, was born.
The name stuck for good when, a couple years later in an act of rebellion against escalated ticket prices, Gold and a friend created “anti-handbills” for a Who concert, which earned the wrath of some MCA record reps (but the delight of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey). That act of rebellion could also be considered the seed of the Pig Paper.
In 1975 Gold began to publish Canada’s very first music fanzine out of Ontario, eventually covering the punk explosion there, with the inception of Canadian bands like the Viletones, the Dishes, and Simply Saucer (who recorded a 1978 45 on his Pig record label).
It was on a trip to London during the summer of ’75 (to see the Troggs) that Gold first began brushing up against history. He witnessed a little combo, the 101’ers, which played nearly the exact repertoire as his own band at the time, Martin & the E-Chords. When he went up to meet the band’s guitarist, he came face to face with none other than Joe Strummer. Strummer not only suggested that Gold check out a new clothes-and-records shop in Chelsea called Let It Rock and ask for Malcolm McLaren, but his enthusiasm for pub — as opposed to punk — rock and the underground press provided the burgeoning publisher with the encouragement he needed upon his return to Canada.
During the same trip he also managed to sneak into a Wings concert with the help of Paul McCartney’s manager, an event immortalized in Jorie B. Gracen’s -I Saw Him Standing There.
By 1978 the worldwide circulation had surged to 5,000 copies, and the Pig Paper had become near legendary in punk circles for its playful, sardonic lampooning of pop culture and serious music coverage, as well as a rallying point for his record label and distribution company, all operated out of his parents’ basement.
By 1980, his pop compulsion had compelled him toward California immediately after seeing Jan & Dean play at Ontario Place in Toronto. Three weeks later, by some twist of fate, he was asked to tour Australia as bassist with the duo. (Alas, lack of a bass guitar precluded the trip.) Instead, he decided to put a pop/rock band together, settling in Orange Country and spending three years with the Loved Ones.
By 1985 Gold had returned to Toronto and was putting out single-sheet editions of the Pig Paper in between relentless touring gigs with his Beach Boys-clone surf combo, Endless Summer, in which his role was as rhythm guitarist “Gary Jardine.” Endless Summer was extremely popular throughout Canada, even earning the opportunity to open for and back up Del Shannon at a festival appearance. Gold met fellow Canadian and ex-Teenage Head front man Dave Des Roches — their respective bands were on the same touring circuit — in 1988.
The following year, he produced Des Roches’ solo debut, Valentino’s Pirates, and the duo found themselves moving to New York City, illegally subletting on the Upper East Side and playing coffeehouse gigs around Greenwich Village as Valentino’s Pirates. They managed to get a record deal with the Russian label Melodiya and were forced to put together a touring band. With the addition of guitarist Coyote Shivers (who had already been crashing at their place), drummer Billy Ficca, and former Washington Squares bassist Lauren Agnelli, the resulting unit became the power pop combo exemplar Dave Rave Conspiracy and spent the first half of the 1990s gigging and developing a following along the East Coast and throughout Canada. They released several albums both domestically and abroad through 1995. By that time, Gold had already cast his lot with another motley assemblage of musicians.
After meeting guitarist Buddy Woodward in 1990, the two started trading tapes and working on each other’s songs-in-progress, many of which showed a considerable country bent.
By 1992, with Gold now settled in Hoboken, the duo convened the maximum rhythm ‘n’ bluegrass unit the Ghost Rockets. They developed, over the next half decade, a rabid local following, leading not only to busy fan bootlegging but also a pair of 1998 releases.
He then co-founded the To M’Lou Music label with friend and power pop stalwart Shane Faubert, whose solo recordings Gold was producing at the time, to release the acclaimed Unsound demo compilation series and even more lauded debut disc from the Masticators. Dave Rave Conspiracy also made plans to reconvene, with rhythm-section help from Masticators’ Lisa Mychols and Robbie Rist, to play the 2001 International Pop Overthrow festival in Los Angeles as a celebration for the tenth-anniversary expanded re-release of Valentino’s Pirates.
And, of course, Gary Pig Gold continues, through the countless articles and insights that he contributes to print and online publications, to record the unwritten history of pop music both high- and lowbrow, and every brow in between.
Pig Paper # 1 (December 1975)
Pictures, stories, and interviews, both old and new, on The Who, including a lengthy discography, packaged together as an Official Concert Program and initially sold only on the streets outside Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto when the band performed there on December 11, 1975.
Pig Paper # 2 (October 1976)
A small literary “coda” and update on The Who, inserted into reprints of Pig Paper 1 and again sold outside Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens when the band returned there on October 21, 1976 (coincidentally, Keith Moon’s final public performance with the band).
Pig Paper # 3 (April 1977)
The “True Kink Konfessions” of Simply Saucer’s Edgar Breau, distributed free-of-charge to concert-goers when The Kinks played Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 29, 1977. This was also the first Pig Paper made available outside of Canada (at the Kinks’ show in Buffalo, NY, the following evening, as well as during their in-store appearance at Buffalo’s Record Theatre the day after that).
Pig Paper # 4 (June 1977) withdrawn
does anyone know why ??
Pig Paper # 5 (August 1977)
An interview with The Ramones (conducted at their June 18, 1977 Toronto performance and party afterwards), an article/discography on the Australian band The Saints, Rock Serling’s first “Delete Zone” column, the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In Canada,” “Elvis Is Dead” obituary, Pig Paper photographer Johnny Pig’s run-in with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, “Pig Punk Part One” (Teenage Head, Simply Saucer, The Viletones, Battered Wives and The Curse) plus record reviews of the Saints’ (I’m) Stranded, The Beach Boys Love You and Surfin’ With The Viletones.
Pig Paper # 6 (October 1977)
Interviews with Talking Heads and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, a report on the Toronto “Outrage” concert, “Marc Bolan Is Dead” obituary, “Pig Punk Part Two” (The Dishes, Loved Ones, Concordes, Headache, Diodes), the first “Pigossip” column, “More True Kink Konfessions” (from the proposed Pig Paper # 4), plus record reviews of the Alan Parsons Project, Viletones, Sex Pistols, Rattles, Dishes, 24 Original Happening Hits, Nick Lowe, and the New Legion Rock Spectacular.
Pig Paper # 7 (December 1977)
Interviews with The Hollies, Eddie and the Hot Rods and the Boyfriends, articles on Tommy Ramone, Freddie and the Dreamers and the Vibrators, the first “Pigallery” photo spread, “Pig Punk Part Three” (Dole-Q, The Ugly, Afrika Korps, The Poles, Stanley Frank), plus record reviews of Iggy Pop, XTC, the Dead Boys, Bay City Rollers, Suicide, Dwight Twilley Band, X-Ray Spex, and many more.
Pig Paper # 8 (April 1978)
Interviews with Elvis Costello and The Viletones, The Forgotten Rebels’ Fan Mail, Jeremy Gluck’s “Stupid Songs I Have Known,” The Runaways at the El Mocambo, The Diodes in New York City, Bill McAvory’s first Classic Canada column, “Pig Punk Part 4” (Blue Reimondos, Jumpers, The Good), plus record reviews of the Heartbreakers, The Monkees, Rich Kids, Damned, Eric Burdon, The Rutles, and many more.
Pig Paper # 9 (August 1978)
Interviews with John Lydon and Generation X, articles on Suicide, Buddy Holly, and Destroy All Monsters, “Pig Toronto Punk Discography,” Bill McAvory on the Ugly Ducklings, Edgar Breau plays “Blindate,” plus record reviews of David Johansen, Wild Man Fischer, Blondie, Mink DeVille, the Paley Brothers, Tom Petty, the Romantics, Television, Soft Boys, Ringo Starr, Ian Dury, and many more.
Pig Paper # 10 (December 1978)
The Story of the Dave Clark Five, Rock Serling’s All-Time Top 1000, “Where The Action Is” Boston and Los Angeles scene reports, Keith Richards plays “Blindate,” articles on the Rich Kids, Greg Kihn and The Verbs, plus record reviews of Glen Campbell, Captain Beefheart, Shaun Cassidy, the Modern Lovers, Elvis Presley, Devo, and many more.
Pig Paper #’s 10-A and 10-B (February and March 1979)
First two of a proposed series of 25-cent, monthly “between Pig Paper Newsletters,” featuring The Diodes, Clash, Teenage Head and Ugly Ducklings.
Pig Paper # 11 (January 1980)
The first of the “Pocket Pig Papers,” featuring Elvis Presley, Half Japanese, Wayne County, Steve Jones’ “Blindate,” plus record reviews of Chuck Berry, the Cramps, ABBA, The Chipmunks Sing The Beatles Hits, Kim Fowley, Michael Nesmith, Shoes, Bob Dylan, and many more.
Pig Paper # 12 (March 1980)
“The Strange Case of John Lennon,” PiL, Marianne Faithfull interview, plus the Paul Revere and the Raiders record (review) that never was.
Pig Paper # 13 (June 1980)
The first of two strictly promotional Pig Papers, reproducing clippings and reviews spotlighting Pig Productions’ first five years of operation.
Pig Paper # 14 (January 1982)
The first California-produced Pig Paper, featuring Mick Clintrock’s interview with Jerry Lee Lewis.
Pig Paper # 15 (October 1983)
The second Promo-Pig Paper.
Pig Paper # 16 (February 1985)
The first of the two-page giveaway Mail Art Pig Papers, featuring Part One of an interview with the Dream Syndicate.
Pig Paper # 17 (March 1985)
Part Two of the Dream Syndicate interview, plus the first Ace Backwords Comix.
Pig Paper # 18 (April 1985)
Part Three of the Dream Syndicate interview, plus first Jad Fair artwork.
Pig Paper # 19 (June 1985)
Part Four of the Dream Syndicate interview.
Pig Paper # 20 (July 1985)
Interview with Fat Mike of NOFX.
Pig Paper # 21 (August 1985)
“Why I Hate the Psychedelic Revival” by H. Gertz, plus Eddie Flowers’ first “L.A. Blues” column.
Pig Paper # 22 (September 1985)
Back To Cool Issue, featuring “Questions Gas Station Attendants Frequently Ask About Deja Voodoo’s Car.”
Pig Paper # 23 (October 1985)
Special Anachronism Issue, including the first “Continuing Saga of Dr. Iguana” column.
Pig Paper # 24 (January 1986)
Gala Tenth Anniversary Issue.
Pig Paper # 25 (March 1986)
“Confessions of an Ex-Loved One” by Ed O’Bryan, Part Three, plus John Crawford’s “The World’s First Hardcore Compilation Letter!”
Pig Paper # 26 (May 1986)
Special Glenn Gould Memorial Issue.
Pig Paper # 27 (August 1986)
Special Bobby Fuller Memorial Issue.
Pig Paper # 28 (October 1986)
Special Brian Epstein Memorial Issue, including first Tuli Kupferberg artwork.
Pig Paper # 29 (January 1987)
Special Brian Wilson Memorial Issue, including David Leaf’s Top Ten List.
Pig Paper # 30 (April 1987)
Gala Thirtieth Anniversary Issue.
Pig Paper # 31 (August 1987)
Special Elvis-Still-Dead Issue.
Pig Paper # 32 (December 1987)
Special Punkstalgia Memorial Issue, including James Lord’s “Letters From The Damned” and Ace Backwords’ “Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten Garbage Patch Dolls.”
BLACK AND WHITE TECHNICOLOUR: A FANZINE LOVE AFFAIR
BY JEREMY GLUCK
At about fifteen I started writing for a few fanzines. I can’t remember how I found out about them. One was called “Big Star”, from northern New York State; the other, “Teenage News”, was edited by a guy in Montreal named Yves, I visited him a few times. I edited my high school rag a while, too, and reviewed the debut Dolls album. The fanzine has pretty much died now, though. The days when my older brother and I plotted a fanzine – “Rumble” – that I photocopied on the sly at work in the weeks leading up to my big trip to England to form The Barracudas, well…So that was how it worked, and I wrote for other titles, too, like “Denim Delinquent” out of my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, edited by Jim Parrett, who somehow wrangled Lester Bangs into writing for it and some issues of which are rightly considered classics of their kind.
In those days even the mainstream rock writers were something else. CREEM was The Bible, with Bangs, Dave Marsh (who made his pile soon enough working with Springsteen), Ed Ward, Robert “Robot” Hull and many more. The writing was impassioned, imbecilic, obsessive and very funny. Then there came Rock Scene, a cheap, teeny-type rag training NYC punk, with its endless Ramones features and tidbbits about Bowie and the Ig. In Britain you had more, some amazing. Let It Rock, beautiful and sleek, blasted Roxy Music and other offbeat hitsters. Melody Maker and NME actually didn’t suck, the latter housing Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Mick Farren and other crack hacks.
Fanzines, though, felt and were different. Sniffin’ Glue was apocryphal, a grimy, bulldogging, belligerent bark at any passing conformity. In its dying days I made a pilgrimage there and Mark P. accepted my proposal for a piece on Generation X that was duly published. I wrote for Ripped and Torn, Tony D’s brilliant anarchist rant; his band of agitprop squatters was formidable and funny. There were dozens of others, stapled and stuck together, crammed with ideas.
Now we have blogs and the mute, piratical testimony of the download demimonde, and it just isn’t the same. Freedom of creativity transformed, however. What the fanzines promised the new world delivers: Everything for nothing, let’s not get physical, download my wife, please. The original zines had something to chafe on, a position. What is the position of a blog, written on no-paper at no-price? Music capitalism will be on its knees soon and that is good, but I miss the definition of the old ways, the city ravines, where there was black and white, not all glyphs. So it’s an old man’s love song to himself. I miss Jeremy.
One of the problems of this post-post-modern world is that everybody knows everything and knows everybody else, too. The pervasive coy, informed, sardonic and sarcastic tone that fills entertainment media from heavy duty horror to kid’s cartoons has homogenised and polluted us, making everything once removed and already old. Nobody talks much about the future, because we’re convinced we’re living in it, Dick Tracy on lie drugs. I don’t like this reality fix: I want my future back (and, yeah, thrown in my woody, fuggedaboutit!) All this today takes me away from me. I’ve found being human very disappointing, and the collapse of what you can hold has made it worse. Fanzines call me back to a time and place that had a time and place. I am not a text, I am a human being, and I’ll live with the disappointment.
I look back because the blizzard of mediocrity that now assails us bores me. Fanzines and vinyl, the solid waste of what-was, and give me cassettes and all good crap, it’s the world I knew. We are sailing sideways into and under a horizon of banded beingness. The original fanzines, that left marks on your fingertips, were the coal face of fandom, where you toiled in the dark hammering at an implacable stupidity: people whose taste was worse than yours. Now there’s room for everybody and I wish they would reintroduce the dress code. I know exactly what I am talking about and here I will see it in print, not limbo. Banality TV seeps into everything, an enfeebling flood. It takes less time and effort to do everything, which I celebrate, but those raw materials become missed or mutant. This is why I honour the fanzine, humble photocopy grunt of the last, lost Ink Age.
Gary Pig Gold actually attempts to explain.
WHY A PIG?? There truly, irrefutably, was nothing good on the radio as I was escaping High School for the very last time circa 1973. Repeat: NOTHING.
So I dug deep into my basement with a clutch of vintage vinyl and launched an imaginary, worldwide daily/nightly radio show. I mean, I just could not fathom having to tie a yellow ribbon when I could simply smash that crocodile rock to “Bits and Pieces.” Strictly monophonically speaking, of course.
What wasn’t quite so imaginary was “Pig Production’s Patented Pop Parade,” a weekly Top Ten tally typed upon my old Royal ribbon monstrosity and mailed to the few friends I still had left hanging around the Toronto suburbs. This, I guess you could say, was a blog …long before Al Gore ever invented the Internets though, I’ll have you all know.
Then my parents threatened to kick me completely up and out of said basement, so I enrolled as a student screenwriter in the nearest post-Secondary educational facility I could find. But, once racks upon musty racks of old “Billboard” magazines were discovered within the research library one AM, I never did make it to too many more classes. So? Back to the basement …and, to keep Mom and sometimes even Dad pacified, a part-time job delivering peoples’ mail. That particular very-early-morning gig actually managed to bankroll three entire, glorious, record-hunting weeks in London during the surprisingly carefree, rain-free Summer of ‘75.
First night in town, I came upon a nifty little band opening for none other than The Troggs in The Nashville Room that sounded, and even acted, much like my own (semi-imaginary) basement combo back home. They were called The 101’ers, and their leader J. Strummer became my bonafide BFF for the next several hours: A kindred rubbery soul if ever there was one. “Go see this place called Let It Rock on the Kings Road and ask for my mate Malcolm,” Joe suggested. “And keep YOUR magazine going too!”
Yessir. Back home in O Canada, and back at the Billboards, it was announced The Who were coming to town after a good too many years off the Canadian concert circuit. Naturally, all my underemployed pals and I immediately lined up in the slush overnight outside some ticket agency’s window – yet despite our loyally ass-drenched perseverance were only able to purchase incredibly crappy, nosebleed-section seats for our big trouble. “Pig Production’s P.P.P.” was then duly expanded to twenty-eight whole pages so that we could “expose” this grave music biz injustice …alongside lotsa old Who article reprints from the cobwebs plus some pretty strange interviews with the band we made up to boot, that is.
My once-trusty Royal having long since bitten dust though, I had to sneak into a friend’s office space long after hours in order to type, cut, and paste – MANUALLY, by the way! – what was to become “Pig Paper # 1.” Running far behind deadline as the sun rose one faithful Toronto morn near concert day however, we were caught red-fingered by my friend’s new boss. But far from being just like the old boss, he said “What are you guys up to? A magazine? What about? The Who? Oh! They’re coming to town next week. Make sure you give me a few copies once they’re done so I can give them to Pete” who, you see, just happened to have attended Art College with my friend’s employer. Saved again! Someone up there likes fanzines!
Disguised as an Official Authorized Two-Colour, One-Dollar Concert Program, our “Who Paper” was sold out in the street whilst Toots and the Maytals played Opening Act inside and, despite vociferous-and-then-some threats by some cad insisting he worked for The Who, The Metropolitan Toronto Police and/or MCA Records (he never was quite sure), we realized we’d made Seventy Big Ones’ PROFIT after we counted all our dollar bills in the local pizza hole right after “My Generation”/”Roadrunner.” Huh!
Of course, when the equally cool Kinks came to Toronto a while later, they got their own “Pig Paper” too …though we had to follow them all the way to Buffalo, New York to hand-deliver R.D. Davies & Co. copies. Then an even louder band, The Ramones, came to town, and when nobody else in the “real” media was at all interested, “The Pig Paper” gave its long-lost brudders-in-arms many a hand-typed column inch in true, hardened heartfelt appreciation.
Meanwhile, some friends-of-friends’-friends who dared live up to their moniker The Viletones started playing right there on Yonge Street in Toronto too, immediately followed by Teenage Head, The Diodes, and enough other delightfully alarming local talents to fill a great big rash of subsequent “Pig” Papers as the months and then years scraped fitfully by.
One band especially caught what was left of my bank account, and so Pig Records was finally launched in June of 1978 with all seven inches of Simply Saucer’s debut 45 RPM. “Single Of The Week!” no less than “Record Mirror” of London proclaimed just a few weeks later, but by then I’d run into Jan and Dean in concert one hot August night and ran off to L.A. as opposed to the U.K… I mean, Jeremy’s grand new Barracudas were already occupying London in the name of Surf City, so I moved all things Pig to even sunnier climes and found starving on Huntington Beach not so terribly cold after all.
Put a band (The Loved Ones) together there, opened for some “Pig Paper” subscribers there (Steve Wynn), made some demos other subscribers (Rodney Bingenheimer) gave prime air-time to, put out some California “Pig” Papers (Jerry Lee Lewis) and made some California Pig Pals (Monkee Mike even!) before heading back to my Home and Native Land to spend the second Reagan administration touring as part of Canada’s Only Officially Authorized Tri-Colour Tribute Concert program, the Endless Summer band.
Then Gary took a weekend off in Nashville to record with Pat Boone before producing and relocating to New York City with Teenage Head Dave Rave, signed him to Russia’s Melodiya Records label, started the severely alt. country Ghost Rockets and then another record label and, well…
This Pig is very well into his third decade of proud and quite regular pop-parading publication, albeit primarily all over the www nowadaze. And the moral of this all, I guess, is that no matter how bad things (the radio, the neighborhood, lifestyle-in-general) often can get, why, it’s even easier now than it was in ’73 to head to the basement, grab a keyboard, and start typing your life away! If I’ve managed to get away with it for this long, I’d quite safely say ANYONE can
Chum Radio Station toronto
Through the formative ‘50s, the unforgettable ‘60s and the interesting ‘70s, 1050 chum played a major part in shaping the radio landscape in Toronto. Recording acts from Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Guess Who, Elton John, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers and Bob Seger not only graced the airwaves but walked the halls of 1050 CHUM.
Also, “1050 CHUM” was noteworthy for hosting many famous rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and The Beatles (1964, ’65, and ’66).