Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Lots of people blogging and posting their memory of 2013.  "What an awful year, I hope 2014 is better" is what I'm reading.

I can relate. My Dad died on January 5, so 2013 didn't start too well.  Then my dog died. There was more junk after that.

Hmmm. I wonder. I bet we say the same thing every year.

And every year isn't actually that bad. Not every year! But sometimes a couple of things taint the rest of the memories.

Instead of feeling lousy about the year that just finished, maybe we need to remember the good things that happened - the new friends we made, a vacation we took, a new plan we made, or even one great day.

Even though I faced loss in 2013, there were some great blessings, some very fun days, and stuff I learned that hopefully has made me a better person.  I'm not letting those bad things in 2013 taint the rest of a great year.

Friday, December 27, 2013


So much to do. So many cool places worth visiting. Of course it all depends on your passions.

I want to go to San Francisco. There’s so many places of interest - like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Haight Ashbury intersection where the hippies hung, Lombard (the crooked street) and of course Alcatraz! Apparently, you can be locked in a cell as part of the visit!
I want to see the site of the Buddy Holly plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. I don’t think there’s much else around there. Not sure what else I would do - see the monument and then...hmmm. But I’m drawn to it.

I want to see Mount Rushmore. I’ve seen lots of pictures. Maybe it isn’t as majestic in person as it’s made out to be. Only one way to know for sure.

I want to see Dealey Plaza in Dallas where President Kennedy was shot. And a visit to a couple of radio stations!

I want to see the intersection of 41 and 46 in California where James Dean was killed. Having seen his movies, been to the museum, and the gravesite, this would complete the trek of James Dean for me.

Overseas, I want to visit Stonehenge, in Wiltshire. I don’t know much about it, really. Seen a couple of A&E documentaries but being on site would be very interesting.

I want to journey by boat to the tip of Elephant Island on the tip of Antarctica. Hopefully there’s something to do once I get there, coz it’s a long ride. It better be worthwhile!

And, I really, REALLY, want to rent a road bike and ride a couple of laps along the Champs Elysees in Paris, then around the Eiffel Tower and up and down the Seine River, and maybe a solid ride from Evry to Paris.

Lots to do! Hopefully a couple of these will come to pass! Maybe ONE in 2014?!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Unfortunately, there was no camera available when many of my favourite moments took place. But, here's a few.
The Heart of Worship - with Scott Towaij. He's wild.

Hanging with Kyler - reading about trucks.

Visiting my son Brett, his wife Gretyl and baby Oliver in Seattle.

I love dogs. Summer joined us in ...well.. the Summer.

A chilly video shoot for a music video to be released next summer,
by Anthem For Today.

A David Bowie exhibit at the Toronto Art Gallery.

The Blushing Brides. Friends of mine from 25 years ago. Found them playing
a show in Toronto. Maurice Raymond has not lost a beat!

These five guys have brought me the most joy all year. Managing
ANTHEM FOR TODAY. Great songs, fun rides, new stories. Ya baby!

Christmas 2012 - the last time I saw my Dad. He died in January. (brother
Bob on right)

Air Raid 22. Zach Havens of To Tell performing Dynamite and the
members of the three other bands all joined in.

A new friend - Bob Cox from Cochrane.

An old friend and former LIFER - Stooley McMuffin, now
working in production at INDIE 88.1 in Toronto. 

Biking along the Trent River in Peterborough and running into
Daniel Biro of Hawk Nelson.

Two years has passed since the nerve damage attacked my left arm. The
verdict, I'm told by the specialist - "We don't know what's wrong".

I love Nashville. Here Dan Bremnes and I hanging out at Rocketown.

Chris Bray, me and Dan Macaulay at LIFE 100.3 Sharathon.

The lyrics of "Inside Out" by Anthem For Today. The words say it all.

Janice and me.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Laid down for another tattoo.

I've thought about a tat on my left inner forearm for a while. A number of creative pieces went through my mind. Of course the thing that needs the most consideration is, this is permanent. How will I feel about the message in five years?  Or more?  Might it contradict my state of mind? Will I wake up one day and think "it's dumb?"

I spent a couple of months thinking about this one.

It is a lyric line to one of the songs by Anthem For Today. The song is "Inside Out" which won the Modern Rock Song of the Year award at the Covenant Awards. It was the award that clinched the idea.

"I'll shine like nobody's watching. The walls are down, I'm just what you see here. I'm inside out."

So, what if the band breaks up?  That doesn't affect my decision.  The tattoo isn't a tribute to the band but more so, a statement that rings true in my spirit. In fact, my band didn't even write the song. That honour goes to Trevor McNevan and Jamie Aplin. (Do you collect royalties from this?!)

My connection to "Inside Out" came before my being the Band Manager. During the production process it was the first song I heard, still in a demo format and I was asked to contribute to the arrangement to make it radio-friendly. Then I helped market the song and it was played on 15 stations across Canada

And, fine, ok - it's true. It does capture my commitment and enthusiasm for the best band in Canada - ANTHEM FOR TODAY!

One final thought - if you're thinking about getting a tattoo, think about it, lots. Then think again. Ask other people for their thoughts. If you're still in the career-seeking period of life, maybe don't get tattooed where an employer will see it. But once your career is established, and your spouse approves -  - go for it!

(Just as I posted this blog, the song plays on the radio!)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I see so many blogs written about things that bug people. Things that "need to change." Things that are wrong - with people, jobs, churches, leaders, entertainers - arrrrrg! No wonder half the population is on Prozac! So much negativity!

I thought I’d take the lead and list two dozen doesn't things of the stuff that DOESN’T bug me.
  1. People who arrive early.
  2. Movies without guns.
  3. Jingle bells in a Christmas song.
  4. When my wife leaves a KitKat unexpectedly on my desk.
  5. A thank-you note that says thank -you and doesn’t ask for something at the same time.
  6. Winter. (It used to bug me but I’ve found beauty in it.)
  7. Finding out there’s a new Rocky movie.
  8. Christians who talk in normal English.
  9. Brown paper packages tied up with string.... (I had to throw that one in!)
  10. Call Me, Maybe.
  11. The design of the new Canadian dollar bills.
  12. When the mail comes and it includes the new GQ magazine.
  13. A text from Chris Bray.
  14. When there’s less than 50 people in the gym.
  15. McIntosh apples sliced into eighths.
  16. Walks with my wife and poodle.
  17. Last week’s phone call from Joel Nettleton.
  18. When someone books my band and sends the deposit on time.
  19. A week without a listener complaint.
  20. Long car rides and someone else offers to drive.
  21. A Christmas card in the mail with a personal signature in real ink.
  22. When Ger Bear invites me to play drums.
  23. The first three minutes of a show by Anthem For Today. (And the 57 minutes that follow!)
  24. A car starter.
Ok, that’s the end of my list. Everything else bugs me!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This is Christmas decorating weekend at our house. Janice leads the way, as usual. The Noel rug goes on the front door, the tree in the foyer, the manger on the mantel, the Santa statue in the foyer, the lights on the bannister...it's a very, very, very, very, very long list.

The usual nicknacks and family photos come down from the living room and bedroom and up go lots of fuzzy red and green crafty things.

And while Janice busily decks the halls, there is a Christmas playlist of tunes blasting out Amy Grant, Michael Buble and Lady Antebellum from the kitchen.

Tonight we'll probably watch the new (recent) Christmas movie "Holiday Spin".

Fa la la la la...

Friday, November 15, 2013


I’m writing this blog for listeners of LIFE who suffer from depression. If you don’t have depression, you might want to read AJ’s blog. It’s probably more fun.

It’s been three years since I had a daily show on LIFE 100.3. Even as a fill-in DJ, I haven’t been on the air for nearly a year. (The Retro Show is recorded during the week.) Filling in for Tim Maassarany for the last seven days has been a treat and a bit like finding your favourite old t-shirt and finding it still fits.

I came off the air about three years ago after being dianosed with depression. Anxiety was a constant surprise, making me unreliable. The daily meds and monthly visits to a psychiatrist have helped but I'm convinced that some of trouble I still have are side-effects from the meds, like the lousy memory and the inability to focus on reading documents.

Wikipedia lists 12 side-effects to the med I'm on. I've found 14.

Just when I think I’ve overcome this mental illness, the most annoying disorder reminds me that depression is still present and that is my unreliability. From one day to the next, I never know if I’m going to feel like doing the things I have planned on my schedule. When I’m in that zone, all I want to do is cancel everything, do nothing, be alone and sit. Or sulk.

If you know what all that means, you’ll understand how committing to seven days in a row could be stressful; not the amount of time, but rather the commitment. I took it one day at a time, reminding myself that I really enjoy going on the air.

Fortunately, it’s been a good couple of weeks on the afternoon drive shift. Not on cancellation!

So depression - I got you beat, this week!

Don't ever say "I understand".  The depressed person knows you don't.
Don't say, "read your Bible" - that's very annoying for a Christian.
Don't try to reason how they feel. You'll probably end up in a fight.

(These work on me.)
1) Make a suggestion to do something you know they enjoy. Go for a walk? Watch a TV show?
2) Sit with the person, and hold their hand, but don't talk. Just be there. It's comforting to have a friend who knows enough to just be quiet.
3) Say nicely, "I'll leave you alone for awhile."  The mood will pass and everything returns to normal.
4) Above all, don't bail on the person.
Friends stick with friends in tough times.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Whether or not I like to admit it, and I don’t, I’m kind of starting to feel, shall I say, weathered.

When I was on the air in my 20's I was pretty fast in the studio - juggling songs, playing commercials, running contests, taking listener requests, recording traffic reports and lining it all up like so it sounded like radio magic.  Now, I’m a bit robotic. My memory used to be amazing but it isn’t now.  (My staff  loves to remind me.)  I used to be able to multitask like a fiend, now I can't. I used to be able to bench press....well... more than I can now. (Ok, enough of this brooding. I don’t like thinking about it.)

When I think about aging rock stars, it would seem their most creative work happened during their 20's.  Many songs from the 60's and 70's have become a fixture in our lives. Now, as those rock stars reach 50 or 60 years of age, they aren’t producing current hit songs.  And they aren't interested, either but their past glories keep their names in the media. I guess if an artist can still sell out the ACC without any new music, they still have great value.

Other rock stars have faded away. Or died. Sports celebrities reach their peak at 30 and then lose their athletic edge. Most Hollywood actors don’t get offered spicy roles later in life. Usually they play a secondary movie part, like a grandparent, although I bet Johnny Depp will never fade away.

There are a few exceptions. Like Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman. Marvel Comics was his claim to fame, but at the age of 80 he got an unexpected winfall when the Spiderman movie franchise exploded. I think that’s cool. Good for him.

Last Wednesday, Anthem For Today, the young band I manage, won a Covenant Award for Modern Rock Song of the Year. Over the last nine months I’ve poured a lot of love and sweat and time and money into the band. I didn't realize what significance an award from the industry might mean.

Now I know.  The award tells me there's still some gas left in the tank.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Last week, a good friend and I were chatting. And he told me "You always complain about that!" Ok, so he didn't use the word "complain" but I don't want to offend you by saying the female dog.

At first I took exception to it - not the complaining but the emphasis on "always". I don't "always", or all the time. But he was right. I do complain.

Sometimes I bitch on facebook, but that's ok coz I think that's what facebook is for, or so it would seem. Haha!

Since he told me, I've been catching myself, repeatedly.

A couple of years ago, I lost a good friend because of it.  My fault, not his.  Unfortunately, he won't come back, even after an apology.

Sometimes I don't take things seriously enough. Other times I over-react. This time, I'm listening and re-thinking.

Thanks man.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


As a Christian, I drift. I go thru periods of time when I’m not feeling God is near me and I’m bummed out. And other times I think I’m going to explode with gratefulness. Maybe that’s a "spiritual ADD" thing!

Certain people are like a battery charge for me. There’s a few. Two of them I've been hanging out with over the last two days so I’ll mention them by name.

Pastor Wayne Lucas at Alliston Pentecostal Church, where I used to attend.  Despite the stupid things I’ve said to people or bad things I’ve thought, when I’m with Wayne, he makes me believe that holiness is possible. It’s nothing deliberate that he says to me. It’s not counselling. Just being with him seems to wash away my junk and excite me about going deeper.

Last night I hung out with a new friend - Bob Cox. He’s the manager of a Christian radio station and he booked my band for a show recently. Just through dinner and conversation I felt renewed. We covered a multitude of non Christian topics and each topic is reasoned through the filter of being a Christian.

I will mention one more. John Bevere - a national evangelist. We’re watching his video series in our staff meetings. His fervour for the Lord is contagious and his teaching is backed up with dozens of Bible verses on the screen. I feel wiser and stronger having watched the video series.

Not all Christians make me feel that way. With some, a discussion of faith doesn’t even come up, even though that’s (supposedly) the core of our lives. They don’t encourage me in my faith and they like to point out "what’s wrong" with something I said, or posted, or did.

Wayne and Bob make me want to chase after God kind of like my dog chases after a tennis ball! With excitement and speed! They don’t talk down to me. They build me up.

I’m grateful to those people who help me return to path I want to be on. That’s how I want to live my life.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


It's been a few years since I attended the Dove Awards in Nashville. So great to be there this year!

This year's awards was held at Lipscomb University's arena. The staging was big. The lighting was great. And everyone was dressed up for a classy night out.

For the first time in 30 years, the Gospel Music Association did not award to Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist and Group of the Year.  I'm not sure why.  But who wins the awards isn't important to me - I really enjoy hearing the heart of the artist through their acceptance speech. Often you get a glimpse into what makes them tick.

So awesome to see the Newsboys, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith all perform at the same event! What I want to know is how the stage crew can move a full band set onto the stage for one song, nail the music mix, drag it off and change the set in just a few minutes. Amazing!

TobyMac opened the show with his 10-member Diverse City band. An exhilarating three minutes to launch the show!  At 48, he's still got it!  Lecrae won for Hip Hop/Rap Song of the Year "Tell The World" - click for his acceptance speech.

Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin were the show hosts. She took off her high heels so she could be on the same level as Kirk, who is really short, but even without the shoes she towered over him. Amy mentioned several times that she couldn't clearly read the teleprompter - which of course made the entire audience turn around to follow along!

The highlight for me was probably the comedienne - Chonda Pierce. The rehearsed material was good but she was brilliant at the ad libs.  "I don't want a government that shuts down; I want a government that SHUTS UP!"  lol - man that was funny!

Click here for the winning artists.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013


She's out of town for five days, but before she left, she prepared a couple of tuna sandwiches for me. Yeah!

Dinner. Hmmm....?  Let's see what my life has on hand. Other than a couple of Joe Louis and some horrible green vegtables, the fridge is kinda empty!

Here's the plan:

Monday - Golden Griddle
Tuesday - Subway
Wednesday - KFC
Friday - Moose Winooskis or the Market.

Looks like I'm in good shape!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Looking forward to seeing this movie "Salinger", the author of "Catcher In The Rye". The reviews have been fairly negative about production and even the purpose of documenting the story of a guy who didn't want to be bothered.

So, I'll buy my popcorn and watch the movie with my expectations lower.

Of course I'll have to find a theatre in Toronto because the movie is a limited release.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Today, Anthem For Today, the band I manage, was nominated for three Covenant Awards. Woo hoo!

The Covenant Awards are like the Grammy Awards, except these are all-Canadian and only Christian.

Up until today, I've been lukewarm about awards for Christian music. At the Dove Awards in Nashville, it seems every year MercyMe and Casting Crowns compete for awards like Artist of the Year or the Song of the Year. Who's better? I say - who cares? They're both great. Is one actually "better" than the other?
L-R JP Smits (drummer recently left us), Davey Hooper (guitar), Pip Lucas (lead singer),
G.I. Holm (guitar) and Robbert Vandergrift (bass).

Whether it's the Academy Awards, the Grammys, the Doves - the acceptance speeches I really do enjoy. Often there's a humility exposed and a bit of a story behind the winner - I like that.

Today, at 1pm, the Covenant Award Nominees were announced live on a webstream. There was actually a ticker counting down to 1pm. I left the ticker open on my computer all morning.

Then we heard it - we (my band) heard our names announced as a nominee for New Artist Of The Year!  I nearly peed!  Then, two more - Modern Rock Album of the Year (for the album "A Little Louder") and Modern Rock Song for "Inside Out". (List of all nominees here)

All of my previous thoughts about the purpose of winning an award vanished. As an artist, nominations and awards are part of building a resume. People are more likely to book your band for a show when you have some awards to show. I'm not sure it proves that anyone is better than anybody else, but the honour is nice to have.

So, me and the boys will be suited up (as much as you suit up a rock star) and smelly pretty and ready to attend the 2013 Covenant Awards, held at the CTS building in Burlington on November 6th. Wish us luck!

Saturday, September 14, 2013



CLICK to view Seadooing

My buddy Mike, just a few feet ahead of me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I had to put my dog down in April. I think about it everyday. Last weekend, someone I work with had to put his cat down on very short notice.  A couple week's ago, Zach Havens from To Tell lost his dog in a car accident. AJ is having multiple problems with his (and my daughter's) cockapoo who is only 7. I was at emerg with his dog the other night. Another friend let his dog out to play, the dog "ran away" and was found three days later, dead in the next yard. He was devastated.

When I put Callie down in April, I found myself doing something I said I would "never" do. Never.  My wife and I agreed that as long as she was eating, going to the bathroom and going for walks, we could put up with anything else. But we didn't count on sneezing blood and bursting tumours.

Summer - August 2013

I said, "no more dogs for a while," but there is this love in me that can only be given to a dog. Nothing else will fill the void.  (No, Jesus won't fill it, either.) It's my love for dogs - cuddling, chasing, pulling on a sock, barking back at them and their happy "welcome home!" when I arrive at the doorstep.  A home is not a home without a dog, so we bought another poodle, named Summer.

But, I'm haunted. Not a single day goes by when I don't think about Callie. And, unfortunately, I am not reflecting on the loving times, unless I force myself. I am haunted by the final minute, when I laid my face next to hers and talked to her as she was put to sleep.

It makes me sick.
Callie - January 2013

I know it was the right thing to do - no regrets. But, I wonder how long I will remember that last minute as the life in her eyes - just stopped.

I can't stop thinking about it. It haunts me every day.

Summer is awesome. She fills the void and takes my love but, sadly, I can't shake it off. I'm not sure that I want to.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I'm talking to my busy, important friends.

SJ: "How you doing?"
Reply: "oh I'm really busy"

SJ: Talking to another friend. "Hey, how's it going?"
Reply: "Hi, very busy around here!"

Busy. I don't like that word. I have one friend and whenever I phone, they always tell me they're busy. What....?  Like YOU'RE so busy that I should feel lucky that you even took my call?  Maybe they're very, very important  - that's why they're busy.

Gimme a break. Everybody's busy. But when you tell me you're busy, I feel like you don't have time for me.

Am I busy. Yes, we're all busy. I'm managing a radio station, I'm managing a band, I'm publishing a magazine, I'm playing on a worship team at church, I'm riding my bike - I have lots going on. But I try not to answer "I'm busy" coz it might sound like "I'm important - why are you bugging me?"

I try to come up with other answers - "It's all good" or something similar.

Anyway, this blog is long enough. And I have many other more important things to do, much more important that rambling on to you. Bah ha ha!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Last night, the band I manage, Anthem For Today, played a show at Bethel Camp in Rodney. "How was it?" you ask? Thanks for asking - it was awesome. The boys played well and the tech team and organizers were outstanding.

As we arrived at the venue near London, Ontario for soundcheck about 4pm yesterday, I felt like I was stepping into another life. Like, someone else's life, except it's mine. My other life, shared with five young guys in the band, who are both a bit like a second family and a bit like a staff because I work for them. There's hundreds of fans at the show, sound and lighting guys, promoters - all these people are part of putting on a rock show.

When I got to the show, I felt my LIFE 100.3 responsibilities in Barrie fade away about 200 miles into the background, as I put on my AFT t-shirt and persona as the band manager.

As the manager, I'm like the guy in the middle of the fun. The guy with contracts, merchandise, money, and a lot of decision-making - which I love to do. Watching the soundcheck work through the bugs, the merch booth go up, the stage costumes go on.

Today, the day after the show as I drove into the LIFE 100.3 signal range, I heard our DJ Andrew Robertson introing the Newsboys, drawing me back to the radio-world and leaving the band world somewhere down the road.  LIFE - a different team of people - DJs and sales people - some whom I love like family, plus listeners, clients and associates. 

A world of contesting and fundraising and of course ministry. A different portfolio than turning the lights on rock stars.

LIFE is my vocation and my passion; Anthem For Today is my hobby.

I am really blessed to have two exciting jobs that I love, that oddly enough, sometimes meet in the middle depending on the situation.

Two lives. No wonder I'm in therapy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I finished reading "Dean and Me" - the biography of the Martin and Lewis comedy team, written by Jerry Lewis and now I'm on to "I Stooged To Conquer" - the autobiography of Moe Howard.

"Dean and Me" is sub-titled "A Love Story". From Jerry's point of view, he really admired his partner and the compliments are very honouring. I guess that's what happens when your friends pass away; you remember the good times, even though in their case, their break-up was messy and mean.

Admittedly I didn't know much about Martin and Lewis. The stories of the glory days and the early days of their careers are very interesting. It even gets into their attitude toward their marital affairs and involvement with The Mob. (Jerry seems well-connected)

Overall, I'm left with the feeling that Jerry was/is a bit of an egotistical guy. He repeatedly writes about how wonderful, how incredible, how funny - they were; how they were the number one act in entertainment; how he (Jerry) was so incredibly funny. Funny - sure. Ego- plenty!

Now I'm into the autobiography of Moe Howard - the leader of The Three Stooges. It's a 1977 release, repackaged with a new title and foreward by his daughter. Apparently the rest of the book is unchanged so it reeks of a money-grab.

Regardless, so far, at chapter 7, Moe sounds like a really sweet guy who liked to poke people in the eyes. (actually they're eyebrows, not their eyes)

Excited to start chapter 8!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Pride kills.

Like, in the past, there's a friend who I upset and the guilt weighed on me until I decided to fix the relationship. But until I, my pride told me, "ah don't bother. They'll be ok, it's not worth it".

The Spirit tells me "ah ah - don't do that...!"  I feel the conviction of what's right and what's wrong but pride will discourage me to not do what's right. Dumb, I know.

The big one is when pride says "you deserve better."  Especially when it comes to a situation compared to someone else.

I was reading Proverbs 29:23 -  "a man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour."

Pride holds me back. No more Mr. Pride Guy.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I am petrified of wind. When I see tornados on TV, devastating cities, leveling buildings and ripping apart family possessions, I tremble.

Last Friday there were warnings of tornados in Barrie. I felt the wind build as I locked down my patio furniture. As the sky darkened and the warnings continued, and funnel clouds were reported, panic swept through me.

Oh crap! What am I supposed to do?

"Take shelter in your basement", the reports said.

I envisioned the roof of my house blowing off - my bed flying up to the clouds, my photo albums blow to bits, my family video tapes wrecked, etc.

I actually grabbed my wallet, my car keys, my meds and my daytimer and sat and waited for the horror to pass, while everyone else in the house carried on without a care.  "Hmmm - what else should I take to the basement? My favourite CDs? Yikes - I have thousands, literally. My framed rock star photos I took and are some of my prize possessions. What about water and food?"

At that moment I realized how materialistic I was. While photo albums and family possessions cannot be replaced, it's just stuff, right? All that really matters is safety for my family. Everything else is insured.

Who's kidding who?!  Insurance doesn't replace treasures. If I lose my favourite things, I'm going to be ticked off, depressed and probably angry for a long time. Am I materialistic? I guess I am.

I hate wind. It scares the crap out of me.

Fortunately, all that was affected was electricity. And thankfully, my 10,000 watt generator gave me power to keep me comfortable while I fretted. I am so materialistic.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Six months ago, me and our promotions manager (Jen Melanson) planned a double Air Raid and a double Heart of Worship - four concerts all within 10 days. Insane?  In hindsight - yes.

Jon Bauer, Scott Towaij, me, Shaelynn August and Jordan Donald.
There are many things I love about LIFE 100.3 but Air Raids are my pet project. I love live music. I love the experience of planning a night of enormous detail. And I especially love giving new bands a platform in front of an exciting LIFE audience. Jon Bauer had never played in Barrie and only a couple of times in Ontario, yet he is a full-time worship artist. I guess Ontario doesn't know about this amazing guy!
Likewise, The Color from Winnipeg, who have three songs played on LIFE 100.3 but have not done shows in Ontario. I saw them at an awards show, loved them, and made a note to invite them to Air Raid.

HEART OF WORSHIP - Jon, Shaelynn, Scott and Jon,
performing the closing song - "Heart of Worship" theme
The Air Raid dates were selected on availability of bands, and then availability of venues. It's a back and forth conversation between everyone to find the right dates. Air Raid had never been in Owen Sound and we wanted our 90.1 listeners to be included in the Air Raid events. Huntsville has hosted Air Raid once before and it was a great success.

Anthem For Today
With the new Heart of Worship concert series, we planned a Peterborough show, having not done a show there before, and the second show in Barrie was packed out, as expected.

The Color
Going to Peterborough, Huntsville, Owen Sound and Barrie all in 10 days seemed like a great way to bring live music and station visibility to all the cities we reach. We actually thought, "ok, once you plan one concert, it's not much more work to do a second night". WRONG!

To Tell's Zach Havens
It's twice the work. Twice the volunteers, twice the food, twice the travelling, twice the hotels, twice the potential for things to go wrong and let's not forget - twice the expense! But, we don't produce Air Raid shows for profit. In 22 Air Raids, we've found a small profit twice. So why bother?  Because it's ministry. Because it's a great event. It's fun. It's something to do that glorifies God. And it promotes Christian music artists who deserve the exposure. (The double Air Raid last week cost just under $10,000.)

Jon Bauer
At each show we feed the bands and crew upon arrival, then cater a dinner according to their contract specifications, and then an after show snack. There are P.A. systems to rent and transport. Hotels to book. Soundchecks and merch booths, videographers and guest lists!  It's kinda like a small industry with a crew of 25 for Heart of Worship and about 35 for Air Raid!

With Jen Melanson on maternity leave (nice timing - thanks! Haha), Pip Lucas is filling in as Promotions Coordinator. He had been on the job three months, and had the pleasure and pressure of organizing these four shows.

Heart of Worship - a free concert.  In my heart I don't feel it's right to charge people admission to praise the Lord. Yes, it costs money to put on shows but I don't like passing a love offering if I can help it and thankfully two sponsors offset some of the cost - Music For Young Children and Lakeview Surgery Centre.

Mel, Junky and Prosper 
Attendance: Huntsville - 115; Owen Sound 90; Peterborough 150; Barrie 400.

Thanks to all the bands who joined us for four exciting shows of music!

Two Air Raids, two Heart of Worships - four cities - 10 days!??!?   Seriously - let's not do that again!

The Color, Prosper and GPM, Anthem For Today, To Tell, Scott Towaij, Shaelynn August, Jon Bauer and Jordan Donald.

Monday, July 1, 2013


The excitement to proclaim "Happy Birthday Canada!" seems to grow each year! Which is of course awesome!

I don't think we have always felt the loyalty - the patriotism. Not like the other guys to the south. Why is that?  Canada has a giant roster of renowned people who are known internationally. Music, sports, newsmakers. A flood of famous names quickly come to mind.

How often have we said of ourselves, "We Canadians are a reserved group."  Hmmm, not during hockey games!  Or rock shows!  We're just as outgoing as the other guys.

Is it because "nothing happens up here?"  No - wait a minute. The other guys are coming to Canada to make movies, shooting in Toronto and Winnipeg and pretending it's a scene in New York. It's more affordable to film in Canada, so they come.

In the last two years I've become a fan of the changing seasons. Ten years ago, I lived only for summer and was disgruntled about the other three seasons, but now I look forward to the colours in the Fall, the glorious whitewash of winter and the optimism of Spring.

Seems to me there's a lot of great things about Canada.  And each year more people catch the vibe of Canada!

Ya...I love living here. The true north strong and free!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Last March, I was moving a table - the glass top slid off like a guillotine and smashed down on my right foot. Crap, did it hurt!

I took off my sock and there was blood on my big toe. I felt faint. I sat down. Staff came to my aid, iced my foot and sent me to hospital to get checked. Sure enough, my toe was busted. Never in my life have I broken a bone, til now.

"You're gonna lose the nail", everyone said. Fine.

For two months I felt the pain as I walked, and as I biked I bit my lip and took advil. Then by May, the pain was gone, but not the nail.

It is now the end of June and the nail is an off-slime-green, most of it still hanging on. I think I'm setting a record for a dead nail.