Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Love your pets?  Watch this!  It's ALL great!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I know I’m stating the obvious.

As you may have read I am the Band Manager for Anthem For Today. (“Inside Out”, “Falling Asleep At The Wheel”) Last week I had three out of town days with the band and two personal days of activities. In the past five consecutive days of stuff often gave me panic attacks, so now I try to pace myself by declining events when I can.

Here’s the story.

Wednesday morning, very early at 8:15am (that’s very early for me) we travelled in two vehicles on our journey. The first stop was in Oshawa to pick up our guitarist. The second stop was in Belleville for an interview at UCB and schmooze with the Program Director. (It went great by the way)

CHRI - performing "Earthquake" for the staff.
 Next we pushed on to Ottawa for a show at Cornerstone Wesleyan Church. AFT was opening for Havenstance - our new rock and roll friends. After the show we explored the Byward Market and snacked at Zakk’s.

After the overnight in the hotel we visited CHRI and schmoozed there and with the extra time, did a bit of sightseeing at Hog’s Back. (The boys loved it! They were making video blogs along the way.)

Cornerstone Wesleyan Church, North Gower - G.I., Pip, Robbert and Davey.

UCB's Brad Linnard and me.
We made it to Toronto in time to shop for stage clothes (the boys, not me) and then take in the Anberlin concert at the Opera House.

Back in Barrie, we all crashed (some at my house) and the next morning, after a couple of hours attempting to do my radio job, we hit the road again for Newmarket where we opened for To Tell at Victory Baptist Church.

Zakk's in the Market - the Sundae Malfunction.
Skip ahead to the fourth day -the David Busby Street Centre Gala and Auction and the following morning I was drumming and speaking at Living For Jesus in Orillia.

Five days of stuff ain’t that much, really. Not for a band. But how do bands do it? How do they live like that? Add to it, sitting in airports!

No - I am not a rock star.
Cas (merch guy), Pip and G.I.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Having heroes is awesome. My heroes are the people who trail blazed before me in an area that I'm passionate about. They were successful in their calling and gave me something to shoot for.

In my office, I have four 8x10 mounted photos of people who inspire me. I guess two of them are no longer relevant, which is giving me reason to rethink my choices.

Lance and the LIFE 10th Anniversary
The first is Lance Armstrong. It’s very sad to see such a mighty athlete be regarded as scum of the earth. I read two of his books, I attended, two of his speaking engagements and watched from the sidewalk of the Champs Elysees as he crossed the finish line to win his 7th Tour de France. It wasn’t the wins that impressed me. And I don’t care about drugs in cycling - Lance just beat the rest of the druggies, which still makes him a very tough competitor.  Lance could do what the rest of us cannot - ignore pain. His training regime leaves me speechless. Unfortunately, he’s a big liar, and for some reason the U.S. Government hasn’t arrested him for lying under oath.

The second is Steve Molitor. When I was training with 18-24 year olds at the boxing gym in Barrie I heard about a 27-year-old boxer from Sarnia named Steve Molitor. Unlike most other Canadians, boxing was his full-time job, until his recent retirement. He made a bunch of money thru fights at Casino Rama. At a media scrum after a fight, I asked him, "What do you do on boxing day?" and he explained how specific his routine is. "Every calorie, protein, carb, fat - all of it is monitored. Meals are eaten at very specific times. Sleep is specific. Routine is regimented." He said, "It’s like fueling a car with the best fuel and oil and mechanics - if you do it right, the car will perform to win." I guess I never thought of my body in those terms, but it makes sense.

The third photo on my wall is of Scott Shannon - a radio guy, taken during my visit to NYC. He's known for creating "the morning zoo" - the idea of two or three people doing a morning show, instead of just one DJ, which has been copied hundreds of times. Shannon was hired at a floundering station in New York, re-named it Z100 and took it to number one in the ratings, then he moved to L.A., then he moved back to New York where he was hired at the station competing with Z100. He’s been there for about 20 years, now. I’m guessing he’s about 68 and he still programs WPLJ and he still does the morning zoo. He loves radio, like I do. I love his enthusiasm and longevity. And, he works in New York City which is kind of a big deal.

Scott Shannon and me, and Steve Molitor
The fourth photo is of "a moment in time".  It was taken at the LIFE 100.3 10th anniversary party, of my wife, my daughter, her husband AJ and me. My wife has been with me at every station I worked at over the years and without question, she has kept me from going off the rails. Now she works with me at LIFE, as does my daughter and of course AJ. If I was looking at my life's impact, there's no question that LIFE 100.3 would be at the top of the list, with my family sharing the memories.

This brings me back to Lance and Steve. They were important in their day, but their relevancy has faded. I’m thinking of replacing their photos with new heroes, although I’m not sure if I have any who have inspired me as much.

Heroes are good to have.  Hopefully I live my life so that I might be a hero, in some way, to someone.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


April 9, 2013

You never know what each day will bring. Some days we enjoy fun moments we never anticipated and other days bring disappointment, sometimes it feels like it will never end.

After a walk.
Today, I brought Callie to work in the Miata. She doesn’t like the Miata. The front seat is angled and slippery and she’s too big to ride in it, but that was the vehicle available. As we turned each corner, I held her collar so she wouldn’t lose her balance. During our 20 minute ride to work I told her, we’re "going for a ride in the car; going to work to see AJ and Pip and Junky." Her ears perked up as she got excited about her day.

We arrived at work, and wearing her purple collar she walked with pep down the hall, into the front office, into Janice’s office, where Janice was training Bernice on bookkeeping.

Five minutes later, Janice brought Callie to my office in a panic, with blood all over Callie's nose, mouth and chin. It wasn’t the same amount of blood as we’ve had in the house over the last five months, which were mostly drips. Now, when she sneezed, it was a spray of blood, covering the office walls and our clothes.

I mopped her mouth and tried to stop the blood which took about 10 minutes. We knew we needed to get her to the vet, where they might hopefully stop the bleeding.

The last two months had been difficult at home, especially at night, when Callie’s breathing sounded forced and she gulped and smacked her lips most of the night. None of us got good sleeps.  Just a week ago we took her for a walk to the park where we told Callie that it was ok to leave when it was too hard to continue. Each day was a gift from God. Our prayer was that she would not die alone.

Now, today, with the spray of blood, it crossed my mind that this might be the end. I’ve been opposed to the thought of putting her down, feeling it is not my place to decide when life ends, just as I don’t decide when it begins. But as Kathy Troccoli said during a concert, "God gives you the strength when you need it. Not when you want it but when you need it." I knew that had already be the case having felt strong during the passing of my aunt Shirley, Mom and Dad.

Off to the vet, Janice drove and I sat in the back seat with Callie, holding a cloth over her beak to absorb any unexpected spray. Sitting in the lobby, Callie sneezed again and the blood splattered everywhere imaginable. It was uncontrollable and heart-wrenching.

Kisses goodbye.
Inside, the vet told us the tumour had ruptured. That’s what tumours do. They grow, become full of blood and burst, then grow some more. We knew that the cancer was not going to go away and the tumour would only get bigger, meaning more unexpected sprays of blood.

The vet gave us three options: an x-ray to see what was going on, a scope by the senior vet to see what was going on, or euthanasia. We chose the x-ray, but almost immediately Janice and I knew it would be pointless to find out what we already knew - it was worse. We chose option 3. I couldn’t believe it had come to this point, today. But, today was the day.

Me and Phyllis with Callie's body.
We took Callie for a final walk around the yard behind the vet clinic. She pooed twice and pulled on the leash like she always did, wanting us to walk faster. But we didn’t feel like walking. We invited Crystal to come and see Callie, and our friend Phyllis also came to support us. We took pictures of Callie kissing each of us. She was in such a good mood, which of course, made the decision more painful for us.

Janice and I told each other again, that despite her good attitude, the blood was going to be getting worse as the tumour grew. She couldn’t stay alone and it would be unfair to take her to work. The decision was made.

I went into the vet to confirm our decision and to pay for it. After I slid the Visa card into the machine, it gave me the cost and then as it processed it asked - "Ok?" I started bawling.

Back in the parking lot Janice was having a chat with Callie. She handed me the leash and I walked her to the vet door, as Janice wailed in the parking lot.  My walk slowed down and Phyllis whispered, "It’s not going to get easier." I kept walking.
Funeral in the rain.

I took her to the examination room and gave her a huge squeeze. The vet took her away to give her a sedative and brought her back a minute or two later - she was very tired and limp. As the vet injected her, I laid my nose up to hers and told her over and over "I love you. You’re the best dog." She was too tired to kiss me. Surprisingly, it wasn’t painful to watch; there was something beautiful about it. It wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t feel guilt. The vet listened for a heartbeat and said "It’s done." I remember saying over and over - "I can’t believe it," meaning, I can’t believe I actually had to do what I thought I would never do. 
Phyllis stood by me. Her being there helped me to know I was doing the right thing. I didn’t second guess myself.

Phyllis and the vet wrapped Callie’s body in her blanket and I carried her heavy, extremely limp body to Phyllis’s car. Janice put her hand inside to feel her wool. We decided that Phyllis and her husband would prepare her for burial.

At 8 o'clock, in the a light rain, Simon dug a hole in the yard and laid her down. Janice covered it with dog toys. My brother and I watched.

A sad day, but we knew it was coming. In all, it turned out to be perfect timing. Callie didn’t die alone. She was with us, for her final walk, loved.

I love you, Callie. You're the best dog.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Tonight, me and the boys took over Riverside Fish and Chips in Durham to shoot a music video to promote the next single by Anthem For Today - "Earthquake".
Evan Director (director) and Pip Lucas (AFT singer)
The story concept was created by the band - Pip, Robbert, Davey, Ian and JP.  The idea was to show a band working as servers in a diner, and after the boss closed up shop and went home, the employees (the band) would ditch their smocks and don rock star gear. Then, the diner would be transfigured into a rock show with lights and a wild crowd partying it up! And that's about how it rolled out.

Sometimes an idea can be limited because of finances or opportunity, or basic viability, but nothing got in the way tonight. About 20 invited guests came, and jumped up and down on cue! Our director, Evan Duran, brought light gear and a storyboard of ideas. The owner of the diner, closed the restaurant down and gave us full reign of the place. Nothing was off-limits! We blew the circuit breakers several times!

As we all squeezed into the diner, the heat increased from the stage lighting and the crowd of people, and the music track was played reasonably loud enough for everyone to feel the vibe.

Bringing in the fans.
I watched from five feet away, as Anthem For Today assumed their alter egos!  The music track for "Earthquake" shook the building with the sound of the drums being the only live instrument. Man, it was exhilerating!

One of the scenes was filmed from the street, looking at the rockin' diner. And it WAS!  From the street, it was outrageously visible - the stage lights were flashing, the door was propped open so the (recorded) audio bled into the street and through the steamy windows you could see a crowd of people partying, madly! A guy was walking down the street and said to me, "Hey what's going on in there?!"  Haha!

We hope to release the video and new single around the first week of May so be watching for it on Facebook, and who knows where else!

See Anthem For Today performing "Inside Out", acoustic, at LIFE 100.3.

L-R JP Smits, G.I. Holm, Pip Lucas, Robbert van der Grift
 and the cute one Davey Hooper.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


The Band Perry's new album is called "Pioneer". There's a Christian rock band named Pioneer. No problem since one is an album title and one is a band name.

But - the font - ?!  I mean, come on!