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Calgary International Blues Festival   Leave a comment

My friend Zenon who is a famous DJ in town got some tickets to the Blues Festival and so on Thursday evening we headed down to the Shaw Millennium Park to catch Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Ray Manzarek & Roy Rogers. We had no sooner got into the grounds when we were picked up by Maurice Ginzer, the event’s producer, and driven around the grounds in his golf cart. Zenon had done a series of on air promotions for the Festival and was called upon last night to introduce Ray Manzarek. To that end, we got the rock star treatment and before you knew it Maurice had us backstage in the green room and we were drinking beer with the musicians and back stage folks.

In case you didn’t know, Ray Manzarek started the Doors, along with Jim Morrison and played keyboards on all of their albums. His work includes one of my favourites, “Riders on the Storm,” which he and the band played as an encore Thursday evening. After his show, I had the chance to tell him that the Door’s album “Strange Days” was a very important work in terms of my journey as an artist. The song “People are Strange” has long been a personal anthem of mine. Although he’s probably heard it a million times, he was very appreciative and understanding.

After his set, we talked some more about the theatre, Tennessee Williams, the Beat writers with whom he did a show in New York a number of years ago and life in general. We had a lovely time, and I can honestly say that I felt that my life was enriched by a wonderful evening with great friends, old and new.

I’ll be heading back the Festival at various times over the weekend. I looking forward to catching up with my old friend Jack Semple (we actually went to Scott Collegiate in Regina together) who is playing the Twilight Series at the Kerby Centre (a new blues venue in town) late Saturday evening.

Kevin Warren, Michelle Baker-Killen, Ray Manzarek, me and Zenon in the green room.

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