Five Questions With… Jimi Bertucci
He had a hit in the mid-70s with Abraham’s Children and is still making catchy pop-rock. Here he discusses his new release, Bouquet On Pink, work with California producer Daniel Wonacott, and memorable career highlights.
By Jason Schneider
In the mid-1970s, a young Toronto band called Abraham’s Children found themselves on the North American charts with a song called Goodbye, Farewell, written by bassist/vocalist Jimi Bertucci. It was actually an introduction to the wider music world for the singer/songwriter, who had dedicated himself to rock and roll at the age of 13 after seeing the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1964.
Fast forward nearly five decades later and Bertucci is still making catchy pop-rock. His latest release is Bouquet On Pink, a six-song EP that shows Bertucci’s skills have aged like a fine wine. From the title track’s classic crunch (which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Guided By Voices record), to the majestic Feel and jangly Turn Around, Bertucci puts on a master class in power pop composition.
Along for the ride is Bertucci’s main collaborator, Bouquet On Pink’s producer Daniel Wonacott—formerly bassist for California post-hardcore band Finch—whose sonic touch makes Bertucci sound as powerful as he ever has. Balancing that is the EP’s lyricism, inspired by the Marc Chagall painting of the same name that adorns its cover. Bertucci says all of the songs are connected to that painting in one way or another.
Having survived the rock and roll wars, Bertucci is happy at this point in his life to make music on his own terms and at his own pace. He’s also branched off into publishing his poetry and helping his daughter Juli’s music career. And as a proud Italian-Canadian, he was instrumental in creating the Italian Walk of Fame on College Street in Toronto in front of the Royal Cinema.
Jimi Bertucci’s Bouquet On Pink is available on Apple Music and Spotify, and for more info go to Jimib.com.
Bouquet On Pink is a solid collection of pop rock songs. What inspires you to keep making music at this point?
You never get tired of being creative. I’ve been making music all my life and I have no idea what else I would be doing if I hadn’t become a musician and worked in the business. Composing songs can be a challenge at times. As songwriters we’re always looking to write the ultimate tune and the more we’re inspired to write the closer we get to that goal. I was fortunate enough to have a few hits at the start of my career with Abraham’s Children.
You worked with producer Daniel Wonacott of California hardcore band Finch. How did that relationship happen, and what made the collaboration work?
I met Daniel through some friends who had just started working with him, a band called Bristol To Memory, out of Orange County. He was excited to collaborate with me after hearing my songs and we actually began with a Christmas song I wrote called Peace On Earth that was released last year. We worked well together, sharing all the instruments and vocals.
You're approaching 50 years in the music business. What are some of your most prominent memories?
There are so many memories that come to mind, such as performing at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square in front of 50,000 fans. Touring all over the world is probably the greatest experience—the cities, the culture, the people and most of all, the fans. One of my fondest memories has to be performing at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton to 60,000 people. They rushed the stage twice and we had to end the show after only playing two and a half songs!
You've spent many years in the LA music scene as well. How do you look back on that experience?
Living and playing in LA has been a trip. We were a pretty active band, performing at some of the well known clubs like the Whisky A-Go-Go, The Roxy Theatre in Hollywood, The Viper Room, Club 369 and The Galaxy.
Are you hopeful of coming back to Toronto when it's safe to do so, and potentially playing live again?
Canada has always been one of my favorite places to tour, and unfortunately we did have to cancel a bunch of dates due to the pandemic. I do want to return to Toronto as soon as I can and play; it’s been a few years!