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FYI

Obituaries, Feb. 23, 2023

Peter A. Herrndorf, a media mogul and the former president of the National Arts Centre, died on Feb. 18,  at the age of 82.

Obituaries, Feb. 23, 2023

By Kerry Doole

Peter A. Herrndorf, a media mogul and the former president of the National Arts Centre, died on Feb. 18,  at the age of 82.


CTV News Ottawa notes that "under Herrndorf's leadership, the NAC was transformed into an Ottawa landmark, a national beacon to the arts on Elgin Street. Herrndorf was known as a leader who could bring his best. His legacy was not just glass and stone. He helped transform arts across the country, helping to found the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards in 1992. After a career in media that included jobs at the CBC, Toronto Life magazine and TVO, Herrndorf became head of the NAC from 1999 to 2018."

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"The glass was always half-full," said Jayne Watson. "He brought so much positivity to the NAC when he first arrived, at a time the NAC was really in a dark place." "He stabilized the organization and allowed it to flourish," said former Ottawa mayor Jim Watson.

His tenure saw the creation of the National Arts Centre Foundation, NAC Indigenous Theatre and the National Creation Fund—all promoting Canadian arts and culture nationally and on the world stage. 

In 2018, he received the Key to the City of Ottawa, one of many honours—including the Order of Canada –that Herrndorf received over a lifetime of service.

Herrndorf was born in Amsterdam and was raised in Winnipeg. He earned a political science and English degree from the University of Manitoba in 1962. He later studied law at Dalhousie University and obtained a master's in administration from Harvard Business School. 

Herrndorf joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a TV reporter/editor in Winnipeg beginning in 1965 a day after graduating from Dalhousie. Later that year, he moved to CBC Edmonton as a current affairs producer. In 1967, he transferred to Toronto as a producer of the network current affairs series The Way It Is. From 1974 to 1977, Herrndorf served as CBC's Head of TV Current Affairs Programming.

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As head of CBC’s current affairs department in the mid-1970s, decided to bet big on a Canadian version of CBS’s highly successful newsmagazine show, 60 MinutesThe Canadian Encyclopedia noted that "he developed a blueprint for a documentary-style weekly current affairs program with executive producer Glenn Sarty. The name The Fifth Estate was chosen to highlight how the content would go beyond the daily headlines of traditional journalism, which is often referred to as the fourth estate.' 'We thought, if people didn’t understand what ‘the fifth estate’ meant, that was okay,' Herrndorf said. 'If the program was going to be as successful as we thought it would be, the title would come to mean the kind of quality programming they saw on the show.'"

In 1979, he became Special Assistant to the vice president and general manager of the CBC English network and served as vice president of English services from 1979 to 1983. He moved the nightly newscast The National from 11 o'clock to 10 and helped create a nightly public affairs program, The Journal.

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Herrndorf was publisher of Toronto Life from 1983 to 1992 and was chairman and CEO of TVOntario from 1992 to 1999.

In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He also received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from York University in 1989, from the University of Winnipeg in 1993, and from Dalhousie University in 2000. In 2007, he was awarded the Order of Ontario for having "revolutionized Canadian broadcasting, publishing and the performing arts at organizations such as the CBC, Toronto Life Magazine, TV Ontario and the National Arts Centre".

On June 30, 2017,  he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston for "his transformative leadership in Canada's artistic community and for his enduring commitment to building a thriving national arts scene."

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Herrndorf was renowned for his human touch, with Jim Watson recalling that "He would call me and sing happy birthday and he would do that to hundreds of employees and patrons and supporters of the arts."  Sources: CP, CTV News Ottawa, Canadian Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

Jimmy (James Llewellyn) Jones, a Toronto bassist who played in Luke and The Apostles, The Happy Pals, the Artists’ Jazz Band, and more, died on Feb. 15, at age 80. 

His official obituary notes that "Jimmy lived a full life on his own terms, resolutely independent, with many interwoven careers—inventor, musician, and master of mechanical, electrical and electronic matters. He developed a clever way to improve the performance of internal combustion engines. He was trained as a choral singer, and played bass in many bands, including Luke & the Apostles, the Artists’ Jazz Band, and Kid Bastien’s various traditional New Orleans jazz bands. He was hands-on like his grandfathers; he understood gear and gadgets, and could build and fix most anything.... Remember Jimmy by supporting live music that you love, and young people that you know as they get started in life."

Luke & The Apostles,  a Toronto blues band active in the '60s, were considered innovators of the electric blues in the city's music scene. The members included Mike McKenna, Luke Gibson, Peter Jermyn, Jim Jones, and Pat Little, and many of these players went on to form other notable Canadian bands such as McKenna Mendelson Mainline, Kensington Market and The Modern Rock Quartet (The MRQ).

Luke & The Apostles emerged from the blues band Mike's Trio in 1964. They became a regular fixture on the local club scene, first working at the El Patio and then later at the Purple Onion, with Jones replacing original bassist  Graham Dunsmore. A signing to noted US label Elektra Records resulted in just one single, 1966's hit Been Burnt/Don't Know Why.

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Jones then left the group, replaced for five months by Dennis Pendrith, then rejoined in Oct. 1966. Further recording for Elektra in NYC followed. In their first stand at the Cafe au Go Go, Luke & The Apostles backed folkie Dave Van Ronk but were so well received that the club owner asked the band to return for on a second week in late May, opening for The Grateful Dead.

During one of the Cafe au Go Go shows, Bob Dylan and Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s manager Albert Grossman and rock promoter Bill Graham approached the band offering a management contract. Bill Graham also promised the band a slot at the Fillmore West in California that summer, but the group faced internal divisions.

At Graham's request, Luke & The Apostles opened for Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square on July 23, 1967, in front of 50,000. Shortly after, Luke Gibson accepted an offer to join the progressive folk-rock outfit, Kensington Market and the rest of the band members went their separate ways.

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A reformed Luke & The Apostles, minus Jones, recorded a lone single for Bernie Finkelstein’s True North Records in 1970, You Make Me High/Not Far Off. The reunion was short-lived, though Jones played on Luke Gibson's solo album, out on True North.

In the late 1990s, Gibson, Jermyn, Jones and McKenna reformed the group with future Downchild Blues Band drummer Mike Fitzpatrick for the "Toronto Rock Revival" concert held at the Warehouse on May 2, 1999. Later that year Jermyn, Jones and McKenna became the house band at the Yorkville club, Blues on Bellair, and were joined intermittently by Gibson.

Bullseye Records head Jaimie Vernon recalls that "we recorded all the shows there and released an album of the best performances called Revival: 1999. Jimmy was the bass player on that album. The full reunion following that didn't feature Jimmy because he was already in a battle with prostate cancer and was getting aggressive treatment. It allowed him many more years of life and playing around Toronto. Such a huge talent and a great loss."

A  2013 Luke & The Apostles reunion featured original members, Gibson, McKenna, and Jermyn, and that lineup released a self-titled album in 2017.

Jim Jones played with several other Toronto bands, including the free jazz outfit The Artists' Jazz Band and The Happy Pals.

Upon learning of his passing, some of his colleagues posted tributes on social media. 

Patrick Tevlin (on Facebook): "Jim Jones, who played bass with the Happy Pals in the 80s and 90s, left us yesterday. Jim was a wonderful musician, a beautiful singer, and a lovely guy. I can see him biking off into the sunset, towing his bass on that famous homemade trailer. Au revoir, Jimmy!"

Denis Keldie (FB): "He was on one of the most memorable recording sessions I’ve ever been on — 1980, at the Mersey Bros studio in Elmira. I remember him showing up in his Mustang convertible, with the string bass in the back seat. The session was for BB Gabor’s first album — a song called Moscow Drug Club, which I co-wrote, but that’s another story. Jim was truly a genius at whatever he did."

Mark Miller (noted author of jazz biographies): "Jim Jones was also associated with the Artists’ Jazz Band, which — with the Apostles and the Camelia Jazz Band — would be a can’t-get-there-from-here range of music for most anyone else."

Sources: Wikipedia, Facebook, Canadian Encyclopedia, Fawcett Funeral Homes

Roger Levesque, an arts journalist and a long-time contributor to the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun, died on Feb. 13, of cancer. His age has not been reported.

Levesque received a 2020 National Newspaper Award for a series of first-person essays about receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis during the Covid-19 pandemic. Colin McGarrigle, editor-in-chief of the Journal/Sun, noted that “Roger’s feature was very personal and poignant under difficult circumstances and we are honoured he was able to share his story with our readers.”

Levesque wrote for the Edmonton Journal's arts section for more than 25 years, and his work drew praise from his interview subjects and music industry figures.

Artist manager and industry veteran Ian Menzies posted this on Facebook: "I didn't know Roger well, but on the handful of occasions that we spoke and interacted over the years (in regards to articles he was writing on artists I was working with) he was never less than engaging, insightful and amicable. He was certainly, for many years, one of the key western Canadian arts and music scribes when it came to artists outside the pop and mainstream realm. Gone far too soon and he will surely be missed... Thanks for bringing your ears and heart to bear for the benefit of the arts here in Alberta and beyond Mr. L... may you rest in peace..."

Acclaimed jazz artist and radio host Laila Biali posted this on FB: "The very same day the world bid farewell to the great Guido Basso, one of the most dedicated music journalists also passed on. Roger Levesque, who wrote for the Edmonton Journal, was a brilliant and gentle soul; the kind of journalist who truly listened through content sent his way, reflected thoughtfully and honestly, and then did everything within his power to support the art (and artists) he believed in.

"He also frequently came out to shows – yes, as a music appreciator, but again mostly in service of musicians, venues and the scene at large. He was a vital part of the community fabric in Edmonton and beyond. I now feel especially fortunate to have connected with Roger when my trio performed at the Yardbird Suite just last year. Rest in Peace, friend. You will be missed."

Levesque's longtime friend and journalistic colleague Peter North remembers him in this CBC clip.

A celebration of life will be held for Levesque in the early summer. Information will be published on his website, rogerlevesquejournal.com, as available. Sources: Edmonton Journal, Facebook, CBC

Tom Stephen, co-manager of Jeff Healey and Amanda Marshall and drummer in The Jeff Healey Band, died on Feb. 20, of cardiac arrest, at age 68.

Mike Campbell, a longtime friend of Stephen and owner of Halifax music venue The Carleton, forwarded to FYI this statement released to local media by the family yesterday (Feb. 22):

"It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Tom Stephen this past Monday. His passing at age 68 of cardiac arrest was sudden and unexpected and his family is grieving mightily. There will be announcements in the coming days regarding a celebration of a life very well lived. Meanwhile, his family would like to take the next few days to mourn in private and ask that you respect their wishes.”

Born and raised in New Brunswick, Stephen found himself in the Toronto live music scene in the early '80s. His comrade in The Jeff Healey Band, bassist Joe Rockman, posted on the Jeff Healey Facebook site that "My personal relationship with Tom began in 1984, jamming and hanging out in local Toronto clubs one year prior to the formation of the Jeff Healey Band. So, in a way, the Healey Band started even before Jeff. Tom was a pivotal figure and co-founder in the Jeff Healey Band Partnership, along with Jeff and me. That partnership launched the Band, but also launched many other artists' careers, and helped launch the careers of many people associated with us."

Young guitar ace Healey had begun making a splash on the Toronto scene then, but it was in the three-piece Jeff Healey Band that he would go onto formidable international success. Veteran Toronto club booker Yvonne Matsell was an early believer in their talent. She recalls to FYI that "I worked with Tom in the early days when the JHB was still playing the clubs & just beginning to get famous. It was Jeff I was in contact with mostly, but Tom was starting to take the reins of the band. An outgoing personality, but obviously the businessman behind Jeff’s creativity."

Tom Stephen worked his way into the role of co-manager, and the managing partner of the Jeff Healey Band Partnership, stickhandling their impressive rise to the top. Mike Campbell tells FYI that "I first met Tommy in the mid-80s when the band played a gig at Clinton’s. They didn’t have a record deal at the time and he was bemoaning the fact that no one in Canada was interested in them. I was working at MuchMusic and went to the show with the late (great) Mark Caporal, my roommate at the time, who was working for ProCan. He loved them and gave them some money for a demo.

"A few years later, after Tommy managed a face-to-face with Clive Davis that resulted in the Healey Band’s deal with Arista, and I’d graduated from the marketing department to my own Mike & Mike show on the network, we ran across each other all the time: at gigs around the country, socially in Toronto, at their Big Ticket show at the Misty Moon in Halifax, on the Much train across Canada, at awards shows, we even spent a week with the band in Newfoundland (in the winter!) as they toured across the province. That professional relationship developed into a close personal friendship, even after the band was over and I’d left MuchMusic."

Campbell tells FYI that learning the news of Stephen's death "was a gut punch. I’d just spoken to Tom hours earlier about a little mini-festival we’re putting together for SXSW in Austin in a couple of weeks (Tommy was my production manager). One minute talking about meeting up in Texas in a couple of weeks, and the next minute, pfft."

"In the spring of 2020, Tommy came to Halifax from Los Angeles to visit his ailing mother and, thanks to the Covid lock-down that went into effect literally the day he got into town, he spent the next couple of years in Nova Scotia, where he was a regular fixture in my Tiki Lounge garage/office, entertaining everyone who wound up in his orbit. He even started sitting in on drums with some of the younger acts in town."

"His energy was infectious and even though he was suffering from prostate cancer, he fought that like he fought every fight in every other area of his life - tenaciously; willing vision into reality. With him, failure was never an option. Given all of that, I’d become convinced nothing could kill him. A sawed-off, snotty little half-Lebanese/half-Scottish punk from Saint John, New Brunswick, who’d somehow managed to become a globe-trotting rock star, without ever forgetting where he came from or who helped him get there. One thing’s for certain, he’ll not be forgotten by the many friends he’s left behind. They only made one Tom Stephen. "

As well as still playing in and co-managing The Jeff Healey Band, Stephen co-managed young Toronto rock singer Amanda Marshall, assisting her to major Canadian success via her 1995 self-titled diamond-selling album and two subsequent platinum-plus selling releases, before parting ways in 2002.

In 2019, Tom Stephen reflected upon his career in the memoir, Best Seat in the House: My Life In The Jeff Healey Band. Mike Campbell explains that "I helped Tom with the book, fact-checking the stories and cross-checking with my own memories where I was involved or knew the anecdotes he was telling." In an FYI interview with Jason Schneider, Stephen explained his reasons for the book: "I was concerned about the legacy of the band, and a Canadian icon, being lost to time. I also wanted people to remember us as a band of brothers, featuring a brilliant artist, who worked hard to accomplish their worldwide success. I am proud of what the Jeff Healey Band did in our 16-plus years together and wanted to share our remarkable journey—with all the craziness that came with it."

Reflecting upon his time with Stephen in The Jeff Healey Band, Joe Rockman noted (on Facebook) that "It could be said that Tom “marched to the beat of a different drummer,” and we had our differences over the years, however, he also possessed many fine qualities.It is those fine qualities that will live on in my memory. I feel fortunate and grateful to have known him. My deep condolences to his family, whom he loved, and all his friends and colleagues.”

On the official Jeff Healey Facebook page, Roger Costa posted this: "Sad note today. It's come to our attention that JHB drummer and co-founder Tom Stephen passed away suddenly Monday night. While Jeff and Tom certainly had their differences over the years, Tom was an important part of the JHB story and we send our deepest condolences to Tom's family and friends."

Another East Coast friend paying eloquent tribute to Tom Stephen on Facebook was film and TV veteran Geoff d'Eon. He posted that "'360’ is gone, and it hurts.  After decades in the music business, Tom had a wide circle of friends in Toronto, in L.A., and here in the Maritimes. He was funny and fearless. He was a fantastic storyteller, and boy did he ever have stories. Tom was a young civic planner in Saint John who joined the circus as a rock and roll road warrior.

"When the Jeff Healey Band was chosen to appear in the Patrick Swayze movie Road House, there was no looking back. World tours, network TV appearances, a brush with the Stones, a visit to the White House – Tom ate it all up with gusto and then ate a second helping. He always had a special place in his heart for Nova Scotia. This is one of the first places to support and embrace the Jeff Healey Band, at packed bar and club dates. In recent years – especially during Covid - Tom made a lot of friends here, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.

"For a while, we worked together on a possible documentary about Jeff Healey’s legacy, based on a book that Tom wrote about the band’s wild and crazy life on the road. He signed a copy for me, and I signed a copy of my book for him. Instant friends.

"My nickname ‘360’ is a kind of metaphor for how Tom approached life. Going flat out, he would suddenly change course on a whim. Don’t get me wrong: he got things done, it’s just that his methods could sometimes be … unorthodox, shall we say. Tommy seemed indestructible to most of us. No one saw this coming. We’re all spinning today. 360s all ‘round."

A noted bassist (The Jeff Healey Band, The Phantoms, Big Sugar, Grady) turned tour manager and front-of-house engineer, Ben Richardson worked extensively with his close friend Tom Stephen. He offered FYI this tribute: "I’m shocked and extremely sad to hear of the unexpected passing of Tom Stephen. He was my best friend and my brother. As a hard-nosed manager, he discovered and managed the very successful careers of The Jeff Healey Band and Amanda Marshall, and I was at his side through a good portion of it.

"He taught me most of what I know about touring in the music business. But for Tom, business was just a game. To him, it was about cultivating meaningful and lasting relationships and having an absolutely awesome time being the rock star that he was in the 80s and ’90s. Tom had a big heart, and it is perhaps fitting that he died of a heart attack seeing as he was the most energetic and full-of-life person I have ever known. He always had my back and I always had his. I will miss him most terribly and my life is just a bit scarier without my best friend to lean on."

Sources: Facebook, JeffHealey.com, Wikipedia

International

Chuck Jackson, a US R&B star, died on Feb, 16, at age 85. 

The singer was born in North Carolina, performing in local gospel groups before moving to Pittsburgh as a teen. A member of the key doo-wop group the Del-Vikings, Chuck Jackson went solo to great acclaim, scoring a string of emphatic hits, including the classic Any Day Now, co-written by Burt Bacharach.

Recording throughout his life, Chuck Jackson’s work was championed by Kent Records in the UK, allowing newer generations to access his music.

Read more here. Source: Clashmusic

Huey 'Piano' Smith, an early New Orleans rock 'n roller pianist, songwriter, and singer known for such hits as Rockin' Pneumonia And Boogie Woogie Flu and Sea Cruise, died on Feb. 13, at age 89.

As an in-demand session musician, he also backed Little Richard, Lloyd Price, Earl King, Fats Domino, and other early rock stars.

AP wrote that "Smith was a New Orleans native who performed nationwide but always returned to Louisiana. He was one of the last survivors of an extraordinary scene of musicians and songwriters who helped make New Orleans a fundamental influence on rock 'n roll."

His songs were recorded and performed by Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Paul Simon, Jerry Lee Lewis, KC and the Sunshine Band, Chubby Checker, and many more. Smith largely retired from performing in the 1980s.

Read more here and here. Sources: Deadline, New York Times, AP

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AP Dhillon pays tribute to Sidhu Moose Wala during his Coachella debut
YouTube/Coachella

AP Dhillon pays tribute to Sidhu Moose Wala during his Coachella debut

Music

AP Dhillon Demands Justice for Sidhu Moose Wala At Coachella 2024

The Vancouver-based artist paid tribute to the late Punjabi-Canadian music icon, whose 2022 murder in India remains unsolved. Performing with collaborator Shinda Kahlon, Dhillon also closed his debut set at the major California music festival with a classic rock star move.

During his debut Coachella performance, Punjabi-Canadian star AP Dhillon paid tribute to a fallen icon.

As Dhillon performed his hit "Brown Munde," a message took over the screen behind him in all capitals: "JUSTICE FOR SIDHU MOOSEWALA."

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