Art Bergmann - Yellow PagesThursday, June 27, 2013
The reek of rotting onions was overpowering as my daughter Ale, 14, and I climbed the stairs of a warehouse on Railway Street and Gore one late evening of another May, in 1984. A makeshift recording studio had been installed on the fourth floor. Bergmann and friends, the cream of the alternative scene rock bands of the day (among them my friends Gord Nicholl, Randy Carpenter and Nick Jones) were recording 10 songs. Carpenter had called me with the tip that my favourite Bergmann song Yellow Pages – “Sticking knives into our backs and giving it a twist” – was on that evening.
Not having grown up with rock ‘n’roll, I belatedly shared with my daughter the teen thrill of hearing a great song, over and over. It was fun watching Bergmann play guitar and Carpenter and Jones on back-up vocals. The recording engineer Cec English, seemed to be impervious to all the excitement as he methodically and unemotionally flicked switches. Only later did I find out that he was in great pain. The night before, he and Bergmann (fuelled by an over-consumption of Jim Beam) had kicked a police car outside the Oasis Club. English had a broken foot.
Later in 1984, I photographed Bergmann at the “Snake Pit,” a house on East Broadway and Renfrew that he shared with Tony Baloney and other musicians. One of the resulting photographs (here in Vancouver Sun article) is from what I would call Art’s “wasted Keith Richards period.”
Borrowing from the title song Vultura Freeway (up there with the Clash’s London Calling for a song meant for driving fast on a hot summer day), “It’s not summer but hot today,” you can bet that it will be hot tonight and Friday when Bergmann performs at the Marine Club
June 8-15, 2000