A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS

One of the criticisms I received with White Wolf Moon was my depiction of Evan’s stance on drugs…that his anti-drug comments were invalid and I used him to preach my opinions on the matter. First, Evan does not necessarily speak for me on anything. That being said this is an example of people reading what they want to read and missing what was written. Evan isn’t preaching anti-drug…just that drugs weren’t for him. Yes he is negative about the culture based on his personal observations and that is what readers have keyed on. On various blogs and pages I have made statements in my name about hunting, wolf hunters in particular, and have been taken to task for those comments. It matters not how many times I tell people that I am not anti-hunting or anti-hunter, they read what I write, put their own spin on it then call me some of the most ludicrous and childish names, even threatening me personally. To set the record straight I do oppose trapping, poaching, and trophy hunting but I get angry when I read about a careless, irresponsible hunter who shoots at a deer and misses, sending the bullet across the street where it smashes through a living room window and hits a five-day-old infant in the head (and it’s considered a misdemeanor). That is when I have to speak out…and not all that kindly. http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/09/25/DA-5-day-old-infant-grazed-by-bullet-in-hunting-accident/stories/201409250337

But back to the point of this blog:

Friend number one…In the mid to late sixties I worked at CJCA Radio in Edmonton, Alberta. I produced commercials (among other things) and recorded musicians whether for their promo tapes or auditions and commercial jingles for local businesses. I was still fairly new at it when someone booked the studio to do a department store jingle. One of the musicians had a reputation for being hard to work with, mean, and demanding. He could play virtually any instrument and claimed he was qualified enough on each of them to have a valid opinion. I learned that his claims were indeed justified as over the next few years I recorded him playing keyboard, drums, violin, all types of guitars, banjo, harmonicas and even pan-pipes. He displayed an expertise with each of them that impresses me to this day.

To make a long story a bit shorter, during the recording session I was reprimanded by said musician (on drums) as I had pointed out he’d made a small beat mistake on the instrumental bridge and we should redo the take. He took me to task and shouted that when we played it back there had damn well better be a mistake…which there was. He called me into the studio and extended his hand. He congratulated me for noticing the error (which probably would have gone unnoticed anyway) then shook my hand again for having the guts to point it out to him. While there’s a lot more to the story the outcome was that we became close friends. He was demanding of everyone (especially of himself) and we battled a lot. Sometimes I won, but not very often. He continually pushed me to strive for something better when it came to production and I’ll always owe him for that. Physically he looked the lifestyle of the sixties rocker. He wore leather, rode a motorcycle, and had the long hair and beard…typical in those days. One big difference…he avoided drugs and refused to work with anyone who was high or drunk. Away from the studio or stage he preferred wine as his vice of choice and does to this day. He’s still got the hair and the motorcycle and he just celebrated his seventieth birthday by climbing some mountain in Hawaii (where he now lives).

He phoned me about four years ago after having no contact for over forty years. All he said was “Hey man, what’s happening?” and we picked up right where we’d left off decades before. During that call we talked about auditions we’d done. He remembered the names of the musicians, the titles of songs we recorded and what instruments were used. I confess I didn’t remember a lot of it until he reminded me.

Friend number two…Around the same time as my phone call another friend touched bases with me. He was also a part of that old recording scene and a few years younger than me. Unlike friend number one he lived the complete lifestyle back then and, as of our reunion, still did. We got together for a drink and I spent what I still consider to be the longest hour of my life listening to the paranoid ramblings of someone I used to know.  It was an uncomfortable barrage of disjointed conversation that culminated in an offer to “do a joint” in the parking lot. I refused…then came the real reason for the reunion. He wanted to borrow some money to get bus fare to Vancouver where he was going to crash for a few weeks with some friends.

Friend number one spent all those years honing and working his craft, retired to Hawaii with a huge bank account and remembers all the good times we had. He is also one of the driving forces behind the Evan Morris and Danny Mann characters in White Wolf Moon.

Friend number two spent all those years doing the same-old same-old. He was one of the peripheral characters in the book and, like Carl Perry, was written out of the story-line far too early.

Yes these are two extreme examples, or at least I’d like to think they are extreme, but I’ve seen this scenario play out so many times over my years that my attitude is much like Evan’s. It’s your life and you can do what you want…just don’t involve me in it.

Hat

 

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2 comments on “A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS

  1. sknicholls says:

    There is something a bit strange about people who think characters are real. Yes, all authors are influenced to some degree by their life experiences, but you don’t see Anne Rice sucking blood, or Stephen King threatening to ax little children to death. About the hunting: We hunted and fished for food when I raised my family. Aside from the cattle, pigs and chickens we raised, they were fed deer, rabbit and all manner of fish. Trophy hunting and fishing just weren’t done. We primarily catch and release now when we sport fish, but still keep what we want to put in the freezer. I saw a page on FB the other day where an eleven year old shot a twelve point trophy buck that was a rare albino white deer. His parents should be shot.

    • Mike Grant says:

      As I said I have no problem with responsible hunters who fill their freezer. I know many people who hunt (and fish) and while it certainly isn’t my thing if it’s done legally and responsibly then so be it. That story that you refer to was another incident that got my blood boiling although I refrained from comment. I just couldn’t remain civil about it. Like the hunters in the Maritimes that were so awestruck by the beauty and majesty of an even rarer white moose…then they shot it. Let these animals live and allow them to be appreciated by everyone, not just those that visit your trophy room. I shall return the soapbox to the laundry room now.

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