Back before Vile Richard even existed as a band, Andrew and I went to school at McMaster University and we played in a band called Rice. It was folky stuff with lots of covers thrown in. We played weekly shows in Hamilton’s Hess Village and met a lot of interesting characters. I could probably write a book about my time in Rice and maybe I will one day…

Around this time, Andrew came across an ad in the paper (at least I think that’s how it came about). A chubby local songwriter (Bruce Hotchkies) was looking for local bands to record some songs for a compilation CD of his own work which he was putting together. Andrew picked a couple of songs from the demo tape Bruce had given him and, as a band, we went into the studio and recorded them.

By the time the CD was released, I had moved from McMaster University to the University of Toronto and Vile Richard was in full swing. Before we hit the stage at the release party, Andrew went through the audience selling copies of Rice CDs in Ziploc bags filled with uncooked rice. My initial skepticism was proved to be unfounded as I watched him find enthusiastic buyers, Bruce’s wife among them. It was to be only the beginning of Andrew selling things I would have sworn up and down could never be sold.

When our turn came around that night at the Cameron House, Ted, who was in Vile Richard at the time played drums for us. It was a loose, spontaneous and generally barely rehearsed set that we played. Personally, I had found the uncertainty of the situation stressful, but Ted told me that it was a test of the true musician to see how s/he would survive in such a situation. I took that as a lesson that night and going forward. You prepare as much as you can, but when an unrehearsed moment happens, you dive right in and hope for the best. More often than not, it works out well. When it doesn’t, you learn from that too.

This past week, as I was packing up some CDs for storage, I came across Bruce’s CD. It’s called “A Different Point of View”. I don’t think of it much, but I do occasionally come across it in my local used CD shop. It seemed like the right kind of track for this month’s free download, since this CD was always a free, promotional item. (Which makes it all the more baffling to think that people have sold copies to record shops).

Here’s In the Mood for a Little Heartache, with Heather Begg on vocals.