Interesting project I was able to work with briefly with the incredible Doug Edwards… wow – what can I say. The guy wrote WILDFLOWER!!!
I saw Doug play at The Sawmill Lounge at The Water Tower Inn with The Hans Staymer Band in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario when I was 17.
What a band…!!!
James Leroy was the manager of the Sawmill Lounge. James was the first rock star I ever really became friends with. James had 4 gold records in Canada at that time (1975). The biggest one was ‘Touch of Magic’ which I’ll post here: Still love that song…. RIP James… you meant more to me than you would have ever known…
James somehow heard that Jeff Neill, Michael Sicoly and I were to join Brien Armstrong (who he hadn’t meant) on the road in early 1976. He was thrilled for me (us)! He thought we were the cream of the crop in The Soo.
James had decided to settle in the Sault for a bit. Some say he had met a girl there (true) – others thought he had grown tired of touring (questionable…due to what I witnessed from him later when we hooked up as Shama had become quite a rising star in the prairies)- but my personal thoughts were, he was suffering from Type 2 diabetes. James was always overweight…regardless, he was stationed in the Soo…ran the Sawmill Lounge (booking some of the greatest bands I have ever seen to date) and working night shifts the odd night a CKCY Radio as a Deejay. When he worked as a DJay at CKCY, he would get me, and sometimes Michael Sicoly up to the broadcast booth with him for the night and tell us endless ‘road stories’. He was so thrilled that we were heading out west. He loved telling us about all the things we’d see and witness… what a thrilling time in my life!!
Back to The Hans Staymer Group. Listen here:
Hans Staymer was obviously on vocals (the blackest white singer ever), Wayne Kozak was on sax, Eddie Patterson on guitar, Doug Edwards on bass, Geoff Eyre on drums – I was watching with my mouth open. Incredible playing.
James tapped me on the back and said, ‘You see the bass player? He wrote ‘Wildflower’… (to me one of the greatest songs ever written… Listen here:
I never met any of them that night. I should mention at this time that I was underage and James (as the bar manager – risking his job) would sneak me in to see these great bands. Gawd I loved that guy! Aside from some very close family and friends, he was probably the first person that made me feel like ‘I HAD IT’… plus (to me) he had MADE IT! He was a rock star in my eyes…
Okay so now………Years go by…
…..it’s now 1986 and Marc LaFrance and I had been working together for a few months. One of his best friends was Doug Edwards. Doug lived in a house in prestigious West Van which he had bought with the money from Wildflower 11 years earlier. Doug lived very simply but was sitting on a pot of gold. West Van is one of the areas that would be known as’RICH VANCOUVER!’
Doug and I became pretty good friends and he even had me house sit for him for 7 months in 1986-87 while he went to Australia to study writing. (You never quit learning do you?)
He and Mary Garnett met in the early 90’s. When they released their CD, they asked me to play on a few gigs with them along with Marc and of course I was honoured to do so.
Over the last couple of decades Doug still played regularly as the bass player for Chilliwack… (one of my favourite groups of all time).
Sadly Doug succumbed to cancer on November 11, 2016.
Brilliant musician and a wonderful human being.