David Letterman

I will be sad on Wednesday May 20th, 2015. My main reason will be that David Letterman is signing off… AND… I will have to record it. I am gigging that night. It’s somewhat odd that I feel that I’m not going to be ‘in the moment’ by watching it later. Of course my feelings are silly; the show is taped at 5pm New York time… a full nine hours ahead of the Vancouver broadcast time… but when you’re a fan you’re a fan. I’m sure you ‘sports people’ get it.

I watched David Letterman from the very beginning (February 1, 1982) I even watched his ‘pre late-night’ morning show (starting on June 23, 1980 until cancelation). As ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ on NBC grew to cult status in his after Johnny Carson time slot of 12:30 am, I would stay up whenever I could to tune in. Once I owned a VCR, I taped every show.

I was a true fan while Joanne Dalla-Vicenza​ barely tolerated it. While she found him ‘demeaning, arrogant, and mean-spirited’, I found him ‘cutting edge, irreverent and genius’.

As the show switched to mainstream (‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ debuted on August 30, 1993, on the CBS Network at 11:35 pm) Joanne was finally able to learn to enjoy him. I, however always missed that ‘Late Night’ edge. It was still there (and actually it still is). You can see the twinkle in his eye when you know what he ‘really wants to say’ regarding a given topic, celebrity or conversation with a guest.

I always wanted to be on the show and meet Dave. As that dream faded, all I wanted was to see the show live.

I went to NYC for the first time in 2007. Three days before I left the 2007 writers strike happened – which virtually shut down Broadway, including the Letterman show. I have a picture of me pouting in front of the marquee…I also stood outside of Rupert Jee’s ‘Hello Deli’ which is about 30 feet from the stage door to the Ed Sullivan Theatre.Hello Deli Mick

Hello Deli Dark

Luckily after that initial trip in 2007 I was able to play NYC a few times. The pinnacle date was when we recorded our Live DVD with Bachman & Turner in November of 2010. We recorded the DVD at the (now closed and probably torn down) Roseland Ballroom; the back door of which was across the street from the stage door to The Ed Sullivan Theatre where Dave’s show was taped. I travelled across that street a lot (a narrow street – almost more of an alleyway)

Paul Shaffer was to make an guest appearance on the B&T DVD, so I was quite excited to meet Paul and actually play with him. I had long been an admirer of Paul’s since his Saturday Night Live days, then on to the NBC show and then the CBS shows with David Letterman. His ‘hep cat’ irreverent quips always made me laugh.

Mick and Paul 2

After sound-checking the B&T show, I was able to meet Rupert finally as well as the infamous Biff Henderson. Rupert was kind enough to take a couple of pics with me. My friend Jeff Hendrick also caught some candid pics of Brent and I chatting and laughing it up with Biff that same day which he later sent to me. That day I invited Rupert to our show – but he regretfully had to decline.

The next day, road manager, Kevin Duffy told me that a couple of us had VIP passes to watch a taping of the Letterman show. Luckily I was one of them. A few hours before taping, we were escorted through the stage door across the stage (inches from Paul’s set up) and into the front row. Where I walked was the very spot where on February 9th, 1964 The Beatles turned North America on to Beatlmania on the Ed Sullivan Show. Yes that’s the very same stage.
So – We watched all the rehearsals for the day and were then escorted up to our seats in the theatre. To watch the show live was a spectacular experience for me – surreal actually. I had wanted to see the show live, but never expected that I would actually be an invited guest to the show.

Here’s a break down of how the show goes:
To warm up the crowd, house comedian Eddie Brill comes on and is very, very good at his job. He then introduces all of the band members one by one as they come out to take their place on the bandstand, saving Paul for last of course. He then introduces announcer Alan Kalter and they banter a bit.

Now is the big moment when Eddie announces Dave to come out and warm up the crowd.

To thunderous applause, Dave comes out with white shirt and tie, does some hilarious stand up/slap stick styled humour and does a question and answer bit with the people near the front rows. As Dave is finishing talking to the audience, they band kicks into the Late Show theme song, and you can see the opening credits on the monitors placed everywhere in the studio. While the band is playing the theme, Dave walks past the band stand to the back stage area in his white shirt and tie, changes into his suit jacket and then does his now infamous run across the stage. All of this happens in real time (and very quickly) within the timing of the theme song with Paul and band. It’s now show time.

The guests that night were Jake Gyllenhaal, Fran Lebowitz and Ne-Yo. I saw Ne-Yo rehearse his portion in the late afternoon. Here’s a YouTube link:


with Biff Henderson - David Letterman Show November 19th, 2010
with Biff Henderson – David Letterman Show November 19th, 2010
with Biff Henderson - David Letterman Show November 19th, 2010
with Biff Henderson – David Letterman Show November 19th, 2010
with Biff Henderson - David Letterman Show November 19th, 2010
with Biff Henderson – David Letterman Show November 19th, 2010

Hello Deli Pupert

Hello Deli Rupert 2

Incidently, we went back to NYC to play Les Paul’s Meridian Club a year or two later. I went back to the Hello Deli. Rupert remembered me and we took a couple of more shots together which are the ones I have embedded here.

I never got to meet Dave, but I did work with Paul Shaffer again; this time at the Canadian Walk of Fame Awards in Toronto in 2012. He remembered me and that I was from The Soo surprisingly. We talked at length about all the musicians he knew of from there. He’s a very smart and wonderful person as well as a walking anthology of all music and musicians everywhere it would seem.

Mick and Paul 1

I have always wanted to meet Dave. Sadly all I would probably be able to muster up is ‘thanks’.

I’m sure he’s heard it way too many times – as deserving as it is from all the people saying it to him.

He’s a terrifically humble man. He doesn’t like adulation it seems.

David Letterman is one of a kind and the world will change after May 20, 2015….

Thank you Dave…

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Mick Dalla-Vee

Early days 1976 - He moved to Western Canada, after leaving Bawating High School from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with the band Shama. Shama toured Western Canada and was managed by Bruce Allen (Bryan Adams, Martina McBride) before disbanding. 1981 -From that point he became the lead guitarist of Trama, managed by Sam Feldman (Joni Mitchell, Diana Krall), 1984 - then on to playing bass for the band Paradox which evolved into his current band Cease & Desist. 1989 - Cease & Desist has been described as "one of Vancouver's most popular bands" by Tom Harrison the rock music critic of The Province. He also plays the part of John in a Beatles cover band, Revolver, that was put together for Expo 86 Songwriting Mick has written or co-written many songs on albums for artists as diverse as country music's Brent Howard and Canada's Singing Cowgirl: Marilyn Faye Parney, the heavy rock sounds of Blackstone (released on the Delinquent label in Canada), the soul/R&B sounds Belinda Metz and 'Emily Jordan' to the 'smooth jazz' sounds of internationally acclaimed Lori Paul. 2005 - He co-wrote ten of the eleven songs on Paul's album Vanity Press. 1998 - His first country song 'The Wrangler' reached the country top 30 charts right across Canada. It also achieved 'Heavy Rotation' on C.M.T., Canada's country music video channel. One of the songs from Mick's 'A Whistler Christmas' album entitled, 'All I Want is You at Christmastime' has been recorded and released by Canadian country star, Brent Howard Currently - He has also written music for movies, television, videos, video games and promotional spots. His writing styles run the gamut from 'Smooth Jazz' to 'Heavy Thrash'. (A Whistler Christmas and Dalla-Vee's original Christmas songs are often heard on Canadian radio during their Christmas music programming.) Producing Aside from producing himself in an array of projects such as 1994's A Whistler Christmas album, he runs his own studio 'Millennia Sound Design', producing and engineering for artists like: Randy Bachman, Twitch, Swaggerjack, Emily Jordan, Russell Marsland, Lori Paul and Suzanne Gitzi among others. 2007 - has provided theme music and soundscapes for two network television series and Simon Fraser University. 2005 - Randy Bachman's CD "Jazzthing" had some work done on it at "Millennia Sound Design". Vocals Dalla-Vee has contributed to projects as diverse as, 1991 - the multi platinum heavy rock of the "Mötley Crüe" album "A Decade of Decadence" to the 2001 - country/rockabilly sounds of Brent Howard and Southern Cherry to Colin Arthur Wiebe. 1989 - Canadian legends, Trooper and The Powder Blues Band have also used Mick's voice for recordings. 1991 - He has worked extensively as a studio session singer/musician, with his talent of many voices being used on a worldwide 'Karaoke' album package marketed over the dreaded U.S. infomercial. He has sung a number of commercial jingles for radio and television. Awards Having recorded with a host of other Canadian and international recording acts such as Randy Bachman (of the band The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive), Mick was awarded a 'Gold Record' for his work on the 'Trooper' album 'Last of the Gypsies' in 1991. In 1997, he received the Saskatchewan Album of the Year Award for his song writing/musician contributions to an album with proceeds going to people affected with multiple sclerosis. 2011 – Gold Award for Bachman & Turner DVD – Live at the Roseland Ballroom 2013 – Platinum Award for Bachman & Turner DVD – Live at the Roseland Ballroom Appeared in ‘The Campaign’ with Will Ferrell, Zack Galifianakis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd and directed my Jay Roach (shot in New Orleans) Current – Write music for the popular ‘Holmes’ TV series on HGTV Releases: “Bachman and Turner” in 2010 Producing the Toronto pop/soul band ‘Hello Beautiful’. Heads the ‘Music in Motion Workshop’ for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, a pilot project designed to develop a musical camaraderie with children, youth and young adults with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Live [edit] He keeps an extremely steady schedule playing guitar, bass and keyboards with his main band, Cease and Desist, and “The Atlantic Crossing Show” featuring Mick as John Lennon and Elton John. Since 2001 - He is the bass player/vocalist with Canadian Rock Legend, Randy Bachman's band 2004 - Bachman’s recent foray in the jazz world with his new CD, ‘Jazz Thing’ features Dalla-Vee on the ‘upright bass’. Ongoing - He plays mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitars and harmonica in the Brent Howard and Southern Cherry band, Ongoing - and has toured as John Lennon in 'Revolver - The Worlds Best Beatles Show'. Ongoing - In addition, he also works as a solo artist appearing regularly at special events and casinos. Affiliations 2004 - A longtime member of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, he has sat on the panel as a judge for Canada's Juno Awards (Canada's Version of The Grammy's). 1989 – 2001 He was on the board of directors of the Pacific Music Industry Association for 3 years, and is also chair of 2000 – 2005 The Carolyn Foundation Musician's Assistance Society; a non-profit organization he and colleagues set-up in the wake of his daughter Carolyn's sudden death in November 1999

3 thoughts on “David Letterman”

  1. What a great piece and love the priceless photos Micker (in fact I love them so much that as we speak I am having my graphics person paste my face over yours and will be posting them later today lol) I can totally relate as I too never missed it during those halcyon early days. Used to esp. love the Top 10 list lol Thanks for sharing!

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