Part 27: It Isn't Powder, it's a plant with buds.

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 27: It Isn't Powder, it's a plant with buds.

Postby Brian Lord » Sun May 23, 2010 9:15 am

Brian Lord's Radio Stories # 27

It Isn't Powder, it's a plant with buds.

Time, as in dates, got a little out of line in the sixties, for any number of reasons. But it doesn't matter -- all this stuff happened in or around the time I returned from California. I had met a lady named Val and was going out with her on a fairly steady basis. But because I was still hung up on Sarah, my wife back in L.A, I wasn't all that attentive to Val or any of the other women I had dates with. In fact I was a different person to the young guy who flew to San Bernardino in early 1962 -- quite a bit different. Goof comes to mind. And of course I wasn't the only one who went through attitudinal, personality exchanges all within a period of six or seven years. All one has to really say is "It was the Sixties" and no further explanation is necessary. If there ever was an era in history where the term "shit happens" applies, the 1960's was it. There were upheavals everywhere: the Viet Nam war, the civil rights movement in the US, the high-profile assassinations, be-ins, draft dodgers and the coming of British music to North America led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. For all the paraphernalia that was coming down, I'm suprised more people made it through.

We, Val and I weren't getting along all that well but we were still friends and one Sunday night she called me and said: "Do you remember that stuff we talked about that people are doing now? Well I've got some but I don't know what to do with it" (short pause). "I'll be right over".

I had learned how to roll cigarettes and when Val gave me what was about a dime-bag of marijuana I just rolled a joint. She had thought to buy papers. Vogue. The very worst possible rolling papers but then what did we know. I had no idea that the sticks and seeds were supposed to be separated and tossed out and all that mattered were the leaves. As the song said " sticks or seeds that you don't need, Acapulco Gold is bad-ass weed." I just rolled up this appalling ugly excuse for a joint with branches and such sticking out of it and we smoked the thing. Probably because it was the first, it worked. In my day I have turned on friends and that was good because I was there to make sure they didn't go into the horrors. One guy, a dear old friend, thought he was going to jump off his 16th floor apartment balcony until I explained to him that the incident he was referring to was done under the influence of LSD, not dope.

I'm gonna say right now and with full conviction and absolute truth that Marijuana was the safest of all the drugs that I ever took for recreational purposes and that includes booze. Especially booze. One pal described it as "a little gift from God". I would not say that, I would never say that. But it had it's built in charm and effect and as long as one kept themselves together the only harm they were doing was to their lungs. Right now there is a lot of talk of legalization. My own opinion is leave it alone. At one point the Canadian government had decided to investigate the stuff and apparently were growing it in caves. In Saskatchewan. If the government wanted to do some investigating all they'd have to do was cut loose some growers they'd busted and give them what they (the bustees) needed to grow decent smoke. End of problem. But... yeah... But. I'd like to add a serious codicil to this. Dope is not for everybody.

If I had stuck to getting stoned once in awhile and stayed away from wine, beer, scotch, gin, bourbon, rye, rum and vodka I may have saved myself much torture. But I was not smart and I had the capacity to become a full-blown alcoholic by the time I returned to Canada. So of course, I did. Outside of the radio business, I had several good friends. All of them were hearty drinkers but none were juice heads. That mantel was left to me. And in the years to come it did me harm. Example: one radio station where I worked, the boss canned me five times and brought me back four. When I was doing my job, I was okay, When I was mixing it with ice, scotch and soda, I was a dung heap.

When I first arrived in Vancouver the first thing I did was call Frosty Forst at CKNW. He had done well for Dave McCormick and I wanted to know if there was any station around town that was 'looking'. Yeah, Joe Chesney has a 5,000 watt frequency in Langley which was quickly becoming part of greater Vancouver. Brian suggested I call Joe which I did; came out for an interview with Barry Bell, the PD at ten o'clock at night; went on the air from 11PM to midnight and got the job. Playing Cowboy music. I'd been playing rock for so long I didn't know Hank Snow from Hank Williams or Hank Thompson. But Joe was gaining an appreciable audience with cowboy music and I took what I could get. Besides, together with the Hanks there were people like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Patsy Cline. I grew to like it --began to call it Country,as opposed to cowboy and settled in. Barry, the PD received an offer from CHQM to read news (he had the pipes) and I think he took about a split second to make up his mind and was gone. I applied for PD and got the job.

Seven years had gone by since I left Vancouver for the US but there were some broadcasters who still remembered the Golden days of CFUN, of which I had been on board for a few and I started getting calls from people who wanted to work in Langley. CJJC was becoming known. I remember talking to Red Robinson one day on the phone and he said some kid had asked him for a job, said he wanted to work in Vancouver. When Red said he couldn't accommodate him he asked about Langley to which Red answered, "this is the 70's, man. Langley IS Vancouver". Slowly the staff changed and it wasn't long before people like Ched Miller were on the air. Also Roy Jacques was the News Director and Mr Energy, Peter Legge, who I'd pried away from Rik Thompson at the Columbian Newspaper, was the Sales Manager.
These changes didn't happen overnight but the sound of the station did. All my years in Radio -- a whole ten -- I had worked with Rock. It wasn't a big jump from Rock to Country especially if one followed the method of shut up and play the music. And Country had come of age. It was pushing Rock off the top in the US and 'JC had a pretty busy switchboard.

We hired a guy name Mike Dodman who unfortunately died of cancer several years ago, but he was a crazy man and loved Country music. And he paid me great respect. So it came about that one evening Mike had put a disc on the turntable and made a dash for the toilet. Nature had called and soiling oneself was unthinkable. The record was a 45RPM -- Mike should have put on an LP -- and sure enough it ditched. Ten seconds after the 'ka-chunka, ka-chunka' began I called the station hot line. What happened was: Mike heard the song end, and the telephone ringing, "oh my god, that's Lord". He took longer than usual to reach the control room because he sped out the bathroom door with his pants undone and half way to the control room they fell to has ankles and he went sprawling onto the floor....leaped up and had the presence of mind to slap another record on without explaining what had happened... I was honestly worried that he would do so; he answered the phone, blurted out his story and profusely apologized. All I could do was laugh. One time when I was doing an overnight gig at CJOR, I fell asleep and the record ditched. Monty McFarlane always set his alarm clock by the radio and arrived a half hour late for his show ... infuriated... I was lucky we got along well.

About this time I fouled up something because I'd been out partying the previous nigfht -- late for a remote, I think -- and Joe fired me. And then hired me back when he calmed down. He was a fine man Joe Chesney. He knew the radio business, cut his teeth at 'NW and his biggest bugbear was smoking. Matter of fact he paid any staffmember a five dollar bonus who didn't smoke. He was also one of the first broadcasters that put into effect the new Basford Radio laws of 1/3 had to be either written sung or produced by a Canadian, something that gave the industry noth of the border a terrific boost although Canada wa slow getting the talent together and it wasn't a favored ruled by DJ's.

Along about this time, early 70's, this big kid began coming into the radio station and asking me if he help with anything. His name: Dave Chesney, the son of Joe, the owner. However to my knowledge, Joe never pushed Dave, nor did he push me to hire his son. But in time I did and Dave and I not only had a grand old time but Dave used his time at CJJC to kick off a remarkable carreer in music. And he became a friend as well.

Next time: through the glass, darkly.
Brian Lord
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Re: Part 27: It Isn't Powder, it's a plant with buds.

Postby Russ_Byth » Mon May 24, 2010 4:23 pm

Some things some us of didn't know..... about the valley!

Thanks Brian!
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