If there is such a thing as an overnight success, it would be a good idea to keep it out of the path of Tom Cochrane. Cochrane who played to 5,000 people over two nights at the Orpheum and who is in Victoria tonight and tomorrow.
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“We’re gonna play a lot of love songs… but we’re gonna play ’em loud!” Either it’s a strange coincidence, or Tom Cochrane is carrying out a secret love affair with Ottawa. For a second time in as many years, Cochrane and his band Red Rider have been booked into the Congress Centre for a Valentine’s night concert.
Tom Cochrane and Red Rider have prided themselves in being part of the Lunatic Fringe. The Canadian band has never occupied the left field inhabited by lads in skirts and braids and rings through their noses.
Call It the risk of the year in Canadian Pop – Tom Cochrane and Red Rider recording their greatest hits live in concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. It’s a big gamble for the steely hero of Canadian heartland rock.
“The people in Edmonton should be very proud of their orchestra,” says rock musician Tom Cochrane, on the phone from his home in Toronto. “I think we really served a blow against cultural snobbery”.
Tom Cochrane didn’t anticipate the reaction to his latest project. In fact, he didn’t even believe it would be released commercially. The project, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, The Symphony Sessions, originally was recorded for a syndicated radio program.
There may be overnight success stories in the music business, but Tom Cochrane hasn’t been one of them. It’s taken Toronto-based rocker nearly a decade to make it as a headliner in Calgary’s major concert venue.
It isn’t easy being the mother of a rock star, but Violet Cochrane wouldn’t have it any other way. Groupies phone at 3 am and kids show up at the door asking for concert tickets and autographs, but she is proud of her son Tom Cochrane.
There’s a real-life story behind Tom Cochrane’s hit song Big Leagues. “We were touring through Northern Ontario,” he told the Vancouver Sun. “We had finished the sound-check, and this gentleman came up.
The “victory” in Victory Day isn’t really so much one big win, says Tom Cochrane. “The ‘victory’ is almost an afterthought,” says Cochrane who fronts Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. “It’s actually sort of scrawled on the cover of the record.”
The future fame of Tom Cochrane and the possible resuscitation of symphony orchestras across Canada may hinge on Ted Kennedy’s knowing a thing or two about golf. Kennedy, the assistant program director at K-97 FM, is a tenacious music fan who conceived the March 17 and 18 concerts.
It was the secret concert that wasn’t. To prepare for his first full-length tour to support his hot-selling Victory Day album, Tom Cochrane and his band Red Rider have scheduled a few dress-rehearsal shows at selected sites in Ontario.
As a youngster playing hockey in northern Manitoba and rural Ontario, Tom Cochrane never made it to the big leagues – but a song he’s written about the game has. Appropriately titled Big League.
Canadians make good mimics, says Tom Cochrane. “Peter Jennings makes a pretty good AMerican newsman. And a lot of great (Canadian) comedians are impersonators… Rich Little, those SCTV people.”
Folk-rock is coming back. The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion album may be showing the way, and Tracy Chapman walked away with nine Grammy nominations, but other musicians also are daring to mix acoustic instruments in with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Take Tom Cochrane and Red Rider and their new ‘Victory Day’ album, for example.
Tom Cochrane has always carried a torch for Canadian culture. Even with his sixth album Victory Day zooming up the American charts, Cochrane remains fiercely Canadian. “There is a Canadian identity,” says Cochrane.
It starts with an eerie persistent beat – Huey Lewis’ heart of rock ‘n’ roll but textured with a U2-style guitar wash. Then, in a dispassionate voice. Tom Cochrane spins a disturbing tale of extinction of a dream. Cochrane’s “Big League” is the story of a star high school athlete.
Tom Cochrane has a saying that he applies not only to music, but to his life as well. It goes like this: You have to do the opposite of what you think you have to do, in order to get the things you want”.
For the past eight months, Tom Cochrane has spent most of his time travelling across Canada with his band, Red Rider, on what he describes as “one last fling” before beginning work on another recording project.
“Bruce Allen,” Tom Cochrane wondered aloud, Where are you tonight?” To most of the 3,400 people who’d come to the Expo Theatre on Saturday, it might have seemed a whimsical question, but Cochrane had a point to make.
During the early days of rock and roll in the ’50s, audiences would never see just one act on any bill. They would see short sets by countless bands who would travel together from town to town with their musical reviews.
When it comes to his music, Tom Cochrane has learned to be “fatalistic” with good reason. The last Tom Cochrane and Red Rider album, Boy Inside The Man, is their best, with several songs that attain the rarest of blends.
Tom Cochrane and Red Rider have breathed a spark of life into the moribund world of major-label, mainstream Canadian Rock Music. Their two sold-out shows at the Spectrum Saturday night provided conclusive evidence that Cochrane is one singer-songwriter not to be ignored.
Tom Cochrane has put out some good records in his time, but nothing as fully realized as his latest opus, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. From the opening strains of the anthemic Boy Inside The Man through the hard-edged pop of The Untouchable One and Citizen Caine.