“Yes? Randy Bachman?”
This is how our adventure began. Randy Bachman called to let me know that he was at his hotel in downtown Kitchener.
“I don’t want to eat in the hotel restaurant.. looks too.. uh, corporate. You know this town. Where do you want to go?”
To back this up a bit, I met Randy Bachman 10 years ago at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Ottawa Ontario. I won an award that year. Randy said something nice to me about my win. He was there to play in the opening number.. “Canadian Sunrise” .. with Prairie Oyster (he does the shredding guitar solo.) I, of course, harassed him during the reception afterwards, got pictures with family and friends.. etc. etc. After all, “Takin’ Care of Business” is one of my favourite songs of all time. And due to this fortuitous meeting, had the opportunity to see Randy play on several occasions both with his own band and with the Guess Who. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to be best friends with him, I just know him.
However, last fall I saw Randy at the CCMA’s in Winnipeg and we chatted there and emailed later. Long story short (it is a long and complicated one..) he asked if I’d be interested in seeing the Bachman-Cummings show in Kitchener, August 5th.. and we could do the interview I had asked him for months ago.
And maybe have lunch.
When Randy asked where did I think we should go.. I asked him what types of food he liked.. Mexican, salads.. etc.. and lots more. ButI KNEW. I HAD to take him to Ethel’s.
Ethel’s Lounge is one of my favourite places ever. It’s just fun and cool and funky. It’s an old KFC from back in the day (the first in the K-dub) and has been a bar now for many years. (Please note that the sign in the picture says “Carnies Welcome”. Yep, about sums it up)
Part of its charm is all the memorabilia that is all over the walls… posters from old rock shows (KISS, RUSH, Nazareth, Ian & Sylvia, Neil Young and more..) A Charlie’s Angel’s Pinball Machine.. all sorts of stuff. It’s cool. And the food is stellar. I thought Randy might dig it.
And yes, Randy dug it. He loved the old posters and such.. and luckily, Glenn was there. (He’s the owner). I intro’d Glenn to Randy.. they hit it off.. Glenn actually went home (he doesn’t live far) to dig up some old posters that he thought Randy might like. He found one that read “Bachman Turner AND Overdrive”.. from the early 70’s and gave it to Randy. .. Randy in turn put Glenn on the guest list for the show..
We had a great lunch (I of course had the Rajah. I have to. It’s practically a rule). Randy had Fajitas. Jodi also had Rajah (oh, I invited Jodi along for lunch since she was with me when I picked him up.. he didn’t mind). We also had a great chat, talked about lots of things and enjoyed our food.
After lunch and more chatter, Glenn asked Randy about “American Woman”… the story around K-W is that the Guess Who wrote the song in Kitchener. But the story gets convoluted. Years ago I had heard it was at Bingemans.. then the Granite Curling club.. and a couple other places. I did know that the story WAS true, but the curling club where it had been written was gone now.
So, Glenn asked if it had been written at the Glenbriar Curling Club. Yes, Randy explained.. they were jamming.. it all came together… a classic was born. I asked Glenn where the Glenbriar had been. “It’s the Glenbriar Home Hardware now.. near Sonny’s.”
We finished eating and got ready to head out. Glenn gave Randy some Ethel’s t-shirts and the BTO poster (Uh, Glenn. Considering that #1 – I have likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at your bar AND #2-I brought Randy over… you could have given me a shirt. Just sayin. You at the very least now owe me beer… ) Oh, and I forgot to take pictures of our food (I like to do that.) and stupidly did not take any pics of us having lunch. Just that one up there of Randy and Glenn. (sometimes I’m more pretty than smart)
We left Ethel’s and headed out… and Jodi and I took Randy to the former Glenbriar Curling Club. It’s the Home Hardware on Weber Street in Waterloo.. between the Staples and Sonny’s. I’ve purchased various things there over the years.. yard stuff, paint, a plunger.. without even knowing it’s historical significance.
Randy got us to drive around back.. and told us a story of how the tour bus they had at the time slid off the precipice they had in the back and did some damage to the bus.. And again. Didn’t get pics. Duh.
Randy seemed to enjoy the look around and said “wow, I’ll have to tell Burton I was here.. ”
Then we saw an older woman in Daisy Duke shorts and we left.
Too much fun. AND delicious food and many interesting stories.
Then, I interviewed Randy. After that, we saw the show. But that’s another post.
(I’m currently working on typing up my interview with Randy… I’ll keep ya “posted”.)Life: uh, I hung out with Randy Bachman today. All good. Love: I love the music of BTO. and the Guess Who. Pants. I wore pants all day today. (except for in the morning when I wore shorts.)