Friday, April 9, 2010

Rock Star Radio

Every weekday afternoon, the DJ desk for Toronto's classic rock radio station Q107 is manned by none other than Canada's own guitar hero, Kim Mitchell. If you grew up in Ontario in the 70's, you've probably heard of his band, Max Webster. If I said to you, "do you know that song about the patio lanterns? or how about the one about going for a soda?" and your answer was yes, you'd know exactly who I'm talking about.

Max Webster was actually the first band I ever saw perform live. If you can believe it, they played at a dance at my high school when I was in grade 9. At the time, I had no idea who they were. I remember I won a record album at that dance, "Night Moves" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band - I had no idea who they were then either, although by the time I was in grade 13, I'd pretty much worn the grooves off that album!!

In addition to having recently released his 8th solo album, Kim has been doing this afternoon drive time radio gig since 2004 and in my humble opinion, doing it quite well. He has a relaxed style of introducing songs and making conversation, often throwing in an interesting bit of trivia about what it's like to be a rock star on tour. These tidbits are often told in a very self-depreciating manner, from the perspective of a member of the humble opening act as compared to the point of view of, say, the egotistical lead singer of the rock band headlining the tour, and it's always interesting to hear that sort of behind the scenes information from someone who was there living the life. On Friday afternoons, he does what he calls a "traffic jam" where he plays guitar along with somebody else's song, just jamming along with the tune, which is always fantastic (if you're a fan of electric guitar and who isn't?). He even posts video guitar lessons on the Q107 site, which really makes me wish I had taken guitar lessons instead of piano when I was a kid, so I could play along. Maybe it's not too late to start?

As it happens, Q107 broadcasts from above the Hard Rock Cafe at Yonge and Dundas in downtown Toronto. They have a broadcast booth at street level that passersby can peek into, where the DJ and the producer work live. The other day, I was at the restaurant for dinner and my friend and I went out into the lobby to take a peek at Kim. Here's a shot of how he looked when we first arrived.

One of the waiters told us if we knocked on the glass, Kim would come out to say hi. We did and he did. He was a little quieter than he seems on the radio, but very friendly and kind. Asked our names, shook our hands, posed for photos. Here's a shot of him and me, getting cosy. It was certainly a thrill to meet him, we felt kind of giddy about it for the rest of the night. I still do, to be honest! :)

If you'd like to read more about Kim Mitchell, here's the link to his website: or you can check out the Q107 site:

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