Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Screamin’ Sam and the Problems studio 3 session

This guy is a legend in this city. And I am not even sure what to call him. In Treat Me Like Dirt he is listed as Sam Ferrera, Sam Sinatra, and Sam Vincent. What do I call this guy? The answer is he answers to Sam. He is such a down to earth guy. I run into him putting change in the meter on the way to the studio. He is on a first name basis with everyone he comes into contact with. This is the guy who made up half the rhythm section for the most notorious punk band in Toronto the Ugly. This is the guy who became the only other credible line up for the Viletones. This is the guy Steve Leckie wrote a song about in 1999 in an attempt to woo him back. This is the guy that Mickey Skin and Nora Currie and Zero send shout outs to when they are on the show. People love him because he is a great bass player.

But people also love him because he is a humble guy. He understates his accomplishments when asked about them directly. So much so that people like Steve Koch and Cleave Anderson feel the need to speak up for him as by way of context to help understand why he is so important in the scene. His band played the next closing of the Horseshoe Tavern in 1980 for which a riot broke out when they played “Wild and Free”. His band opened for the Dead Kennedys back in 1981. They also played with the Professionals and it is rumoured that Paul Cook attempted to help himself to Tony’s drum kit and almost got away with it. But these historic incidents don’t seem to be of concern to Sam. Making good music does. In 1988, the band released a single titled “Not too safe for Love”. You can read and listen to the single at http://www.mocm.ca/Music/Title.aspx?TitleId=318290. In 1996, the band released a CD called “Dust”. Many of Toronto’s first wave of punk musicians have been in this band and we try and get to the nitty gritty of who played when. You can listen to the interview here. There is a second part to the interview as well.

Sam put together a band based on one of the later line ups which featured Steve Koch on guitar, his Rattlesnake Choir partner John Borra, and Cleave Anderson on drums. Sam still plays his hollow body Hofner bass which has a violin quality to it. It is a difficult bass to play but that doesn’t hold Sam back. I was pretty amazed by some of the things he was playing. We were treated to four songs from the band’s back catalogue.

1. Been So Long
2. Oh Oh Oh
3. Live for Today
4. Another World

Sam also did some IDs for us:

1. Been so long CIUT ID
2. Live for Today EXD ID

The session was recorded by Ian Wilkinson and video taped by Aldo Erdic of Punks and Rockers.

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