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more stuff from *The Coast*: Barry Walsh



  "High Tides & Low Downs" from Vol 1 No 2 of *The Coast*
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	I confess: I'm a "Halifax music scene veteran."  I
still have my own hair and teeth, but I'm old enough to 
remember these dusty signposts:  DOA shaking the rafters at
the Other Space, and punk terrorists Agro performing an 
impromptu set in Parade Square which was quickly shut down
by the cops ... oh, I'm getting misty ...
	Yes, those were the good old days, the mid-80s.  Yet
despite the best advice from many concerned individuals, I'm
still writing songs, practicing in basements and playing 
with a local alternative band.  Why?  Because my friend, as
Styx would say, these are the best of times.
	For the sake of argument, let's divide modern
history into two eras -- B.S. (Before Sloan) and A.S. (After
Sloan, naturally).  In the later B.S. period, from the mid-
70s to the late 80s, something was happening to music.
Something sick.  Something wonderful.  Long-haired dinosaurs
experimenting with southern rock/classical fusion were
exterminated by young brats who couldn't play and didn't 
care.  And the sickness, like every virus worth it's salt,
made it to Halifax.  So after a few false starts, bands 
became signed, venues magically appeared, and we entered the
A.S. era.
	"It was bound to happen," says Greg Clark of the 
Double Deuce.  "The audience has been growing steadily,
considering there's probably a generation of people who've
grown up with CKDU, and with the success of Sloan, other
people are realizing it's not such a pipe dream."
	Indeed, the inferiority complex the early scene
suffered from has given way to confidence.  Witness
Cinnamon Toast, a singles-only label who've made life more
colourful with tasty coloured vinyl from the Quahogs and
Thrush Hermit, among others.
	Alternative impressario Doug Barron, back in Halifax
after a stint at Toronto's hip CFNY-FM, says he saw a 
competitive edge to the Toronto scene that hasn't shown up 
in Halifax -- yet.
	"Up there, people are pretty serious about trying to
make it," he said.  "Here, it's more like ... 50 percent fun
and 50 percent serious determination."
	This is not to say it's all roses and sunshine for 
the local scene.  While the local print media have embraced
alternative music, commercial radio has proven to be a 
stubborn barrier.  And with the growing trend towards 
automation, the wall may become impenetrable.
	Still, there's lots of good news out there.  Things
aren't slowing down, and more bands are going to affordable
studios like Adinsound and Soundmarket.
	In the meantime comrade, let's remember that the
main ingredient to this gumbo is support.
	Now, how about that Agro reunion show in Parade 
Square?

	Barry Walsh is a member of Cool Blue Halo.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
James R. Covey         <JRCOVEY\!/ac.dal.ca>        What syllable are you seeking,
..........................................        Vocalissimus,
Department of English                             In the distances of sleep?
Dalhousie University  Halifax, NS  B3H 3H5        Speak it.