Skip & Ed with '74 Tour T-shirt
An intense rush of memories can be set in motion by the most insignificant trigger, like Proust's tea and madeleine - or Edgar Matysio's T-shirt. Made of white cotton with a faded portrait of Skip Prokop on the front, the shirt generated a wave of long-forgotten emotions for Casino Regina's Technical Director last Friday. He got the shirt in 1974, when he was part of the Saskatchewan crew on the Lighthouse Cross-Canada tour. His job was to set up the stage at the various arenas the band played. Set 'em up...knock 'em down. The first one on site...the last to leave. He had been a Lighthouse fan and was thrilled to be part of the tour. Seeing the band in action and observing how passionate they all were about making music inspired him to continue in the business.
The last day of the tour he rode back with Skip on the bus. "I was amazed that he sat talking with me the whole trip - 129 miles back to Regina and at the end of it, he gave me his home phone number and address so that I could look him up if I ever came to Toronto. That meant a lot to me back then and it still does now".
When Lighthouse was set to perform at Casino Regina two years ago, Edgar remembered about the shirt but couldn't find it. A few months later his wife discovered it socked away in a box. He put the shirt away, disappointed at the lost opportunity. When he heard that Lighthouse would be playing at the Casino again he unearthed the box with its buried treasure and brought it to the gig.
The two joked and reminisced when they met at sound check and Edgar told Skip about the T-shirt. They arranged to meet in the Green Room after the show so Skip could sign it.
Already awash in nostalgia, Edgar was walloped with memories listening to the band. He closed his eyes and let the music dance around his brain.
"Thirty-six years and they go by in a flash," Edgar thought, as he watched the crew tear down the set and pack up the gear. The fact that it was so like his old job was not lost on him.
He was humming One Fine Morning all the way down to the Green Room, his T-shirt swinging on its hanger and a reminder of dreams fulfilled in his heart.
Julian Troiano has a legacy to live up to – and that can be tough – but he has his sights set on a career in music and he has the talent to back it up.
His uncle, Domenic Troiano, was a friend to many of the members of Lighthouse, who all came of age in that great explosion of Canadian music in the '70s. After Dom's untimely death in 2005, his family, spearheaded by Julian's father Frank, set up the Domenic Troiano Guitar Scholarship Fund. I saw Julian perform at the first fundraiser in 2006. Toronto talent came out in force but it was 15 year old Julian who blew them all away.
"I've been singing since I was a baby," he says. That's evident from his easy naturalness onstage but Julian knows that raw talent isn't all you need to reach your goals. He's always looking for new ways to hone his skills and last summer went to Los Angeles to study a vocal technique called Speech Level Singing. He's continued these studies in Toronto with Ryan Luchuck. He's developing his writing abilities as well and is working with a producer and vocal coach to write new material.
Julian performs regularly and you can see him this Sunday January 17th at the Chick 'n' Deli in Toronto as the special guest of Robbie Lane. There's history here, as one of Dom's first gigs was with Robbie Lane and the Disciples. Julian will take the stage between 6:45 and 7:00.
The Chick ' n' Deli is located at 744 Mt. Pleasant Rd. 416-489-7931
Lighthouse has played in so many places over the years and met amazing people. When was the last time you saw the band? Just click on Comments and tell us your story....
Donald back at work
When Lighthouse reunited in 1992 the decision was made to add a keyboard player in place of the string section. Luckily for the band, the musician they hired was not only an excellent keyboardist, but he played a mean violin as well. Donald Quan was with Lighthouse for the first year and half but a busy touring schedule made it impossible for him to continue performing with the band. He's remained a great friend and it was his idea to record Lighthouse at his studio, Q Music.
In August 2009, Donald was performing at the Kitchener Blues Festival with The Derek Miller Band. Donald is an exciting performer to watch. He moves with grace and intensity as the music flows through him. The audience was caught up in his performance as he reached the height of his solo. Suddenly Donald felt his heart beating erratically. Then it stopped. There was an eerie stillness as everyone watched him crumple to the floor of the stage. Festival paramedics pushed through the crowd to reach him and applied CPR. They were able to revive him but during the frantic race to the hospital his heart stopped beating four times.
At St. Mary's Hospital in Kitchener he underwent a new medical procedure which involved cooling his body down to 32 degrees F and putting him into a drug-induced coma. It took about two weeks before he was fully awakened and then he was transferred to Toronto General Hospital where he remained for several months. Donald is currently undergoing therapy at Toronto Rehab on an out-patient basis and as the picture attests, looks fantastic and is making music again. In December he had the newest generation of pacemakers surgically implanted which will guard against future arrhythmias.
If you were allowed only a few words to describe Donald, 'super-human stamina' would come to mind. Donald is a composer, producer, performer, businessman, craftsman, husband and friend and he can perform all these functions brilliantly on any given day. It must have been this amazing core strength that sustained him. Donald says everything has healed and he's now technically better than he was before. And he'll certainly need all that strength and more because Donald and his wife Lisa are expecting twins at the beginning of March.
Happy New Year Lisa & Donald from all your Lighthouse friends!
This photo was taken @ Expo '70 in Japan with the hosts of the Canadian pavillion. Click on the photo to view a larger image. Are you in this photo? Did you see Lighthouse perform @ Expo '70?
Thank you Jeff for sending this poster from Lighthouse's 1974 Cross Canada Tour in Thunder Bay. I'm going to add it to the Archives Gallery.
It's been a long time coming but I've finally got the new Lighthouse website up and running. I still have stuff to add (it's amazing how long this takes) but I'm interested in your comments. I've never written a blog before (haven't even read too many - never seem to have enough time) but think it's a good way to get connected. So please let me know what you think.