July 20, 2014 at Gratwick Park in North Tonawanda
Cochrane was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, the son of a bush pilot. The family soon relocated to Ontario, and Tom set the stage for his future when, at age 11, he swapped a toy train set for his first guitar.
“I think that I enjoy playing live now more than ever, after all, they (his fans) breathe life into the songs without one the other does not exist…I have always known that but never more clearly than now.”
By the early ’70s, he was performing folk-oriented material in coffeehouses in Yorkville. In 1973, a single on Daffodil Records, “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” marked his recording debut, followed by an album, Hang On To Your Resistance, issued under the name Cochrane.
A few years of struggle, travel, dues paid (and cab driving) followed, but a turning point came when Toronto band Red Rider took Tom on as lead singer/songwriter. From 1980-84, Red Rider released four acclaimed studio albums that married imaginative musicianship and lyrical eloquence. Songs like “Lunatic Fringe” and “White Hot” are still relevant today, and they brought Red Rider significant sales and rock radio play in Canada and the U.S. “Lunatic Fringe” went on to become one of the most played songs in history on American Rock radio.
After some personnel changes, the group resurfaced as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider in 1986. The album of that name produced major hits in “Boy Inside The Man” and “Untouchable One,” it was followed by the hit albums “The Symphony Sessions” and 1988’s Victory Day an album which included one of Tom’s signature songs the haunting Canadian tune “Big League.” A JUNO Award (one of many) as Songwriter of the Year in 1989 confirmed the respect Tom now enjoyed within the industry.
Red Rider then folded, but Cochrane’s solo career quickly took him to new heights. His 1991 tour de force, Mad Mad World, became one of the biggest-selling Canadian records of all time, scoring diamond status (for a million sales) here. Its heartland rock sound traveled well, thanks to smash hit single “Life Is A Highway,” and the album notched two million in international sales.
Subsequent albums such as Ragged Ass Road off of which the poignant single “I Wish You Well” was released to become the first song in Canadian radio history to enter both the singles sales chart and air play chart at # 1 simultaneously and X-Ray Sierra continued to please Cochrane’s large fan base here and also abroad, while the recently released career retrospective, Trapeze, reminds us of his formidable talents and how well even some of the earlier songs stand the test of time.
Throughout his career, Tom Cochrane has thrown his support behind a wide range of worthy causes. He has traveled to Africa on behalf of World Vision four times, and his latest single, “Just Like Ali,” will benefit research into Parkinson’s, a disease that afflicted his father.
Tom now divides his time between the tour bus, the city and his beloved studio/retreat “Layastone” on the shores of Georgian Bay. His passion for music has not waned and he is currently writing and pre-producing songs for his next release. Tom Cochrane and Red Rider are also on the verge of extensive touring over the spring, summer and fall of 2003 in Canada and the US. In Tom’s words “I think that I enjoy playing live now more than ever, after all, they (his fans) breathe life into the songs without one the other does not exist…I have always known that but never more clearly than now.”
Creating a buzz buzz buzz,
Some say I’m in it for the money,
But I’m in it for the Love, Love, Love.”
Canadian rock icon Kim Mitchell sings those lines on his personal mission statement, “Rock N Roll Duty” and he’s still doing exactly that, energy and enthusiasm intact. For Mitchell, that’s what it’s all about, not the money, the fame or the trophy case.
Singer-songwriter Kim Mitchell is a true Canadian rock icon who has achieved gold and multiplatinum status over a long and storied career, starting early on as leader of the musically eclectic Max Webster, a band who in the late 70’s defined alternative and independent long before the words became clichés. Post ‘Max’, Mitchell has sold over 1.5 million recordings and toured constantly over a lengthy solo career that remains creatively vibrant to this day. Along the way he won three Juno Awards for “Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year”, “Album of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year”. In the late 70’s and through all of the 80’s Kim toured the largest arenas in the country and today continues to perform at festivals, casinos and Performing Arts Theatres nationally. He is a gifted and peer-respected guitar player as well as an acclaimed songwriter, having penned and recorded classic hits like ‘Go For Soda,’ ‘Rock N Roll Duty,’ ‘Patio Lanterns,’ ‘I am a Wild Party,’ ‘Easy To Tame’ and ‘All We Are,’ to name just a few – all songs that have become part of the Canadian musical landscape. Add several new songs from his most recent solo recording Ain’t Life Amazing (including the national rock radio hit of the title track), and audiences are thrilled to find that participating in a Kim Mitchell concert is like being at the live recording of a greatest hits box set which also often includes Max Webster gems like “Diamonds Diamonds”, “Oh War”, and “Battlescar”, an anthem originally recorded with his friends Alex, Geddy and Neil of RUSH.
Six years ago, while maintaining a busy touring schedule, Mitchell was invited to join the on-air staff at the CORUS flagship station Q107 in Toronto, giving Kim his first ever day-job and one that he has excelled at. During his tenure as host of their afternoon drive show, he has maintained his position as one of the most popular DJs in the GTA making him one of the most listened to DJs in the country for the key demographic of men, 25-54.
Mitchell has the respect of peers, fans, and industry types alike. Just what does he consider his greatest achievement? “Shoot, that’s easy,” says Kim, “it’s in the couple of hours the band is onstage, being able to take people to a special place through our performance and music. When that happens, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.” Legions of Canadian fans agree!