Monday, February 16, 2009

Guns, Heroin, Cadillacs etc., etc., etc.

“God’s got an answer in that jukebox,
I pick the wrong song every time.”
Art Bergmann

I turned down a Cadillac ride from Vancouver to Seattle with Art Bergmann and a one-time muse of Guy Maddin. The prospect of a cross-border raid (to which my not-yet-ex was pointedly dis-invited) led by the man who’d screamed out his response to the musical question, “What is your reason for entering the USA?” with the chorus; “Guns and Her-o-i-i-in!” was unnerving. I’m not opposed to celebrity-stalking or name-dropping but the set-up stank. So to avoid becoming an unwitting drug mule or a voyeuristic tag along, I declined.

It was 1991 and it was what must have been, by the standards of Art Bergmann’s career, a good year. In the years previous, the Vancouver punk legend had played with the Schmorgs, the K-Tels, the Young Canadians, Los Popularos and, after giving up the band name Poisoned, he'd put out two solo albums. In 1991 he’d released a stinging, yet wide-appealing, self-titled solo album that got the push from Polygram (even the terrible music store where I worked got a play copy and slick posters). And while those used CD shops of Vancouver (of the type that sprouted up across North America in the 90’s) were full of Art Bergmann play copies that he’d pawned himself, his name was still spoken of reverently in critical circles. While Art sang on "Bound for Vegas" that he was, “a never-was trying to be a has-been on the comeback trail”, he was being lauded as “Canada’s Paul Westerberg”. Art did share a gruff vocal style, an unflinching honesty and a crippling addiction with Westerberg but rather than cleave to a mid-western rock n' roll style, Art adhered to the gutter junkie-poet archetype typified by Lou Reed. Reed's former collaborator, John Cale, even produced Art's solo debut solo –though he supposedly hated the results.

(For more Art history see the sad, yet wonderfully thorough tribute site, For the Love of Art or the new and excellent-looking or even this frequently Googled post of mine.)

Art built a reputation for furious live shows (I saw Poisoned rip through a set at Verna’s a tiny basement club just outside of Winnipeg’s notorious Murder’s Half Acre) where he honed the songs herein. And what songs; “Remember Her Name” with it’s heart-chilling chorus that pays to tribute to Marianne Faithful, the tortured ballad, "Guns and Heroin"and the vindictive pop kiss-off that is, “God's Little Gift” - a song which the mercurial Dylan of '66 might sympathize with.

Irritatingly, the quality of music production declined seriously in the 80's and Art's muse was occasionally bloodied by studio hacks - listen closely and it stops mattering.

So take this ride with Art (the former-muse spoke well of him), and find out how often he chose the exact right song. Guns and Heroin, a compilation of Art's solo material from 1986-1995, is not available in stores at any cost; it exists only in MRML’s hard drive. It was cherry-picked from the following releases: the Poisoned S/T e.p., Crawl With Me, Sexual Roulette, What Fresh Hell is This? and Vultura Freeway.

Download Art Bergmann - Guns and Heroin (1986-1995)

(MRML recommends WinrRAR for unpacking your downloads)

The first two Art Bergmann solo album are available from Itunes, Bearwood Reords is now advertising a forthcoming CD of the demos for the first solo album that Cale supposedly ruined, Other People's Music has a later recording entitled Design Flaw for sale and the K-Tels/Young Canadians compilation No Escape is available Sudden Death Records.


  1. Love the Art Bergman - thanks. i think there's probably a good short film (or song) in the "I turned down a Cadillac ride" story. i always thought his appearance in highway 61 made the movie. post more poisoned?

  2. Fantastic post! It sent me scurrying off to and now I NEED to get that new "Lost" Art disc.

  3. It would appear that the lix-in link is not working. I've tried it 5 or 6 times. Any chance for a repost?

  4. Justin
    Thanks for the good words on the story.
    My Poisoned 12" is sitting right beside me now, I'll have to rip it soon.


    Yup I'll get the disc too - perhaps the Art Revival is upon us.


    I got to rapidshare from the link, then past the 66 second waiting period.
    Where did the link fail for you?

  5. Hello Jeffen

    My first Art Bergmann stop is at MRML.Surprise.I have also noted your links.



  6. it's great to see these tracks available here... the first band i saw when i moved to Vancouver was the K-Tels, and it was the first of many great shows in various Art combinations over the years.
    one of the best songwriters in Canada when he could get them down on tape....
    great blog you've created here!
    all the best,

  7. Doug
    I take awhile to get back to subjects but it'll happend this year...

    Glad you liked the Blog and I'm jealous that you saw the early Art (I only saw Poisoned which was pretty damn good.)

  8. Hello Jeffen

    I note you will be posting less but remember quality before quantity!

    Your Art Bergmann post got me to purchase all of Art's albums via ebay and the amazon marketplace.Listening to Art's albums either results in 'suicide' or 'things are really not that bad(compared to Art)'.

    I ordered the Bearwood Records album but it has not arrived yet.Bearwood Records is 60 miles away from my location.

    Do you have the Poisoned and Los Popularos stuff?Future posts?

    I have been in a Vancouver music state lately.Tom Harrison sent me his solo album and the BGM live album.Of course Art,D.O.A,The Black Halos etc. New stuff by The Top Drawers,The Get Down,The Green Hour Band etc. Even pulled out Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck,The Poppy Family,Seeds of Time etc.

    Always appreciate your efforts.Especially the Doug and the Slugs posts.A great live band.

    And that reminds me to listen The Powder Blues Band ... and Jerry Doucette ...



  9. Doug
    Yeah I'll be scaling back a bit but hopefully not too drastically (your guest post slots remains available...)

    Art was ever-great and soon enough I'll rip my Poisoned E.P., though i cannot find that Los Popularos (though it used to be common).

    I'll have to check out some of those new Van bands you mentioned.

  10. Jeffen

    The 'Lost Art' disc is fantastic.Great songs(of course) but the sound is brilliant.Susann Richter and Bearwood Music can be very proud of this release.Four tracks produced by Poisoned and six tracks by Paul Hyde.Mixed by Bob Rock.Mastered by Graemme Brown.Susann on keyboards and backing vocals.

    CD dedication by I assume Art:

    'In memory of everyone who died on the way to having fun.'

    Been listening to The Black Halos lately.

    I note D.O.A. on Canadian tour.I believe I saw 2 Winnipeg dates in October.

    BCHL starts tonight!



  11. Doug
    I have to order a copy of that for me and one for Call Pastor Jerkface.
    I should go see one of those D.O.A. shows - they're both at the Zoo which is the town's metal dive but still worth enduring for a good show.

  12. Hey Jeffen

    I am still trying to get a CD copy of 'Design Flaw'.Now trying direct from OPM.



  13. Doug

    Lemme know if they still have it. If not I could post it here (Speaking of which I did see a used copy here last week...)

  14. Jeffen

    I sent a quick note to OPM this morning and got an immediate reply.Design Flaw is in the post tomorrow.Still available via OPM.That is good.Watching Lions vs Bombers.You're weather is way better than here!


  15. Doug
    Enjoy the Flaw, it's good. I'm just looking for Vultura Freeway now...

  16. Hi Jeffen

    1.I still do not have 'Design Flaw'.I first ordered a used copy from vanderbilt_ca in the amazon marketplace.Order was cancelled by the seller claiming a whole bag of Canada bound mail was lost at JFK Airport in NYC.Bullshzt!The CD was back for sale(at $10 more) the following week.Very naughty.

    2.Then I ordered directly from OPM.Ordered September 18.Still no CD as of October 30.I have opened a dispute in the PayPal Resolution Centre after failure to resolve situation directly with OPM.A big pain.

    3.First time I saw Blondie live was at The Commodore Ballroom.

    4.I am 'not' Dusty Doug.Not much dust around here.Lots of mud!



  17. Hi Jeffen

    For your interest :

    I bought the Cool-Aid 2CD/1DVD set and The Chessmen CD.I think I'll pick up the Chad Allan CD next month.Great stuff.Regenerator ship same day!


  18. Doug

    1/2) Man Mail-order should be easier than that!

    3) Blondie at the Commodore sounds great (assuming it wasn't too recently)

    4) yeah 'dusty' would be a lousy alliteration for a West Coaster, on the other hand DD's list was pretty impeccable.

  19. Hey Jeffen

    Still waiting for Design Flaw.Looks like a PayPal claim next week.

    Blondie in early 1979.I remember Blondie,The Ramones and The Clash playing The Commodore within a few weeks.Blondie did open for Iggy Pop(Bowie on keyboards) at The Gardens in 1977 but I was over in the UK.

    The Go Gos.Great pop.I dubbed a copy of Urgh! A Music War back in the day.I wish I had bought the tape.I note it has been released as a DVD R.Needs a proper release.Neat to see a chunky Belinda.Highlights of Urgh! A Music War are Toyah,Oingo Boingo,Gary Numan,Klaus Nomi,John Cooper Clarke and Spizz.



    PS Thanks for The Go Gos EP

  20. Jeffen

    Unreal!A nice fresh new CD copy of Art Bergmann's 'Design Flaw' album arrived in my mail box today!Direct from OPM.Wow!Ordered Sept.18.Arrives Nov.12.All is well that ends well.

    The Go-Gos and now The Bangles.Alright.


  21. Jeffen

    A request.Could you sneak the Poisoned 12" amongst the various compilations being posted?Does anybody have any Los Popularos vinyl rips?



  22. Doug
    "I remember Blondie,The Ramones and The Clash playing The Commodore within a few weeks" Holy hell, that was a good run!

    Glad you liked the 'newwe' Go-Go's

    And happy that Art showed up - its ridiculous that CD customers who are left are getting such shoddy service.

    "Poisoned" awaits me finally getting my turntable connected to my computer - hold tight...

  23. Jeffen

    1.I am getting the local Coles to stock 'Big Takeover'.Most music magazines in the local Coles store are from my requests(NME,Uncut,Mojo,Q,Record Collector,Blues Revue,Living Blues,Downbeat,Under The Radar).New British mag Vive Le Rock looks pretty good.Not a good time to start a magazine.
    2.Grey Cup Half Time Rocked.Your homeboy Randy Bachman still has the fire.Fred Turner still growls.Band was very tight.Randy was great on some Chuck Berry riffs.Classic songs.Randy's CBC show Vinyl Tap is a must listen.He did a few shows on the development of the electric guitar and how different makes were used by different artists.



    PS Remember Chris Spedding's 'Guitar Jamboree'.And thanks for Joan Jett.

  24. Doug
    Thanks for getting with TBT, it justifies the price tag with the insane amount of reading it offers.

    Randy's almost yours nowadfays but we Wpg'ers don't let go of anything.

    Hey looks like The Canucks are gonna have a good season!

  25. Thanks for The Primitives BBC stuff.I just added a picture of the local Jr A team logo to my blogger profile.Just checking to see if it works and how it looks!Just a test.

  26. Jeffen

    I thought I would save a complicated comment concerning the return of Winnipeg to the NHL hidden deep in your blog.

    The impending return of Winnipeg(Phoenix and now Atlanta) was the start of many moves.

    The WHL headed off a move by the Moose to Victoria by moving the Chilliwack Bruins to Victoria.The ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings were displaced and shutdown.

    The BCHL Quesnel Millionaires were moved to Chilliwack to become the Chiefs as part of the BCHL.

    The AHL Moose look to head to St. John's.

    And I believe Phoenix has only one year left.Ville de Quebec may be back in the NHL soon.

    Interesting times.

    Good luck to the new NHL Winnipeg team.

  27. Jeffen

    I removed a comment on a Redskins post because I spelt 'Manitoba' as 'Mantitoba'!Just as bad as U2 and the 'Winipeg' thing.Cheers.


  28. Doug
    I had no idea there were such machination in the minors. I guess the big teams (Van., Tor.) like to have their farm team close, whereas The Moose will now be pretty much as far from Wpg as possible!

    As for, QC, I really wonder (what with all the jockeying* in National Assembly whether they will be able to get a workable arena up in the near future.

    As for "The Jets" I may not see a game for a long time on account of the fact that's there only around a thousand seats per game available now.

    * pun sorta intended


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