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|Drastic Measures contributed to the exploding Toronto alternative music scene in the late '70s and early '80s, that produced a whack of great bands and even a few world famous punk bands - all of which was basically ignored by the willfully backward Canadian "Music Industry".
DM's personelle changed many times, as our music evolved. The band entertained audiences in its various incarnations ... sometimes as a 4-piece, sometimes as a 5-piece, often including special guests ... at regular venues in Toronto and a few out-of-town places from late 1977 until mid-1985. We recorded two LP records (the 2nd was never issued by a label), were included on several compilations, released two 45 rpms, appeared on TV once and on radio many times - were not photographed enough, made no films, and never toured very far from Toronto. Even in Scarborough they just sat looking at us, scratching their heads. We were called eccentric, esoteric, quirky, and everything else people could think of when they had no idea what we were doing.
BUT we continued to gain an audience on the strength of our songs. Our first LP was printed in a limited edition of 5000 on used vinyl, because CBS weren't sure they could sell it, even though they liked it. They really didn't know what to do with it. To their surprise they had to run a 2nd pressing, and the LP ultimately sold about 7,000 copies across Canada. It wasn't promoted much, but it crept into the hands of several DJs, whose listeners liked us. The music had to sell itself because there was no plan for launching our band into any sort of planned career (and that is still the way of our Record Industry - they don't develop anything, they just put it out and wait to see what happens).
Our relationship with our Producer/Record Company deteriorated for a number of reasons, and we parted ways*. Mark Wright, the engineer from our first LP, contacted us and we embarked on our second one with him producing. After that, I began to produce our recordings and we did a number of sessions in small studios, which I found far more fun and rewarding than being in large cold corporate rooms. We continued to record and perform, and our music continued to evolve and sometimes was very experimental, and each lineup had something amazing to offer. But being where we were and having no industry support, I finally gave up knocking on their doors. I just couldn't bear to hear "I wouldn't know what to do with that", or "that's not what we're looking for", or some useless piece of negative advice, one more time.
Why didn't they know what to do with us? Unfortunately for young Canadian musicians, they still don't. Drastic Measures was born in the wrong place. And by the time I was 30, it just seemed far too late to try anymore. But, listening back, I am very proud of our work, and I am vindicated. The music was good and it still is. The execs were wrong and they still are - music today has gone in the Drastic Measures direction. It has not remained pure punk nor has it remained pure disco or pure new wave or pure hard rock. And in the young musicians I'm working with today I have further proof that there is great talent all around me, and that we were right. I am surrounded by a new generation of trained, inspired musicians all creating brand new kinds of music.
To young, still-dreaming musicians, we were an inspiration (I know because as they got older many came to tell me). Yes you CAN get up there and play real music, you can be creative like they're allowed to be in countries like America and the UK, and you can make something of your own. And the terrain is different now. Many kinds of music have their own markets and there are no rules anymore about how you are supposed to write a song.
I like the music being made today. Drastic Measures would have made more sense had we appeared in 2007, rather than 30 years earlier. But anyway, now there's a new generation of creative people taking a run at it, and I'm resolved to give some of them a hand (see the Productions page).
* Funny thing about growing up - our producer Keith Elshaw and I are very good friends and always will be. All we can do is look back with regret at the mistakes we all made. There were no wizened artists to guide us. Nobody with real experience was around to tell us how to do things. We all did the best we could, and we were all casualties of not knowing what to do next.
In between The Dishes and Drastic Measures, there was a band called The Streets, together for only a couple of months. We played one gig, at CRASH'nBURN (even before The Dishes slipped in there). The songs written for that band became the first set of Drastic Measures music. The player below features one track by The Streets live at Crash'nBurn '77
and live Drastic tracks from '78 to '85.
The Streets at Crash 'n Burn 1977
L to R: Tony, Bent Rasmussen (drums), Paul Scriven (guitar),
Rick Washbrooke (guitar), Perry White (bass)
My buddy Gary Lanz (far right) asked us to open for them. Gary and I are still close friends - hear Gary on the Productions page.
Tony & Paul Scriven performing together before there was a Drastic Measures. I continually begged Paul to join DM. He was added to our original lineup in '78 making us a 5-piece, and is on the live Bev tracks. But he had his own projects to do and started a band called The Stoves (after The Dishes, there was a rash of bands in our city named after household items). Paul made an appearance on our 1st LP.
FILMS FOR THE DRASTIC MEASURES LP
Track 1: Prelude
I attempted a collaboration with Scented Nectar, a known troublemaker on youtube. She began constructing a series of films to go with all the songs from Drastic Measures' first LP. We started with the opening and closing instrumental pieces, and used SN's traditional kaleidoscope style as an easy way to begin our project. The rest of the films will not be happening now, as she has decided this isn't the right kind of work for her. Meanwhile, I think these are SN's loveliest kaleidoscopes ever.
17 Electronic Mini-Nightmares
Because ALL of the work was so beautiful, I asked SN to string together the bits we didn't use. The unused stuff can be seen HERE accompanied by a series of electronic recordings I made in 2002.
Track 14: Postlude