For whatever reason I have always been drawn to be sensitive to what people have been going through. In my own struggles at 17 I tried out for a junior hockey team and it didn't go as planned. I was doing well and after about a week ito the camp my shoulder was badly dislocated by a hit from behind that wouldn't be allowed today. My dream was dashed that day and later on through the years I suffered 5 more dislocations from varying circumstances, visiting all different hospitals in the Lower Mainland. Pretty traumatic and disheartening, perhaps it helped me to think compassionately about the plight of other people.
A short time after the incident on the ice I embarked on a career that was supposed to be a temporary endeavour, thinking that I would go back to school to become an arts or english teacher. The reality was I would be a heat and Frost Insulator for 40 years.
I got married to my wife Irene in 1979 and had started playing in a band with my brothers just prior to that. I went to Simon Fraser in 1980-81 but left the idea to pursue music. My poetry professor was quite impressed with my prose for which I had really little concept. Thus my songwriting began.
As an insulator, I was indoctrinated int the rough construction life and basically into hard places. there is nothing flashy or dashy about the underside of a power boiler in a pulp mill, or swinging around in a crane basket at 200 feet at a refinery, or doing asbestos removal. I worked at pulp mills, chemical plants, refineries, gas plants, an asbestos mine, coal mine, high rises, hospitals the list goes on and on, Insulators work with extreme temperatures, hot and cold, they do not turn it off for us.
I began to write songs through what I was seeing and experiencing. I met and saw so many people who worked in all these places of work, I felt compassion for the struggle of their lives, most of these places were not the nicest conditions and people had to spend the better part of their lives there. I have a song called 27000 days which addresses the fault that our families very often don't see the best of us because of these issues.
The songwriting became both a therapy and escape for me and a lament for the people I encountered. I think their is a peace in pointing out what is real. There is a lot more to talk about, I'll leave that for another day. I'm sure we can all relate to "Didn't go as Planned"