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Off The Record

 

 

 

June 26, 2019

 


Our family history on Finn Slough

Jef Keighley is with Joe Keithley (left) and Jill Wight (right)

 

After years of talking about it, Karen, Joe and I took a walk back in time to visit our Finnish grandparents home site on Finn Slough, where they lived and worked, as salmon fishers. It was a squatter’s community, comprised predominantly of Finnish immigrants, hence the name, located on a side Slough on the south arm of the Fraser River at the bottom of No. 3 Road in Richmond, then called Lulu Island.

My grandfather Antti Rahja, a Finnish Socialist, built his house, net loft and net drying racks on the river side of the dike and tied up his seine boat, which he built with his own hands, alongside the drying racks built on floating log rafts. As best we can figure they lived on the Slough through the fishing season during the 1930s and 1940s. He passed away in the late 40s, but my Uncle Roy continued fishing out of the Slough for a few more years.

In the off season Antti, who was a Master Boat Builder, maintained his own boat/s and built fishing boats for other fishermen. He pioneered building fishing boats using plywood, which because of their light weight, were much faster than heavy planked hull boats and yielded more frequent catches delivered to the canneries along the river and more money in his pocket at the end of the season.

Antti’s fishing friends were initially skeptical of his use of plywood for the hull, intoning ‘Antti, you need strong boat to go fishing!’ After his first fishing season in his brand new plywood fishing boat and seeing his considerably better earnings, many of his friends changed their tune and Antti spent many winters building plywood hulled fish boats for others.

The family also lived for a time following their immigration from Finland in another squatter’s community on Burrard Inlet approximately where New Brighton Park is today. Their houses were built on stilts so they could walk out the front door onto the land and tie their fishing boats up to the float at the back door.

My mother Trude used to fondly recall that as young as ten years old, she and her best friend Elsie would hop into her father’s row boat and row across Burrard Inlet to Cates Park in North Vancouver for a day’s outing.

Many of the houses, net lofts and floats on the Slough have long disappeared, rotted away into history, including that of my grandfather, which is now but an empty space on the edge of the dike by the third telephone pole west of the footbridge that crosses the Slough. Today the Slough is home to a dozen or more hardy souls who live quite cooperatively in this enviable little patch of bliss.

We followed up our walk back in time with lunch on the wharf in Steveston with fish and chips and a cold beer. We had to! We’re Finns!

Joe Keithley

Lead singer iconic punk rock band DOA and now Burnaby councillor

 

Read the recent historical profile THE TYEE did on FINN SLOUGH

(click here)

 

 

 

 

June 21. 2019

 

Welcome back to the pages of the White Rock Sun. How is the anticipation level for record #9?


I honestly feel like I have made my best EP to date. I know that may be a contrived statement that many artists say when they release an album, but I just felt very comfortable and natural writing this record. I can’t wait for people to hear it.

 

Your last release was the double live album recorded at the world-famous Commodore Ballroom. Having had the opportunity to personally witness a few of your many sold out shows at the grand old venue, tell us a bit about how it feels as a Valley resident to look out over that sold out audience and see everyone singing along in unison to your songs?


It’s never lost on me when a crowd of people can take over the singing duties of a song. It is the best feeling you can have on stage but I never expect it. It still surprises me at times when the audience is overpowering me. Its appreciated.

 

OOO OOH was a huge radio hit, and appealed to a huge audience, how do you adapt your show from audiences of 100 to audiences of 1,000 like the Commodore, if at all?


Usually if I'm playing a smaller show it’s me solo acoustic, which is its own way of performing and much more challenging. I just be myself and rarely make a set list and just roll the show on with how the crowd is responding. With a bigger venue like The Commodore we usually have a rehearsal, which is rare.  It’s good to get a set working ahead of time so we can just go up there and play the songs and not think about anything else.

 

Let’s get to the new 5 song EP titled Beach Music, and start with the track “Fire” - is this your call to arms to celebrate the legalization of cannabis in Canada?


It was not intentional. I wrote the chorus sitting on the beach in Tofino. It just kind if happened. When I got home, I sat down in the studio and wrote the verses. It all just kind of came out, and when I noticed some of the things I had said I thought, I might as well just make this what it is. People get misunderstood that Ooo Ohh is a marijuana song, its actually about sexual abuse. I thought I might as well give the people what they want, and go straight for the cannabis anthem.

The new EP continues to build on your “let’s grab the guitars and go down to the beach and have fun vibe” yet it seems this EP given the marital and paternal changes in your life there is a bit of a shift in lyrical content. “Stroll On” for instance still celebrates your connection to the sand and surf. Is there a reason for your continued support of beach music?

It’s my happy place. The beach and the sun are my religion. It’s always made me the happiest. So, I just continue doing what makes me me, and it seems the most natural subject matter. But yes, I did put more thought into the lyrics than on any other album. I had the time and I think I have said things that I haven't on any other album.

 

Your nomadic lifestyle around the Lower Mainland has now taken you and your family to the idyllic surroundings of Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast.  Has the change settled you down a bit and afforded you the opportunity to bask in marital bliss?


We love our new home in Roberts Creek. It’s up in the mountains but still a five-minute drive to the beach. When I left my electrical job to write the EP the setting of our home played a huge part on my mental shift of just doing music again. It was a very natural process that took time, but it allowed the songs to just happen, which is when I usually get my best songs.

Can you let us know about the musicians joining you in the studio for the recording of “Fire”? Is this your touring band we hear?

Darren Parris is playing bass on the record. I have been lucky enough to have him onboard for live as well since 2008. Mike Kenney played some keys and he has been playing guitar and keys with me since 2010. We used Leon Powers on drums for the EP, and he was a huge part to the sound of the record. Flavio Cirillo plays the drums live for me.

 

Can you tell me a bit about AFTERLIFE studios where “Fire” was recorded and the producer you used on the new EP?


Afterlife is John Raham’s studio. It used to be Mushroom where I recorded before, but John’s approach is to record to tape and use all vintage gear - it’s the reason why the record sounds so warm. We recorded it quickly over a 7-day period and used limited editing and no auto tune. We felt like these songs needed to be underproduced, so we didn't put much as far as layers go on the recordings. And there is no electric guitar on the record, we only used one acoustic - Rich Hope’s 1961 J 45.

 

You have performed here in White Rock a number of times over the past few years - two big full band shows on the beach and most recently as a duo at Blue Frog Studios - what aspects of the full band and solo shows do you enjoy the most?


A) Acoustic solo shows are much more difficult and I feel like I can play whatever I like. With the band we usually have things a little more lined up but we still throw out the odd jam or off-the-cuff kind of thing. Setlists were made to be altered live depending on the mood of the crowd.

 

Tell me about the photo on the cover of the “Fire” artwork - where was the photo taken?


My cousin lives in Maui and I go there every year. I was there on a spiritual music journey as well to visit his first baby daughter. My other cousin Jesse and his wife Jennifer Findlay were there with their family as well. We only shot for about 15 mins but with Jen’s talent and my cousin Caleb’s beautiful location we got a little bit of magic.

 

We wish you continued success Daniel not only musically but personally. Any chance of a return visit to “THE ROCK?”

I’m sure it will happen. Typically, not a year goes by without a show in The Rock, and with the new record out I see it happening before the end of the year!

 

You have sold out The Commodore Ballroom and incredible number of times over the years. Anything special planned for the June homecoming?


New songs and a few new cover songs.

 

In closing Daniel, what new music are you listening to these days? Like most people with the lack of radio introducing me to new music I/we are constantly challenged in finding new music. Any suggestions?


I’m bad at this one. I actually don't listen to much music, and when I do it’s the same stuff I have been forever. We listen to Feist’s The Reminder often at our house. 

Twitter: @thedanielwesley
Facebook: @danielwesleyband
Instagram: @thedanielwesley


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 17, 2018

Rock N Roll Never Forgets

SRV/CFOX's Liz McKinnery/Yours Truly

David Chesney

JJ's 365

Jim Johnston

President, CEO, JJ Media/Management, Media Talent/Content Coaching, Executive Coach
Company NameJJIMS Inc. JJ international Media and Management Solutions
Dates EmployedJul 2013 – Present Employment Duration5 yrs 1 mo
JJIMS was launched July 1st of 2013 and has several high profile customers at home and abroad.

Jim JJ Johnston, The President, CEO and head Talent Coach, is a deeply experienced and successful Media/Management leader. JJ has coached/mentored many of Canada's Top Broadcasters and Executives and now coaches in many different fields.

 

Welcome to JJ-365 Salutes. Over 2018, we pay tribute daily to one of “The Good Ones”.

Today we are shining the light on "The Ches", Dave Chesney.
This fellow is a master story teller. I remember him elucidating me with the legend of Jerry Lee Lewis playing at 86 Street and how Jerry was docile for most of the show but then out of nowhere got up, kicked the stool away, pounded the piano for hours and brought the house down. The way Ches says it really makes you want to have been there.
Dave was one of the first guys I met when I arrived at Richards and Nelson at the helm of CFOX. Dave will always have an affinity for the FOX and was of the fabric of the station. He continues today to be a part of the glue that keeps the west coast music and radio scene together. He welcomed me with open arms with his genuine and friendly smile and I still count on him as one of the most positive dudes I know.


He says it all began at a young age for him. He comes by his love of the media and music industry honestly. His father, “Uncle Joe” Chesney held down a number of positions at The Top Dog CKNW radio, that was until the station got wind he was looking to apply for a radio station license in Surrey. After being shown the door “Uncle Joe” ended up pioneering country music on the west coast with an afternoon drive show on talk show giant CJOR. Along with Vic Waters his father played both kinds of music, country & western. In around 1961 Joe successfully landed a license to operate a radio station in Langley British Columbia. CJJC The Voice of the Valley became British Columbia’s first 24-hour country music radio station.


Dave was afforded the golden opportunity growing up to be around radio stations and broadcasters: “CJJC was a real life WKRP. Being the boss’s kid and working in a creative environment, I had two choices. 1. Just be the boss’s kid or …2. Ploughing my row deeper and truer than everyone else. I chose #2 and as result earned the respect of my fellow workers and later my staff.”


But alas as much as he loved the gig, he loved rock n roll more. One of the promotion men who used to make the long journey out to the Valley to service CJJC with country product was Frank Gigliotti. Frank inadvertently informed Dave that CKLG-FM was about to go through a metamorphosis under the leadership of The Real Roy Hennessy, former morning boss jock on CKLG. Dave jumped ship and became the music and promotion director for FM/99. Dave says his stay at CFOX was short and sweet: “One of my main duties as a music director was to deal with record company reps vying to get their music on the radio. CBS Records in the late 70’s was looking to expand their market share by adding additional reps in the major markets across Canada. I applied for a position of the Epic/Portrait/Associated labels position in the Vancouver branch and was successful in attaining the position."


The next 14 years was a blur he says: “The 60’s certainly was a heady time in the music business, but let me tell you this, the 80’s was the period of excess. With the introduction of MTV and MUCHMUSIC the sales of pre-recorded music exploded. The CBS Records wrecking crew in my humble opinion owned the streets. First under the leadership of Brad Weir and then 365’er Kim Zayac. I attained ‘record heights.’ I cannot thank or say enough about those two gentlemen. I proudly still call them friends. I went on to win the Top Promotion Man award 6 consecutive years. Then it all came to a screeching halt.”


SONY MUSIC bought CBS records and everything changed. Dave distinctly remembers sitting in his office one day and realized they had 6 or 7 of the Top 10 records and he didn’t want to listen to any of them. He thought to himself, well I have a pretty extensive radio background and now I fully understand how a major label works. He left CBS records and threw in with Larry Wanagas who at the time had rung the proverbial brass bell with K.D. Lang from a little office on the edge of Vancouver’s Granville island. Ches joined BUMSTEAD PRODUCTIONS as the national marketing director and eventually that job morphed into a co-management with Wanagas for The Blue Shadows (Billy Cowsill). By this time Larry relocated to New York but Dave stayed on the westcoast to be there for his aging mom, a decision he will never regret. She was always there for him especially at a lot of crucial times in his life.


When The Blue Shadows disbanded Dave ended up producing music videos, did contract work for a number of artists and quite synchronistically ended up as an instructor at a private music college called the Pacific Audio Visual Institute. He enjoyed his years working with young students who were looking for a career in the music and radio industry and called that time very rewarding.


Around this time Dave and his late and great wife Laurie (total sweetie) moved back to his roots, White Rock BC. Upon his return he quickly realized: “My White Rock was going through some major changes, many of which I did not agree with. My father at a young age pounded into my head 'Dave put up or shut up! If you aren’t prepared to roll up your sleeves and attack a problem we really don’t want to hear what you have to say.”
Well when it came to White Rock he couldn’t shut up (Interesting the way he says “White Rock”. He makes sure that the “T” is pronounced and he makes sure it is said as two distinct words).


He says two things happened: “I knew from my media experience that technology had an immensely negative impact on the music industry and I knew what was happening with newspapers. They were next. Yet I also knew people had a voracious appetite for LOCAL news. Now as everyone reading this knows in order to start a radio or television station you need millions of dollars and government approval. Yet on-line newspapers did not need any government approval. Before I knew it I had started Canada’s First independent online newspaper, The White Rock Sun www.whiterocksun.com. That was thirteen years ago this past June.


The second thing that I did was roll up my sleeves and run for White Rock city council. It took a couple shots but four years ago I secured a seat on White Rock council. We are coming to the end of our mandate and I have every intention of seeking another term. In addition to holding a seat on council and publishing the White Rock Sun I handle media for local independent promoter Rob Warwick/Rockitboy Entertainment.”


As he looks back he describes it as one hell of a ride: “I enjoy reading your posts Jim. Many I know, some I don’t know personally but usually know by name. I don’t know if lasting friendships are as prevelant as the radio and music industry have afforded so many of us. I can go years between seeing or talking to so many colleagues and when we do meet, it seems like yesterday. I sometimes think people who went to war together probably have the same kind of a bond.


Highlights of my career could fill a book, which no one wants to read (wrong Ches, we all want to know). Well at least not anyone that would be willing to pay for it (wrong again). With that said though, milestones include presenting Stevie Ray Vaughn with his first gold record, working with country greats like George Jones (the first time I was a stammering fool), being instrumental in CBS RECORDS signing Barney Bentall & The Legendary Hearts and working with THE CLASH on their first North American show at the Commodore Ballroom. Damn I thought I saw the future of rock n roll that night.”
I just love this guy and have been wanting to write about him for some time. He was one of the first guys on my 365 list. During the tumultuous rock and roll times, Dave was always a gent. He handled any situation being, well, “The Ches.” He is a humble and graceful cat who has had a big stake in the shaping of the west coast media and music scene. Not sure you will find a much better person and pal than Dave. Salt of the earth. Please do write that book Ches, you have so many stories to tell and I know hundreds who will line up to buy it and read it. Atta be brother!


Thank you, Dave Chesney, for being on of the “The Good Ones”. Feel free to like and share Dave’s positive story. Who is the subject of tomorrow’s JJ-365 Salutes? As they say, stay tuned.


Jim JJ Johnston is the CEO, President and Chief Talent Coach for JJIMS INC. and works with talent in many different industries worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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