By the time most people hit 67, they’ve retired and are spending winters lounging by a Florida pool. Not Randy Bachman. Not only does the Guess Who guitarist still work, he may be the busiest musician in the country.
When I called Bachman at his Salt Spring Island home, he revealed that he had just returned from Winnipeg, his former stomping ground, where he recorded a new record with Fred Turner, his old bandmate in BTO. The record and subsequent tour is in addition to his gigs with his other old bandmate Burton Cummings, his work as a solo artist and his ongoing job as host of CBC’s Vinyl Tap. Clearly, he’s working pretty hard.
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“I just wait at home for the phone to ring,” he says, seriously. “It’s the phone calls and the offers to do something that keep me excited.”
While I briefly chatted with him about his many projects, it was his CBC radio show that warranted the call this time. Actually, he wasn’t talking about his time behind the mic — in true Bachman fashion, the restless musician has turned his show into a live performance.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Bachman, his wife Denise McCann and host of other musicians will reproduce his Guitarology radio series for an audience at Toronto’s Glen Gould Studio. The show saw Bachman discuss various guitar brands — like Fender, Gibson and Rickenbacker — and then played music by bands who used those specific axes.
His live show will be similar — he’s bringing 10 guitars, including an old Fender Telecaster that he’s had for years — but instead of playing recorded music, his band will perform the songs live.
“We’ll be playing The Byrds and The Beatles, All Along the Watchtower and Eric Clapton,” he says, admitting that he won’t have time to play all of the 48 songs he’d like to.
If it goes well, Bachman hopes to take the show on the road. He’s planning a stop in Vancouver and there’s interest from Winnipeg and Calgary. He says he wants to be like that other travelling CBC host, Stuart McLean, and take his show right across the country.
As popular as this might become, he’s not giving up his radio gig. It’s one of the most listened to shows in Canada and he’s still collecting music, not to mention all the records he has lying around his house, that he wants to share.
“I buy new things all the time,” he says. “I picked up Lada Gaga’s record. I’m going to play her alongside Vic Damone and Elvis Presley.”