Rant in A-Minor

The 1996 Juno Awards

Performed by P. Freako

Anne Murray hosted the silver anniversary of the Canadian music industry's premiere music recognition gala Sunday night. Man, she blew chunks. Now then, she is a Canadian Icon and has been to all 25 Juno Awards ceremonies, so I suppose she deserved to host the event. But wow, what a lame-assed host. Anne brought new meaning to the phrase, "staged monotonous egotistical clap-trap," and to top it off she sang both to open the show and again to close it. Well, that just left me with horrific impressionistic melodramatic nightmares of buzzards swooping down from puffy white clouds and grazing our exposed temples with razor-like beaks. Thanks, Anne. Mr. Silversides, we've done our time, don't invite her back, okay?

Since I wasn't in Hamilton for the festivities with Canada's music elite and their respective industry schmucks, I settled in and watched the show via the boob tube. In retrospect I'm glad 'cause, ya know, if I'da been in the audience at the Junos, I would've been forced -- like everyone else -- to laugh at Anne's jokes so I looked good in case the camera was on me. Oh, and here's a hint....lose the tele-prompter! Gee willickers, a show saluting artists, and they gave these creative folk scripts and prompters. Let them be free, let them be artists. Anne tried to be modern by giving us the three-finger rock salute and exclaiming (in a monotone voice) "Save me a spot in the mosh pit" as she introduced the live performance by Our Lady Peace. I would have been the first to let her in there, ya sure Anne jump in, the water's fine (insert evil grin and think nasty violent thoughts).

At first I cringed at the thought of Our Lady Peace playing live, 'cause I personally don't like 'em. Yet, after seeing their abhorrent performance I was glad they had. Now all of Canada knows Our Lady Peace just can't cut it live. Then there's Neil Young. Just why was he nominated for best male vocalist for "Mirrorball" anyway? Now, I love Neil, he's done some amazing stuff, but are they telling me they couldn't find four nominees under the age of 50?! What's next, calling Pearl Jam a Canadian band and tossing them a Juno, too?

Happily, there were, however, some highlights during the evening. Guitarist Dominic Triano, in his inductee speech into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, said that he thanked Canada for the opportunity and that, when he had left Canada for New York as a young performer, he did so as an accomplished musician. That's a pretty damn nice tribute. As a fellow Canadian I thank you, Dominic, for those comments. Zal Yanovsky (one of the original Lovin' Spoonful members) just being on the show was cool enough and his Hall of Fame induction was the icing. At least this 60's-kinda dude didn't put on any false airs and graces. His happy-go-lucky demeanor injected some much needed levity into the evening, and he even gave a nice touching thank you to former band mate John Sebastian, though it didn't seem apparent why -- I figured John had maybe given Zal some of those Time-Life CDs he's been schlepping. Hmmm, perhaps Zal should have been the host.

Back to the bitching. So the Cranberries won for best international selling album. Hey, not bad for a band that tried to set the record for most Canadian shows cancelled in a career. Aah, the Rankins, that wee family from the East Coast. They sang. They danced. They made me feel like heading to 7-11 to inhale a gigantor Slurpee for a brain freeze, followed by the subsequent thawing into a neurotic rampage with a large ice pick complete with the voice of Frank Zappa resonating in my skull "and now for the ice pick to the forehead." Sorry, did I write that or think that? The Rankins make me... ah, who cares?

I gotta say I'm not unhappy that Art Bergmann won best alternative album, and I'm not even unhappy that the award wasn't televised 'cause then it wouldn't be alternative, now, would it? Better late than never, but Art should have won this years ago for Sexual Roulette, not for What Fresh Hell is This?. Musically, the man is clearly past his prime.

Another award winner (non-televised again) was Michael Phillip-Wojewoda winning for Producer of the Year. Well deserved. He's done a lot of with so-called smaller Canadian bands like Change of Heart (Smile) and the Rheostatics (Introducing Happiness). Cheers! Other non-televised awards-o-plenty flashed by on the screen throughout the show, but since I haven't taken The Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Course, I missed most of 'em. Probably serves me right for not going to the ceremony.

Now, how could I talk about the '96 Junos and not mention Alanis Morissette? The Grand Dame of the Ball. With a handful of Junos to mix with her handful of Grammies, she's been Number 1 on Billboard, been voted Entertainer of the Year by the Brits, collected numerous awards and been acclaimed all over the damn place. Whether you love her or hate her, she's going to have to deal with reaching this pinnacle so early in her freshly-reincarnated career. Rest assured, no matter what Alanis does in the future, it'll be what she wants. No doubt her record label boss, Madonna, has the goods to help her to that next plateau. Ok, now I'm done talking about her.

Finally, the award for Entertainer of the Year... Bryan Adams? Nope (Bruce Allen is probably petitioning for a recount). The Tragically Hip? Nope (millions stunned). Blue Rodeo scooped it this year. Pleasantly surprising.

So that's my brief rant about the Junos. Yet again I have received confirmation that these big industry schmoozathons are still a big load of tripe. Why do I bother? I should have just gotten real and gone out to see a live band. I'll tell ya what, though: e-mail me YOUR picks for "JUNO '97...ONE MORE TIRED YEAR OF AWARDS." We'll start a betting pool. Yeah! C'mon, I'm serious! Do it!!! Bye for now (scary sound effects here), I'm going for a Slurpee.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 4, 1996

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