48. Alice Cooper
Ezrin''s day has come
Alice Cooper to present him with Hall of Fame award at Junos
By JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun
Bob Ezrin had started to feel like a stranger in a strange land whenever he returned to Canada.
That all changed when the legendary music producer received word he would be this year''s inductee into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
The Toronto-born Ezrin produced a slew of classic rock albums in the ''70s with the likes of Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, KISS and Pink Floyd.
The Hall of Fame honour will be presented to him by Alice Cooper himself during the Juno Awards'' pre-telecast ceremony in Edmonton. Highlights were shown yesterday night during the live Juno telecast (CTV, 8 p.m.), when Cooper made a separate live appearance.
Other rock luminaries such as Reed, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS, Peter Gabriel, Rush bassist Geddy Lee and Jane''s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro have recorded messages for a video tribute.
"This honour means a tremendous amount to me because -- honestly -- I always felt a little bit sort of unappreciated at home," said Ezrin, 55, down the line from his new Connecticut abode, where he resides with his third wife after having lived in Los Angeles for the past 20 years.
"I think that the prevailing attitude was that I was an American because my first successes were in the States, and all the stuff I did in the early days was international -- sort of based out of America or England. People kind of assumed I never really lived (in Canada).
"Consequently, I was never nominated for a Juno -- ever. And I would have rather had that than the nominations I''ve had for Grammys. I just feel like home is truly where you want to be recognized. I sort of always missed out on that from Canada."
Ezrin has taken the Hall Of Fame honour to promote music education in schools. In the U.S., Ezrin is vice-president of the Mr. Holland''s Opus Foundation, dedicated to putting instruments into the hands of school kids, and he is a supporter of the similarly-driven CARAS Band Aid program in Canada.
"Budget cuts across the country have really had a profound impact on the ability of music programs in most public schools to function at their optimum, and in some cases it''s made it impossible for them to function at all," Ezrin said.
The most profound effects of budget cutbacks have been in the last seven years in Canada.
"It''s very dangerous because while the "three Rs" are the tools that people need in order to negotiate the world, it''s the arts that give them the imagination to do something important with those tools," he said.
Ezrin speaks from experience. He is the son of musical parents -- his mother was "a spectacular" pianist, and his father played jazz bass -- and got his first gig at age 8 as a singer and actor in both TV and radio. As a teenager, he was tagged "rebellious and single-minded" and had his first child and married his high school sweetheart when he was only 17 years old (she later wrote a movie about the experience called Peggy Sue Got Married ). His musical nourishment all through his school years was singing in the choir and playing in the band.
Ezrin then studied classical piano and composition at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He also played jazz piano and guitar. Folk music took hold of him when he and his cousin formed a duo called The Messengers. This was during the vibrant mid-''60s folk music scene in Yorkville.
"To me, that was one of the greatest gifts I ever had in life -- being able to be (in that scene at that time)," Ezrin said. "My Uncle Sid owned a piece of Penny Farthing, which was one of the pre-eminent clubs on Yorkville back in the day. His connection to that, and my natural attraction to the folk scene, sort of gave me a real world connection to Yorkville. I had a good excuse to go down there all the time: ''I''m going to go see Uncle Sid!'' "
Ezrin''s first big break came in 1970 when he was hired to work at Nimbus 9, then Canada''s most accomplished production house under the direction of respected producer Jack Richardson, who had just scored a No. 1 hit with The Guess Who''s American Woman.
"Shep Gordon, Alice Cooper''s manager, was wandering down Hazelton one afternoon, and saw the American Woman sign in the front window," Ezrin said. "And I think Shep had an epiphany at that moment and said, ''What I need for this cockamamie group of mine is that Guess Who sound.'' God knows where he came up with that, but thank god he did."
You can probably guess who got the assignment to go check out Cooper''s shock-rock act at Max''s Kansas City in New York City.
"I was just a nice hippie kid from Toronto. I''d never seen anything like this," said Ezrin, who brought along fellow Canuck Alan Nichols, who was playing in the counter-culture phenomenon Hair on Broadway. "We felt like we had been dropped into an alien planet. The place was filled with people wearing spandex and spider eyes. They all had black fingernails and black lipstick. And they all had deathly white complexions."
Ezrin and Cooper and his band would go on to make the 1971 breakthough album Love It To Death that spawned the single I''m Eighteen.
Ezrin''s reputation skyrocketed. Offers from other A-list acts followed, most notably Pink Floyd for their 1979 opus The Wall, which Ezrin calls his most challenging record.
"Because of the scope of the project, the geography of it and the things that I was going through personally -- this was the time when I was getting divorced -- all in all, it was tough times doing that record," he said.
"But it was thrilling at the same time and enormously fulfilling, because it came out the way we had imagined it, which is saying something when you have something of that scope. The Wall had a huge global impact. It was a very, very successful record. And it really was, sort of, the voice of an era."
Ezrin, who last year hooked up with Jane''s Addiction for their album, Strays, and British rockers The Darkness for their Christmas single, is currently working on the debut disc of a New York hard rock band called Instruction, due later this year.
He describes Instruction as having "a very definite point of view, which I love. Who actually have something to say. And who say it and play it exceedingly well. Really good music but really important messages too."
Ezrin said he plans to move back to Toronto within the next decade. Then he''ll really stop being a stranger in his homeland.
Дима! У нас это раньше проходило?
Ответ: Не проходило! Я все это уже читал! Но переводить на буду, здесь Эзрин НИЧЕГО не сказал о сотрудничестве с Элисом, только то, что Шепу Гордону нравилось звучание группы Guess Who с котрой поработал Эзрин. Боб болтает только о Pink Floyd и вспоминает каким он был наивным хиппи из Торонто пока не встретил всех этих извращенных рок звезд! Короче говоря, никакой стоящей информации!