In an age where instant YouTube stardom, music television, and internet marketing are all driving consumer ease of access to music, its easy to forget what it took to make it as a musician only a few short decades ago. Before the digital age changed everything most rock bands started out in the trenches and gained fans one by one through live performances, very often in smoky, dimly lit, rough around the edges clubs and bars.
DON’T CALL LAST CALL tells the story of how working musicians struggled to survive and succeed during the big hair hard rock era. Long nights, endless strings of gigs, and countless miles spent in pursuit of fame… and little fortune. It was a time when hard rock clubs sprang up across the country and were the main avenue of exposure for bands, places where the charged atmosphere and close quarters put fledgling stars in direct contact with alcohol fueled audiences. For some those places and that road was a launch pad to international fame. Its about the people, the places, the journeys, and the times.
On Saturday January 9 1993, after a quarter century, an era came to an end with the closing of the Gasworks hard rock bar in Toronto. Playing to a packed house dozens of musicians* gathered to crank it up one more time and give the landmark club a raucous sendoff. Mike Meyer’s line “This is the Gasworks, an excellent heavy metal bar!” in the motion picture Wayne’s World has turned its name into the world’s most recognizable and famous heavy metal hard rock club. It has become a fitting metaphor for the many other similar bygone venues. And it was the place where that final day’s events marked the closing of a significant chapter in our music history. The battle cry for the day was DON’T CALL LAST CALL and has become the working title for this documentary idea.
Footage of the Gasworks’ final day will be used editorially as glue to bind, or as fuel to drive segments. Along with interviews (new and old), archival footage, photos, graphics, and anything else I can get my hands on DON’T CALL LAST CALL will be an engaging documentary targeted at a broad demographic and interest scope. This doc will be about a hard road, sacrifices in pursuit of dreams, good and bad luck, and about what it takes to succeed – spiced up with sex ‘n’ drugs, colourful characters, star makers and storied places. For those who lived the times it will be a nostalgic trip back, for their children a look at an earlier generation, to music fans of any age it will be informative, and for everyone else just a plain good story and a captivating history lesson.
* Closing day footage has performances/appearances by many notables in Canadian rock such as, Gil Moore (Triumph), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Andy Curran (Coney Hatch), Brian Volmer (Helix), Ian Chricton (Saga), Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde), Anvil, Goddo, Slik Toxic and more.