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Accordion Beatles

Recent Gigs

Accordion Beatles performed at the Orillia Beatles Celebration on September 19, 2009.
Check out the story, photos and videos here.
Please visit the official OBC site here. (opens new browser window)

Historic Gigs
Second Appearance!!

CBC Radio - Metro Morning Website
CBC Radio One's "Metro Morning" with host Andy Barrie
Friday, July 28, 2000 0600 - 0900 h EDT
I appeared for a second time on the MetroMorning show with host Andy Barrie, but this time the segment was taped. Back in May of 2000, I went to T.O. and met up with Dave Segluns, MetroMorning producer, who recorded me in the Spadina subway station with a minidisc recorder. It was part of a series they were doing on Metro's subway buskers, something I had done for a couple of years in my spare time. Even though I was no longer a busker at the time, Andy has been so taken by my music that they had me back for this production. After I played, we called that station and did a recording of Andy Barrie interviewing me over the phone, but recorded at my end by Dave, and recorded at his end in the CBC Radion One stuidios. The two recordings were later digitally spliced so that it sounded better than telephone quality. Since it aired several months later, I was unable to hear the segment, so I don't know which songs they aired. We recorded "Michelle", "I Saw Her Standing There", "Here There and Everywhere" and "When I'm Sixty-Four". I look forward to a return engagement to pitch my CD when it comes out.

First Appearance!!
CBC Radio - Metro Morning Website
CBC Radio One's "Metro Morning" with host Andy Barrie
Thursday, May 13, 1999 0845 - 0900 h EDT

I appeared on the MetroMorning show with host Andy Barrie, talking and playing three songs; "In My Life", "Wee Wool Cat" (an original), and "Here, There and Everywhere". I arrived with only minutes to spare until air time, because trying to get to Front & John and get parked at that time of morning... well, that's the big city for you. Anyways, I got in there and did it - LIVE without any tape delay or anything. MAN, talk about pressure! I got a pair of lovely CBC Radio One refrigerator magnets and they validated my parking. Thanks Andy & CBC! Alas, they were out of the highly prized coffee mugs.

For the Second Consecutive Year! Licensed for 1998-99
Hear an interview from the 1996 TTC Auditions which aired on 680 NEWS AM Toronto

TTC LogoAccordion Beatles Underground
Second Dispatch - December 1997
Christmas is here - and it's paradise for buskers. People are busy shopping, the subways and malls are busy, and generally, everybody's in a festive mood. The 20 or so Christmas carols I play also help people get into the spirit. Little kids like to sing along with the carols, which is a lot of fun. I keep a journal of my appearances "down under", and offer some excerpts below:

Late October, Sheppard Station:
...I was "recruited" 3 times. First by a lady who gave me two business cards, a telecom opportunity and a herbal thing...No donation. Second was a young lady who quietly placed pamphlet ("The Missing Peace") and a twonie in my case. Third was an older lady who invited me to join her at Evangel Temple on Yonge Street some Sunday. Said they could always use more musicians. Told me I owed my gift to Jesus. Amen to that, sister! No donation.
Group of young teens stood and listened to "It's Only Love". One kid started doing the "Carlton Dance" (Fresh Prince), he sort of joined the act for a bit. Made me howl, lots of smiles from passersby. Large dust bunnies in the subway...
The little hooded boy and his mom came by again. She dropped some coins in as they went by. They stopped a few feet further on, then the little guy came back and dropped a coin in, too. :-)
Panhandlers are back. Had their dogs with them. Saw people stop to chat and put coin in his hat. His partner had a small puppy tucked inside his coat. I hope they're treating them well...
One lady sang along to "Never On Sunday" as she walked by with a friend. Another guy sang to "Imagine"...

St.Clair Station
Security guys are on my case this morning... the collector up top had complained that I was too loud. I told them to convey my apologies and to ask if he had any requests. They seemed satisfied. They came by later and were kidding with me that one of them was going to sing along. He had taped a hand-made sign under his coat - "Will Sing For Food"... One playing of "Imagine" brought in over $6!!! Thanks J.L. ... A pair of boys hit their nanny up for coins so they could toss them in the case. So sweet! One old fellow went by twice and tossed in each time. ...I give out a lot of directions when down here... It's getting colder when the trains rush in, pushing that outside air all through the station.

First Dispatch - October 1997

Well, the long-awaited time has come, and as of October 8th 1997, I've been playing down in the Toronto subways! So far, I've put in 4 performances, and am heading out this afternoon to do another (Sheppard station, to Thursday). The money's reasonably good, and the people seem to enjoy it. I see it as a chance to get paid while I practice. I've only been harassed a couple of times, once by two panhandlers, and once by a mental patient, but other than that, the response is excellent! One inebriated woman tried singing along to Joan Osborne's "One of Us", but I kept changing parts and timing so that she'd lose the thread, and she eventually left.

Some people actually say "thank you" to me while they're dropping the "donations" in, which I find incredible. By and large, the most generous people are older ladies, and the stingiest are the middle-aged and older men in business suits, who seem to look upon me as some sort of beggar. But the smiles, appreciation and acknowledgment of the great majority make up for it. It seems that a lot of people enjoy hearing non-traditional music coming out of the squeezebox! The "Visit My Website" sign I've taped inside the lid of my case also raises a few eyebrows and some grins!

Younger children especially seem fascinated. One little guy, maybe 4 years old, made his mommy stop while he watched. She gave him a "loonie" (dollar coin) to put in my case, then he went back to stand with her at the opposite wall to watch and listen. He wouldn't let her leave until I finished the song, at which point he applauded, then waved goodbye!
Some people pat their pockets, and lacking change, offer encouragement, a smile, a thumbs up. One older woman came up and said, "your music sounds very nice", and dropped in a five dollar bill! So far, I'd have to say that John Lennon's "Imagine" is the biggest money maker. Playing it is like turning on a tap, it's truly amazing. I feel guilty when I play it every third or fourth song during the rush hours, but then, I rationalize, each wave of people has fresh ears since they're just passing through, and I've got to make my money when I can! I hope John won't hold it against me... By and large, it's a great experience, one that I consider worthwhile, a lot of fun, and rewarding in many ways.

Now a few words on how the Subway Musicians' Program works:
There are 75 licensed acts, may of which are duos. There are 25 scheduled stations, and 15 alternates. There are 3 time slots each day, morning (6 a.m to noon), afternoon (noon to 6 p.m.) and evening (6 p.m. to midnight). Each act drew a letter to determine their starting station and time slot. Each act plays four days at the designated station in that time slot, then moves on to the next station and the next time slot. It's very equitable for all concerned, since obviously some stations are better than others in terms of making money, noise levels, position,etc. It's up to the individual acts how much time they wish to put in performing, but a minimum of 50 appearances is required during the year.

If a station is slow, or the time slot is not convenient, alternate stations are available on a first come basis. Also, if a scheduled station is not occupied, then any licensed musician may perform there. The spot for performing is clearly marked with yellow dots, and musicians may not go outside of these areas. The license (with photo, which cost $100) must be prominently displayed at all times. As you can see, it's strictly controlled, and there are a lot of other rules and regulations, which I won't bore you with.

Accordion Beatles Pass Audition
'm pleased to announce that I have passed the audition for the Toronto Transit Commission's Subway Musician Program. Beginning in October, I'll be playing in various subway stations all over Metro Toronto, bringing my special brand of accordion frivolity to the huddled and hurried masses of this fair city. The $100 license entitles me to a year of underground squeezing, but I see it as an investment...
TTC Logo
75 acts were granted licenses, out of the 225 that were chosen to audition at the Canadian National Exhibition's Community Corner stage, Aug.15-17, 1997 - the Ex's first 3 days.
I'm looking forward to spreading some of the happiness that fills me whenever I pick up the old 'box. What harried commuter wouldn't be soothed by the sweet sounds of "Here There and Everywhere" or "And I Love Her" coming out of the Bellini? And those great acoustics - pure, natural reverb forever! See you down there!

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