Deacon Dr. Fresh Wine Newsletter

A Wine Newsletter With An Edge - Definitely NOT your typical white bread, mofo, cracker, peckerwood, jank, peckercracker wine newsletter! If this info is too advanced for you, check out my other newsletter: Wine for Dix at

My Photo
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

World's Lurchest Wine Writer - The Gangsta of the Grape - The Sultan of Shiraz - The Buccaneer of Burgundy - The Prince of Pinot Noir - Yellow Tail's Bane - Locus of the Ladies' Focus - Wielder of the trousered Hammer of Thor - I have arrived to rescue the wine world from overly-serious, rigid, deconstructionist, rooster juice peckerwoods who'd never dream of gettin' a tattoo or crackin' a smile. I am without a doubt, the smartest, funniest and toughest sumbitch in the entire wine industry. And I aint goin' away. All disputes will be settled bare-knuckled in the Octagon. You heard me. Oh, and by the way...Bite me crank!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Toronto Rocks for Frank Soda!

The Soda Fountain of Canadian Rock 
Last night was one of the awesomest, lurchest nights in Canadian Rock Music History. My previous posting spoke of the (then) upcoming benefit concert for Vancouver Guitar Hero, Frank Soda. What follows is a review of the event...

The fanz began arriving long before the doors opened, even though it was a chilly Toronto night. They came from everywhere; some from as far as Vancouver, to be part of what would become Rock Legend. The emcee was my homey, Dr. Mike Mandel, who I must say, did a great job keeping things moving and introing and extroing the performers. The eponymous band Scarpelli hit the stage running, at just after 7 PM, and proceeded to blow the doors off and rip the ceiling down in some first rate power rock, including Goddo standards and AC/DC's Highway to Hell. You really have to see father and son guitar wizards, Gino and Gene Scarpelli, to really appreciate their energy. The pair functioned as a precision unit; a relaxed Gino looking like a confident gunslinger with backup support fire provided by his very talented offspring. You must check out Scarpelli when they're in your area. I love these guys!  

The Antlers with former Max Webster musicians, Mike Tilka and Terry Watkinson took to the stage; Watkinson having traveled from Winnipeg to play keyboards...and yes, they were amazing too. And so the evening continued, with a couple of hundred incredibly pumped and appreciative fanz of Canadian music at its very best. To immortalize the evening, a white Yamaha electric guitar was provided and all the musicians signed it, and so had Burton Cummings, April Wine's Myles Goodwin and Brian Greenway. Tickets sold for $10.00 each, and fanz gobbled them up to try to win a piece of Rock and Roll treasure - more about the guitar later...

The room was rockin' in overdrive, and so Coney Hatch threw gasoline on the fire. I bought their music on iTunes as soon as I got home. It went on and on and on, with some of the best players in the nation, gathered to help a dear friend offset his medical bills. I could wax on and on about the talent that gathered and played last night. Michael White, who sang Led Zeppelin like Robert Plant, Rockizoid and the Carl Dixon Band, to name just a few. The Carpet Frogs were one of my absolute favourites, who opened with Deep Purple's Hush, and then launched into an incredible rendering of Hey Jude; front-man and vocalist, Nick Sinopoli is an amazingly talented man, and the Frogs played their usual flawless set. 

At 11 PM, Frank Soda walked out, which was amazing, since his surgery was only a few days back, and the audience rushed the stage. Too weak to play, he was clearly touched by the outpouring of affection and respect from so many people. He thanked everyone and then drew the winning ticket for the guitar, which was now covered with the signatures of Canada's Finest. It all went weird at that point, because somehow, Mike Mandel had the winning ticket and walked away with the Holy Grail Guitar. I know he's a mentalist, but can't for the life of me figure out how he did it, since he wasn't even onstage when Frank drew the winning number, and Mandel's friend, Kevin Pumphrey, was holding onto his ticket for him - "just in case it wins". Even weirder, Mandel had earlier commented from the stage "the only thing that will make this evening better is when I go home with that guitar!"

(Cue Twilight Zone theme music)   Very strange...

All in all, the best evening that any rock fan could ever want. Kudos to the Rock Pile for making it possible by providing a fantastic venue. Standing ovation to organizers Tessa Kimmel and Nick Sinopoli for working like lunatics to make it all happen. Many thanks to Coll Sound, and the fine musicians who unselfishly devoted their time and ability in support of a great friend.

And so, with apologies to Shakespeare, I must paraphrase Henry V:

In years to come when this night is spoken of, we shall say, I  was there with Frank and Tilka and Gino and Tessa and Nick! And gentlemen in Toronto then asleep, shall reckon themselves accursed they were not there, and count their manhoods cheap when this night is mentioned!

Peace and Love

Deacon Dr. Fresh
Still wondering how Mandel got that guitar...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Frank Soda Benefit Concert - Sunday November 28th

Frank with Dr. Mike Mandel and Max Webster's Mike Tilka
I think it's interesting that for a country with a fairly small population, Canada has produced a number of excellent female vocalists, including Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Joni Mitchell, Shania Twain, Loreena McKennitt, etc., etc., etc.

What is not generally known though, is that our typically self-effacing country has also been a proving ground for some of the world's top guitarists. One doesn't have to think very hard to come up with names like Kim Mitchell, Alex Lifeson, Frank Marino, and the late-great Jeff Healey, to name just a few. And to those of us who survived the '60s and '70s, other Guitar Heroes come to mind, like Domenic Troiano, Paul Naumann, Gino Scarpelli and of course, the legendary Frank Soda

I first saw the diminutive electric guitar wizard at the Gasworks on Yonge Street, back in the mid 1970's, and was blown away by his playing. I'm a blues hacker myself, and although I own some great equipment, including a hand-made Gibson SG, signed and played by AC/DC's Angus Young,  I make no pretense to being a musician. I remember watching Frank's incendiary blues playing and thinking that I'd give my left hand to be able to play like that. His band, The Imps, went on to record In the Tube; a concert (not surprisingly) at the Piccadilly Tube, a very cool night spot that resided where the Eaton Centre is now. Frank was into some really interesting rock theatre, including a wearing a television on his head that exploded at the end of TV People, a perennial favourite, as long as you weren't too close...

Here's a YouTube audio link to Break the Ice, a song from that concert, so you can get a feel for this amazing band, with Frank's blistering guitar and vocals. Crank up your volume and come back to read the rest of this, after you...

Well now for the sad news...Frank is quite sick and has come to Toronto for treatment that he can't get in his native Vancouver. A bunch of his friends and fans have organized a benefit concert to help him out and it's taking place at the Rockpile on Sunday the 28th of November, which is only a week away. Please tell your friends and all the old rockers you know. Some very talented musicians have stepped up to the plate to help out, and it's going to be a blast. Here are the details:


Doors open at 6PM, show begins at 7:00. Tickets are only $10.00 each.

Featuring performances by:

& MORE....

The host band is the CARPET FROGS and they alone are worth 3 times the admission price. My homey, Dr. Mike Mandel will be emceeing the event. Come out and support Frank Soda, one of the few genuinely nice people left in the world.

Deacon Dr. Fresh
Supporting Canada's Guitar Heroes

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Re-Effing-Joyce! Your Deacon is Alive and Well!

Bite me crank!
You have no idea how great it feels to be back. Yes, back, my friends and tireless fans. After over a year of ceaseless begging and whining from you leaderless children, it has happened at long last: A suitcase of money changed hands down by Cherry Beach on a moonless night, and I have re-emerged to grace you all with my arcane insights, rich ramblings and wit-infused wisdom. I attempted to slip away into obscurity, but it was not to be...

And so...without further ado, it's incumbent upon me to begin with the usual well-loved rant:

Warm and well-considered Captainly regards to my crew of buccaneers, scallywags, brigands, hussies and dogsbodies. Your Deacon loves you.

...and to the rest of you diametrically distraught vermifuge swallowing, vile-prepuced, flu shot addicts:

Bite my entire staff!

...and so it all begins again...

Let me start by stating for the record that the moronic imbecile who let his cell phone ring at the Stephan Moccio concert at the Jane Mallett Theatre should be publicly flayed. And the inconsiderate idiot at The Year of Magical Thinking, who dropped his cell phone and then let it vibrate all over the floor and somehow then managed to complete the process of icing the fool-cake, by loudly slamming his keys on the hardwood floor, needs at least 30 years in the electric chair. What is it with these bastards that despite clear requests from theatre managers, they just can't shut the damn things off for 90 minutes? I have a solution though: Every theatre patron should be issued with high-power squirt guns loaded with tomcat urine. If your phone rings, we hose you down, it's that simple.

In other news, your Deacon and Deaconess will be making a rare appearance at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, later this week. I'll be reconnecting with my homeys and writing it all up within a few days. Watch for it...

Also, send in your email questions! Your Deacon needs to hear from you, and if I get enough, I'll write up a Deacon Male Bag ASAP.

That's all for now...and as we say on Mars:


Deacon Dr. Fresh
Back like a boomerang

Subscribe to Deacon Dr. Fresh Wine Newsletter