The Music page

John Mars at Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation building, Syracuse, New York (Bley & Lyman architects, 1930). Photographed by Lucas Stagg

John Mars at Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation building,
Syracuse, New York (Bley & Lyman architects, 1930).
Photographed by Lucas Stagg

Detroit or Buffalo


The new John Mars CD was co-produced by JOHN MARS and LUCAS STAGG It was engineered by J.P. RIEMENS at Grant Avenue Studio; Hamilton, Canada and, was mastered by NICK BLAGONA at Psychotropic Studios; Dundas, Canada

J.P. Riemens has engineered recordings by GORDON LIGHTFOOT and CHRIS HOUSTON and, he is a recording artist in his own right.


Lucas Stagg is the former leader of the Rock 'n' Roll outfit ROOM 101. His latest two solo CDs were co-produced by John Mars.

Craig McNair is set to release his first solo CD of acoustic music and, that new album is being produced by John Mars.

Danny Weis has a new solo record called "Sweet Spot" and, he was a founder/member of both IRON BUTTERFLY and RHINOCEROS. His lengthy career has included stints with LOU REED, ALICE COOPER, MELISSA MANCHESTER and, at one time, he was band leader for BETTE MIDLER, appearing as the mop-topped, blonde guitarist in the Hollywood motion picture, "THE ROSE".

Danny's long-time friend, Michael Fonfara began his long career with 60's Canadian legends THE CHECKMATES and, he and John Finley continue to lead an awesome version of that group. Michael moved to the USA in the late 60's to join Michael Bloomfield's incredible group THE ELECTRIC FLAG and, then co-founded RHINOCEROS with Weisand Finley and, former Mothers Of Invention drummist, Billy Mundi. Fonfara next became band leader for LOU REED and, he has also played with SOLOMON BURKE, THE DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND and FOREIGNER.

Ray Harrison is the long-time leaderof his own group, THE CAMEO BLUES BAND and, his past bands include SHOOTER, CROWBAR and, THE GREASEBALL BOOGIE BAND.

John's close friends Mary 5e and Suzie Sweetman both lead their own groups.


  • JOHN MARS lead vocals
  • LUCAS STAGG acoustic guitar and harmony vocals
  • CRAIG McNAIR harmony vocals
  • DANNY WEIS electric guitar and nylon string classical guitar
  • MICHAEL FONFARA grand piano and Hammond organ
  • RAY HARRISON grand piano and Hammond organ
  • MARY 5e and SUZIE SWEETMAN additional harmony vocals
  • no drummers or bass players were harmed during the making of this record

John is pleased to have such a venerable group of creative artists help him realize his own current CD project. For more information on any of them, just continue to explore this web site today and, continue to watch the site in the 'morrow for continuing news on all of these talented men and women.

Illustrations by Dominic Bugatto.
Package design by John Mars and Lucas Stagg.

Dominic Bugatto illustrations have appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES, the WASHINGTON POST, the WALL STREET JOURNAL, the BOSTON GLOBE, FORBES and MEN'S HEALTH. His work has been collected by the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE.



John Mars' "WHASUP?" CD was produced by JACK deKEYZER. Many of the songs were written by John and Jack. It was engineered by ALEC FRASER at Hawkstone Studios; Whitby, Canada. It was mixed at Bassline Studios in Scarborough, Canada by SHANE SCOTT and JACK deKEYZER. It was mastered by ANDY KREHM at Silverbirch Productions; Toronto , Canada

Personnel :

    lead vocals
    electric guitar and harmony vocals
    grand piano and organ
    tenor and alto saxophone
    bass and harmony vocals
    harmony vocals and hand percussion
    harmony vocals on 'Wild At Heart'
  • Jack deKeyzer leads his own band and, his "Six String Lover" album (which contains "Jump Right To It" written by John Mars and, Jack deKeyzer) won a Juno award. Jack was formerly a member of the ROBERT GORDON band, THE BOP CATS, THE ROCK ANGELS, and, RONNIE HAWKINS AND THE HAWKS. He has also played with BO DIDDLEY, ETTA JAMES and KING BISQUIT BOY .
  • Michael Fonfara began his long career with 60's Canadian legends THE CHECKMATES and, he and John Finley continue to lead an awesome version of that group. Michael moved to the USA in the late 60's to join Michael Bloomfield's incredible group THE ELECTRIC FLAG and, then co-founded RHINOCEROS with Danny Weis, John Finley and, former Mothers Of Invention drummist, Billy Mundi. Fonfara next became band leader for LOU REED and, he has also played with SOLOMON BURKE, THE DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND and FOREIGNER.
  • Chris Robinson is John Mars' cousin and, he leads his own Jazz group. Chris was formerly a member of JOHN MARS AND THE MARTIANS.
  • Brigham Philips is a Juno award winning Jazz trumpet / trombone player who leads his own big band.
  • Shane Scott, Alec Fraser have both played with THE JACK deKEYZER BAND. Alec is currently a member of the JIMMY BOSKILL band.
  • Mark French was formerly the drummer for BLUE RODEO and, has played on Juno award winning recordings by that group.

The news is's what critics are saying about Whasup!

"100% pure unadulterated rock'n'roll! ...dynamite"

"Reminiscent of many 60's pop records, pretty smooth, and he wears all his influences right on his sleeve. The songwriting is first-rate."
THE NAIL (Niagara Falls)

"An extensive pedigree. The inspirations in "Whasup?" are diverse, from "Sticky Fingers"-era Rolling Stones to Stax/Volt and rockabilly. Mars especially excels at the latter, as evidenced by "Lil' Suzy Sue" and "Pristine Christine".
Blitz Magazine (Los Angeles)

"The songs are flush with the verve, flair and confidence of Eddie Cochran, British Invasion flagbearers and Memphis soulsters. Mars and deKeyzer also have added two solid new entries to the litany of girl-name songs ("Danielle" and "Lil' Suzy Sue").
Metroland "The Capital Region's Alternative Newsweekly" Albany, New Yorkcomplete reviews can be found on our news page...***

And, dig this quote from JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE bassist NOEL REDDING

"I was amazed that you did Nervous Breakdown, the track which Eddie Cochran did on Boy meets Girl (British Television Show). Freaked me out actually."

The album package was designed by John Mars and Jack deKeyzer with photography by Huggy Bundle, Scott Harvery, Marilyn Guest and, John Mars.

submitted by Darla Stahl

Jump Right To It

written by John Mars and Jack deKeyzer

Jack deKeyzer 6 STring

from the Juno Award winning album “Six String Lover” by Jack deKeyzer.

produced by Jack deKeyzer and Alec Fraser

Jack deKeyzer electric guitar/ lead vocals
Michael Fonfara Hammond B3 organ
David Rotundo harmonica
Shane Scott upright bass
Tony Ajo drums

+ The Liquid Lounge Singers on background vocals

“My very close friend Jack deKeyzer and I wrote this song to inspire my Dad, Jack Mars, who was going through a tough time, circa 2006. J deK happily worked together in earnest on a wonderful Saturday afternoon with my lyrics for this song and, the melody that I had. It all came together pretty quickly. Next, Jack and I discussed my idea for the counterpoint in this jump Blues type composition ~ a style that I felt might get my Dad’s mood all charged up again ~ my idea was to have this counterpoint between these two virtuosos ~ Jack on guitar and Michael on B3 organ. Jack ended up modifying a Charlie Christian riff for this purpose. I was just so happy about the li’ brew that Jack and Michael cooked up on the session. The finished work could not possibly have been any better than what I had imagined.

By coincidence, a video of the song that had been produced by Mako Funasaka was shown on television on Father’s Day while I was visiting my Dad and, Dad and I got to see it together ! Wonderful kismet or what ? When J deK’s retrospective concert/ documentary movie “Silver Blues” was shown on TV a little while later, my Dad and I got to watch Jack's movie together as well and, the Jump Right To It vid was included in that movie. Both were very often shown on the BRAVO TV Channel around that time”.

~ John Mars 2023.

Big Wig Woman

written by John Mars and Jack deKeyzer

Willie Big Eyes Smith

from the “Blues From The Heart” album by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith

produced by Al Lerman, Alec Fraser, Andrew Kempa and, Jennifer Kempa.

Willie Smith vocals and drums
Jack deKeyzer electric guitar
Al Lerman harmonica
Michael Fonfara piano
Alec Fraser bass

Willie "Big Eyes” Smith 1936 ~ 2011 rest in peace

“There is much on my web site about the incredible Willie Smith ~ and so, go explore to read more. For those of you who don’t already know, Willie was Muddy Waters’ drummist for many years, playing on many of Muddy’s Lps. To me, the Muddy Waters schtuff that Johnny Winter produced for Columbia Records that Willie drummed on was very special and, Willie’s laid back shuffle beat schtuff was just crazy good.

At the age of 19, Willie played harmonica on Bo Diddley’s Diddy Wah Diddy (1955). He also played drums on a 1964 Otis Spann album that a a couple of British youngsters ~ Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page ~ also contributed some parts to.

When I was a kid, I saw Willie play with Muddy Waters at the Colonial Tavern on Yonge Street in Toronto ~ never realizing that I would get a chance be friends with Willie later on in my life, let alone that my close pal Jack deKeyzer and I would be able to contribute a song to one of Willie’s records ! A true thrill for Jack and me er what ?”. ~ John Mars 2023

Editor’s note: In the final year of his life, Willie and his cohort from Muddy’s band, pianist Pinetop Perkins, won a Grammy Award for their album “Joined At The Hip”. Willie played on 6 Grammy Award winning albums by Muddy Waters and he can be seen in the 1980 “Blues Brothers” movie, drumming with John Lee Hooker.


written by Donovan Leitch

photograph of John Mars by Rick Kowalczykowski, Icon Photography.
photograph of John Mars by Rick Kowalczykowski, Icon Photography.

John Mars rehearsal

“This is a one-off rehearsal recording with me singing and Lucas Stagg on guitar. This song was intended for my “Detroit Or Buffalo” album. I remember that my hero/dear friend , the late Michael Fonfara (1946 - 2021 ~ rest in peace) very much loved this demo that Lucas and I had worked up and, that Mike was looking forward to us doing a formal rendition of this song for the record. Michael would have contributed his piano and organ playing to this number. Lucas and I just didn’t get around to doing it on the album session for one reason or another. Anywho, this here bare bones version ain’t too bad at all so, there ya go”. ~ John Mars

The Skye + When You Are Old

“The Skye” (written by John Mars and Paul Chapman).
“When You Are Old” (written by Gretchen Peters).

John Mars rehearsals

“These 2 songs are rehearsal recordings with Paul Chapman on guitar and me singin’. The first is a tribute to a powerful, gorgeous woman named Skye, who I met many years ago and, am privileged to still be friends with. The second one is a very wistful song about that time when we start moving on along in in our lives. I hope to do these 2 songs on a proper recording some day in the near future" . John Mars 2023

Brian’s Children 45rpm record

Cut Her Hair” (written by John Mars and D.M. Templeton).
Oh Yeah” (written by John Mars and D.M. Templeton).

These are Brian’s Children :

John Mars lead vocals
Temp’s electric guitar/electric bass/backing vocals
Todd Fury drums

produced by Brian’s Children
engineer: Daniel Lanois
Grant Avenue Studio, Hamilton

David Templeton      ( 1954 ~ 2022  - rest in peace ).           photograph by John Mars
David Templeton ( 1954 ~ 2022 - rest in peace ). photograph by John Mars
Brian's Children 1

“We were incredibly, stupidly drunk while making these two late night, sloppy fun recordings. These songs took a ridiculous number of takes as a result. Twenty plus takes each ~ I’m not kidding. Nowadays I cut a song in one or two takes. Maybe a third one is necessary ? Temp’s (he of the strangely misguided apostrophe that he placed in his self-assigned nickname that no one can figure out to this day) insisted on using a somewhat screwed up, cheap Rickenbacker guitar. It was a small, black and white job like the one that John Lennon used in the early days of The Beatles. The machine heads on it were failing or something and, the damn thing kept going out of tune as he wanked away on the poor lil’ thing. The engineer had perfect pitch and, all of this was completely driving him nuts and, he kept running to and fro, in and out of his booth to adjust Temp’s tuning for him. Temp’s was heard to say that ~ 'There’s been a lot of songs at the top of the charts over the years where the guitar was out of tune ! Something In The Air was out of tune. It went to number one in England for weeks’. Teddy Fury’s twin brother, Todd Fury provided off colour jokes throughout the session and, all of these shenanigans seemed quite absurd to me. We just kept on drinking, while I marvelled at the chaos and, I just kept trying to concentrate on my vocal, while the takes went on and on and on. Our production technique was to double-track every single part, except for the drums. That was some concept that Temp’s and I had ~ to double-track everything.

Despite all the disorder in the kitchen, the peanut gallery seemed to like the darn thing when the 45 came out. We got into some Rock ’n’ Roll magazines, some records got sold and, the single got on some FM radio playlists in Canada and the USA. Comically, Brian’s Children even ended up with a Japanese fan club and, a few cute girls from Sweden sent their pictures to us ~ all by regular mail in those days.

Quite a lot of schtuff has been written about this ol’ record over the years and, from the get-go, it’s always been a bit of a cult item. Cut Her Hair was written as a tribute to the legend that is Brian Jones, the founder of The Rolling Stones. Enough said ? Oh Yeah was just a fun thing that was a bunch of cliches in terms of the lyrics and the tune we came up with. It was sort of a pop parody. The pitch on Temp’s heavily flanged guitar is way, way off on that number ! Oh well. “ John Mars 2023

Annihilated Surprise


Vinyl LP

JOHN MARS, double drum set

Side One

WIND  (composer  John Mars)
DISCREET  (composer  Stuart Broomer)
DEDICATION  (composer  John Mars)

Side Two

CHINA  (composer  Stuart Broomer)

Direct to Master 33 1/3 rpm 12"lp

Recorded Live by:
Mark Wright
Assisted by:
David Armstrong

Stuart Broomer and John Mars Live at UB

Clipping from the Buffalo News
Clipping from the Buffalo News

Stuart Broomer and John Mars Live at UB
Katharine Cornell Theatre
State University Of New York At Buffalo

1. WIND composer: John Mars
2. CHINA composer: Stuart Broomer
3. EXPRESSIONISM, Part One composers: Broomer/Mars
4. EXPRESSIONISM, Part Two composers: Broomer/Mars

JOHN MARS double drum set, percussion, digital synthesizer on tracks 2, 3 & 4

Friday, November 9th, 1984. Cassette Tape Recording

“In those days I had a kinda pro SONY Walkman that had two condenser mics built into the top of it. A student that I met backstage took it out into the house and recorded this concert for us. It’s a pretty lucky recording. Not bad at all. Maybe we will take this recording into a studio some day to enhance the thing further but, so far, what you are listening to here is just the raw recording. With all thanks to the considerable acumen of webmaster Joan Krygsman, who knows how to put such things up on-line and make them sound like they should.

The first two pieces on the concert are Stuart and I performing two items from our usual, substantial repertoire of original compostions. A couple of our 'Greatest Hits' ~ if we ever had such a thing.

‘Expressionism’ is us performing our original soundtrack for the 1919 film The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari. This is something that Stuart and I did countless times in concert halls, community theatres, cinemas and art museums back in the day.

At one point during ‘Expressionism’, the student had to flip the cassette tape over. Very little from the performance is missing but, at any rate, this is the reason that you have ‘Expressionism, Part One' and ‘Expressionism, Part Two’. No attempt will be made to staple the two bits back together. What it is, is what it is, as James Brown might have it. Listen to one or both. Listen to Part 2 first, if you like. It does not matter. You don’t need to be watching the movie. But, you could be ?

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari has had a profound impact on my aesthetic and, on my life as an artist. You will no doubt see something or other in my paintings that has something or other to do with it ? I’m not sure what, but, I’m sure it’s in there sometimes. I’ve studied many of the German Expressionist films and read up on them in great detail. This motion picture has always been my fave rave in that genre.

I first saw the film on television at about age nine. The Friday ‘Fright Night Late Show’ on WKBW-TV, Buffalo, which we used to get in my old hometown of Brantford, Ontario. ‘Caligari’ would come on all the the time for years. My Dad would moan ~ “Oh no, yer not gonna watch The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari again are you?”. You betcha, Dad ! Since then, I’ve studied this film way over hundred times ~ including while performing the Broomer/Mars soundtrack to it. At this point (1984) in our career Stuart and I had done our ‘Caligari’ performance so many, many times but, for me, to take the show to Buffalo was special. Too bad we didn’t have the voice of newscaster Irv Weinstein from Channel 7 (WKBW-TV) to introduce the show ! "

John Mars 2022

Stuart Broomer (piano) and John Mars (drums) began performing together in various Toronto based Jazz/New Music type groups in 1973. Previously, Stuart fronted a number of New Music groups starting in the late 1960's in Toronto's Yorkville Village night clubs. Stu was notably a pioneer in the development of the "prepared piano" technique, along with other innovators such as John Cage. John Mars had been mainly a singing Rock 'n' Roll drummer up until the point the he met Stuart, but, John's group "John Mars And The Martians" had shown a bit of the arresting influence of Albert Ayler and the "New Wave" in Jazz.

In a daring move in 1979, Broomer and Mars began performing mostly as simply a piano/drums duo (neither musician sang in this group). Their appearances in the Toronto area sometimes featured special guests such as Michael Snow (trumpet and piano), the late Graham Coughtry (trombone), the late Doug Willson (flugelhorn) and, Lloyd Garber (guitar). Occasionally the pair also incorporated the poetry, prose and humour of Vic d'Or (Victor Coleman) with delightful results.

As a duet, they toured community theatres, universities and the art museum circuit relentlessly and, the two were very popular at such venues in Ontario, Quebec, New York and Michigan.

Self Portrait 1972 by John Mars (ballpoint pen drawing).

Broomer/Mars also garnered a considerable amount of airplay on public radio and college radio throughout North America, Europe and even Africa, with the release of the "Annihilated Surprise" Lp. They disbanded in 1986 and Stu is currently editor of Coda - Canada's Jazz magazine, which has been published since 1958. Mr. Broomer also is a special features writer for Toronto's Globe & Mail newspaper, the Jazz editor for Toronto Life Magazine and, he writes the Jazz CD reviews for

There is a possibility of a CD re-issue of "Annihilated Surprise" in the future, but, for now, it is only available on Lp.



The above photograph of Stuart Broomer at 'A Space', Toronto is © 1976 by George Wale.
Also above:  Self Portrait 1972 by John Mars (ballpoint pen drawing).

STUART BROOMER and JOHN MARS "Quotable Quotes"

"A complex of many styles so altered and personalized that their origins have all but vanished".

"Just as their are notes in music that exist only in the cracks between the keys of a piano, there are individuals in music who are between definitions that define one style from another".

"A rational extenision of everything from New Orleans funeral music, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, "Jellyroll" Morton - the whole spectrum of jazz and, the whole spectrum of art in the 20th Century".

"All those interested in jazz, new music and improvisation have a musical experience in store for them".

"Broomer and Mars are first rate new jazz players".

"It was a special treat to hear him (Mars), a propulsive drummer... who produces a wide variety of textures from an only slightly augmented double drum kit".

Michael Snow (1928 ~ 2023) rest in peace

A Space, March 1975 Michael Snow on trumpet and John Mars on drums. photograph by Josh Korn
A Space, March 1975
Michael Snow on trumpet and John Mars on drums.
photograph by Josh Korn


LIVE AT A Space Quartet Concert

~ 33 mins 59 seconds ~


Stuart Broomer, piano
John Mars, drums, triangles, wood blocks and other percussion
Bill Smith, sopranino saxophone, tin bells
Michael Snow, trumpet, tambourine
Recorded by Dan Allen

“When I first moved to Toronto as a young artist, I was privileged to meet a number of the more senior artists who became mentors to me. Michael Snow was such a nice person and, he was always very encouraging to me. I have read many wonderful tributes to Michael since he passed and, I don’t think I need to educate y’all about his incredible, multidisciplinary art career here ? Anyone in Canada who is into art must surely know who he was to us. For those of us that grew up in the 20th Century, I’m gonna stick my neck out here and, I’m gonna say that he quite simply was and, he remains, the most important Canadian artist.

This is a very moody, mostly peaceable piece of music, ‘Extempore’, from a lengthy 1975 quartet concert that Stuart and I did at A Space with Michael Snow on trumpet and Bill Smith on saxophone. A Space was a place that bravely and gracefully gave new art of all types a chance. Ed Sanders read from “Love And Fame In New York” there. What a night. Virtuoso musicians such as Anthony Braxton and Dave Holland blew our minds. Talking Heads played their first Toronto concert at this artist run centre about two years after this quartet concert of ours.

In ‘Extempore’, for the first six and a half minutes or so, Stuart and I achieve a quiet mood that is strongly percussive and occasionally, turbulent. I became enamoured of Varese and Harry Partch while still in high school and I think that you will hear that Stuart and I have some of that influence going on here. A few extra sound effects are sporadically added here and there by Smith (tin bells) and Snow (tambourine) during the performance. Although I only have half of my usual double drum set for this particular concert and, Stuart only has an upright piano to explore inside and outside, he and I make seem to make no noticeable musical excuses and, are we are still able to do what we always did.

Next, the two horns take their time to find their way into the proceedings and, when they do first come in well past the six minute mark, their mood is quite mournful and, quite redolent of the music of the very spiritual music of Albert Ayler, who all of us were most certainly inspired by. Michael had recorded Albert Ayler and Don Cherry for the “New York Eye And Ear Control” Lp on E.S.P. Records, which was the album that was the soundtrack for Michael’s 1964 film of the same name. Michael and Bill sound somewhat cheerful while playing something akin to a dirge and, the essence of Albert Ayler’s beauty is nicely attempted by the horns. What they do has an affinity but, also a little bit of a contrast to the atmosphere that Stu and I had been setting up, from the get-go. There’s always a gentle push and pull between the two factions ~ the so-called ‘rhythm section’ and ’the horn section’.

Stuart and I buzz together instinctively and, as he pulls the piano apart, I buzz around the drums and cymbals with sticks, mallets and brushes. You can also hear me doing other schtuff, like playing three triangles. I’m striking the triangles and caressing them with metal strikers and felt mallets. Later, there is my tick-tock on a wood block. Smith rattles his tin bells. Snow gently shakes his tambourine. I beep two old fashioned bike horns. Smith lets go with a strange vocal moan as if he is disturbingly possessed by Sonny Murray and, he bumps into a microphone at one point. Stuart reaches into the strings of the piano throughout the piece. The two horns listen to Stu and I for extended periods and then, repeatedly come moaning and weaving back in and out and, in and out and, in and out”.

John Mars March 2023


LIVE at Hamiton Public Library Auditorium

WOUND  (composer Stuart Broomer)

Stuart Broomer ~ grand piano
John Mars ~ double drum set /percussion
cassette recording
“This concert dates to October 1984 and, was held in the Auditorium at Jackson Square in downtown Hamilton, which had rather lovely acoustics.   We performed totally acoustically ~ no P.A. system.  Again, my then trusty, stereo SONY Pro Walkman was enlisted to record this concert, just for the heck of it.   I simply put the recorder on the floor between Stuart and myself and, turned it on.   Although I was not drowning out the piano in the concert hall, the tape machine was situated close to my Paiste flat ride cymbal.   So, you are going to hear a little bit too much of that.  Nonetheless, you will hear the presence and, majesty of the full sized piano out in the room.  I’ve done a bit of E.Q. work with the tape to try to help ease this override problem and then, made a digital copy with my Tascam CD mastering deck.   Despite the sound of my ride cymbal being dominant when it comes to some high frequencies on this recording, I feel that it’s a worthwhile lil’ bit of history and, worth a listen.   I’ve recently learned how to ‘bake’ potentially fragile, old tapes and plan to work with more of these recordings to put up here on this web site.  Stay tuned ”.
John Mars    August 2023
Stuart Broomer On break from a rehearsal at the Music Gallery, Toronto 1976
Stuart Broomer On break from a rehearsal at the Music Gallery, Toronto 1976


live in concert at York University, Toronto 1995/1996

John Mars  ~ lead vocals / backing vocals
Mike Ardelli ~ lead guitar / lead vocals / backing vocals
Glenn Kimberley ~ drums / lead vocals / backing vocals
Spike Katz ~ upright bass

Composers :

Nervous Breakdown (Mario Roccuzzo/Eddie Cochran)
Little Queenie  (Chuck Berry)
I Want You To Be My Baby (Jon Hendricks)
No Money Down (Chuck Berry)
Flyin’ Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll  (Ray Scott)
Sweet Lil’ Angel  (Trixie Smith / arr: B.B. King)
C’mon Everbody (Eddie Cochran / Jerry Capehart)

The late Mike Ardelli, who died just short of 25 years of age, was just like a little brother to me. Mike was very much immersed in the Rock ’n’ Roll, Rhythm and Blues and, Jazz of the 1950’s, in developing his guitar style. He did, of course, also listen to comtemporary players and, he was particularily inspired by my dear friend and colleague, Jack deKeyzer, who became Mike’s friend as well and, was always very encouraging to him. Mike and I spent many hours of deep listening to 1950’s music together and, the songs on these recordings were amongst our very favourite numbers to work out on in a live show. When we did our gigs together as “Natural Born Lovers”, we just did these old available songs and, nothing original. We just threw a set list on the floor between us and, we simply winged it for the concert. Had Mike lived, he and I would have definitely moved on to composing together and, doing something original. We were planning that, when he passed away so suddenly. His life was cut short by brain tumours that were not known of until after his passing.

For the concerts here, Mike and I got two pro friends to help us out. The late, rock steady Glenn Kimberley was invited to join us on drums and, Spike Katz brought his double bass and, plugged into one of those gigantic Ampeg bass amps that is the size of a refrigerator. A York University student is playing a Yamaha electric piano on some of these tracks. Mike invited this guy to sit in with us and, I only remember that his first name was Dave. If anyone knows what Dave’s last name is, let me know and, I will give him a credit here. Dave contributes a cool spirit but, unfortunately, some of what he plays is way outside ‘bluesy' notes and, he wanders out of key at times. As James Brown might say ~ what it is, is what it is. Impromptu attempts with a brand new guy at a gig do not always work out perfectly ? Oh well.

As for the performances, here are some comments:

I am the lead singer on “Nervous Breakdown”. Hot on my heels, Mike comes in as the lead voice on “Little Queenie”, with Glenn doing the back-up vocal.

Next, Mike is the lead singer on “I Want You To Be My Baby” and, I am the backing vocalist, answering Mike’s parts as he charges wildly through the song.

Glenn is the singist on “No Money Down” and, on this rare example of Glenn as a lead singer, he delivers big time. Glenn was always so much fun, and, on this number, Glenn growls away, singing Chuck Berry’s incredible lyrics with great authority. Glenn’s totally original approach aptly demonstrates that he too, had spent a lot of time lovingly immersing himself in the music that was the the 1950’s.

Next up, it’s Mike goin’ beserk with “Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll”. Pure mayhem explodes with Mike getting so excited on his lead vocal that he botches a verse early on in the proceedings. This number features me doing all the background vocal things ~ meaning some very zany screaming.

Mike’s considerable accumen for playing the blues at such a young age pours out of him on “Sweet Lil’ Angel”, while I sing the plaintive lead vocal.

This lil’ set of tunes concludes with “C’mon Everybody” and, on that one, I am the featured singer wtih Glenn and Mike on the background vocals.

The recordings were made by a young lady friend of ours who was sitting up front, during the show. She recorded these things on a tiny dictation type cassette machine. I did a lil’ bit of EQ on them in order to present them to you here.

John Mars October 2023

Mike Ardelli 1973~1997 rest in peace
Mike Ardelli 1973~1997 rest in peace
Glenn Kimberley 1964~2015 rest in peace
Glenn Kimberley 1964~2015 rest in peace
Mike Ardelli playing my piano at Cotchford House photo: John Mars
Mike Ardelli playing my piano at Cotchford House photo: John Mars