Monday, February 9, 2009

Pat Dinizio remembers the worst Winnipeg music promotion ever

Pat Dinizio plays Maria Elena, a song he wrote for Buddy Holly's ex-wife.

Pat Dinizio, lead singer of the Smithereens, played Times Change(d) yesterday.

It was a great show and reminder of how awesome a guy standing alone with a guitar can be, and - in the age of MTS Centre - that some of the best shows are still living-room sized.

Like Billy Bragg, Dinizio is also a great storyteller; the music is only half of the fun. One of his best stories last night reminded me of something I'd forgotten: that I'd seen Dinizio and the Smithereens play Les Rendez-Vous back in the early 80s.

Dinizio remembered that the band hadn't even released their LP in Canada yet, so the radio station that was promoting the show (I'm pretty sure it was CITI FM) offered attendees a refund if they "didn't completely love the band" after hearing four songs.

I remember it a bit differently: that you could get your refund within the first 15 minutes; either way, after the first few numbers, everyone started looking at the clock, and the door, to see if anyone would take the bait.

I recall that some people did, but it was nothing like the flood of cheapskates that one might have expected, especially given our reputation as being the cheapest people in Canada.

I'm glad that Dinizio remembered the goofball promotion, pretty fondly, actually, and made me remember it too. The worst Winnipeg music promotion ever?

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