Drummer Gerry Wand has previously written of how his music career commenced in Western Canada, including playing with legendary artists Billy Cowsill and John Witmer, among others and, after joining the band Fosterchild, being part of the backup band for Chuck Berry. He’s also written about a memorable “staredown” encounter with a moody Mitch Ryder, as well as spending ten days, early in his recording career, learning from master drummer Larrie Londin.
Fosterchild was a band considered to have great promise, having been signed to Columbia Records for two albums, and later releasing a third, on Edmonton-based Vera Cruz Records. Gerry has so far written about the recording of the first and third albums, as well as about the breakup of the band.
He has also written about some of his favourite Canadian drummers, as well as conveyed his impressions of legendary singer Kathi McDonald, following her untimely passing.
Here Gerry writes about a song recently written and recorded by Fosterchild band leader Jim Foster, who continued in a life of music, following the breakup of the band. The song is inspired by the memory of a late Fostechild roadie, Billy “Shamrock” Ellis, who died in 2010. Gerry has previously mentioned Billy “Shamrock” Ellis, when discussing Fosterchild’s third album and the band’s breakup. Several band crew members, including Billy, have passed. They are not forgotten. “Hole In The Ocean” is one way that one particular crew member is remembered. Gerry writes as follows:
Every once in a while, a special song is written or a story is told that stands out from the rest. Sadly, at times, it takes a tragic loss to motivate someone to write something that is extra special.
The song “Hole In The Ocean”, from Jim Foster’s new CD, A Sailor’s Advice, is an example of stepping up to the plate and hitting the ball out of the park, when the urge is felt, and not letting that thought or moment pass you by. The inspirations for these songs don’t come around that easily. The song is inspired by the spirit, and memory of Billy “Shamrock” Ellis.
Billy lived on his boat in downtown Vancouver Harbour, and could always be found wherever Jim was playing, still supportive after over 30 years. They were the best of friends.
A very soft and gentle person. He was also one of my go to’s during my time of personal stress and distress.
The CD cover for A Sailor’s Advice shows an image of Billy in the right lens image of Jim’s sunglasses.
With that image, the song needs no other illustration or introduction.