Old Friend

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, second 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. Most recently, he wrote about the later career of Fosterchild band co-founder and band namesake, Jim Foster, as well as Gerry’s earlier history, as a musician in Montreal.

Here, Gerry writes about a renewed relationship with an old friend.

I’ve had the great pleasure of reuniting with some old friends lately, friends who support me, just as much now as they did when I first started out on my musical journey, in the Quebec Town of St. Bruno De Montarville, at the age of fifteen.

That was a long time ago, but the memories remain. Good ones.

My father once told me that you can go through life and meet a lot of people who say they are your friends, but at the end of the day, you can probably count your true friends on one hand. He was right on this point, as he was on so much of his advice.

No, I’m not a Ringo Starr or a Mitch Mitchell, nor did I make millions, much less achieve the enduring fame, but the journey is what counts.

I’ve decided to dust off the cobwebs and do a little playing, after a 25 year time out from playing music.

A time well spent, watching my two sons grow into fine young men, who are both now beginning to chart their own course, in a positive way.

I must thank my old friend and former bandmate Pete Sweetzir for the push off the ledge, to the music space I am in now.
.
One of the last shows that I can remember playing, so many years ago, was with guitar great Dave Vidal and the legendary blues singer John Witmer at the Embassy Ballroom in Vancouver, on a bill with James Cotton Blues Band. We were very good that night; James Cotton knows.

With the help and encouragement of Bob Everett, owner of a very cool vintage drum shop in Calgary, Alberta, Canada called Beat It Music, I’ve been reunited with another old friend.

We traveled all across the country together for many years, playing for thousands of people at times, and sometimes for no more than 10, but it didn’t really matter how many. Of course, playing for thousands was much more fun, but regardless at the size of the crowd, once we locked in, we locked in, and when we did, we played some pretty cool stuff together.

They say we get better with age.

Meet my old friend, Ludwig:

Wand, Gerry Ludwig

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3 Responses to Old Friend

  1. Gerry Wand says:

    Getting back in the saddle, in terms of playing drums again publicly, was made a lot easier with the help of Vernon Wills and Tommy Knowles, of the Vernon Wills Band. Vern was the co-founder of Fosterchild. Tommy was the long-time bassist with Long John Baldry. I’ve known Vern for over thirty years, and met Tommy in the last year, through Vern. I’ll always be grateful for their support.

    none

    (l-r) Tommy Knowles, Gerry Wand, Vernon Wills
    August, 2013

  2. Patricia says:

    Wondering if Gerry Wand might remember the actual date of the gig with the James Cotton Blues band at the Embassy in Vancouver? If nothing else, the year would be great to know. What a great great night it was!!

    Thx
    Patricia

    • Gerry Wand says:

      I’m thinking around 1987, Patricia. It was for six nights, I believe, and by the end of the week there was a friendly little battle of the bands going on. We fired up Cotton’s band and they returned the favor. I think that was our first gig as well, just offered to us a week or two before. We barely had enough songs for the night.

      Thanks for your interest,
      Gerry Wand

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