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Where Are They Now?
“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” – Kurt Vonnegut
In putting together a story about any group of closely-knit musicians who worked during the tumultuous late 60’s and early 70’s, there are a number of common factors that are nearly always found amongst the stories – someone lost through drug or alcohol-induced mishap or someone finally succumbing to that which surrounds the lifestyle that is so often associated with rock music.  And although the two dozen or so people who were part of the Brass Union are not without those few who were ‘lost to us much too soon’, seemingly without exception, the ‘Where Are They Now’ part of the Brass Union story is one large list of personal success stories.  The gamut of the stories of this band covers doctors, lawyers, artists, technical wizards, hi-tech people, personal business owners and yes, folks like myself who are still out there on the weekends playing Chicago Transit and James Brown music to anyone who’ll still listen. Recently, a couple of Brass Union alumni got together – hadn’t seen each other in 40 years or so – and the occasion was that one’s band was playing at the grand opening of the other’s world-class medical facility.  As they sat talking after the show, in an extremely opulent personal motor coach (I might add), conversation naturally flowed toward the career, accomplishments and personal successes of what is now one of Canada’s leading cardiologists.  Came the reply back to a man who now carries the job title of ‘working musician’:  “Don’t ever underestimate the worth of your profession as a musician, the good it does for people to hear your band play, the power of good and healing in music.  We both heal, but we do it in different ways.” The Brass Union, in their six-year existence, had a total of 19 musicians, two managers and five road crew.  As much as I have been able to find everyone after 40 years, this is their story:
Vuk Kovinich was the original lead guitarist for Brass Union and one of the Aldershot High School group that put the original band together. "During the mid-60’s", recalled Vuk, "we were students at Aldershot High School. Dave Balan and I played in various bands during that time – mostly together. In 1966, because of an act we wanted to put on for the school’s annual Christmas Show, a few of us formed a band called ‘The Fourth Hyrd'.  Probably because there were 14 people in the band, and because it was the only 'rock' presentation, it turned out to be somewhat of a hit with our fellow students. We were asked to play at the Christmas dance that night. We had a repertoire of 3 or 4 songs, which worked out quite well. The trick was to drag the songs out as long as we could and mix the order in which we played them. The song that went over the best was 'Louie, Louie' by the Kingsmen. This was amazing because we didn’t know the words. No one cared. Paul thinks we also played a serious rendition of 'Land of 1000 Dances'.  We began to practice over the Christmas holidays and this exercise kind of weeded out the players who weren’t really interested in more than the Christmas Show." By the spring of 1967, Vuk graduated from Aldershot High School and his family decided to move out of the area to Cornwall, Ontario.  Vuk gave his notice to the band and stayed on until later in the fall of the same year.  “My last gig was at Burlington Central High School”, he said recently.  After he arrived in Cornwall, he put together another band called the 9th Street Union, a 9-piece horn band which was, in his own words, nearly the same thing as the Brass Union.  He stayed with that for a few years until he went off to college. College for Vuk was first, St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, where he studied Marketing.  Following that, he attended Ottawa University, getting first a B.A., then continuing on to graduate from the Law Academy.  Today, Vuk still lives in Cornwall with his wife Germaine of 37 years, and has the private law practice of “Arthur, Kovanich, Barristers & Solicitors”.  Most of his work these days is as the prosecuting attorney working with the Akwesasne Native Tribe.  Germaine and Vuk have three grown children:  a daughter, Lana, a dental hygienist;  an oldest son, Vladi, in the field of labour;  and a youngest son, Nik, who’s currently working on his biology doctorate.  When I asked Vuk about his retirement plans, his reply was simple:  “Nope.  If you find a job you like, you’ll never work another day in your life.” Of course, the last question I had for Vuk was if he still played his guitar at all.  “After the 9th Street Union Band broke up and I went off to school, I didn’t play for nearly 20 years.  Then a group of people from church wanted to put some musicians together and I got back into it ‘big time’.  It was mostly church stuff, but you know, when you’re at home, you don’t do church stuff”, he said, with a laugh. “I did that until about five years ago.  I’ve got all my guitars and all my keyboards still, and they’re all set up in what I call my music room.  It’s like riding a bike, you know.  Once it’s in your blood, it never leaves you.” Webmaster’s Note:  Sadly, while attending his niece’s wedding reception in Alexandria, ON, Vuk Kovinich suffered a fatal heart attack and passed away on July 21, 2012.  He was 64.  "He was the heart of our family. We are a really tight-knit family. We were brought up that way and he instilled those values in us," said his daughter Lana.  "He was our rock ... I knew that he knew a lot of people, but I had no idea how many lives he had touched. “ Vuk will be truly missed by all those who knew him, and especially us, the members of his band.
Vuk Kovinich Lead Guitar
Dave Goodrow was the band’s first bass player and another member of the original Aldershot High School group.  As Vuk recalls:  “Dave Balan and I were becoming interested in the music emerging on the pop-charts – rhythm & blues from the likes of Wilson Picket, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Otis Redding, etc. They usually had a heavy brass influence in their bands.  At the time, I was in the Aldershot concert band. We thought we could import some of our friends from the band. So, Darrell (Shotgun P. Webs) Nameth (tenor sax), Paul Goodrow (trombone), Cliff Hunt (trumpet) and Bill Magee (trumpet) became our brass section. We still needed a bass and rhythm guitar, though. Paul indicated that his brother, Dave Goodrow (15 years old, at the time), was exceptionally musically-inclined and that he could probably learn to play simple progressions well enough to get us started.  He did and, of course, got better as time went on.” Dave Goodrow remembers:  “The original Christmas production had 14 people in it, with lots of people playing different things, but they didn’t have a bass player.  I played piano at the time and knew guitar chording.  I just popped in one day and innocently said: ‘Well, I’ll play the bass’.  They replied: ‘OK, you’re the bass player.’  So I went out and found a $5 hollow-body bass guitar.  When we played at the Battle of the Bands later on in the year, a local music store supplied the equipment and I was given a Fender bass guitar to play for the first time.  It was such a difference from my $5 guitar.  Gee, I don’t have to press hard to play it.” Dave stayed with the band until the end of the school year, when he graduated Grade 13.  And with a little ‘urging’ from his parents, he was faced with a decision on whether to stick with his other interest of playing football or playing the bass guitar.  “I was a much better football player than I was a bass player, so the decision was easily made, and I left the band”. After high school, Dave began taking mathematics at Waterloo University, but only stayed for two years.  “I was very young and really not ready for university”, he said, recently.  So he left Waterloo, took some time off school, and picked up a job at the Valecrest Farm in Freelton – a local horse- breeding farm.  “I always knew I’d go back to school and after a couple of years working there, I said: Why don’t I go back to school and become a veterinarian?”  Five years later, Dave graduated from Guelph University with a BSc in Veterinary Medicine and immediately opened his own practice, specializing in horses – “for better or worse”, he said with a laugh – which he continues to do to this day. Today, Dave and his wife Gwen (of 14 years) live on their 75-acre farm, the Irish Creek Equine Clinic, in the beautiful Puslinch area of Southern Ontario.  He has a business office in downtown Campbellville, a standard-bred race horse clinic built on the farm and yet another clinic at a very large nearby 240-horse training centre.  His other interest, football, continued on to the Burlington Braves of the Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) and the eastern divisional championships two years in succession, then as an involvement in provincial rugby – first as a player, then as one of the top referees in the province, then managing a top division club, and now as President of the Brantford Rugby Association.  His wife Gwen is a professional Human Infertility Specialist, with 18 years of post-secondary education, working in nearby, Mississauga.  With the farm, the two clinics, his involvement with provincial rugby, Dave has a full life, indeed.  “I stopped playing my bass when I left the band, continued on playing the piano for about 15 years after that, but haven’t played much since.  I missed it for a while, but today there just isn’t the time.”  Dave has ‘slow down’ plans for the near future, but no thoughts of retirement from doing what he so enjoys.
Dave Goodrow  Bass Guitar
Bill Magee was one of the original four-piece ‘horn section’, recruited from the Aldershot High School band – the others being:  Darrell Nameth, Cliff Hunt and Paul Goodrow.  He stayed with the Brass Union, through 1967 until school was finished in ’68, when he decided to leave the band to continue on in school.  “It was a difficult decision for me”, he told me recently.. “At that time, the guys were wanting to go full-time into the music business, and I decided, that I needed to finish my education in order to get a flying job. Time wouldn't allow both, so I left the band to go to McMaster University and complete a B.A. in Geography.” Bill’s other big interest during his younger years was flying airplanes.  “I started flying when I was sixteen, just doing it privately”, he told me.  “I got my pilot’s license then went on from there to get my instructor’s license.”  By the time he’d finished at McMaster, Bill landed a flying job with Air Canada (pun intended, of course) working first out of Montreal, then Toronto, where he flew commercial airplanes for about 15 years. By the mid 80’s, Bill moved away from the Southern Ontario area to be closer to his son, who now lived in Vancouver, settling first in White Rock, B.C.  He stayed there for 10 years before finally moving to Courtenay on Vancouver Island, where he and his wife, Diane, live today.  Bill has three children:  Matthew, Michelle and Alex. “For the last 10 years of my flying career, I was flying mainly to Europe, and Asia. After 33 years of pushing heavy metal around the world, I took an early retirement package and left the airline in 2004.”  I asked Bill about his music, if he still played.  “It’s hard to play trumpet on your own.  After the band, I was busy with school, then my career, and playing the trumpet just faded away.  There is a fairly active music scene here in Courtenay.  I haven't played since I left the band, but I still like to go out for a few cool ones and listen to the entertainment.” Today, Bill and Diane are happily enjoying their retirement years on the beautiful British Columbia coast.  “My wife and I are into motorcycles, and have taken several trips up and down the west coast. I also enjoy the outdoors here. Fly fishing, trap shooting and photography occupy some of my time, as well as fixing up the older house that we are living in.” Yes Bill, it sounds as if life has been good.
Bill Magee Trumpet
Dave Baylis joined the band late in 1967, replacing Dave Goodrow on bass guitar, who had returned to school.  To say that Dave added ‘pure slapstick comedy’ to the band (as is stated in the band promotion of the time) could almost be called an understatement. Cliff Hunt recalls:  “What I remember about Dave is that he was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.  He and Bruce Wilson were the band’s comedy team.  We would get in the van to go to a gig and these two would start, and it was like ‘Second City’.  They would ‘jam’ on an idea.  They’d start it up, one time as farmers, the next, as mechanics, and we’d drive for hours while these two would put on these ‘personas’.  They’d play off each other, improvising, everything done spur of moment, and this would go on for an entire two-hour road trip.  It was unbelievable to watch and we were sick by the time we got to the show because we couldn’t stop laughing.  And that’s the most important thing he brought into the band.  He had an amazing personality.” Cliff went on:  “He and Bruce were in the same class at school, a few years younger than us older guys, and they generally sat together at the back of the van and they’d just ‘go off’.  And it got to the point where we’d start them off – we’d think of a scenario and get them going and you didn’t have to listen to the radio or anything all the way to the gig.  It was just total entertainment all the way.”  Bruce Wilson remembers:  “It was all ad-lib, situational humour – whatever the situation we were in, we’d try to have some fun by doing something with it. I talked with Bill Hughes about Dave, recently:  “Dave was a caricature of a comedy guy.  He was hilarious.  Whenever you needed a laugh, you’d just turn to Dave Baylis and he always had something that fit the moment.  He was a very kind person, and his comedy was never done at someone else’s expense.  He didn’t make fun of others, but instead would take a situation and find something humourous about it.  But he was a bit of a dichotomy as a person – outgoing and funny with the band, but as a person he was very private.  Once the show was over and we dropped him off at home, I didn’t know a thing about him until we picked him up for next practice.” Most of the band members could tell me very little about Dave on a personal level.  After he’d been in the band a few years, he was sitting at his dinner table one night and his mother noticed a lump in his throat.  Shortly after, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease (cancer of the lymph nodes).  He never mentioned this to anyone in the band, but he did leave the band to receive full treatment for his disease.  Bill Hughes recalls:  “None of us knew why Dave left the band.  We all found out ‘after the fact’ about his medical problems.  Unlike some other people, when Dave left the band, he left the band and we never saw him again.  He didn’t come out to the shows or any of the parties.  He never tried to maintain the ‘connection’, that I can recall.” Information about Dave after his band years is very sketchy.  I do know that he did have an operation to remove his lymph glands shortly after leaving the band.  As Terri Anders recalls:  “I remember him coming to our house one night to tell us that he had cancer, saying how he felt about it all. When I hugged him, he broke down and said that I was the first person to do that. It seems that all of his friends had kept away from him, thinking the cancer was catching!  In those days, there was a lot of ignorance regarding the disease.” Dave’s cancer did go into remission for many years and he went on to study at McGill University and eventually enter the field of medical prosthetics.  Some sources have told me that he went to Vancouver for a while, and others have him working in the Hamilton area in his chosen profession. Unfortunately, about 10 or 15 years ago, Dave’s cancer returned and he lost his battle with it.  But the memory of Dave Baylis and the remarkable person that he was stays with all of us to this day.
Dave Baylis Bass Guitar
I sat and talked with Dick Citroen last summer for a while in his backyard, and as he was when I talked to him just recently to gather this information, he was a wealth of stories and ideas.  Even 40 years after he worked with Brass Union and nearly two decades after he’s officially retired, he’s still the same man he was when he took a group of high-school kids and instilled stage presence and professionalism into their musical lives. Dick linked up with the band about half-way through their first year, and stayed for about two years.  Under his tenure, the band were fitted with their ‘stage clothes’:  searsucker jackets (one white, one black), with matching pants and shirts.  The staging was built:  rather unique (for the time) curtained, elevated platforms housing the four horn players and the 3-piece rhythm section, which went with the band to every show.  During this time, the band entered a number of “Battle of the Bands” contests and won every one of them.  Promotional ‘packages’ were put together, with band pictures, bios, business cards and press releases.  When the band opened for Del Shannon (their first ‘paying’ gig), Dick made sure that the Brass Union had their own ‘billing’ on the poster – even stipulating the size of print.  Different ideas of what to do when on stage and off, getting proper vocal training and generally, how to compete in the rather competitive world of entertainment were all brought to the band’s attention by Dick.  After two years had passed, the role of Brass Union manager had become more that of a booking agent – which had never interested Dick – so he and band parted ways. Before, during and following his work with the Brass Union, Dick has always been active in the entertainment industry in a managerial capacity.  Within a few years after leaving the Brass Union, he opened his own agency, Four Arts Productions – among its credits being the Canadian representation for NEMS, the British agency that covered most of the British bands crossing the pond, including the Beatles.  Four Arts worked with agencies in Los Angeles and in Canada 'packaging' a number of middle-of-the-road variety shows and tours – the Pig & Whistle Show, the River End, Diamond L’il, Vera Lynn’s cross-Canada tour, etc.  He stayed in this business for a number of years, before finally leaving the entertainment industry to finish out his career in different sales and managerial capacities.  Dick has now been retired for number of years and still resides in the Hamilton area with his wife, Sandra.  He has two daughters and a son who’s appropriately in record production. Dick now is enjoying his retirement years, caring for his half-acre garden, drinking good wine and listening to a lot of music (in his own words).  When I visited him last summer, the speakers were on his back patio, with a constant flow of some excellent big band jazz filling our talk.  As I commiserated (somewhat) at the state of the entertainment business today, we had a great in-depth talk as he gave me his ideas on how to fix the various aspects of the business.  Yes, in forty years, Dick Citroen is now long- retired, many years out of the entertainment business, but all his ideas are still there.  “Maybe I’ll do something about it all, some day ... when they make me King of Canada”, he said, with a laugh.
Dick Citroen Manager
Dave Balan was the band’s first drummer and one of the main members of that first Hulse’s Heroes Christmas show.  By the time of that 1966 show, he could be called a ‘seasoned’ band member, as he’d already been part of two other bands:  the Malibus (with Johnnie Lovesin) and Little Brutus & the Assassins.  Dave stayed with the band until the school year was over in 1969, when the parental pressures that, I suppose, we all felt to some degree during those days forced him to make a decision.  In a nutshell, the Brass Union went looking for a new drummer and Dave was able to still remain living ‘at home’.  But Dave has no regrets:  “Because of that, and what happened ‘after the fact’, I was able to work in the [recording] studio, and those were great years for me.” Dave has stayed involved with music, either playing it or working with it, his entire life.  After he left the band, he worked in one of the larger advertising agencies in Toronto for a while, starting in the mail room and working his way up to Network Television Supervisor.  But music was where Dave’s interest lied and after a few years in advertising, he used some of his business connections and got a gig working for RCA Studios.  “I had totally forgotten that we [the Brass Union] had recorded our first demo there and was reminded of it when I found the tape in the vault.  When I went to RCA”, he continued, “the only thing I knew about recording was ‘erase, playback and record’.”  But 15 years later, his resume spanned recording engineer work at RCA (which later became McClear Place Studios) and a number of freelancing sessions at Manta, Sounds Interchange and many other studios. “I did a lot of, and quite the variety of, recording sessions. I also designed and built the first version of Chalet Studios near Uxbridge and ThinkMusic studios in Toronto,"  he told me, recently.  Dave also organized and taught the first audio recording course at the Trebas Institute in Toronto, as well as a number of varied engineering projects:  a Bill Cosby production at Hamilton Place, the sound track to an Elke Sommer movie, an Oscar Peterson album, to name just a few. These days, Dave has run full circle and is now working in marketing for a Digital Imaging company in the new McMaster University Innovation Park in Hamilton.  He still lives in the Burlington area, just a few miles from Aldershot High School and has one 27-year-old daughter, Jessie, who works for a Toronto communications agency.  Musically, Dave is still playing around every week – although his original Rogers drums (which he still has) have been replaced (mostly) by a ’67 Custom Fender Telecaster guitar.  “After the Brass Union, I didn’t have any ‘need’ to play drums, and after I started playing in jam sessions, I decided that they were too much trouble.”  Dave’s now jamming regularly every week with a group of up to ten people and has been doing so for over 20 years – plus the odd Open Mic, office jam or party.  I ran into Dave indirectly last summer in a studio where I was recording some horn parts for another Brass Union alumnus.  He’d been in a while earlier, laying down some drum tracks. As you can see, Dave’s doing very well for himself, still fully involved with music and still doing occasional audio work (studio, live, acoustic consulting) on top of his regular job in marketing and his jam session/band stuff.  "It was a formidable time in our lives and in the music industry and its history, and to be part of it in the Brass Union was great."
Dave Balan Drums
Mike Thornton joined the band in 1969, replacing Dave Baylis on bass guitar and was a member until early 1971.  At the time, the band had decided that they were going to go ‘full-time’ as musicians and Mike, with a full-time job as an apprentice machinist and an avid fishing hobby, just couldn’t give the time needed for the band, and the decision was made.  I talked with Mike recently, and in his a laid-back style that I still remember from last seeing him forty years ago, he said:  “That’s life.  Things happen ... and that’s OK.” After the band, Mike went on to finish his Machinist Apprenticeship then worked in the industry at Hamilton giants like Dofasco and Stelco for 40 years, until recently semi-retiring.  For the past twenty-five years, Mike has also been found at a number of the Mohawk College campuses in the Mechanical Technology department, working on their machines, both in repair, maintenance and taking on teaching assignments.  Even though ‘officially’ retiring a few years ago, he still ‘keeps his hand’ in his chosen profession, filling in for friends in their shops when needed. As far as his music is concerned, Mike could be called a career working musician – carrying a ‘day job’ through the week, practicing one weeknight a week and playing gigs on the weekends.  “I’ve never stopped playing”, he said.  “After the Brass Union, I linked up with Vehicle [another well-known Hamilton band] for a while, then spent about 15 years with another local group, ‘the Midnights’.  I then went on to other bands: country bands, rock bands, dance bands – I’ve always continued to do music.”  Mike’s current project is a five-piece jazz group called ‘The Empire Jazz Quintet’, who play semi-regularly in the Hamilton/Cambridge/Cayuga areas.  Forty years later, the music is alive and well in Mike Thornton. On a more personal level, Mike has a daughter Georgia, a son, Cole, two grand-children and still lives on Hamilton Mountain with Carolyn, his wife of three years.  As you can see, Mike is still happily involved with his main hobby, fishing – “One of my catches from Long Point last summer”, he said.  Also, Mike is heavily involved with a number of activities in his church “Mainly in the “Outreach” areas”, he said.  “I run all the youth dances, supply the music – on a DJ level, since I know the music.  Also, we have a large social club that always has live entertainment of some type – skits, that kind of thing.  My wife, Carolyn, plays the piano, so we’re always involved with things like that.” Mike’s had a full life, is thoroughly enjoying his retirement, and is still fully involved with his music – just like he was when I last knew him, forty years ago.
Mike Thornton Bass Guitar
Paul Goodrow was the original trombone player and the only member of the Brass Union to be in the band twice.  He was one of the four original horn players recruited from the Aldershot High School band after the 1966 Christmas show.  Paul, like his brother Dave (above) was getting a fair amount of parental pressure about the idea of becoming ‘full-time musicians’, so as he started his final year of high school in the fall of 1967, he made the decision to leave the band.  He returned briefly a few years later, after graduating high school and entering the McMaster business program, but only stayed a bit less than a year.  “I was restless with school, so I took a two-year leave, and the band was one of the things that I did.” Paul did return to McMaster University and studied Commerce.  He graduated with a BComm in the mid 70’s and by the early 80’s he had his MBA.  During the 80’s, Paul worked in corporate banking for the Bank of Nova Scotia.  By the early 90’s, Paul left the bank to establish his own business.  “I was always more entrepreneurial than the bank, especially in the notion of ‘time’.  Where the bank would suggest to do something in two years, I would think ‘why not do it in two days?’  So I left and established my own Corporate Finance and Corporate Development Consulting Business.”  Over the years, his work has involved corporate finance consulting with small brokerage firms, involvement with early stage public companies and for the last ten years his focus has been in the renewable energy industry.  And in this latter focus, Paul has recently formed his own development company, concentrating on strategic development in the renewable energy industry.  “Over the years, it’s been less banking and finance and more working with inventors and developers to position their companies so that investors will find them attractive.”  I will admit, it was quite fascinating talking to Paul (a fellow trombone player) about his corporate life – something of which I know very little.  As Paul himself commented:  “It’s interesting.  It’s creative.  No one year is the same as any other.”  Today, Paul has moved away completely from the ‘consulting’ aspect and is devoting his efforts solely to his new project development company:  Carbon Cycle Energy.  “We’re currently in the process of developing a number of projects in Canada and the U.S. in the renewable energy field.”  I asked Paul about retirement plans and he said:  “Not in the foreseeable future.  I’m having too much fun.” Paul and Carol, his wife of 33 years, have one 28-year-old son and still live in the Burlington, Ontario area.  I asked Paul whether he still played his trombone at all.  “I haven’t played since I busted my lip playing football.”   He does admit that he misses it though, but with his wife singing with (and as a founding member of) the John Laing Singers – a world-class chamber choir – he does still get a great deal of music in his life.  “It’s funny,” said Paul, “how the era of the band affected people.  I was talking to a friend recently, someone very much into the classical music field, and it came out in conversation that I once played in the Brass Union.  To see the change in her personality when I mentioned this, and listen to the story she related of ‘sneaking out’ one night to go hear the band as a teen – it was quite amazing, really.  And although we’ve all grown up and gone on to build full and interesting lives, the band still has its fans.  Even now, looking back through the filters of four decades, careers, families and complete life changes to when the Brass Union was out playing its music, those times still hold a special place in our memories." That they do, Paul.
Paul Goodrow Trombone
Dave Thrasher is the Brass Union member who’s arguably logged the most miles into his personal life – from the Hamilton/Burlington area, to Vancouver, back to Toronto, to New York City, then to the British Virgin Islands, and finally, to Thailand where he resides today.  Researching his professional life has certainly not been just a simple phonecall. Dave left the band in 1971 to study animation at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.  He began work immediately after college with the National Film Board and was one of the first artists to work for Nelvana Ltd. – one of Canada’s largest animation companies for many years.  Through his work with Nelvana, he traveled to the Orient a number of times, doing ‘series direction’ work for projects that they’d acquired from Lucasfilm.  He then went to Vancouver for a few years, came back to Nelvana, then moved to New York City to work for Rankin Bass.  “That was the beginning of my ‘storyboard’ days that would last for 15 years,” he said, recently.  The next stop for Dave was the British Virgin Islands, a new life, a new career, and further development of his own talents as a professional artist.  Much of his work (and life) there can be found on-line and in his Facebook account so I’ll not repeat it all here.  But in a nutshell, he opened his own Art Gallery on the Islands – many of the paintings can be found on this site – and put on regular shows with prominent artists like David Carson & Fredrica Craig.  And from the Islands, he has recently moved to Thailand with his wife Anne, where he lives today.  Dave has three sons:  Sunny, age 37 who works in Canada at Chorus Television; and two younger sons, Damian, age 11 and Ariel, age 10 who live with their mother in the Virgin Islands. Like he was during his Brass Union days, when he was known as much for his dancing ability as he was for his vocalist/front man skills, Dave’s life has been two-fold.  On top of an extremely varied career in the artistic world -- working as an animator, layout and animation directors, a storyboard artist, developing his personal artistic career and now teaching in Thailand – Dave has also stayed very active with his musical interests, stepping on stage or working with the local musicians everywhere he’s gone.  He started playing the blues harp (harmonica) right after the Brass Union and has now been at it for the last 37 years.  That together with his singing, it has had him working with musicians like:  Keith Richards, Avashai Cohen, Kacey Cubero, The Belairs, Reverand Raven, Eric Stone, Jeff Ross, Buddy Cage, Cyro Baptista and Maxx Cabello Jr., just to name a few.  He sent me a recording of some of his recent work and I must admit, it was excellent, with a very solid groove to it.  While in Seoul during his early years he played with musicians on the army base.  He played in a number of clubs in New York including the Dan Lynch Blues Bar, and on the Islands he landed a steady gig with Ruben Chinnery (who is a real institution there) – as well as sitting in with many of the musicians as they passed through the area. Everything in Dave’s story is a near equal blend of his first love, art, and his second love, music.  He’s now teaching English and Art in Thailand (see picture to the right), where he lives with his wife Anne.   “Music has always been a driving force for me which I can’t live without.  But I am a visual artist at heart.  I have been drawing since before I can remember and have always known that I would wind up doing something in art.  So working in bands when I was young was a great adventure into a related side of myself that will always remain my favourite hobby.  Because let's face it, once you've been bitten by the stage thing, it never lets you go.” Aaaahh yes, Dave – words that we all understand very well.
David Thrasher Vocals
Herb Lock came on board the Brass Union later in 1968 after Dick Citroen left the band.  “Herb was a local Hamilton booking agent”, recalls Cliff Hunt.  “We needed a guy to start booking the band and he became our exclusive agent.  He was heavy into booking the high schools, and through Herb, we played every high school from Kingston to Windsor [Ontario].  He always made sure we were playing somewhere.”  Herb stayed with the Brass Union, booking them through his agency, Willock Enterprises, until the band broke up in 1972. Herb started his booking agency with a partner in 1965, booking a few of the top local bands like the Reefers, the Rising Sons, Bobby Washington, The Roots of All Evil (which became Mandrigal, then the Smyle), Danny Lanois’ first band, to name just a few.  “Our early focus was on the excellent groups that were coming out of the Hamilton area.  And we represented them because people would come to us looking to talk to someone a little older than the kids in the bands.  That’s what got us started and it grew from there.  And a few years later, the Brass Union came to us, looking for personal representation.” I talked to Herb recently, trying to find a bit about what he’s been up to since his days with the band.  “After the band broke up, I stayed with my agency for quite a while, expanding to work with many of the top Canadian bands – Crowbar, King Biscuit Boy, Lighthouse, Copper Penny, Major Hoople’s, Vehicle, Brave Belt (which eventually became Bachman Turner Overdrive), the Guess Who (before they made it)”, he said, with a laugh, “and the Ike & Tina Turner  Revue when they came up into Canada.  You guys know about my rock side, but I also booked weddings, conventions and a number of the big dance bands in the area, like the Jimmy Begg Orchestra and Darcy Wickens.  I did this right up until the late 1990’s.”  But he did stress that “I only booked what I liked and what I liked was mostly rock and roll.  And it still is.”  It should be noted too that all during this time, Herb carried a ‘day job’ at Stelco, Hamilton in the Metallurgy department, retiring from that in the early 1990’s.  “Like a lot of the guys that are in bands today,” he said, “I worked during the day and did my music work at night.” Herb and his wife Jane have just recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary (picture below).  They still live in the Hamilton area and have four sons:  Stephen who was lost in a car accident many years ago;  Michael, who works for the internet giant, Google;  Russell, who’s G.M. of a local electrical company;  and Colin who works with a computer company out of Toronto.  Herb and Jane, who was a school-teacher for her entire working career, also have 5 grand- children:  two living locally, and three living in California. On top of his obviously-full personal life, running his booking agency and working a steady job at Stelco, Herb has always been active in his community.  “For years, I was involved in hockey and baseball – chairman of the World T-Ball Championship.  I sat on Ancaster [Ontario} city council and even got involved with an invention that we never got off the ground.”  Today, he’s still out at all the local hockey and baseball games, spends a lot of time swimming up at his cottage and generally is enjoying his retirement years. I ran into Herb a few years back at a fund-raising benefit for the King Biscuit Boy foundation.  It was non-stop top-level bands all night, and there was Herb off in a corner, smiling, enjoying the music.  I made an opening joke about him being out drumming up some business for himself, and he replied:  “No, I retired from that long ago.  I just like coming out seeing the guys, seeing what they’re up to now.  It’s just an enjoyable night out for me.” Herb Lock was a little different than most in his profession.  He wasn’t just the Brass Union’s booking agent.  He was also a friend.
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