Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Essentials - The Legacy Lives On

Update June 2017:  May you rest in peace our dear friend, fellow musician and bandmate Mick Lynes (September 18, 1953 - April 03, 2017).  You were loved and respected by all who knew you!  

Montreal funeral mass and burial for good friend, fellow musician and bandmate Mick Lynes, who passed away in London, England on April 3, 2017, to be held on June 21, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. at the Notre Dame des Neiges Chapel on the Hill, 4601 Chemin-de-la-Cote des Neiges.  Tel: (514) 735-1361.

Rick, Vava and Mick
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1980


MICK LYNES - On guitar, vocals, bass guitar and fridge is Mick Lynes, who was born in the working class neighborhood of Montreal's Park Extension.  He possessed and early ability in art, winning a contest that placed him in an upper class summer camp two weeks.  The music of The Byrds and The Who figure prominently as early influences.  Through the melting pot of Europeans that made up the vast majority of the schools Mick attended, he developed a taste for clothes-consciousness including a love of Tamla Motown.  Maintaining an avid musical interest, he spent much time in various art schools before seriously taking the plunge into music full time.  At the moment, Mick has composed upwards to fifty songs, eighteen of which are included in the band's repertoire.  Hoeg, Herzog, Polish and Italian foods (or anything edible for that matter!), Tchaikovsky, Impressionism and the Sex Pistols, turn Mick on and off and on again.

VAVA VOL - Keyboard wizardy, vocals and shopping mainly interest Vava who, though born in the big-time town of Montreal, was spirited away at the very ripe age of one.  She attempted to liven a local music scene with her band, playing covers of the Stones, Roxy Music and Bowie interspersed with her original tunes.  A persistent, non-conformist, Vava sported a forest-green V-brush cut at that time (1976) when such things were not yet considered "très chic".  She has a lust for life which comes through in her original songs, which number eleven at last count.  The song topics are by no means unvaried, as are evidenced by some of the titles: "Station 10", "Fantasy in E" and "Shopping".  She has an interest in theatre, dance, Jah Wobble, enjoys reading Anaïs Nin, possesses and undying devotion to Lou Reed, a love of New York City and Munich and an extreme dislike for mediocrity of all sorts. Vava is the band's business manager, ensuring all contracts are signed and all funds are promptly collected after the gig.  The Toronto Royal Conservatory was graced with her presence during nine years of her adolescent life, enabling her to strike up to ten notes on the keyboard at any given time.

RICHARD LACOSTE - As percussion engineer, drum synthesizer and imported beer tasting expert, we have Richard Lacoste ("Rick"), born and raised in the very French working-class district of Côte St-Paul.  From the age of sixteen, Rick has played in various bands, the first serious of which was called "Narcisse", combining the French language with punk sensibilities, revolutionary politics and a flair for theatrics.  Alan Lord's "Vex" followed and achieved considerable publicity (full page newspaper article, Montreal Star), but dissolved following a gig opening for the B-52s.  The music and style of the Rolling Stones, the Who and Iggy Pop are cited as influences.  In 1980, Mick Lynes joined forces in the studio with Rick to film a video performance of "Neurotic Paranoia", a song written and performed by Charles Foucrault, who now fronts his own band, "Popstress".  Rick is co-songwriter of two songs performed by popular Quebecois rock singer, Lucien Francoeur, one of which, "Chocs Électriques", is currently a hit in France.  While visiting Europe in 1975-1976, he lived for several months with a gant of musicians, who eventually became "Téléphone", one of France's top bands today.  Rick has a vivid interest in his girlfriend, politics, film, French gastronomie and of course, hockey.

ANTHONY CHRUMKA and CARLOS SORIA - Unfortunately, we do not have any 1980 bios for Tony or Carlos in our archives.  We can confirm, however, that Tony was lead singer and first bassist for the band and shortly after his departure, Carlos stepped in on bass as his replacement.

The Essentials with Tony Chrumka
at Glace

The Essentials with Carlos Soria
Station 10

Mick, Rick and Vava
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - 1980

"THE ESSENTIALS - GIGGING" - Born in late July 1980, The Essentials evolved into the present trio after two changes, each in the bass guitar department of the group.  After performing in a number of "boîtes" in the downtown Montreal area, The Essentials successfully developed their particular sound and following, their style appealing to all sorts of humans.

March 1981 Press Release for The Essentials
at the Montreal Velodrome, Salon de la Jeunesse - 1981

Being staunch believers of the vital chemistry of stage presence and simple professionalism, the group assaults their public with bright musical compositions, upbeat tempotic rhythms and hypnotizing "spectacles de danse".

At Tatou - 1981

The Essentials' career bloomed in October of 1980 "par pur hazard".  After a surprisingly positive reaction to them at Glace the evenings of October 20 and 21, 1980, the group was engaged for a return performance at the club the following  month.  Pictures of that first show are included in the press kit. 

Rick, Vava and Mick at
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - 1980

An evening of horrific Hallowe'ening followed the 1st of November at the Loyola Campus of Concordia University to an eager crowd of 250 people.  A two-evening performance was then schedule at Blues, a small, intimate and very special club.  The Essentials were a hit at Blues, which later became a venue for local talent.  The group was then engaged for five days running at a popular west end pub, Station 10, where their fans faithfully followed them.  A quick one night stint followed on December 27th, at the now-defunct Music Machine beer hall on Prince-Arthur to a capacity crowd of 500.

Music Machine Hand Flyer

A small one month break to work on new material was required and The Essentials returned to Blues for two shows on February 1st and 2nd, 1981.  Reggie's Pub was the place to be in Montreal to catch The Essentials at their very best.  They received an overwhelming response from the crowd of 250 people, who recalled them to the stage twice for encores.  See both newspaper clippings.  Then back to Station 10 for one evening on February 21st.

Mick rehearsing at our local on St-Laurent Blvd. - 1980

Mick at Reggie's

Alexander Langshur Critiques the show

Two shows in April at 2011 St-Laurent proved successful, as did a three night engagement at Le Bistrot in Beloeil.

All in all, The Essentials have well-proven their fastidiousness by their enthusiastic and professional approach to the wonderful world of entertainment.  With all three musicians constantly composing, The Essentials are certainly not lacking in creativity and new material.

With special guest Ghosts at Club Mirage

In early spring, CKGM's Too Tall ran a twenty minute special on The Essentials, featuring two of their numerous hits, "Can't Afford" and "You're Too Rude, on his night show Made in Canada.  Too Tall was impressed with the group's musicality and individuality. 


Monologuing It
Black and White
You're So Straight
Sangsu (You're Such a Bloodsucker)
Whispered and Spoken
Youth In Russia
Can't Afford
Dance Like This
Face To Face
Fantasy In "E"
Takes a Lot to Know Me
Ten by Eighteen
Taking Photographs
Our Way
La Rage (Rabies)
The Darkness
Call to Call
Say It Again
Death of a Dress

Flyer for Club Mirage 2-night gig - 1981

1981 Press Release - Studio One
Studio One Hand Flyer

THE ESSENTIALS:  All you victims of crime;  victims of lust; Studio One tonight is a definite must.

THE ESSENTIALS:  Assaulting your  nerves and senses; become a part of the static tension.

THE STUDIO:  Colors splashing on the video; Systematically: Remote; Control.

(Mirage - Press Release August 18, 1981)

Press Release Club Mirage

Mick, Vava, Rich & Carlos in the park
Behind Place des Arts - 1980

Flyer for 3-night gig at Club Mirage  -1981

Thanks to Mick Lynes for sharing these awesome archives and keeping our legacy alive and kickin'!

© The Essentials 1980.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Eddy Grant the Barefoot Warrior

Edmond Montague "Eddy" Grant (born 5 March 1948) is a Guyanese British musician. He was a founding member of The Equals, one of Britain's first racially integrated pop groups.  He is also known for a successful solo career that includes the platinum single “Electric Avenue”. The AllMusic journalist Jo-Ann Greene noted: "Eddy Grant stands among an elite group of artists as one who has not just merely moved successfully across the musical spectrum, but has actually been at the forefront of genres and even created one of his own. From pop star to reggae radical, musical entrepreneur to the inventor of ringbang, the artist has cut a swathe through the world of music and made it his own. Grant was born in Plaisance, British Guiana. When he was a young boy, his parents emigrated to London, England, where he settled. He lived in Kentish Town and Grant had his first number one hit in 1968, when he was the lead guitarist and main songwriter of the group The Equals, with his self-penned song “Baby Come Back”. The tune also topped the UK Singles Chart in 1994, when covered by Pato Banton featuring Robin and Ali Campbell of the reggae group UB40.  Notably, he openly used his songwriting for political purposes, especially against the then-current apartheid regime of South Africa. The Clash recorded a version of "Police on My Back" for their Sandinista! set. Grant went to school at the Acland Burghley Secondary Modern at Tufnell Park. Grant set up his own recording company, Ice Records and the Coach House studio, but more recently has returned to the West Indies from London, choosing Barbados as a more realistic venue for a recording company, rather than his country of origin. He has also produced Sting, Mick Jagger and Elvis Costello. [Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia].

Throughout the 1980s, while working in the intense underground Montreal nightclub and music scene, I was privileged to listen to every genre of music imaginable.  From punk, ska, French new wave, alternative rock, reggae, hard core, heavy metal, extreme spoken word and performance art, krautrock, experimental, industrial, noise, minimalist electronica and so much more, my brain was assaulted with this pounding music and I thrived on it.  I first heard Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" and "Living on the Frontline" at a popular downtown alternative music club I frequented and and was immediately drawn to Grant's sexy, smooth, textured voice, political lyrics, intense guitar solos and minimal synth sound. His musical message encompassed everything I loved and more.  I still listen to my coveted Eddy Grant collection and when I do, it brightens my day.