Jason Schneider, co-author of Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance has produced a companion album, for charity.
It’s been 11 years since Have Not Been The Same, the seminal text on the resurgence of Canadian rock and roll in the ’80s and ’90s, was originally published by ECW press. The 780-page tome, which is the work of authors Michael Barclay, Ian A.D. Jack, and Jason Schneider, has come to be regarded as a key document in Canadian rock history.
“It was something I was very proud of, and something that I wanted to keep out there,” Schneider said during an interview. The book was re-issued last year as a 10th-anniversary edition to make it available once again, in part because newer books on Canadian Rock history (such as Treat Me Like Dirt by Liz Worth and Perfect Youth by Sam Sutherland, both about the rise of Canadian punk) have rekindled an interest in Canadian music history and heritage.
With the book back in circulation, Jason Schneider wanted to use its cultural weight to do something in the world. And so he joined forces with Pheromone Records to assemble, produce, and release a companion record. Officially available as of November 13, the record includes the iconic track from Slow, “Have Not Been The Same,” that gave the book its title, as well as a series of rarities, b-sides, and previously unreleased tracks by many definitive Canadian alt-rock bands. “I wanted to focus on rare material, because I knew that would appeal, and because a lot of the bands were already reissuing material and I didn’t want to step on any toes,” Schneider said. Contributors range from Bob Wiseman and Jane Siberry to No Means No and Sloan. Almost all of the tracks on the record were donated by the artists.
This is not the first time that a record based on Have Not Been The Same has been released. Michael Barclay assembled a tribute compliation called “Too Cool To Live, Too Smart To Die” in 2011, which was full of covers of many of the classic tracks discussed in the book, performed by contemporary Canadian indie rock musicians. The record was made available exclusively online.
Schneider has taken a very different approach with his record. For starters, it’s available in physical form, either as a single CD or as a double vinyl album. Also, all the proceeds will be donated to Kids Help Phone.
And that’s not all that’s going to charity. At Schneider’s urging, Bob Wiseman, of Blue Rodeo, donated his hand-painted Ace Tone Top 5 Keyboard organ to the cause.
“I was completely shocked,” says Schneider. He had asked some of the artists to contribute rare merchandise for a promotional giveaway to drum up excitement about the record. Wiseman immediately offered up the organ. Rather than give it away, Schneider recognized it “as a genuine piece of Canadian rock and roll history,” and instead donated it to the charity auction.
(If the idea of owning this unique piece of musical Canadiana is too much to resist, bidding for the organ is going on right now and will remain open until Monday, December 3.)
Schneider decided to work with Kids Help Phone, he said, because “it has always been an organization that I have supported. For so many of us music is where we naturally turn to when we have problems or things get too overwhelming, and some kids don’t have that. Kids Help Phone provides that aid that music provides for so many of us.”