Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Throwback Thursday: King Biscuit Boy, Nine Big Dogs, Songwriters' Circle

This is our first in a recurring series of 'Throwback Thursday' posts where we celebrate the wonderful past of the local music scene (specifically pre-2000). If you know of any videos, old posters, trivia bites, etc that would be perfect for this, please email us at

Links: King Biscuit BoyMore KBB StoriesVideo above courtesy of Lori Newcomb

Links: Nine Big DogsVideo above courtesy of Yrret Noskcaj

Former member Mike Daley had this to say on social media:

Baytides Cafe on King St. at Victoria was a coffeehouse with nightly performances by the likes of Edgar Breau, Russ Brice, Ken Brown, myself and Alex Bako. Ken, a talented guitarist/flautist, put together a project with Alex around '89 called the Bogus around Alex's funny and sardonic songs. Alex, who was also an actor, knew bassist Tim Hopkins from the Toy Town Troupers, who brought in Greg Allworth, a drummer that he knew from the York music programme. 

The band was renamed Nine Big Dogs and they entered a battle of the bands at Mohawk College. They won, and the prize was a recording session leading to a demo tape. That demo tape was heard by Jim Skarratt, who decided that he wanted to add Nine Big Dogs to his roster, which would eventually include Guitar Mikey, the Phantoms and electric violinist Mark Wood

Ken quit the band at that point and I, a 21-year-old jazz student at Mohawk, was asked to join on electric guitar. We signed recording, publishing and management contracts with Spy, a classic conflict of interest. Our album was recorded and mixed in Fort Erie at River Audio with Ed Stone over a couple of weekends. It came out in 1991, distributed by A&M, on CD and cassette. 

"Dougie's Lament" was picked up by Don Berns at CFNY and given regular rotation for a time, which helped us to get bookings at the Horseshoe, Lee's Palace, a couple of months of Mondays at Ultrasound, the Rivoli and many more. 

Spy took us out to Halifax in a tour bus where we showcased at the COCA conference for university and college bookers, where we met (and were blown off the stage by) an unsigned band doing a similar act named the Barenaked Ladies

Dissatisfaction was growing as very little money was coming in for these strenuous efforts, and in '92 Tim Hopkins quit the group to be replaced by a young bassist named Mike Arsenault. A highlight with Mike was a live recording for CFNY at the Ultrasound complete with recording truck. Finally Alex quit the band and the whole thing was over. For me in retrospect it was a valuable lesson in the risks and rewards of the music business and a lot of fun while it lasted.

Featuring: Cindy Dell (Host), Lee Anne Wesseling, John Loucks, Duane Rutter, Stephen Hogg, Sue Sweetman, JP Riemens, Terry Sumsion, Kris St. Louis, James Anthony, Judi Rideout, and more.

Video above courtesy of Cindy Dell

More Throwback Thursday Posts

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