I read Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap Stories over the last week or so; it's a breezy read, perfect for the summer months, and I enjoyed capping each night of my vacation trip with Bachman's anecdotes from 40-plus years in the music business.
I quite like Vinyl Tap, and while I'm not religious about catching it, I like the tunes and Bachman's tone and how they fit into Saturday night. (The show airs on CBC Radio One here in St. John's at 8:30; it comes at 7 in most other time zones.)
I finished the book admiring Bachman. The stories, many of which come from the show, are genial, friendly, and a good many illustrate how Bachman has been impressed by the kindness of others, including his heroes, like guitar legends Les Paul and Chet Atkins. There's no bitterness or backstabbing (just passing references to mud being thrown when Bachman left the Guess Who at the height of their fame), but stories about an ordinary guy from Winnipeg who found himself in extraordinary circumstances. (And who, of course, knocked out one famous guitar riff after another.)
One of the items in the book is the pitch that Bachman put together for Vinyl Tap, which first launched as a summer replacement show in 2005. Program pitches are generally not made lightly, with a great deal of effort made on securing a pivotal meeting with the right pair of ears. Bachman, instead, typed a note that he gave to a technician for The Vinyl Cafe, who was good enough to pass it along the CBC food chain.
Here's the pitch:
Dear CBC Radio,
I'm a big fan of CBC Radio. This past Saturday's show of Finkleman's 45s I noticed that Danny said he was retiring. I would love his time slot, and my proposal is that I play music from my record collection and tell personal stories about the artist, song, etc. Instead of Finkleman's 45s you could call the show Randy's Rockin' Records or Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap, like Spinal Tap
from Randy Bachman
And that was it. Simple, no embellishments, and apart from a near-miss for the title that didn't get used, a clear and direct description of what the show would be, and still is.