A humble 'hands on' approach

In Some Circles…he is known as a difficult person…in others a multi-talented Canadian musician and still in others a musical genius!  Who is he, just a humble prairie boy named Chris Burke-Gaffney…

It is hard to be humble when one has so much talent and knowledge.  Chris Burke-Gaffney is a multi-talented Singer/Songwriter and multi instrumental musician who hails from the central western part of Canada.  Yes he may be brash, somewhat unpredictable, but his heart lies in the development and proper care of Canada’s musical Artists’ and their music.

Chris cut his teeth in this industry back in the late seventies.  He was the Bassist/Singer for that power house group out of Winnipeg,” The Pumps”.  Even then, he was in a rarefied position, as there were not many Lead Vocalists that also were the group’s Bassist.  The two most famous are Glenn Hughes, and Geddy Lee.  Chris not only proved himself a great bassist and singer, but a gifted Songwriter.  With “The Pumps” he was involved in such memory making musical rivers as “Coffee With The Queen”, “You’re The One” and “Success”.  His lyrical content was quirky, yet thoughtful and even at this early stage showed signs of social commentary.  His Work was not that of an ordinary fellow.  “The Pumps”  toured the circuits of Western Canada developing a small but loyal following.  You could say, that they came up the hard way.  It wasn’t long before, perhaps, the shine of ambition dulled somewhat, and “The Pumps” kind of disappeared after the one album.  Although, a reformed version of ‘The Pumps’ was underway.  Combining members of a contemporary group called ‘The Orphans’, Chris and Pumps keyboardist Brent Diamond formed ‘Orphan’.  The duo re-emerged as ‘Orphan’, along with Guitarist Steve McGovern and Ron Boisvenue on drums. 

 “Lonely At Night” was released under the CBS‘s Portrait imprint, in 1983.  Displaying the developing talents of each musician, and the songwriting skills of Chris.  The album sported such classics as “Lonely At Night”, “Miracle”, and the provocative “Night Parade”.  Unfortunately, ‘Orphan’ was short-lived as well,  as tragedy struck the group in the same year as their debut.

However, they persevered for a couple more years and released “Salute” in ’85.  Shortly after, the lads called it a day, and moved on to other pursuits.  All through these years, Chris was honing his craft, found an additional sense of business and management…most likely due to the things he saw go wrong during his time with both of these great prairie based groups.  The 1980’s were a struggle, but Chris moved forward with his Songwriting and involvement with developing other Artists.  During this time he also found a love for producing, as well as his love of writing.  In the early nineties, Chris gave the Rock world another kick, and what a kick it was.  He formed along with ‘The Pumps’ drummer Terry Norman-Taylor, and Kenny Shields’ bassist Blair Depape, a supergroup in the making. 

‘Deadbeat Honeymooners’ was unleashed to Canadian music lovers in 1992.  The debut album was killer.  Hard Melodic Rock with a brash social commentary that fit the personality of its Lead Vocalist, Chris Burke-Gaffney.  Each song that appears on this album could have been a monster hit!  “Hard To Be Humble”, “When The Rain Comes”, “Temptation”, and more.  The label, Anthem, was one of Canada’s leading independent recording companies.  All seemed to be just placed right for this ensemble, but to no avail.  After a year or so of touring and promoting the album, including the first single “Dial L.O.V.E.” the group disbanded.  The reasons, well this scribe isn’t privy to that; however I would surmise that it was an uphill battle.  The ‘Deadbeat Honeymooners’ were a heavy Melodic rock outfit, high energy and just didn’t fit with what the ‘business’ side of things wanted.  I still maintain to this day, that if Chris and Company concentrated on Europe and Asia prior to North America, we may be enjoying their sixth album by now.  However our loss is Canada’s Musical Community’s gain, as Chris immersed himself in more song writing, publishing and management.

Two short years after the Deadbeats, Chris began to work ‘behind the scenes’.  In ’96 he formed an Artist Management company concentrating on developing Artists and more specific,  Chantell Kreviazuk, a multi-platinum Singer/Songwriter.   Chris continues to co-write, manage and produce Artists through his CBG consortium of organisations.  His is a ‘hands on’ approach and has garnered him awards and recognition within the Industry that, perhaps, did not treat him so well as a working musician.  ‘The Pumps’, ‘Orphan’ and especially ‘The Deadbeat Honeymooners’ have become a legacy in Canadian Music with a very visible stamp of one Chris Burke-Gaffney.  Now, in the twenty first century, Chris is giving to many, his experience and most importantly, his musical genius to others across Canada!  Since the late seventies, this individual has had his sleeves rolled up, approaching the music business with a take no prisoner’s attitude, and all for the benefit of others.  Is he a ‘difficult’ person, I don’t know…I’ve only met him once…but what I can tell you is that he is brash, a visionary and a gifted musician.  And one that is generous in sharing his Talents with others.  The Canadian Music Industry would do well in having more Chris Burke-Gaffney’s, creating and sustaining a wealth of musical Artists and creating a Musical Legacy from the ground up!

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

97th Street Pub:    Out Of Eden:   Feb. 1st & 2nd   The Zamboni  Brothers:   Feb. 15th & 16th  Wheelhouse:  Feb. 22nd & 23rd   

The Blue Gator:   Young ‘Uns:  Feb. 1st & 2nd    Zamboni  Brothers:  Feb. 8th & 9th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Feb. 15th & 16th

The Minstrel Café:   Fighting Orange:  Feb. 9th

The Streaming Café:   Chris Ho:  Feb. 2nd   Windmills & James Roy:  Feb. 9th      

The Pheasant & Quail Pub:   Cod Gone Wild:  Feb. 22nd  …And don’t forget the “Talented Kelowna” events at the Pub in January and February!

Notable Concerts:    

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Heart:    March 9th 2013

 Kelowna Community Theatre:   Randy Bachman:   April 20th     

Prospera Place:  Sting:    May 30th   

Peach Festival  Penticton:  Honeymoon Suite:   August 8th                 

Notes & News:   Eric Burdon is releasing a brand new album: “Til Your River Runs Dry” will be out January 29th, and certainly a ‘must have’!     

…if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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