Today’s Guest: Christopher Ward, Canada’s first MuchMusic VJ, author, Is This Live? Inside the Wild Early Years of MuchMusic: The Nation’s Music Station
Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with CHRISTOPHER WARD by clicking on the video player above!
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of Alannah Myles and Bryan Adams impersonators doing “The Safety Dance”… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
What I don’t know about the Canadian music video scene could fill a half an hour or more… as rock ‘n’ roll historian Christopher Ward is about to discover.
Ward has published a charming new oral history of MuchMusic—a Canadian take on MTV for my clueless fellow Americans. The book—Is This Live? Inside the Wild Early Years of MuchMusic, The Nation’s Music Station—takes us behind-the-scenes at the creation of the video music network where the only rule was, “You can do anything you want on air, just don’t spend any money.”
CHRISTOPHER WARD podcast excerpt: “Being live at MuchMusic was like improv comedy. People love to see you fail and figure out how you’re going to get out of it.”
Canadian music stars of the 1980s who blew up around the world—thanks in no small part to MuchMusic—included Bryan Adams, Corey Hart and Loverboy. And it also made mostly local guitar heroes out of Platinum Blonde, Gowan, the Spoons and Glass Tiger.
Unless you’re a native of the Great White North, you’re probably wondering what Ward’s connection to all this might be, right?
Well, he was Canada’s first VJ, or video disc jockey. But unlike their American counterparts who precorded all of their patter between music videos, Ward and his cohorts worked live.
Ward got his start as an entertainer as a member of Second City Touring Company, where he became friends with future SNL comedian Mike Myers and was Myers’ sidekick on the original “Wayne’s World” before Dana Carvey brought life to Garth.
He has also written songs for Diana Ross, Wynona Judd, The Backstreet Boys and Alannah Myles, for whom he wrote the #1 hit, “Black Velvet.”
CHRISTOPHER WARD podcast excerpt: “Mike Myers calls me the ‘entertainment survivalist’ because we would go on the road together for Second City and I was prepared. I would bring a sandwich and I would have cold beer stashed in the van. I was ready to cope. I took pity on him and brought him an extra sandwich, extra beer, and a splitter for the headphones. And we both loved The Clash.”