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THE EARLY YEARS
1961 My First Guitar, a 1920's STELLA parlour guitar. Very battered, hand me down guitar. It had fallen off a wagon and been roughly repaired. (I learned my first chords on this guitar.)
1962 Very impressed by Leadbelly I got a HARMONY 12 STRING with my paper route money. And some help from my Mom. $152 was big money back then. The HARMONY sounded great but I traded it for a GUILD CAPRI ELECTRIC GUITAR to jam with my new High School friends.
Picture of a young Rock Rebel - I got kicked out of school for that haircut!
My Dad. Miles Palmer was a champion boxer, football player, insurance salesman, and a born performer. Here he is addressing a Sun Life Convention in Florida. He practised and practised for weeks before these gigs.
My Mom, Queenie, was a classically trained pianist and was studying Physics when she married my Dad, her keep-fit coach. As well as the classics, Mom loved boogie-woogie piano. And she would play all of the Old Time tunes Dad loved too.
(PHOTO Candace McLeod.
with my GUILD CAPRI)
1966 THE TIME MACHINE
The Time Machine was my very first band.
ALAN & BRIAN TREEN played Bass and Drums. Identical twins, the Treen's could tag team back and forth setting up each other's punch lines. Good players and very upbeat guys to work with.
RON RAULT on vocals. Ron loved the Wilson Pickett style R&B of this era and we played a lot of it. Some James Brown too. Ron later became a fine Bassist too,
GAYE DELOREM lead guitarist and humorist became well known in Los Angeles music scene. I was there the night Steve Ray Vaughn came by to jam with Gaye. Gaye could roll a perfect cigarette while driving and talking at the same time
GRAEME & THE WAIFERS 1967
Graeme & The Waifers was the first band on the Edmonton scene to use a Strobe Light. We played a lot of light shows and no alcohol teen clubs. No alcohol but definitely a marijuana haze influenced our music.
ALAN TREEN (from the Time Machine) played Bass, GEOFF EYRE on Drums and Harmony Vocals,
GRAEME MOORHOUSE was our singer and a great Front Man too. PAY COLEMAN and I traded lead guitar duties and we began writing original tunes for the band.
by now I was playing a Fender Strat through a Super Reverb amp.
Photos Graeme Moorhouse
THE WARP FACTOR
(DICK TATER, 1969)
This was a very young band, I was the old man at 19.
Our 17 year old Manager PAUL WINTERTON opened a lot of doors for us. Under Pauls' leadership The Warp Factor (we were early Star Trek fans) opened for The Who, Cream, Jesse Colin Young, Led Zeppelin and on and on.
These were the early Arena Rock days so
Paul got us the first Marshall amps around. We were loud!
DUANE ZELLES (16) was a really solid drummer who idolized Ringo Starr. His Dad always called me 'whiskers' cause I had a mustache by this time.
Bassist BOB WALKER (17) went on to become a fine studio musician and toured the US with Ian & Sylvia.
LARRY CHALMERS (17, rhythm guitar and slide) was a super guy to work with. He went on to building houses but he kept his musical chops up too, playing weekend weddings and corporate events
Singer EDDIE KILBRIDE (14!) was an amazing front man. He studied all the singers from the big name groups we opened for. Roger Daltrey was especially friendly and showed Eddie a lot. The Warp Factor was locally sucessful but our few recording couldn't get airplay on the American owned radio stations. We were too early for the Canadian Content rules that launched so many great music careers. Looking for bigger success Eddie and Bob left The Warp Factor. Now renamed DICK TATER, BOB VERGE joined us on Bass and Vocals. I began singing at this time and Bob and I developed as songwriters so Dick Tater played mainly largely original songs.
the 1970's & 80's
The 1970's was a tougher decade for me. Moving out of the safety of home, I was forced to earn my rent money playing 'commercial' gigs. I did short stints with THE WALKERS and SWEETGRASS but these were the last of my creative bands. No more big arena gigs, songwriting was put on hold.
To earn my daily bread I was teaching guitar lessons, getting some studio work, and selling guitars at a music store.
I got an offer to join an American nightclub band, TAMARACK, who played a mix of Jazz Fusion and pre-disco pop. I was the only auditioner who could play in horn keys like Ab and F so I got the gig. They called me 'Gordon Lightfoot' as a joke but I learned to play tight with a rhythm section. People loved to dance to this band.
When I returned to Edmonton I enrolled at Grant McEwan College for singing and music theory. (Some classical and jazz guitar too).
I met Sue Moss there and we formed a successful duo that worked steadily playing light pop and Jazz. Cover tunes. Just 19, Sue could sing a perfect chromatic scale or tell you exactly what the notes and chords were to any song we sang. She took up the upright bass to fill in our sound and we added Neil Martin on brushes and 3 part harmony.
Moving to Vancouver in the 1980's I began playing as a solo guitarist/singer and started writing a few tunes again.
1985 TO 1995
Western Union was a good solid bar band. We played everything from 50's rock to ZZ Topp and Stevie Ray Vaugh along with lots of Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, and George Strait.
With my Dad gone and my Mom now in her 80's I had returned to Edmonton. In Vancouver I had learned how to organize a band and find work in tough times. The best way to get hired was to hire myself! so I started Western Union and hired some excellent players. We worked steadily through the worst of the recession. The band called me 'gigs Palmer' cause I kept us working.
HERE TO NASHVILLE 2003
After Mom developed early stage Alzheimers (at the age of 90) and required full time care, I disbanded Western Union in '95 to become guardian for my Mom who was now in her 90's. Mom passed in 1999 at the age of 95.
Turning my attention to music, I began writing again. In 2003 I recorded 'FROM HERE TO NASHVILLE' with top producer Barry Allen, Matthew Dobrski engineering. My very first album, featuring 8 of my songs along with some favourite country covers.
Some Western Union alumnus volunteered to help out - Smokey Fennel on pedal steel, Tom Lowery on drums, and Ron Lukawitski on bass. The album turned out very well especially with country music fans.
LORRAINE BEVERLY HILL
In 2003 I moved to Nanaimo BC, but I was still just playing Legions and Pubs like back in Alberta. My Nashville album had turned out quite well but it was proving tough to promote it in these noisy drinking places.
Then in 2004 I met the wonderful Lorraine Hill who very kindly decided I was worth the effort and changed my life forever.
Coming home from one of these noisy gigs, Lorraine said to me: "Why don't you sing where people are listening?"
Trying out Lorraine's advice worked amazingly! Touring BC and further out. I now began playing 15-20 dates a month - touring folk clubs, coffee shops, churches, recreation centres, and even house concerts. and it was away more fun and they liked my music!
Everybody on Vancouver island loved Jerry Paquette. Because they all recorded with him! Everybody who met Jerry enjoyed him. He brought positivity with hime everywhere.
When I first met Jerry, I complained about promoting my NASHVILLE album. Jerry suggested we work on a more 'rootsy' album. So, off and on, for the next 14 months we worked on 'ROOTS & STRINGS' (Jerry's title).
Released in 2005, Penguin Eggs magazine called it 'a jewel of an album'. Stuart McLean played a track on the Vinyl Cafe. NPR in the states spun a couple of tracks plus several CBC DJs.
In 2007 I recorded 'MORNING ROAD' with Jerry as a follow up.
It got some nice reviews in the states and has some of my best writing to that date.
Sadly Jerry died in 2010 and it wasn't until 2014 that I recorded again. He was too hard to replace.
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