British Columbia punk rock was born in White Rock, says author of new Art Bergmann biography

Elvis Presley died the day BC punk rock was born, on an outdoor stage in White Rock.

So claims author Jason Schneider, who wrote an authorized biography of musician Art Bergmann.

“The Longest Suicide,” which will be published by Anvil Press on September 30, documents the Canadian punk poet-winning journey from his early days in White Rock and Surrey to his recent Order of Canada award.

“I’m proud to have worked with Art on the greatest rock ‘n roll story ever told – yet,” Schneider, who lives in Kitchener, Ont., tweeted Aug. 17.

The day before, he had tweeted about music history 45 years earlier, on August 16, 1977.

“Yes, Elvis is dead, but punk rock was also born in British Columbia when The Skulls (soon to become DOA and the Subhumans) played the band White Rock with Art Bergmann’s Shmorgs and John Armstrong’s The Monitors.”

Vancouver-based Anvil Press bills Schneider’s 168-page book as “both a triumphant story of personal survival and a unique insight into the rise of alternative rock.” Above all, it is a tribute to Canada’s most misunderstood singer-songwriter, whose greatness is only now widely recognized.

“The Longest Suicide” includes “cameos” from John Cale, Bob Rock, The Clash, Bob Geldof and others.

Book orders are made on anvilpress.com.

Last December, Bergmann was one of 61 people appointed to the Order of Canada announced by Governor General Julie Payette. Bergmann, who now lives in Rocky View County, Alberta, was named a Member of the Order of Canada “for his indelible contributions to the Canadian punk music scene and for his thought-provoking discourse on social, racial and gender inequality. “.

He pioneered punk rock on the Vancouver music scene in the late 1970s and 1980s, with bands like The K-Tels and Young Canadians, and in 1996 won a Juno Award for Best Alternative Album (“What Fresh Hell Is This?”).

In the 1970s, Bergmann was playing music while living in the White Rock/Cloverdale area, and he also made Abbotsford his home for a few years.

In his 2001 book guilty of everything, fellow musician John Armstrong wrote about discovering punk-rock music through his association with Bergmann. They became roommates in a three-bedroom apartment on Marine Drive in White Rock, where Armstrong learned guitar chords in a call-and-response game with a couch-surfing Bergmann.

“Why he tolerated me I have no idea,” Armstrong wrote, “maybe you expect him to like me or amuse him or shoplift from boxes beans or soup at the Chinese grocer halfway between school and home, like some kind of school fees.


tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com
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Diana J. Carleton