Randy Bachman brings classic Guess Who, BTO tunes to the Palace
Randy Bachman is a great storyteller with so many stories to tell.
A conversation with the former member of Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive is like a trip back to the 1970s, then a fast-forward to today, where the nearly 75-year-old Canadian talks about his new album, his tour and an upcoming move from Oakville, Ontario, to Victoria, B.C.
“The weather’s better there,” he says, explaining why he’s moving, then clarifying that he really needs more space for a new recording studio in his home.
He’ll celebrate his birthday on Sept. 27, two days after his upcoming concert at The Palace Theatre, but the legendary musician and song stylist isn’t concerned about reaching another milestone year. He’s certainly not slowing down any time soon.
“Once you hit 50, you forget about your age,” he says, adding that “I guarantee that whenever you come to my concert, you’re going to feel 20 years younger.”
Bachman’s career is multifaceted, ranging from his early years in the late ’60s when he scored multiple hit records with Guess Who, including “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Sugar Tonight” and “American Woman,” to the ‘70s and his years with Bachman-Turner Overdrive, one of the era’s most successful hard rock bands.
BTO’s hit singles included “Let It Ride,” “Roll On Down The Highway,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Hey You,” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” written and sung by Bachman.
He also released several albums on his own or in collaboration with other artists, including his longtime friend Neil Young.
Bachman’s hard-pressed to choose his favorite song from among his many successes.
One of his most memorable times was after a nine-year struggle, when he got a phone call in a hotel room during a tour, telling him his “American Woman” album with Guess Who made number one in the states.
“I called the band together and all four of us jumped on the bed like kids at a slumber party until it caved in, and then we jumped on the other bed until it caved in,” he recalls. “Elation is short-lived – and then you go out and play a $750 gig.”
His latest accomplishment is a tribute to former Beatle George Harrison and a fellow guitar aficionado. His bio refers to his album “By George – By Bachman” as “a sincere labor of love from one guitar great to another,” with his new interpretations of familiar Harrison songs such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and an original song he wrote titled “Between Two Mountains.”
All in the family
Bachman is excited about teaming up with his son, Tal, for his “Every Song Tells a Story” concerts, including the Greensburg date. Bachman says they sit on stools in a relaxed format and he talks to the audience with some often humorous facts and stories about the origin of a hit song, and then they sing and play it.
Tal Bachman is a guitarist in his own right in Canada with a hit recording of “She’s So High,” a song he wrote and was invited to perform in September 2011 during a Taylor Swift concert in Vancouver.
Bachman says he wants to do an album with his son that he’ll title “Bachman Bachman” and “he’ll write two or three songs and I’ll write some and we’ll do some together.”
Family is important to the rock legend, who mentions that he has eight children and 26 grandkids “and they all come to see me play and know my songs.”
Bachman also believes in giving back.
“I’ve worked hard all my life and have been blessed with great kids and grandkids. When somebody is less fortunate than me and I can lend my name or help them financially, I always do that,” he says. A new documentary about his life, “Bachman,” had its world premiere in Toronto in May and is expected to be released in the states this fall.
Candy Willliams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.