Sam 'Frickin' Sullivan says music key in city
By Stuart Derdeyn, The Province
Listeners to the Jeff O'Neil Show on 99.3 The FOX (CFOX-FM) yesterday were surprised to hear none other than Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan co-hosting the open-phones segment of the show and announcing an upcoming official proclamation that Nov. 28, 2008, is AC/DC Day in Terminal City.
Introduced as "Sam 'Frickin' Sullivan," the mayor opened the segment declaring that he is re-forming Spinal Chord, the band that first brought him into the public eye prior to his involvement in civic politics. He was joking -- maybe.
"I said it tongue-in-cheek to some of the interviewers on the radio," he told The Province later. "But, hey, why not?"
Other topics discussed on-air included the recently passed laneway housing pilot project, density issues, the Ambassador program and an old mayoral election brochure from the 1950s in which one candidate was running on the platform to pave over False Creek.
The FOX had been after the mayor to make a declaration for the past two years. The only one discussed on air was the March 14 Steak and Beach Day suggestion, a Valentine's Day-type celebration for guys that was met with a firm no. Sullivan says some of the other suggestions were worse.
"Oh, boy, I don't even know if we can discuss any of those for general entertainment use. Let's just say that there were some pretty wild ideas."
"This one worked because of the focus on the first round of projects around the Great Beginnings program, where we're putting $10 million into the city's original neighbourhoods."
He went on to note that AC/DC recorded its new album, Black Ice, at the historically important Warehouse Studios, which was an original location of City Hall.
"It was a property owned by Mr. Israel Powell, after whom Powell Street is named, and was the City Hall beginning in 1897 for a few years."
The Great Beginnings initiative announced by Premier Gordon Campbell is geared towards revitalizing four of the city's most historic neighbourhoods: Gastown, Japantown, Chinatown and Strathcona. Everything from new building facades, neon signs, murals, a community garden, streetlights and banners is expected from the program. The allocation is part of the province's 150th birthday celebrations.
Sullivan says that bringing attention to the city's recording industry -- which first gained worldwide attention with the hitmaking factory at Little Mountain Studios in the 1980s -- is just one more aspect of the region's powerhouse creative industries.
"We're going to be hosting the Junos this year [on March 29] and put a lot of effort into getting them here and that's a great showcase for this industry," Sullivan said. "People come from all over the world to make their recordings, to make movies. The city is a hotbed of real great talent and we should celebrate that."
Spinal Chord never covered any AC/DC songs, preferring to stick to all original material. If he was to pick a favourite track by the Aussie rockers, the mayor had one in mind: "The way I'm feeling right now, I think 'Highway to Hell' would be the one."
The official AC/DC Day proclamation will be delivered on the same day that the quintet performs a concert at GM Place. The plan is to give the band some kind of special proclamation. At the moment, His Honour isn't sure if he'll make the gig or not. Bummer.