April 6, 2011

Vancouver 125! Happy Birthday! Love, The Smugglers

Hey… our fresh little city by the sea has turned a very young 125 years old TODAY!

This city has always been my home, I’ve never lived anywhere else, I’ve turned down great jobs in bigger cities because I didn’t want to leave, I convinced my wife to move over 5,000 kilometres to join me, and every time The Smugglers went on tour, when we got home we collectively agreed that, through all the cities and towns and countries we visited, we never saw anything more drop-dead gorgeous than Vancouver.

Way back in 1991, at age 19 I wrote an ode to Vancouver, creatively titled “Vancouver BC“, and the reason I wrote the song was two-fold.

I loved “geography songs”; the naming of cities and towns and provinces and states in lyrics. Chuck Berry and Stompin’ Tom Connors were my faves at that art. The second reason was  in the late ’80s and early ’90s, everyone in our music scene was really down on Vancouver. The poker-hot punk scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s had dried up or gone into rehab and the scene was suddenly most definitely 3 hours to the south in Seattle.

I loved Vancouver and wanted to show the pride in song, beauty and warts and all. “Vancouver BC” was released on the first Smugglers album, At Marineland, and then again in 1993 on our first CD, a compilation album called In The Hall Of Fame (cover design by Neko Case!) released to introduce us to the United States. In the early spring of 1992 we made this video with our filmmaker friend Glen Winter (he either directed or shot all of our videos). The video was received warmly on MuchMusic and played many times throughout the years and remained one of our most requested songs at our concerts all over the world throughout our “career”.

In the video you can see what we, and Vancouver, looked like twenty years ago, including Nardwuar, Terry David Mulligan, and our banger friend Fred Thorsen who plays various unsavoury characters. Also note director Glen’s mammoth cell phone. And yes, Dave really did get in a helicopter and fly over the city to get overhead shots (some deal his Dad set up). And that’s Adam Woodhall on the hooky, honkin’ harmonica.

Nineteen years later, we still love Vancouver BC.

(2) Comments

  1. Martin says:

    Video makes me so sentimental Grant… for them days gone by. Shanghai just don’t cut it like my home town! Awesome….
    Martin Kemble

  2. Grant Lawrence says:

    Yep… and this is Vancouver 20 years ago! Nice to hear from you, hope all is well in Shanghai!

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