By Steve Newton
Looking back on my over 40 years as a music writer, there’s one thing that I did pretty consistently that I’m really, really happy about.
I kept almost all of the cassette tapes I used to record my interviews.
I mean, I never thought, while I was recording my phone conversation with Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1985, that 38 years later one of my favourite things to do would be to listen to him singing me three lines of an Earl King song:
And keeping those old tapes around has paid off in other ways as well. I most likely would not have been asked to write my 2018 coffeetable book, Gord Downie, if an executive editor at New York’s Sterling Publishing hadn’t come across some of the audio excerpts I’d posted online from the five interviews I did with the Tragically Hip frontman between 1989 and 1996.
I can basically thank the enduring quality of Maxell, Sony, and Manatex tapes (see above photo) for helping me to become a first-time author at the age of 60.
But my lucky streak took on another dimension in March of 2022 when Downie’s older brother Mike, a documentary filmmaker, contacted me, asking to hear those interviews. He was doing preliminary work on a four-part documentary series on the Hip for Amazon Prime Video.
So I sent in the audio, and waited to hear whether it would be worthy of inclusion in the project. And waited. And waited. Apparently it takes quite a long time to make a four-part docuseries.
But then a couple of months ago I heard back from Downie, with the incredible news that he’d cut some of my audio into two of the episodes. How cool is that?
The untitled project is scheduled for release on Amazon Prime in October of 2024, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Hip’s formation.
I don’t know about you, but I plan to watch. Sorry Disney+, you might have to go.