Monday, March 17, 2008

the bureaucrats

here's a history of late 7o's ottawa punk band THE BUREAUCRATS.

Vocals: Gary (Gaz) Sidwell

Rhythm Guitar & Vocals: Mitch Sidwell
Lead Guitar & & Vocals: Joe Frey
Bass: Grant Bucosky
Drums: Wayne Johnson

Ottawa’s Bureaucrats were formed in the summer of 1978. During that time, there was very little happening on the Canadian music scene. Bands that wrote and performed their own material couldn’t get gigs in local clubs. Club owners systematically selected “cover” bands to fulfill their club’s musical needs. Record companies didn’t believe original Canadian bands had anything to offer. In fact, they’d rarely venture outside New York to check out new talent.

Eventually, Toronto was seen as a stepping stone to NYC. But even that didn’t occur until well into the 1980’s. But Ottawa…? With apologies to residents in the Nation’s Capital, the city is still seen as a bit of a cultural joke.

But the Bureaucrats helped change things in the Canadian capital’s club scene. Their growing appeal ultimately led to almost all clubs opening their doors to the band — and eventually, to the just then emerging “new music scene”.

Over the course of those early years, The Bureaucrats had been busy writing and recording original songs. In total, the band had written about 20-30 of them. Unfortunately, only half of those songs got recorded.

However, they did release a number of singles in 1979, along with a 12″ EP in 1980. The singles veered from snotty, fuzz driven punk rock, to slightly more polished power pop, to neo-reggae (however you might define it). Their 12″ EP expands on the power pop sound.

In 1999, Drummer Wayne Johnston and Rhythm Guitarist Mitch Sidwell released a compilation CD titled “roi” (sic) . That’s pronounced “Roy” as in Rogers, not “Rwa” as in Patrick or a French king. It stands for “Return On Investment”.

Interesting Sidenote 1: The Brothers Sidwell (Gaz & Mitch) hailed from Leicester, UK (hence the accent). Their family emigrated to Canada during the so-called British “Nanny Boom” in Ottawa.

Interesting Sidenote 2: Everyone in the Sidwell family (including sister and parents) all have entirely different accents.

What are they doing now?

Well, Joe is a Chef. Mitch is a Draftsman (or “Draughtsman” for you Brits) . Grant works as a General Contractor, and Gaz is a Printer.

And Wayne? Oh, he’s now Chief of Operations for International Trade at Statistics Canada — a government agency. So yes: he is a bureaucrat.


check out the original post as well as some mp3's by clicking here.

download the FEEL THE PAIN/GROWN UP AGE 7" courtesy of KILLED BY DEATH.

look at a bunch of their show posters.

here's an interview with MITCH SIDWELL from the BIRDMAN SOUND website. it was conducted in 2001 in anticipation of the reunion show they had at the DOMINION TAVERN on july 12th, 2001.


st├ęphane said...

i was at the show. they were still really good, especially the lead guitar player (forgot his name...)
they ran though their set a bit fast though and ran out of songs! :) so they started their set over again. plus they did a ripping cover of the stranglers "hangin' around".

waxhound said...

"they did release a number of singles in 1979, along with a 12″ EP in 1980."

This is completely inaccurate.
They had one 7" single "Feel the Pain" b/w "Grown Up Age" in early 1980.

Then there was a CD and LP of old material released in 2000.



Marc (Canada)